Since we’re not going to discuss church doctrine in this election, I guess, Gov. Huckabee is now under fire for signing a Southern Baptist statement on the family that calls for women to submit to their husbands.
To be perfectly honest, this is one of the most disingenuous attacks yet. It involves all of the classic signs of being an unfair smear, but absolutely no one seems to care. Seeing this attack, again, come from Republicans who traditionally love to count on Christian votes helps confirm for me that the Republican Party isn’t a place welcoming to Christians. It’s also a sign that the Christian leadership is vacant — and that some of them have sold out Biblical truth for political convenience. By definition, every Biblical Christian in the country (and the world, for that matter) believes this teaching — it’s nothing that wasn’t written by the Apostle Paul himself.
Moreover, the attack involves pulling one sentence out of context. I could just as easily say that Mike Huckabee signed a statement that said:
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to his people.
That’s from the same statement on the family. I don’t think that even the most strident feminist would be able to make any grounds for attack out of that sentence.
To put it back into context:
Article XVIII. The Family. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to his people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.
Suddenly, we Baptists look a lot less evil, don’t we? “Equal worth”? How does that mesh with the popular message being put out about how this is some repressive statement about men dominating women?
It doesn’t. That’s because that interpretation is either dishonest or based on insufficient information.
Considering the levels of Biblical literacy in the US, I’ll give most people the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter. However, the alleged Christian leaders who are participating in or allowing without challenge this particular attack are ignoring Scripture.
In Ephesians 5:22-33 we see (from the NIV translation, courtesy of Bible Gateway):
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Yes, my wife submits to me. That hardly means that I’m absolutely in charge or that her opinion isn’t valuable. What it means is that I have a whole lot of responsibilities to fulfill. My place in this command, as you notice, is to love my wife the way Jesus loves His Church. What, by the way, did Jesus do out of love for the Church? He was brutally flogged and nailed to a cross — willingly.
My place is to love my wife as much as He loves us. I am to lead family devotions, and to make sure that we as a family stay together in the Word and by spiritual times. This is absolutely not about me being the boss and her being subservient to me. This is about love, respect, and responsibilities. My wife and I have different roles within the marriage — they are each essential to the survival of our marriage and the building of our family.
The statement made by the Southern Baptists did nothing but confirm that they believe in the passage written in Ephesians.
Of course, those outside the faith might well look at this and not understand. That’s the case with most of Scripture. I expect that. For professed believers, though, to be making a political attack contrary to the clear Word, is a bigger problem.
If you want to imagine that the Bible is some kind of misogynistic document that tells men to oppress women, then nothing I can say is going to change that view. But let’s at least be honest about it. Every Republican and most of the Democrats running for President says that he or she is a Christian. Are we going to quiz them all about this passage out of Ephesians?
I thought that we weren’t having a referendum on religious theology.
This, by the way, is exactly why “Mother Jones” should not be given Mike Huckabee’s old sermons. One can only imagine how many one-sentence excerpts will be plucked from their context and used to malign him.
WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance