So now that you’ve heard the media backlash against the “audacity and stupidity” of the Southern Baptist Convention for daring to suggest that there are God-ordained roles for the husband and wife to fulfill in marriage, what have you concluded? Did you wince at the barrage of accusations that tarred and feathered Bible-believing Christians as intolerant bigots who are far more akin to Nazi skinheads than Jesus? Did you flinch when men like Dr. Jim Dobson were vilified by the press and put in the same league as David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan (I’m quoting Frank Rick of The New York Times)?
First of all, how unthinkable that the “family” be defined in terms of one man and one woman living together for the mutual benefit of one another as well as the glory of God! Where is the tolerance in that? How ridiculous to believe that the woman should actually “submit” to the authority of her husband. Never mind that Ephesians 5:21 presents a picture of mutual submission – “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Forget the fact that Paul says the husband is to direct his family through servant leadership versus demagoguery. Ignore Paul’s analogy that the husband’s role in the home is similar to the way in which Christ cherished His church and laid down His life for her.
Ignore the historical fact that wherever true Christianity has gone in the world, the place of women has been exalted and honored. The Biblical position on this issue depicts a man serving his wife even as Jesus took upon Himself the role of a slave by washing the disciples’ dirty feet. The husband is not some Attila the Hun demanding his coffee and grits with snapping fingers, but one who treats his wife like he treats his own body (as in “pamper” – Eph. 5:28).
But this is all so politically incorrect and outdated. So let’s jettison the Biblical norm for the NOW (National Organization forWomen) formula. Let’s have a free–for–all in the family with everybody asserting their “rights” and demanding self-actualization. Let’s forget the manual for life (the Bible) and write our own rules.
Well, we’ve done that, and you know what happened? Divorce is rampant. Dysfunctional homes are multiplying exponentially. Teen suicide and now even high school mass murder is not unusual. Police must roam the halls of our nation’s schools. Sexual promiscuity is epidemic with tragic results from disease to abortion to the dissolution of relationships.
However, God forbid that we should turn back the clock of societal “progress” and return to the Scriptures for a blueprint of family life. God forbid if we ever stoop to husbands loving their wives with Christ-like devotion and wives willingly submitting themselves to the shepherding ministry of their husbands. That scenario might result in stable homes characterized by self-sacrifice, and secure children who go to bed at night never wondering whether they might lose a parent to divorce — or worse.
No, surely we “enlightened” moderns have a better way that must not be thwarted by the intolerant right wing, extreme fundamentalist ayatollah zealots who call themselves Christians. We must stay the course we’re on and continue to vilify those who dare to expose the destructiveness of our redefined homes and relationships. If we can’t defeat them in logical debate we’ll resort to name calling. Surely if we do that enough, people will actually believe that those backward Christians are really the intolerant, ignorant, male chauvinist bigots we say they are, and how convenient that would be.
Rev. Gary Cox is minister of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA).