It’s the idea behind that expression “biblical equality” that gags me. For years we’ve been told that biological sexual differences mean nothing beyond reproduction. Isn’t this anti-Christian?…Research and logic have been twisted to support the idea of an “androgyne,” a wonderful new blending of masculine and feminine traits into a supposedly new human type. Unfortunately this concept has taken a strong hold of theology, with vastly destructive results. It’s a hoax of course, for the design (our respective human forms) is the vehicle of deep theological mysteries—the relationship between Christ and His bride.
Years ago I heard Letha Scanzoni lead a seminar on “Egalitarian Marriage,” in which she used Ephesians 5:21 (“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ”) as her proof text, omitting the following verses which spell out the specifics of that subjection (wives to husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters). During the discussion period I asked whether she saw any difference at all between a wife’s submission to her husband and his submission to his wife. The answer was no. “May I then reverse the nouns in the verses which follow?” Yes. So I began to read, “Husbands, be subject to your wives as to the church, for the wife is the head of the husband as the church is the head of Christ.” She stopped me. “Oh, you can’t carry the analogy that far.”
Well? Can we drain the analogy of its mystery? Can we infer nothing but mutual submission?
Is there no special command to us wives? There is. “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord (Eph 5:22). Why is this verse in the Bible? Why does MWBE omit it? Well, they think it’s dangerous.
Both husband and wife must be submissive and obedient to the will of God—he in loving, she in accepting his appointed headship…To aim at a mere fifty-fifty accommodation of each other is a half-hearted way of pretending to obey. it is not the love of Christ and the church. It does not demand that kind of sacrifice.
My two cents
Yes, I’ve heard women try to twist any given Bible verse to support egalitarianism—and it’s a little tiring and unconvincing. Conversely, it’s very refreshing to see such approaches being refuted, especially from a woman refuting other women.
I can respect women a lot more when they accept the Bible for its plain meaning—especially on verses that challenge feminism or humanism. That’s a better indicator of faith than just accepting the parts that are uncontroversial.
I like how Elisabeth Elliot described such instances of egalitarianism as a half-hearted way of pretending to obey. I also like that title from a book of hers, which is Let Me Be a Woman.
Elliot, E (1990). “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality” in The Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter, November/December 1990, p. 1-2. Available: http://www.elisabethelliot.org/newsletters2/nov.dec.1990.pdf. Last accessed 14 Dec 2012.