You smile, “Of course not. God is not like that.” You would be right. But as I grew up silent submission was what I “heard”, and it accomplished the same thing. Later, when our fifteen year marriage grew desperate, I knew that my comprehension was flawed.
Growing up, as my family traveled the lower forty-eight states, I had an intriguing opportunity to view other evidence of hurtful ideas: the persona of unhappy minister’s and elder’s wives. Did they “hear” what I “heard”? Was it because they were hopeless, unable to fulfill their potential, to discover the balance between submission in marriage and their own gifts? What had doctrine or the Church done to them?
Several friends sincerely questioned the basis for this Philosophy with this single verse:
“Let your women (specifically a wife) keep silence in the churches (assembly, congregation): for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law.” (ICo 14:34) It deserves a response. Consider another verse: “When you come together, every one of you (every man, woman) has a Psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” (ICo 14:26). All of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to women and men as God chooses and they are encouraged to use them.
God gives women passionate perspectives often very different to men. Does God give vision, ideas and gifts to women…and then frustrate them, silence them? Are women silenced giving men no other perspective to consider? Is there a counterpart perspective men need whether in marriage or in the Church?
As for the Church, God does identify men in headship roles: Priest, Pastor, Elder, Bishop, Husband, Father. Examples of these in the Scripture are all men. If men are head in a marriage (the one flesh relationship of a man and woman typified by “head and body”), it makes sense that a man who is head in marriage would also lead in the Church). The placement of men in these roles, however, does not simultaneously suppress the voice and gifts of the rest of God’s people. Indeed, the placement of a certain person in a role does not, in itself, mean the others surrounding him are not equally capable (maybe more capable) than the role player.
Ideally, the function of a head, or leader, should be to encourage, promote, protect and, when necessary, guide: “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” (IPe 5:3) Sadly, perhaps in an effort to prove they are the head, some have discouraged, hampered, attacked and guided in ineffective (or wrong) directions.
Equal And Opposite Roles
In the Old Testament and New, God gives gifts to mankind, (men and women) “that the Lord might dwell among them.” God is so pleased with the gifts he gives that it seems to draw His presence; he dwells among us. How amazing.
If God is pleased with the gifts He has given to all of us, women and men, do we allow them to be silenced when they “cry out” for expression from inside? (Eph 4:8 and Psa 68:18).
You are hereby challenged. Look inside, grow, become all you can be. Make all the difference in your world!
Also: is there a topic you would like to see addressed in this blog?