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January 14, 2011

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Not only is headship and mutual submission compatible, they are the same. If we understand headship, inspired by the Holy Spirit, as the Gospel we may also understand mutual submission in the same light.

The headship of Christ is the coordination and inspiration of His Church. The Holy Spirit works through the Church revealing the testimony of the Gospel. As Christ revealed to His disciples that this is not a relationship as the world defines but one that reveals that there is no master and servant, no slave and owner. When we surrender to God, even our very will, we are not subjecting ourselves to Him, we are being indwelled by Him. It is no longer we who live but He who lives in us. There is therefore not a disparate will or a conflict of wills inside us but One.

If a husband is surrendered to God then it is not the man who loves his wife, nor the man who reveals God to her. It is God who loves the wife through the husband and God who reveals Himself through the husband. Like the Church, it is not the wife who is beneath her husband but who, when receiving the Gospel and the Spirit of God into her, becomes the vessel that is utilized by the Spirit to reveal God to the world. That being said, who is more blessed? The hearers of the word receiving from the lips of the wife? The wife who is the vessel of the Word revealed by her husband? Or the husband who is witness to the miracle of the work of God in the woman he loves? All of which I witnessed this day.

Ellen White reveals the harmony of the creation that Christ revealed in His life, death and resurrection: A surrendered life that although may be extinguished by the apparent powers of this world inherits an indestructible life.

So true david. It is good to respect each other and bow to each others wishes and seek to promote each other. I believe many good men are missing out because they do not realize what their misconceptions are calling them. My husband has often taken flak for consulting my opinion but as my sister said many years ago, "a man who is a man doesn't have to prove it."

A very nice selection of quotes, Martin, and a reminder that submission is not a one way street. We all need to submit on various things and various areas, and we are really not qualified to accept submission, if we don't know how to gracefully give it. This holds true in both marriage and in our workplaces. Knowing the limits of true submission, the principles that prevent conditionless submission to abusive authority, will make one also a better leader and authority figure, not making unreasonable, arbitrary or harsh demands.

Still, I think your selection of quotes is a bit one-sided. I notice that you have, for the most part, avoided any quotes which suggest a special role of oversight or authority for the man either in his family or the church. It is hard to ignore that while mutual submission is called for, there is an emphasis on the special role that a husband plays in providing leadership for the family unit. Paul calls, in Ephesians 5, for wives to "submit" to their husbands as the church to Christ. Of course, this is in the context of Christ's love for the church, and not a call for unconditional submission of either mind, body, or soul. Yet, I don't think we can understand this comparison without recognizing that Christ has an authority within the church that the church does not have over Christ.

Similarly, in 1 Timothy 2, Paul makes a clear distinction between the kind of authority he will give men and women in the church. Now what this means and how it plays out requires reflection and thought, especially in light of the texts that emphasize equality and mutuality. But I don't think that overlooking these rather obvious statements will provide for the proper, balanced final outcome.

This is not a call for a return to the traditional, hierarchical, patriarchal centered church and home of yesteryear. If we do go backwards, it needs to be beyond the patriarchal fundamentalism of the 40s and 50s, and back to our pioneers who allowed for much greater leadership roles for women in ministry and in the church. But it is a call to be Biblically faithful as we move forward, understanding that the lines of what constitute submission may differ depending on one's gender. The installation of spiritual equality does not erase all offices and roles in the church or the family, though this is something that our culture presses us to do on a daily basis.

I welcome your call to carefully consider the Biblical evidence as we seek to move faithfully forward in our understandings.

NIcholas Miller ,1860s, Southern preachers defending slavery also have some texts to support their views . They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, "slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling" (Ephesians 6:5), or "tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect" (Titus 2:9). I am in no way comparing the issue of WO with Slavery I am just comparing this when it comes to biblical interpretation , the more I read this issue of women ordination , it seems to me that the one text people who oppose WO ordination used the most is 1 Timothy 2 :12 . for you to say that that is the kind of authority that God gives the church is to ignore what the bible teaches elsewhere about authority . And for us Adventists we have the ministry of Ellen White , who as you know wasn't always in silence but spoke with authority for example in 1901 , 1888 etc . This is one of those issues where some Adventists are" proving more than intended" (to quote the article of George Knight in Ministry " proving more than intended "

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Memory, Meaning & Faith is a blog covering Christian history in light of contemporary issues.

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