Does Scripture Really Teach Submission?

Does Scripture Really Teach Submission?

Alan Brehm criticized the Southern Baptist “statement on the family” in his editorial, “Why I Didn’t Sign the Southern Baptist Family Statement” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 19). Several points may be made on his article.

First, Brehm speaks of the “disgusting and deceptive way that some use the Bible to oppress and manipulate faithful, honest church folks.” Although I am not a Baptist, anyone who believes the Bible and takes it seriously can see that the “statement on the family” was simply expressing what God teaches in Scripture. Whether Brehm likes it or not (and it is clear that he doesn’t like it), Scripture is clear that “the man is the head of a woman” (1 Corinthians 11:3), and the Bible says, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18).

Second, the writer thinks that the SBC statement reflects the values of the 1950s but denounces the values (or lack of values) of the 1960s. Wrong. The statement seeks to root its counsel in the teachings of the apostles Peter and Paul rather than the deficient values even of the 1950s. Therefore, Brehm seems to be opposing the values of Scripture rather than those of the 1950s. We must also remember that certain aspects of feminism arose long before the mid-twentieth century. Further, no one can deny that the 1960s did bring a host of revolutionary elements to our country—elimination of prayer from schools, taking Bible reading from schools, the homosexual emphasis, the legalization of pornography, the sexual revolution, the anti-government demonstrations, as well as outspoken radical feminism.

Third, Brehm twists Scripture when he says that husbands are to be submissive to their wives. By the same reasoning, parents would need to be submissive to their children and masters would need to be submissive to their slaves (or managers submissive to their employees). This clearly perverts what the apostle Paul says in Colossians 3, Ephesians 5 and 6, 1 Timothy 2, and Titus 2; and what Peter also says (in 1 Peter 2 and 3).

Finally, Brehm confuses the meaning of submission. The term is from the Greek hupotasso and literally means “to rank under” or “to be in submission.” The husband is to love, care for, respect, bless, provide for, and seek to understand his wife, but is never instructed to “rank himself under” his wife or “be in submission to” his wife. He is to exercise loving leadership and headship over his wife while the wife is to honor and respect her husband with humble submission. Her only limit in this submission is the greater allegiance she owes to God.

We must never confuse contemporary unscriptural egalitarianism with the clear instructions of God’s Word.

Richard Hollerman
(
Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

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