One of the trends that quite a few people have noticed in recent years has been the change in definition of what it means to attend church regularly. To those of us in church leadership, who have been Christians for some time, regular attendance tends to mean “at least once a week.” However, the reality… Continue reading Why are people attending church less frequently?
III. 1. Summary of Findings In Part 1, we argued for what might be described as a “Soft-Complementarian” interpretation of Ephesians 5:21-33. We argued that:
8.1. The Problem So far, our scenarios have assumed a reasonably positive family situation. We have considered to some extent the husband’s responsibility when his wife is unwilling to submit to his leadership in decision making, but what happens when the context turns more sinister?
How do we couples make decisions in the light of Ephesians 5:21-33? If wives submit to their husbands, does that mean that, as the head, he is responsible for all decision making? Must she give in to him when there is an argument?
In this chapter, I will argue that not only does Ephesians 5:22 allow wives to work, but they may also take the role of lead wage earner. I am arguing on the basis that our exegesis has demonstrated that whilst “headship” and “submission” are transcultural requirements, their expression is culturally contextualised, so that:
We now come to the climax of the instruction to husbands and wives. These verses hold the whole instruction together and show how Christ’s relationship to the church is the basis for the marriage relationship. As we noted earlier, Paul has been building up to this point by introducing body and flesh language in v29-30.
The instruction to husbands could be seen as the key, radical point within Paul’s instructions. Paul devotes more space to this instruction than to the other aspects of the Household Codes and the command to love supplies a surprising twist.
3.1. Two Views We now get into the body of Paul’s instruction to wives and husbands. So what does he mean by “wives submit” and why does he require it? As we have seen already, Egalitarians treat any requirement for wives to be subordinate and husbands to lead as a temporary cultural requirement.
Our understanding of Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives will be influenced by how we understand the phrase hupotessomenoi allelloi Here we have two apparently strong concepts.
It may seem obvious to suggest that we should start with context, but despite our best evangelical intentions, there are two temptations which can distract us from this. We might describe them as the temptation to play “Proof Text Trumps” and the temptation to treat all the Household Codes the same.