Follow by Email

Friday, December 28, 2012

Marriage and Submission in Light of Law and Wisdom


A husband may not require his wife (or child) to act contrary to conscience with respect to the moral law as summed up in the Ten Commandments. Only God is lord over conscience and we are to obey God and not man when the two conflict. So for example, a husband may not require his spouse or child to steel, a clear violation of the eighth commandment. Where things can get a bit more difficult for some is over matters of wisdom and discretion. For instance, if a wife thinks it is wisest not to drive during a storm yet the Governor has not outlawed driving as a matter of safety, then if the husband should insist his wife drive the children somewhere during the storm she ought to obey with a clear conscience. Whether such a decision by the husband is tyrannical is not relevant to what God requires. Before the Lord a wife should suppress what she deems most wise (even most safe) and submit to her husband’s desire with a clear conscience (in matters of discretion, not law). The principle to “preserve life at all cost” would carry no weight, for who is to say how much rain, wind or ice is too dangerous for driving? The “preserve life at all cost” card obviously begs the question. To act against a “superior’s” edict when God has not revealed that one must do so is actually to disobey God by not submitting to His structure for ordained authority.

Indeed, one may and should have personal convictions on matters of discretion, but when God places authorities over us we may not regard those convictions as absolute law otherwise God’s chain of authority breaks down. We must hold matters of wisdom-conviction with a loose hand. Otherwise subordinates could never act contrary to what they believe is their better judgment.That’s the reductio.
It should now be a bit more clear why we must maintain a difference between absolute sin (i.e. a clear violation of a commandment) and a violation of one’s personal judgment even when biblically informed as most wise. {Digression: Another way to see that wisdom is not equivalent with commandment is by recognizing that although husbands are commanded to be wise, a husband often does well to act in a manner he might objectively deem less wise in order to accommodate his wife or child in their weakness. Sometimes a husband does well to refrain from doing what he thinks is otherwise most wise due to other dynamics. In such cases a decision to accommodate may include such latitude that when abstracted from the immediate context and considered in isolation (on its own merits as an ideal) is not under good regulation as a general principle yet fitting for the situation at hand. Context is everything in matters of wisdom and discretion. Similarly, the woman’s decision to submit to an unwise decision of her husband’s is not only obedience unto the Lord but is also a matter of true wisdom when done with mature understanding.}

Finally, a wife might be tempted to think that because her husband sins by requiring something unwise of her that she may refuse based upon the principle of not partaking in the sins of others lest she sins. That defense simply won’t do because when God required in Scripture subordinates to submit to their authorities he knew they would have to submit to sinful, self-serving superiors. Moreover, if the wife were allowed to refrain from following her husband in such instances then her role as wife would be obviously undermined given that most decisions are matter of discretion. There would be no authority period. Therefore, we must maintain that the command to act wisely and the requirements of the moral law must be distinguished. Moses is not at odds with Solomon.


Free Website Counter

30 comments:

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Ron,
While I don't disagree with the bullet point facts you've stated, I'm concerned that the pointed logic does not paint an entirely Biblical picture. For instance, when you write:
"To act against a 'superior’s' edict when God has not revealed that one must do so is actually to disobey God by not submitting to His structure for ordained authority."
two things come to mind:
1- define "Superior's edict".
and 2- shouldn't we not consider how our Heavenly Father might approach such an instance, the Father who would not give us stones when we ask bread? The Father who condemns those who would "tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders," while "they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

The whole premise seems wrong from the outset. I don't see how such a preference/request from the husband can even remotely fall into the category of "edict" (A decree or proclamation issued by an authority and having the force of law. // A formal pronouncement or command.) Furthermore, any husband, knowing his wife's apprehension and lack of confidence, who would insist on this, whilst himself being unwilling to perform the service is pretty low in my book.

Perhaps a different illustration that is more along Biblical lines would work better to prove the point?

Reformed Apologist said...

I'll try addressing your post in portions.

1- define "Superior's edict".”

A lawful edict is a proclamation that has the force of law. A superior in this context is one with lawful authority over another. I think you say so much below; so I trust there is no problem thus far.

2- shouldn't we not consider how our Heavenly Father might approach such an instance, the Father who would not give us stones when we ask bread? The Father who condemns those who would "tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders," while "they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."

By God’s design our superiors are not as gracious as he; yet with full knowledge of this, God still requires submission to superiors (as unto the Lord) when what is required does not require outright sin by the one who is to submit. If you think there is an exception to this principle in Scripture then please produce it so we might discuss it. But please do keep in mind that God's grace toward sinners does not diminish his requirement of them whether we're speaking of submission to his law or the edicts placed upon us by superiors. Finally, if you think Scripture is wrong on the matter then of course we have a different ultimate authority. Not sure who you are or what you believe regarding Scripture so please take no offence over that last remark.

The whole premise seems wrong from the outset.

The whole premise, with which you seem to disagree, is that all authority is ordained by God – i.e. God’s authority. Accordingly, to disobey God’s ordained authority is to disobey God himself for it is he who has established all authority. Added to that, when God’s law is in conflict with the requirements of ordained earthly authority we must obey God and not man.

Furthermore, any husband, knowing his wife's apprehension and lack of confidence, who would insist on this, whilst himself being unwilling to perform the service is pretty low in my book.

Indeed, a husband does well to strive to overcome both through word and deed any apprehension his wife might have, but that does not speak to the question of whether God requires wives to obey their husbands in all things permissible.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Yes, I do agree that all authority is ordained by God (whether it be Barack Obama, our local church elders, or husbands in the home).

That is not my issue. Rather, I would say that these two statements speak directly to the concern I have:
1- "Accordingly, to disobey God’s ordained authority is to disobey God himself"
and
2- "the question of whether God requires wives to obey their husbands in all things permissible"

With regard to #1, such an unqualified statement would seem to nullify your previous statements regarding Papal authority, such as this one:
"Imagine though if Peter's loyalty was to the magisterium of his day? With that in mind, it's easy to see that the splits within Protestant communions only present problems to those who look to man, not God, for truth."
Clearly, we would see qualififications on obedience to man/authority, even apart from a direct divine commandment on every given matter. Implication, interpretation and hermeneutic are in play, correct?

And with regard to #2, I think this gets more to the heart of where I see our disagreement. I do not believe that God requires wives (or any other person in a subordinate position) to simply obey every extra-biblical demand set forth by someone in authority. I see that as a fairly ridiculous claim given the sweep of its connotation. If Barack Obama tells me that I must only eat vegetables from here on, is that a binding command? If a commander of an Army unit issues an edict that the Soldiers in his command must retreat and hand over his weapons in the face of the enemy, do those Soldiers disobey God by continuing to fight against the enemy for their country and each other? Any true warrior who is a member of the U.S. military would not surrender to the enemy in war, but not because there is a divine command to do so or not to, but rather because that is what warriors do.

So, that being said, I think there is some gray here with regard to what's a mother to do? Of course, we're not talking about straight up rebellion against the husband, but rather, as the Mother, her role is to protect, nurture and defend her children, and I believe that if that means going against an unwise, unsafe and detrimental requirement from the husband, she ought to do what is right in her conscience and then be willing to answer for it with a clear conscience, whatever form the consequences may take. Like a good soldier.

Different view, I know.

Reformed Apologist said...

Your appeal to the apostle Peter and “papal authority” does not undermine the biblical position but rather corroborates it. Peter was to obey God and not the magisterium when the two were in conflict. Again, when God’s ordained authority is in conflict with Scripture it is Scripture that must be obeyed. Even a devotee of the pope can agree with the principle. Accordingly, your appeal doesn’t speak to the principle; it merely identifies what you believe is an infallible authority that must be obeyed.

If Barack Obama tells me that I must only eat vegetables from here on, is that a binding command?

Your example is one of an unlawful edict because it confuses sphere of authority, making it irrelevant to the position in view that addresses submission to lawful authority, (which presupposes a biblical view regarding sphere of authority). Obviously the President has no such authority, just like he may not excommunicate.

If a commander of an Army unit issues an edict that the Soldiers in his command must retreat and hand over his weapons in the face of the enemy, do those Soldiers disobey God by continuing to fight against the enemy for their country and each other? Any true warrior who is a member of the U.S. military would not surrender to the enemy in war, but not because there is a divine command to do so or not to, but rather because that is what warriors do.

Your premise “that is what warriors do” is hardly an argument and I’m afraid suggests severe confusion on your part. First off, “that is what warriors do” does not address the question of whether “that is what warriors ought to do.” Accordingly, your point is irrelevant to the question at hand. Secondly, it would seem that if I’m to take your scenario seriously that you must think that a decision to continue to fight the enemy in the face of such a contrary command is arbitrary and without moral content. After all, “what warriors do” does not take into account whether such action is right before God. In fact, you suggest that either action is equally of no concern to God. Two refutations: (a) To obey such a command would be treason against one’s country for which soldiers would be culpable. Accordingly, to obey such an unlawful edict would be to disobey the intention of the commander’s commander etc. (i.e. a higher authority) and the oath to defend one’s country. (Ever see "A Few Good Men"?)(b) To obey such a command is to intentionally put those you are to defend (fellow soldiers) at the risk of death, a clear violation of the Sixth Commandment (Rome’s fifth commandment because they eliminated God’s Second Commandment regarding bowing down before graven images!). Consequently, one should indeed disobey such a command because (i) it would violate a greater God ordained authority {the commander's superior(s)} and (b) God forbids murder and there is a biblical difference between killing an enemy in war and providing occasion for murder.

Of course, we're not talking about straight up rebellion against the husband

So, you allow for some rebellion just not “straight up rebellion"?

the Mother, her role is to protect, nurture and defend her children, and I believe that if that means going against an unwise, unsafe and detrimental requirement from the husband, she ought to do what is right in her conscience and then be willing to answer for it with a clear conscience, whatever form the consequences may take. Like a good soldier.

I said a bit about conscience in the post. The mother’s task is to bring her conscience in line with the word of God so that he alone lord’s over it. Notwithstanding, the question is whether the wife may rebel against her husband on matters that do not require her to break the moral law. You allow for such rebellion, which leads you to an unworkable paradigm; given your position the child is forced to be the arbiter of which parent he wants to obey in matters of discretion that do not require outright sin. That’s just one reductio of your position.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

First off, “that is what warriors do” does not address the question of whether “that is what warriors ought to do.”

It absolutely does, because it is an ontological fact, given in the warrior ethos and any number of field manuals.
You cannot simply state that it irrelevant to the question at hand, because my issue and concern is primarily is based in the ontological question.


Based on your argument which synthesizes the concepts of God's law and one's duty to the common good, I could defend a wife's decision not to take the children out during dangerous weather on the same basis you provided:
"To obey such a command is to intentionally put those you are to defend (fellow soldiers) at the risk of death, a clear violation of the Sixth Commandment"


Furthermore, your justification not to obey Barak Obama's command only to eat vegetables due to the conflict of sphere sovereignty seems to be a pretty big loophole. Perhaps if we look at the example of Daniel who refused to obey the king's edict to only eat rich foods, not out of a disregard for Nebuchadnezzar's lawful authority, but for his own matter of conscience on the matter.

Do I allow for "some rebellion" as opposed to "outright rebellion"? I think that is to misread my intent. I believe that we are accountable for every action and every decision before the Lord. It is a grave matter of discernment that each one of us must make and we can never defer our choices to some "higher authority" told me to do it. It may not be directly found in God's commands that a wife should not take her children out in dangerous driving conditions, but I think we've both alluded to the value of the Sixth Commandment in making such a decision. If the wife feels that to do so would intentionally put those you are to defend (children) at the risk of death, then the case for a violation of the Sixth Commandment is not out of reason, given our discussion.

Thanks!

Reformed Apologist said...

It’s not “an ontological fact” as you say. In any case, ontology does not speak to the question of oughtness; ontology speaks to questions of being or existence – how things are in reality, not how things ought to be. To follow the “field manual,” as it were, is a volitional consideration and certainly not an ontological one. It's ethical.

My argument has nothing to do with the “common good.” In any case, your analogy of trying to find relevant similarity between dangerous weather and turning arms over to the enemy is terribly flawed. First off, calling a storm “dangerous” begs the question of whether the weather actually is dangerous. In fact, in the post I defined the weather as such that it was not to be considered dangerous enough for the driving to be forbidden by the state, which presupposes that God's ordained authority of the state could not impugn gross negligence upon one who drove in such weather. Notwithstanding, the main reason your analogy does not work from the outset (i.e. it's not like analogy broke down later) is that the enemy in war desires to kill and is required to kill. For the opposition to intentionally make their enemy's task easier to kill is to work with the enemy's agenda to kill those that are to be defended! Whereas going out in a storm is not to willfully foster the “intent” of any opposition to kill. It's not to foster murder. It's not to break a commandment of God's.

Furthermore, your justification not to obey Barak Obama's command only to eat vegetables due to the conflict of sphere sovereignty seems to be a pretty big loophole.

A pretty big loophole? I’m not sure how presupposing the biblical precepts for God ordained spheres of government in a polemic about submission to lawful government provides a loophole. Rather, it seems pretty axiomatic to the thesis.

Perhaps if we look at the example of Daniel who refused to obey the king's edict to only eat rich foods, not out of a disregard for Nebuchadnezzar's lawful authority, but for his own matter of conscience on the matter.

God has not ordained kings to rule on diet.

Do I allow for "some rebellion" as opposed to "outright rebellion"? I think that is to misread my intent.

All I have to go on is your words. I have no idea what your "intent" could possibly be.

I believe that we are accountable for every action and every decision before the Lord. It is a grave matter of discernment that each one of us must make and we can never defer our choices to some "higher authority" told me to do it.

What’s not of faith is sin. If God commands in his word that we do x and not do y, we must obey and in doing so we may appeal to The Highest Authority.

In those areas where God has not given commands but just principles, then we must apply them the best we can. Yet citing such truisms is not to advance an argument for your position, let alone marshal a critique of mine.

If the wife feels that to do so would intentionally put those you are to defend (children) at the risk of death, then the case for a violation of the Sixth Commandment is not out of reason, given our discussion.

As I said, the wife may not go against conscience. But the question is whether the principles of the word of God are informing her conscience of what is permissible. Of course if she thought for certain that to obey would be to kill, then of course she must disobey.

Consider, I spoke of the husband insisting x, and you responded with matters of the husband preferring x. Then you pointed to an analogy of papal authority, which when was refuted you moved on to Daniel's diet of vegetables. You even went so far to call an application that was based upon a principle of God ordained spheres of government a "loophole." So, you will understand if I don't respond to any more of your posts.

Brian said...

I'm following this and it dawned on me that dce9fe.... doesn't understand the peculiar relationship husband and wife have that is nothing like the state's relationship to citizens. He / she shows this here: "I do not believe that God requires wives (or any other person in a subordinate position) to simply obey every extra-biblical demand set forth by someone in authority."

What I think could being missed by her / him here is that the husband is the HEAD of his wife and in that respect she is like a child in that she must obey her husband just like a child must obey his or her parents. The state is not the "head" of citizens in that same way. That's why extra-biblical requirements are allowed in the marriage.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I would like to see if Ron agrees with Brian on this: "she is like a child in that she must obey her husband just like a child must obey his or her parents". Thanks.

Reformed Apologist said...

If I don’t agree with Brian it’s only because he doesn’t go far enough. Submission goes further than obedience. One can obey without alacrity and joy.

In Ephesians 5:24 God declares that the church’s submission to Christ is the model for the wife’s submission to her husband. This revelation is on the heels of God calling the husband the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. The church is to not only to obey Christ but is to obey Christ with enthusiasm, eagerness and joy, as her head. The same goes for wives Scripture informs. This sort of attitude in a wife makes the yoke easy and the burden light for her. It is a source of peace, which the world knows nothing of and the Devil would rob us of. It entails surrendering to the rightful God-ordained owner the awsome responsibility to govern the marriage in grace. This subordination, when practiced, not only works – it also witnesses to and is part-and-parcel with Christ bringing all things to that ultimate unity in Christ, the telos of redemption.

Moreover, after God in 1 Peter instructs servants to be submissive to masters, even unreasonable ones(!),reminding them it is their calling, he informs that wives in the same way are to do the same toward their own husbands. Sarah’s obedience to Abraham, even calling him lord, is used as a paradigm in the passage.

This is nothing new, of course. Consider the original Book of Common prayer on the matter: “I wife, take thee, husband to be my lawful wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.”

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2005 template for Marriage Service: “…And wilt thou love him, cherish and obey him, so long as ye both shall live?”

I can say much about the husband’s role in all of this and I usually do when teaching on the matter, but that’s not what is in view.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...


A quick response to your last paragraph:

"Consider, I spoke of the husband insisting x, and you responded with matters of the husband preferring x."
Not sure whether that semantic matters, as what I attempted to do is to call into question whether the husband's "insistence" could rightfully be called an "edict". I am willing to grant the statement that "the husband insisted on X."


"Then you pointed to an analogy of papal authority, which when was refuted"
I don't see where that was refuted at all. You did address what we both agree upon, which is, "when God’s ordained authority is in conflict with Scripture it is Scripture that must be obeyed". No problem there. What I was bringing up is that in many matters obeying scripture does involve matters of "implication, interpretation and hermeneutic". The role of the pope is deferred to in Roman Catholicism as "the higher authority" at this point, with his view trumping those lower in the hierarchy. The point I was trying to make (not very effectively) is that I didn't see much of a difference between setting up a pope in the church and elevating the husband in the home. They seemed like equivalents or at least analogous in a significant way.

"you moved on to Daniel's diet of vegetables. You even went so far to call an application that was based upon a principle of God ordained spheres of government a 'loophole.'"
Yes, the illustration of Daniel's diet was intended to show that Daniel did not disobey Nebuchadnezzar based on his belief that this superceded the king's lawful authority; but rather due to the fact that Daniel felt that the command violated his conscience about what to eat. I see that as highly relevant, but I don't see any proof that the impetous for disobeying Nebuchadnezzar was based upon the principle of God ordained spheres of government.



And finally, a brief discussion of ontology:
You said, "ontology does not speak to the question of oughtness; ontology speaks to questions of being or existence"
Correct.
"How things are in reality, not how things ought to be"
Not quite.
While it is true that ontology speaks of the question of "IS"-ness (such as when the Lord says he is I AM (or I am that I am- YHWH), it's important to remember that it is an a priori premise which does not depend on current experience or praxis for justification. Therefore, when I say that the soldiers are simplying being what they are, or that the wife is being what she is (ezer/life-giver), this is what I mean. Not some post-modern, cultural relativistic notion of being.


"So, you will understand if I don't respond to any more of your posts."
Fair enough, but I do hope you will at least let my comment be seen, even if you don't want to respond.
Peace.

Reformed Apologist said...

Daniel's diet was intended to show that Daniel did not disobey Nebuchadnezzar based on his belief that this superceded the king's lawful authority; but rather due to the fact that Daniel felt that the command violated his conscience about what to eat. I see that as highly relevant…

Nothing in Scripture forbade Daniel from eating what he wanted. And Scripture does not grant authority over diet to kings. Consequently, what you find relevant is not at all relevant to this discussion.

but I don't see any proof that the impetous for disobeying Nebuchadnezzar was based upon the principle of God ordained spheres of government.

And herein lies your confusion. If God required Daniel to submit to the king on matters of diet, then Daniel would have been required by God to do so. Given no requirement to submit to the king in this regard, Daniel was free before God to eat what he wanted. Accordingly, the motivation to eat contrary to the king’s requirement should not be thought of has having been brought about by a desire to demonstrate that the king had no such spherical rule over Daniel - and nothing in what I wrote comes near to implying such a thing. Notwithstanding, Daniel could eat in good conscience as he desired because for one reason the king was not granted dietary rule over Daniel. The premise no kingly jurisdiction was a necessary condition for Daniel to eat without sin but that was not a sufficient condition for Daniel's motivation to eat contrary to the king.

Therefore, when I say that the soldiers are simplying being what they are, or that the wife is being what she is (ezer/life-giver), this is what I mean. Not some post-modern, cultural relativistic notion of being.

I’m afraid you’re simply confused on the matter. Any soldier is not a soldier as a matter of essential property to being. More to the point, you’re argument based upon the notion of ‘this is what warriors do’ is simply a matter of more confusion as I’ve shown already and won't bother belaboring further.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

With regard to your other statement about women being just like children in terms of the issue of obedience, I suggest you rethink your position.
Otherwise:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/21/saudiarabia.gender?CMP=twt_gu

Reformed Apologist said...

You're either not intellectually honest or else equipped to discuss this matter. If you were you wouldn't just post an article that speaks to the issue of tyranical civil government. Rather, you'd address what I wrote here:

In Ephesians 5:24 God declares that the church’s submission to Christ is the model for the wife’s submission to her husband. This revelation is on the heels of God calling the husband the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. The church is to not only to obey Christ but is to obey Christ with enthusiasm, eagerness and joy, as her head. The same goes for wives Scripture informs. This sort of attitude in a wife makes the yoke easy and the burden light for her. It is a source of peace, which the world knows nothing of and the Devil would rob us of. It entails surrendering to the rightful God-ordained owner the awsome responsibility to govern the marriage in grace. This subordination, when practiced, not only works – it also witnesses to and is part-and-parcel with Christ bringing all things to that ultimate unity in Christ, the telos of redemption.

Moreover, after God in 1 Peter instructs servants to be submissive to masters, even unreasonable ones(!),reminding them it is their calling, he informs that wives in the same way are to do the same toward their own husbands. Sarah’s obedience to Abraham, even calling him lord, is used as a paradigm in the passage.

This is nothing new, of course. Consider the original Book of Common prayer on the matter: “I wife, take thee, husband to be my lawful wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.”

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2005 template for Marriage Service: “…And wilt thou love him, cherish and obey him, so long as ye both shall live?”

I can say much about the husband’s role in all of this and I usually do when teaching on the matter, but that’s not what is in view.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Ron,
The article stated with regard to Saudi women, almost verbatim, your own original position:
"women are denied the right to make even trivial decisions for their children and are not permitted to travel with them without permission from the child's father, it adds."

If that seems tyranical to you, then I will reassert that you reconsider your position.

In regard to your re-posting, I don't disagree that the "church’s submission to Christ is the model for the wife’s submission" to her husband. I'm in agreement with that. But you have not demonstrated that the church's submission to Christ includes matters of conscience, yet that is what you're arguing that wives owe their husbands. And that is where I disagree. I do not think you've proven that that is scriptural at all. I believee I've given you substantial arguments against the idea that husbands get to dictate on matters of conscience. I don't think the original supposition in this post is supportable or enforceable biblically.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

Reformed Apologist said...

"women are denied the right to make even trivial decisions for their children and are not permitted to travel with them without permission from the child's father, it adds."

If a civil government makes such laws then its citizens are to submit as long as the civil government remains the government of the people. Do I need to produce verses that require citizens to submit to governments when those governments are not requiring their citizens to sin? It’s not a question of whether the government is sinning by enacting tyrannical laws. They are. Nonetheless, the question is whether it is sin for one to obey such laws, which it is not. Accordingly, such laws are to be obeyed as unto the Lord when they don’t require sin, which these don't. The same, of course, would apply to similar laws that might be enacted by a tyranical husband. The wife must obey as long as she is not being required to sin. If she thinks she is sinning by obeying, then she must disobey. But whether she would be sinning or not must be according to the law of God as opposed to what she might think is most wise. Reductio: If the latter becomes the criteria for sin, then a wife or citizen can disobey as they see fit, which the Bible forbids. In this regard, God has given subordinates peace of mine. They may obey in good conscience both unwise and tyrannical "superiors" as long as they don't break God's law.

"If that seems tyranical to you, then I will reassert that you reconsider your position."

Again you are demonstrating that you have yet to grasp the issue. The Bible is replete with instruction to obey tyrants (as long as they don’t require sin on behalf of their subjects). Accordingly, that such laws appear tyrannical to me is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether such laws are to be obeyed as unto the Lord - hence your fallacy of appealing to tyrannical edicts. For what it's worth, I submit every day to what I believe are tyrannical laws. Once those laws require me to sin then by God’s grace I’ll disobey them, but until such time by the same grace of God I’ll strive to obey.

"In regard to your re-posting, I don't disagree that the "church’s submission to Christ is the model for the wife’s submission" to her husband. I'm in agreement with that."

No, you’re not in agreement with that sentiment whatsoever, which you reveal below.

"But you have not demonstrated that the church's submission to Christ includes matters of conscience, yet that is what you're arguing that wives owe their husbands."

What an absurd remark to suggest that the church need not submit to Christ on matters of conscience! What else is there?

“And that is where I disagree.”

In order to “disagree” you must first understand that with which you disagree.

Unless I see something that resembles an argument (i.e. wherein some sort of conclusion follows from a series of premises) I'm going to have to refrain from publishing such blatherings.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

you wrote: "What an absurd remark to suggest that the church need not submit to Christ on matters of conscience! What else is there?"

For someone so focused on the evils of popery, you surprise me with such a ridiculous statement and question. Christ has spoken clearly in the scriptures to us on the commandments we are to obey, and ordinances and sacraments of the Church. Anything to which the Church submits in Christ, is by divine command only and not by the claims of men. This is the exact opposite of your supposition that we submit to Christ on the basis matters of conscience.
Perhaps Luther can be more convincing:
"Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, ... and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and I will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience.”

Reformed Apologist said...

The Luther quote supports my position and undermines yours. Let's make it real simple. Do you submit to law that is not a matter of conscience?

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

See how this person posts:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/12/christian-atheism.html

Google his handle and you will some things...

Anonymous said...

What "dce9fe..." doesn't understand is that a wife's obedience to her husband *is* commanded by Scripture and to obey this principle *frees* the wife's conscience of going against what she might otherwise think is more wise.

Reformed Apologist said...

Yes, Anonymous, not to mention what's not of faith is sin, another conscience consideration.

This person's most recent post seems to suggest that commands from derived authorities need not be obeyed as a matter of conscience. Very confused position he takes.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I suppose that taking the Luther quote out of context didn't help in my explanation. Here is the article to which I refer:
http://www.apuritansmind.com/the-christian-walk/matters-of-conscience-by-dr-c-matthew-mcmahon/

If I'm looking at 1 Cor 7-9 or Romans 14, the reference to matters of conscience equates to both the extra-biblical binding of another's conscience where scripture is silent and the issue of when an exercise of liberty may cause another to stumble or sin against their conscience.

So, in the case of the husband/wife relationship, I am not saying that the wife does not owe obedience or submission generally; however, my whole argument throughout is that when a husband requires submission with regard to a matter of conscience that either unnecessarily binds the wife's conscience or in a matter that goes against the wife's conscience, he is sinning. In the latter instance, he may cause her to stumble or sin which is quite grevious. In the first instance, he sins against our Lord directly.
Anyway, it has been a good discussion for the two of us, in my opinion.

With regard to anonymous, my comments to Steve Hays' on his blog were spot on. If you feel differently, you could have engaged at the time. Googling and dredging them up here seems rather childish.

Reformed Apologist said...

You’re now arguing by false disjunction. Whether the husband sins in the process is irrelevant to the question of whether the wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord.

The point you've missed this entire thread is that if the wife is permitted before God to go against her husband when he is not requiring her to sin then God has placed women in an impossible predicament - for he commands women to submit to their husbands in all things (with the exception of when absolute sin is being required). Accordingly, given that all matters that do not require sin are matters of judgment, then it logically follows that if the wife may exercise such judgment in opposition to her husband she would be left with no boundaries other than her own opinion with respect to submitting on matters that are lawful. That’s the reductio ad absurdum of your position. When you say that you agree with submission “generally” speaking, you have left a loophole that allows for absolute anarchy. You don't want such anarchy, but your position allows for it(!) because of the foundation premise that you reject.

dce9fe78-5061-11e1-b0f9-000bcdcb8a73 said...

"Whether the husband sins in the process is irrelevant to the question of whether the wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord." You and I disagree on that statement.

Okay, you're saying that I am leaving a loophool for anarchy when I qualify submission and obedience to authority outside of clear biblical commands.

However, when you require submission and obedience to authority without any qualifications other than the direct violation of commandment, you are leaving open a giant loophole for tyranny and usurpation.

As people who lead in churches and governments, we cannot and must not abide conditions that would permit tyranny.

Clearly, none of us blindly submits to all authority that is not in clear violation of biblical commandment, nor should we. You have already admitted that such blind allegience would relegate women to the abuses of Islam, and to that I could add a litany of historic evidence, not the least of which is American independence. We owe a duty to ourselves and to other people who are created in the image of God to stand against systems that facilitate the evil of tyranny. No woman - or man - has a moral obligation under God to submit to it. Peace, brother.

Reformed Apologist said...

I wrote: "Whether the husband sins in the process is irrelevant to the question of whether the wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord."

You said: “You and I disagree on that statement.

I realize you disagree, which is why you’re left with an unworkable principle. All, not just some but all requirements placed upon persons by lawful authorities are tainted with sin. Accordingly, given your paradigm whenever an authority commits sin in the process, which is all the time, the subordinate may disobey – even when he himself would not sin in obeying the instruction. It’s apparent that “submission” becomes a vacuous term under such a paradigm. Submission would only occur when one felt like it. One would not have to submit on matters that would not require the subject to sin. Disobedience would be permitted on a whim. Yet this blatant inconsistency doesn't bother you. You're fine holding to a position that opposes your desire for there to be at least some semblence of submission to authority.

However, when you require submission and obedience to authority without any qualifications other than the direct violation of commandment, you are leaving open a giant loophole for tyranny and usurpation.

“Usurpation” of what?! The one giving the instruction already has the derivative authority over the other, so there’s nothing to usurp on a human level! Regarding tyranny, which is oppression, God commands us to obey authority, even if it gets as bad as 1st century Roman rule. Again, your position reduces to absurdity for it makes submission in ALL cases a matter of preference, making submission a vacuous concept.

As people who lead in churches and governments, we cannot and must not abide conditions that would permit tyranny.

You may vote out the session, or simply join another church. If the session tries to stop such behavior then the church oversteps its bounds. The marriage covenant is quite different. One may not divorce simply because of unreasonable demands by the husband.

You have already admitted that such blind allegience would relegate women to the abuses of Islam,

No, what I wrote was: “If a civil government makes such laws then its citizens are to submit as long as the civil government remains the government of the people. It’s not a question of whether the government is sinning by enacting tyrannical laws. They are. Nonetheless, the question is whether it is sin for one to obey such laws, which it is not. Accordingly, such laws are to be obeyed as unto the Lord when they don’t require sin, which these don't. The same, of course, would apply to similar laws that might be enacted by a tyrannical husband. The wife must obey as long as she is not being required to sin. If she thinks she is sinning by obeying, then she must disobey. But whether she would be sinning or not must be according to the law of God as opposed to what she might think is most wise…
Accordingly, you’re either being very careless or your intentionally misrepresenting things.

and to that I could add a litany of historic evidence, not the least of which is American independence.

Do you know what an argument looks like?

We owe a duty to ourselves and to other people who are created in the image of God to stand against systems that facilitate the evil of tyranny.

That does not mean we may disobey whenever our authorities sin. What you refuse to acknowledge is that your paradigm promotes lawlessness from the outset for it allows every edict to be disobeyed. Your position makes submission a little game of not really submission but pretend-submission. In a word, you have not thought through this matter very carefully.

No woman - or man - has a moral obligation under God to submit to it.

You’re a confused rebel by way of your espoused position but I trust in practice you have an appearance of being more submissive than you confess.

Tim said...

I see my comments were deleted. ok let me just say that you are showing great patience with dce9fe.... That is very commdendable. She (or he?) just doesn't get what you are saying... over and over and over again. How can she / he when she / he does not care about her / his own inconsistencies???

I'd kick the dust off your feet and move on. There are none so blind as they that WILL NOT see.

Anonymous said...

Ron,

If I may summarize...

You've given the biblical position. Man is not allowed to exasperate or provoke to anger those in his household but when he does the household must obey. What the household may not do is break God's moral law. When submission requires one to break the moral law the family must disobey.

Your opponent has said that the wives may disobey even when to obey would not be sin on their part. That is of the Devil.

Thoughts?

Reformed Apologist said...

Yes, the requirement to submit is walled in by a personal obedience to the moral law. If what is being required does not entail sin on the part of the wife, then she must obey. Whereas what the other person is advocating is permission to disobey even when obdedience does not entail personal sin against the moral law. I would agree, that is from the Devil for it sure aint of God.