I often hear certain Christians talking about how great their “biblically based” marriage is. The husband is supposed to lead aka be “Christ,” and the wife is to submit, aka the “Church.” Honestly, this wouldn’t bother me as much if their actions actually reflected their words.
To lead means to guide in direction, course, action, opinion, etc. Different Christian websites define it as, “To guide by the hand; as, to lead a child. It often includes the sense of drawing as well as of directing” or “Leadership is influence, the ability of one person to influence others.”
My problem is that within a lot of these “biblically based” marriages where the husband is “leading” and the wife is “submitting,” there is little evidence of this actually happening.
I’ve heard many women say, “My husband is my leader, but we make every decision together. We work as a team. No one is above the other.”
This is hard for me to understand. Does Jesus consult the Church to make a decision? Does Jesus and the Church work as a team? Is the Church equal to the Lamb of God?
If you really had a marriage where the husband is the leader, well you wouldn’t be making the decisions together. He would listen to your input (maybe), then he would make the decisions himself. And even that doesn’t reflect Jesus and the Church.
Jesus is not on my team. I am on His. Jesus and I don’t lead together, He is the only leader. He is Holy, Perfect, the Prince of Peace, Messiah, Light of the World, Lord, and the Son of God. The Church, made up of sinful people, is in no way, shape or form, equal to Him.
If you want to call it “leadership,” it shouldn’t look as if you are equal. There should be a line between who is the leader and who is the follower. Jesus didn’t say, “Come walk beside me, give me your input. I want your advice. Let’s make decisions together.” He said, “Follow me.” Directly implying that He is the leader.
I believe that when Paul wrote about wives submitting to their husbands, and husbands being “Christ” he didn’t mean it literally. I believe this was a reference for a time where women were being treated as property and had no rights. He was telling men to sacrifice, hence using the name “Christ” instead of Jesus or Messiah. He was asking these men to lay down their pride so that their wives could rise to their full potential. Just as we cannot get to the Father without Christ laying down His life (John 14:6), women would not have been able to gain rights if the men were not willing to lay down their status. In other words, I believe Paul himself was a feminist.
No, no no…that’s too radical, right? It’s too “liberal” to open our hearts to change. It’s too foolish to listen to anyone else’s interpretation of the Living Word. It would be ludicrous to admit that the husband and wife lead together.
But wasn’t Jesus a radical? Didn’t Jesus challenge the scholarly opinions? Wasn’t Jesus called a fake and a follower of Beelzebul, prince of demons?
Maybe, true equality isn’t radical for Jesus though. Maybe it’s just radical and “liberal” to us because we’ve been stuck in the same traditions for far too long. Maybe we should begin to follow Jesus and challenge the empty laws and traditions. Maybe our actions should start to match our words.
“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8