Husbands, Headship, and Accountability

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A few weeks ago, I had a good discussion with a co-worker about Biblical marriage.

We could not get past semantics, nor her view that while Jesus Christ was probably a feminist in the sense that He looked at men and women equally, there was no real equality in Christianity. Our conversation ended with us agreeing there should be equality between men and women, however that was the extent of it. The word “submit” in Ephesians 5:22 was the first thing she attacked. The headship of husbands, in her view, was not equality (Ephesians 5:23), even when I explained that both husband and wife were equal but the accountability fell to the husband.

HEADSHIP IN CONTEXT: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21 NIV

This particular co-worker has stated her clear dislike of religion, specifically Christianity, describing it as a male construct that does not promote equality. Who can blame her for feeling this way. For decades, she has worked as a counselor and spoken with countless women who have been abused by their Christian husbands. She has heard the terms “headship” and “submission” in the context of abuse for so long that there was no diving deeper into the concept of Biblical marriage, which is where our conversation had taken us. This counselor shared with me that she once worked with a battered woman who was told by her own pastor that the reason why she was beaten by her Christian husband was because she “didn’t love her husband enough.” WHAT!?

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14

Not only was I ashamed to hear about a Christian man beating his wife, I was even more ashamed to hear that a pastor had missed such a big outcry and need for help from a spiritual leader. Rather than hold the husband accountable for his actions, he shifted the blame and responsibility onto the battered wife. Headship is not a dictatorship at all when we consider the servant leadership style of Jesus Christ. If Jesus is the example we as Christian men strive to become, then it should be His example that we try to emulate. Controlling our wives, beating them, is so far removed from the role of headship modeled by Jesus Christ. Christian husbands fulfill the role of headship by SERVING their wives rather than demanding of them. Ultimately, Jesus Christ gave His own life to pay the price for our sins so that we could have a personal relationship and everlasting life with God in Heaven (Matthew 27:11-54.)

GOD HELD ADAM ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVE: “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'” Genesis 3:9. 

God knows all, so He knew what had happened in the Garden of Eden. Adam knew better about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, yet he allowed Eve to fall into the temptation of the serpent, then he followed her example rather than obey God’s command. In the same way,  there will come a time when God will come to us (Christian husbands) to check how we have treated our wives. God ALREADY KNOWS how we have treated our wives, the question is what do we want Him to already know when the time comes?

Read also “Five Ways to Make Your Wife Submit to You.”

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