Mutual Submission, Part 1

This is part of a series on patriarchy, headship, and submission. See this index.

NOTE: For a much shorter version of this post, see part 2.

Mutual submission can be seen in the following observation: it is good for husbands and wives to be humble, respectful, courteous, kind, loving, deferential, honoring, and understanding towards each other, aiming towards unity. Any marriage in which either husband or wife fails at this is not one characterized by a submissive attitude. It isn’t about authority or roles, whether equal or not.

In “Everyone’s a Genius,” I engaged in a metaphysicial discussion of Full Metal Patriarch’s epistemology that he demonstrated in his article “A Dalrock Update.” Commenter Sharkly would rather that I had discussed FMP’s theological ideas instead:

Comment by Sharkly
And you claim my ad hominem is unacceptable, but then you yourself deal in ad hominem instead of directly addressing FMP’s theological ideas.

So, lest I be accused—and found guilty—of ad hominem, we’re going to take Sharkly’s words to heart and do precisely as he suggested.

Coincidentally, another blog author said something related (emphasis added):

Comment by Jack @ Sigma Frame (2024-06-03)
Info,
The thing about Derek is his propensity to sidestep the topic by delving into a meta analysis of the underlying logic of his opponents’ arguments. While this is important to consider, the problem is that he often concludes that his opponents’ argument is invalid for some reason and stops there without returning to address the original argument brought up. As a result, the topic dies and no progress is made. Not sure if there’s a name for this debate strategy, but it is reminiscent of Breaking the Fifth Wall with an inflective twist that comes across as intellectually dishonest. The fact that this tactic is evasive, frustrating, and tedious to his opponents is slowly earning him a bad name in the sphere.

Is it intellectually dishonest to be intellectually rigorous and avoiding logical flaws and refusing to interact with invalid arguments? Of course not. That’s a ridiculous stance. But am I sidestepping the important topics, causing them to flounder in irrelevant meta discussions? Should I be discussing what my critics want me to discuss?

Well, I’m not going to sidestep the topic this time. Even when I discuss failed underlying logic, I’m still going to make substantive points alongside it and ultimately make a conclusion directly relevant to the core topic.

After I post this article, more than likely the critics will just continue complaining about me personally and show that they have no actual interest in me directly addressing the important topics. Because, here I am, addressing the important topic at hand! I’m sure this article will just going the latest in articles that are labeled as “screeds” and consequently ignored. I doubt I will receive any actual substantive engagement, unless this paragraph baits a small response. I’m not holding my breath.

But, at least, I’ll have cleared my name of the spurious charge.

Well, today we’re going to call their bluff and directly address the important ideas and topics. We’re going to discuss FMP’s immediately preceding article “Wayne Grudem Destroys ‘Mutual Submission’.” But, before we do that, let’s look at this recent, directly related comment by Info, who was in implicit ideological agreement with FMP by scorning the idea that Scripture describes mutual submission:

I had posted this in the comment section of “Everyone’s a Genius”, where I alleged that Info chose inductive inferences over deduction to conclude that Paul did not actually teach “mutual submission.” In other words, even though there is a lot of direct evidence that Paul taught mutual submission (see below), Info prefers the indirect evidence that supports what he believes. We’re going to examine the affirmative evidence—both direct and indirect—for Paul’s teaching mutual submission, but first let’s look at a few translations of the verses in question:

Ephesians 5:21-22 (NIV)
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:21-22 (KJV)
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:21-22 (KJV)
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives and Husbands

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

What do we observe? What can we conclude?

First, all the English translations clearly instruct everyone to submit to another. The translators clearly believe that Paul taught submission to one another. It’s not even particularly ambiguous. Info’s claim makes it seem as if accepting mutual submission is some crazy, obscure position, when in fact it is a quite sensible—mainstream even—reading of these translations. Even the Greek interlinear would seem to agree!

Info’s claim that Paul could not have taught mutual submission is not based on a simple deductive analysis of what is said here. After all, a simple deduction is that if the church is supposed to submit each person to the others, and the church is made up of males and females, then Paul is teaching mutual submission. One could certainly infer a different conclusion, but one will then need to explicitly disprove the deductive conclusion, not merely dismiss it.[1]

Second, all of the translations use the English word “submit” (a verb in active imperative form) in verse 22, even when they use a participle (“submitting”) in verse 21. But the word ‘submit’—in any form—is not present in verse 22:

Let’s make this clear: deductively speaking, Paul tells everyone to “be submitting yourselves to one another.” By inference, he tells wives to “be submitting yourselves to your husbands” which appears to be just a specific instantiation (or example) of the general statement. But Info believes that this deductive explanation is completely unjustified while the inductive inference that only wives (or women) must submit is completely justified. Placing the latter (induction) in priority over the former (deduction) is precisely how pseudoscience and propaganda work.

Paul explicitly states that everyone is to submit to each other. Paul does tell wives to “be submitting” to their husbands, but he does so implicitly. This is known as ‘verb elision,’ a linguistic device that is often use to alter the sense of how a word is applied, in this case by softening or deemphasizing. Moreover, because Paul didn’t use the word in v22, we must, by default, presume by implication that the participle means the same thing in both v21 and v22. Whatever submission is to one another is the same kind of submission of wives to husbands.

Let’s slow down and emphasize what these translations have done. They’ve used the middle voice (sort of…) in v21 to represent the verb in English that is actually present in the Greek. Then they use the active voice in the imperative mood (i.e. a command) in v22, even though the verb isn’t even present but is inferred from the verb select in v21. In other words, the translators don’t consistently translate the Greek word into English! This is such an obvious case of eisegetical bias in translation that it should be rejected outright without any argument required.

Third, all of the translations separate the two verses by a period. The ESV even inserts a section break! Yet, neither verse designations, punctuation, nor section breaks are part of the Bible. All of these are inferred—and added—by translators. Why is this important? Because the doctrines one derives from this passage are influenced by their extra-biblical inclusion and placement. Info’s doctrine is unambiguously influenced by his extra-biblical assumptions.

The punctuation that translators chose here is based on their prior theology. Without the assumptions made by translators, we can see, linguistically and grammatically, that Ephesians 5:21-22 is part of a bigger sentence that includes verses 18-20.

And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled with the Spirit

speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

singing and be making music with your heart to the Lord

giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

submitting to one another out of fear of Christ, the wives to the husbands as to the Lord

There are four participles (“speaking”; “singing”; “giving”; “submitting”) that modify the one verb (“be filled”). The apparent subject  (see the discussion below) of the verb and all the participles is the members of church: which includes both male and female. Thus, when we examine the sentence—rather than a sentence fragment or an artificial separation of that sentence as many commentators do—we see that Paul very much appears to be describing mutual submission between all members of the church, including both males and females.

Fourth, “be filled with the Spirit … submitting” is contrasted with “reckless living.” The emphasis of submission is that it is ordered living: proper behavior. Authority and rule are not mentioned.

Fifth, there is another linguistic feature that suggests that subject of mutual submission is not the whole church, but is rather the husband and wife. Biblical scholars have noticed one key linguistic feature:

21 submitting to one another out of fear (phobō; noun) of Christ … 33 However also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must fear (phobētai; verb) her husband.

This is known as an inclusio, when a section in a passage is opened and closed by the same word. Most commentators agree that verses 22 through 33 form a unified section of thought separate from what comes before and after it: it is addressed specifically to husbands and wives. But the implication of this inclusio is that verses 21 along with v22-33 is the entire section on submission and is thus addressed to husbands and wives, not the whole church specifically. That means that Paul is telling husbands and wives specifically in verse 21 to submit to one another. Additionally, Paul modifies his idea of submission by the word “fear” (or “respect”), so if one wants to know what kind of submission is being discussed, one has to take the mutual submission of husbands and wives to each other in respect of Christ in the same way as submission of wives in respect of their husbands.

The English translations, given above, obscure this by translating the word as “fear” when the target is Christ and “respect” when the target is husbands. This not only hides the fact that these are the same word, but eliminates the possibility of a linguistic inclusio. The inclusio is not translated into the English resulting in an extra-biblical impact on doctrine.

Sixth, Paul spends a majority of his words telling husbands what to do. He spends a minority of his words instructing wives. This point of emphasis is largely neglected by most interpreters, who see no significance in this. Indeed, by emphasis, many commentators spend most of their time discussing what Paul spent the least amount of time discussing.

Seventh, the word translated as “head” (kephale) later in the passage did not mean leader or authority until the medieval times. In calling the husband the head of the wife, Paul was not calling the husband the leader. That’s an historical anachronism. The word head is related to the word fear/respect (v21 and v33), and like the inclusio above, this is lost in translation when one views this as authority. Indeed, the direction of causation is often reversed, with interpreters concluding that ‘fear’ and ‘respect’ must also be referring to authority, another anachronism.

Eighth, the word “submit” is, as referenced above, in the middle voice, but is translated into English as an active imperative (sometimes only) when discussing wives. There is no English equivalent of the word “submit” to the Greek word Paul used. The word “subjection” is also not a good translation of the middle voice for the Greek word “submit.” The English word “defer” or “deference” is closer, but is still not perfect.

Nineth, Paul tells husbands to love their wives. This isn’t separate from submission, it is submission. Loving wives is one key way that a husband submits to his wife. But for Paul (and the Hebrews) love is very broad, nearly all-encompassing. In other words, the submission of husbands to wives reflects a greater type of submission over wives to husbands (i.e. the duty is greater).

Tenth, Paul uses the word agape to describe a husband loving his wife. That form of love is most often used of love that comes to or from God. A husband should love his wife with love’s most divine and sacred form. Paul used the higher form of love (agape) over both erotic (eros) and friendly (phileo) love.

Now let’s look at FMP’s article—which I intentionally did not read before drafting the above—and see if he considers these issues.

Grudem
wives are to be subject to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-23), children are to be subject to their parents (Eph. 6:1-3), and slaves (or bondservants) are to be subject to their masters (Eph. 6:5-8).

Can anyone in the audience tell me what logical fallacy Wayne Grudem has committed here, and FMP has embraced?

Paul does not use the word “submit” or “subject” in Ephesians 5:22-23. He uses the word hypotassomenoi in verse 21 (where mutual submission is described) and hypotassetai in verse 24 (where the church is described). That’s it. Every time Paul tells wives to submit, it is implied by verb elision. In both cases, the verb is in the middle, not active, voice. By contrast, Ephesians 6:1-3, speaking of children, uses different words: hypakouete (“obey”; active imperative verb) and pairs it with entolē (“commandment”; noun). In Ephesians 6:5-8, speaking of slaves, uses the same verb as that used for children and adds douleuontes (“rendering service”; active imperative verb).

So what fallacy did Grudem commit? Did you guess “the equivocation fallacy?” If so, congratulations. Grudem has translated two different Greek words (hypotassomenoi and hypakouete) in two different senses (active voice imperative and middle voice) as if they were the same word in the same sense. That’s fallacious reasoning and it borders on intellectual fraud.

Grudem
These relationships are never reversed. He does not tell husbands to be subject to wives, or parents to be subject to their children (thus nullifying all parental authority!), or masters to be subject to their servants. In fact, Paul does not tell husbands and wives generally to be subject to each other

As with Info’s claim, this is simply false. Paul tells husbands and wives to submit to each other in verse 21. This is why Paul uses different verbs and different senses to separate the relationship of the husband and wife from that of children and slaves. The grammar of the passage clearly differentiates between these groups. Grudem presents the evidence that directly opposes his position as if it supports his position!

Grudem
He says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22)

This is also objectively false. Here is what it actually says:

the wives to the husbands as to the Lord

Notice that the word submit isn’t present in v22? Moreover, where the word is present in v21, it is a middle voice participle. It is absolutely not an active voice imperative, as Grudem translates it into English. Grudem’s—and FMP’s—error is extremely misleading.

Notice how Grudem and FMP are snipping a sentence fragment out of context to try to establish an entire theological doctrine. This is, to put it mildly, a questionable hermeneutical approach.

Grudem
Therefore, what Paul has in mind is not a vague kind of mutual submission where everybody is considerate and thoughtful to everybody else, but a specific kind of submission to an authority: the wife is subject to the authority of her own husband.

Don’t let Grudem gaslight you. Paul meant precisely that everyone was to be deferential to each other (“considerate and thoughtful”), according to the honor they were due. The early church implemented this very thing. Grudem’s belief that Paul was talking about authority is a medieval novelty.

Grudem
Similarly, parents and children aren’t told to practice mutual submission, but children are to be subject to (to “obey”) their parents (Eph. 6:1-3), and servants are told to be subject to (to “obey”) their masters (Eph. 6:5-8).

See how Grudem takes his equivocation and tries to get you to reject mutual submission based on a fallacious analogy? Children and servants/slaves are in a different class than wives. Did you know, for example, that wealthy Roman women had male slaves? Male Christian slaves had to obey their masters even if their masters were both Christian and female. So too must children obey their mothers. These relationships are defined by authority, which is why Paul explicitly uses the Greek term for obedience. By contrast, husbands and wives defer to—not obey—each other. Their relationship is based on respect, love, deference, propriety, and order which is why Paul uses all these terms to describe marriage.

FMP
What I like about this quote especially is when Wayne Grudem specifically mentions commands for children and slaves to “be subject to” those in authority over them. It means “to obey”. Clarity like this is absolutely vital for any Christian man who wishes to teach on this subject.

Children and servants are told to obey, but husbands and wives are not.

Grudem
The absence of any command for husbands to submit to wives: There is one more fact that egalitarians cannot explain well when they propose mutual submission as an understanding of this verse. They fail to account for the fact that while wives are several times in the New Testament told to be subject to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1-6), the situation is never reversed: Husbands are never told to be subject to their wives. Why is this, if Paul wanted to teach mutual submission?

Grudem is simply wrong here. Neither husbands nor wives are commanded to submit. Moreover, wives are never told to submit (verb, active voice, imperative) to their husbands. Not even once. Nowhere in scripture does this occur, nor is a wife ever commanded to obey her husband. The Bible describes certain husbands and wives obeying each other (see below), but it never commands this.

This is where the distinction between deduction and induction bears fruit. We can deductively conclude that the Bible describes husbands and wives obeying each other. But it is only possible to use induction to infer that wives are prescribed to obey their husbands in a non-reciprocal, unidirectional hierarchy. But this inductive reasoning violates what we’ve observed deductively! It is thus highly questionable and requires a higher standard of proof. Grudem and FMP are not operating as if they have the burden both to prove their own position but also to disprove competing views.

Grudem’s question is loaded, for it presumes that which he has not established.

Grudem
The command that a husband should be subject to his wife would have been startling in an ancient male-dominated culture.

Grudem is engaging in another fallacy. Can you tell which one it is?

See, on this point we agree with Grudem! Recall above how Paul spends most of his time addressing men, telling them to agape their wives? This is the reason. What Paul was telling them to do would have, at minimum, been unsettling and, at worst, enraged them. As egalitarian Mike Aubrey notes:

Mike Aubrey
Likely, husbands would be shocked, or perhaps even angered by Paul’s words.

Grudem is making a fallacious Appeal to Consequences. Grudem thinks Paul could not possibly have said something that might shock or anger his audience because this would be an unpleasant consequence. But this is a perfectly reasonable thing for Paul to do! The only reason Grudem has to think otherwise is his own biases. His argument is logically fallacious.

Grudem
Therefore, if the New Testament writers thought that Christian marriage required husbands to submit to their wives, they would have had to say that very clearly in their writings—otherwise, no early Christians would have ever known that was what they should do! But nowhere do we find such a command. It is surprising that evangelical feminists can claim that the New Testament teaches this when it is nowhere explicitly stated.

It’s staring right at him in the face. It’s literally right there. Paul says it in black and white. It is very clear, but Grudem can’t see it because he doesn’t want to. He concludes that because he won’t read it the way, that the early church must also have not read it that way. Even as Paul says that husbands and wives should submit to each other in v21, Grudem says “he can’t possibly be saying that so clearly or else he’d be saying it clearly.” Well, yes, but he is saying it and is clearly at that! Moreover, he is also telling husbands to defer to their wives when he tells them to love them!

Do you know how early Christians knew how to submit? Their husbands loved their wives. That, right there, was all the teaching that Paul needed to do, and the early church got the message. Christian men countered the culture by loving their wives, not treating them as chattel.

Grudem is putting his own expectations into his exegesis. Paul went out of his way not to command husbands and wives, but Grudem is demanding that Paul make commands. In doing so, Grudem is turning Paul’s Christianity into a matter of authority and obedience to commands. But that isn’t what Paul was focused on. It was obviously not what Paul was focused on, as illustrated by the fact that he avoided using commands, made heavy use of the middle voice, elided verbs, and found other ways to “soften the blow.” Paul was very clearly not giving commands. He was intentionally not being explicit, but was being circumspect. In English, we call that “being diplomatic.” Grudem is, seemingly, upset that Paul chose to be diplomatic rather than being blunt. Maybe he can join Peter:

2 Peter 3:15-16
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
FMP
This is an excellent point. Ephesians 5:21 is the immediate fallback verse that is twisted to nullify the force of the command to wives to submit to their husbands in the verses that follow.

It is not a command. The participle is in the middle voice and it is elided in v22. Calling it a command twists and nullifies what Paul actually said. FMP is, literally, doing the very thing he is accusing his ideological opponents of doing.

Now they discuss the supposed problem of Paul’s teaching on mutual submission being missing from the rest of the New Testament:

FMP
However, there is no such verse in Colossians 3, Titus 2, or 1 Peter 3.

Here is Colossians 3:18:

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is proper behavior in connection with the Lord.

Notice that Paul is concerned with propriety, not authority. Like love, respect, deference, and honor (e.g. in Romans), propriety is about behaving in a holy way (e.g. “be filled with the Spirit”). Recall in our list above (the fourth item) that Paul is describing submission in Christ as a solution to reckless living? He does so again here. It’s the same thing.

In Titus 2:5 Paul also uses “submitting” as a participle in the middle voice when talking of wives. He emphasizes self-control, purity, and kindness. These too correspond with respect, love, deference, and honor. Most of these, like self-control, are inward focused, not outward focused like leadership and rule. Then, in Titus 2:9, he finally uses submit as a verb in the active voice imperative command…..when talking of slaves.

As with Ephesians 5, notice how careful Paul is—in Colossians and Titus— to avoid using an active imperative to command wives to submit to their husbands, but he has no problem doing so with slaves. Paul’s readers, being native speakers of Greek, would simply automatically grasp this significance. It wouldn’t need to be explained in the way that Grudem thinks Paul had to do.

Can you tell, even in English, the difference between…

Being deferential to your spouse

…and…

Obey your master and don’t talk back

Grudem clearly has difficulty with this. And the difference is even more explicit in Greek than in English, due to differences in the way they handle the middle voice.

But what about 1 Peter 3? Paul was talking about men and women—slaves; spouses—in the context of relationships with unbelievers. Recall how I just said that the native Greek speakers would automatically grasp the significance of Paul’s (and also Peter’s) language? Let’s let John Chrysostom, a native Greek speaker, demonstrate this:

“[Sarah] also reverenced her husband; for hear her own words, “It has not yet happened unto me even until now, and my lord is old also” (Genesis 18:12). And he again so loved her, that in all things he obeyed her commands.”

It is very interesting how Chrysostom associates a husband loving his wife with obedience of her commands in all things (!!). And he is correct to conclude that from his familiarity with the book of Genesis. When you read 1 Peter 3, remember that Sarah and Abraham obeyed each other. You likely won’t hear that from Grudem and FMP.

FMP
There is no “to one another” fragment that can be mis-used to try and muddy the issue by saying both husbands and wives must do X.*

This is one of those simplistic debate tricks: “he didn’t use this exact word that I demand he use, so he must have meant whatever I say he meant.” Yet, anyone sufficiently familiar with the Greek Septuagint (i.e. the entire early church) would have understood that Abraham and Sarah obeyed each other. They could not have helped but read 1 Peter 3 within that context. It should be abundantly obvious to everyone that they obeyed each other, because that’s what scripture says happened. The fact that Peter didn’t say “to one another” does not invalidate this in any way. Indeed, the Bible often uses different words, phrases, and allusions to say the same thing, and that is precisely what has happened here.

Had the early church had none of the letters of Paul or Peter, they could still have concluded, as Peter did, that Abraham and Sarah obeyed each other in all things.

FMP
That’s quite a glaring omission if the intention of the NT authors was to communicate that husbands should also submit.

Of course there is no glaring omission. Peter’s words make no sense without reference to Genesis which teaches the mutual submission that he references. To be accurate, Grudem should point out that the Bible does not say that anyone should submit in the sense of the English active imperative “submit.” A much better translation is found in Grudem’s own words:

mutual submission [is] where everybody is considerate and thoughtful to everybody else

He certainly could have worded this more precisely, and without the snark, but that’s not a bad start. I would suggest emphasizing proper deference, each according to their own honor, abilities, and rights.

FMP
Why would there be so many verses telling wives to submit and only one telling husbands to also submit to their wives?

There is not a single verse commanding wives to submit. It’s not an active imperative. It is clear that FMP isn’t being properly served by his English translations, nor by Grudem. If this is the foundation of his theology, then it is built upon shifting sands.

Grudem and FMP do not recognize that Paul and Peter are telling husbands to submit to their wives without needing to use the precise phrase that they expect Paul to use. The problem is their expectation of Paul, not what Paul actually says. To wit:

FMP
And why is there not even one isolated passage where it only addresses the husbands and tells them to submit to their wives? Why do wives only receive such treatment?

Can you see FMP’s fallacious reasoning?

FMP is making an Argument from Silence. Paul was not obligated to address only husbands. And why should he have been required to have only addressed husbands when he was explicitly talking about mutual submission? What Paul and Peter said was neitherconfusing nor incomplete.

Just as John Chrysostom could easily understand Sarah’s obedience in 1 Peter 3 in light of Abraham’s obedience in Genesis, so too can we understand Paul’s mutual submission without an explicit statement using whatever word combination that FPM thinks should have been addressed only to husbands. The call for such a statement is just an excuse to cast aside the sufficiency of what is already there.

FMP does not interpret love as submission, even though Paul tells husbands to love their wives right after he tells them to mutually submit. Paul is illustrating what he means by submission by providing examples. It is not Paul’s fault that FMP does not accept that.

Grudem
I agree, of course, that teachings in one part of the Bible can modify or refine our understanding of teachings in another part of the Bible. In this way the teachings of the different sections are complementary. But in the egalitarian claim that mutual submission nullifies a husband’s authority…

Nowhere in the Bible is a husband prescriptively given authority over his wife by God…. except in one instance when Paul tells husbands and wives not to physically deprive one another, that they have authority over each other’s bodies. That’s it. There are no other commands. There is nothing to nullify, except perhaps the medieval novelty that led to Grudem’s belief.

Grudem
…and gives an entirely different sense to submission, we are talking not just about a complementary teaching in another part of the Bible but about something that fundamentally denies and even contradicts the meaning of these verses in Colossians, Titus, and 1 Peter. Even if we were to grant Bilezikian’s claim that the addition of “to one another” to hypotassø “changes its meaning entirely,” that would not help him in Colossians, Titus, and 1 Peter, where there is no statement about “one another,” but just “wives, be subject to your own husbands.

As we discussed above, Colossians, Titus, and 1 Peter do not stand in contrast with Ephesians, but rather support it. Now, in 1 Peter there is a different word that serves the same function as “to one another.”

When we look at 1 Peter as a whole, a book whose theme is suffering through trials, we notice that the three times Peter uses “homoiōs” (translated “in the same way”), he does so in he context of submission: 2:13, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, 5:5 (which Peter states is mutual). Peter uses this term “in the same way” to clarify what he means by submission:

“…Household servants, submit to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and reasonable, but also to the cruel.”

Formally, that looks like this:

Be in subjection for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…

[Discussion…]

…slaves submitting yourself with all respect to your masters…

[Discussion…]

in the same way, wives submitting yourselves to your own husbands…

[Discussion…]

…husbands in the same way living [in wedlock] with them….

[Discussion…]

in the same way the young be subject to your elders…

[Discussion…]

The context establishes, by way of the connecting word “in the same way,” that all the subjects of the discussion are submitting for the same purpose. In other words, the submission of servants and slaves to their abusive masters is applied “in the same way” to the submission of a wife to her abusive husband or a husband to his ungodly wife. It is the duty of the one doing the submitting to suffer and endure it for the name of Christ. This is the context of 1 Peter and it is the context of submission.

Peter never once tells a Christian to exercise authority over another. Quite the contrary, he implores voluntary submission by all to authority, even at great personal cost, and even men to women (e.g. male slaves to their female masters; believing husbands to their ungodly wives).

Peter talks about submission individually, but ties them all together using “in the same way” because his conception of submission is “the same” in each case. Because Peter applies it to both husbands and wives in the same way, he is describing mutual submission.

Let’s repeat that. Peter describes wives submitting themselves to their husbands. He then describes Sarah obeying Abraham in everything, and as John Chrysostom notes, Genesis describes Abraham obeying Sarah in everything in love. Then Peter says that in the same way husbands are to “be living” with their wives.[4] That “command” for wives to submit to their husbands and Sarah obeying her husband? Husbands are in the same way to “be living” with their wives. In the same way. Peter’s talking about the same thing for both husbands and wives.

 

Grudem
One other fact warns us that the egalitarian claim of mutual submission should not be used as a magic wand to wave away any claims of male leadership in marriage: There is no statement about “submitting to one another” in the context of Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, or 1 Peter 3:1. Yet, as we saw at the outset of this chapter, those verses also explicitly teach wives to be submissive to their husbands. And they say nothing about husbands being submissive to their wives.

This leaves egalitarians in a dilemma. Nothing in these letters would have even hinted to Paul’s original readers in Colosse or to Titus and the church in Crete or to Peter’s readers in hundreds of churches in Asia Minor anything like the mutual submission that egalitarians advocate. But that means (from an egalitarian standpoint) that these three letters would have taught a wrong idea—the idea that wives should submit to the authority of their husbands in marriage. Did the letters of the apostles Paul and Peter then lead the church astray? Would it have been sin for the original readers to obey the letters of Paul and Peter and teach that wives should be subject to their husbands? This would contradict our doctrine of Scripture as the inerrant, absolutely authoritative Word of God.

FMP
Exactly. What if a church received a copy of Paul’s letter to Colosse, but not a copy of his letter to Ephesus? What would they do without Ephesians 5:21 to inform their understanding of marital submission? Surely they would have been led astray if mutual submission were a true, biblical doctrine.

These are downright terrible arguments.

We’ve already demonstrated above that mutual submission is described in the Old Testament Scripture in the example of Abraham and Sarah. Even if Paul and Peter had written nothing else, it would have still been evidence from existing Scripture. But let’s see how bad this argument is.

There was no completely unified teaching in the early church because those teachings were in the process of being made. It took time for the church to receive all the teachings and assemble them together. It is, rather obvious, that not all the epistles teach the same thing. Nor did every church have the same set of problems requiring the same set of solutions.

This is akin to saying that a doctrine must be invalid because Christian initiates don’t have full knowledge of all theological doctrines. Just because certain people lack the full revelation of God doesn’t mean that what was revealed was incorrect. Of course it took time to fully reveal everything and for everyone to eventually receive each letter in our canon!

If we reduce this to its logical conclusion, we must therefore conclude that no New Testament doctrine is valid unless it also exists in the Old Testament. Since mutual submission is found in the Old Testament, Grudem’s objection simply fails.

But even if we accepted the premise, for sake of argument, the arguments still don’t work. What would the people of Colosse do? Let’s read it:

18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is proper behavior in connection with the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  20 Children, obey your parents in all things, because this is pleasing behavior in connection with the Lord.

It turns out that the husbands would also submit to their wives by loving them (v19; active voice imperative). In other words, they’d do exactly the same thing that Paul told the Ephesians to do. And they’d also hear Paul contrast obedience (v20; active voice imperative) with submitting yourself (v18; passive voice) and so automatically understand that Paul was making a grammatical distinction between obedience and submission. Just as Paul told the Ephesians to do it out of respect for Christ, he told the Colossians to do it in the Lord. It’s the same thing.

And, of course, whether or not they had Paul’s letters, they could read Genesis and see how Abraham and Sarah obeyed each other. They didn’t actually need Peter to tell them, and they’d have to verify his words against the scriptures anyway (as did the Bereans). This necessitates that they already possessed what they needed to know before Paul and Peter told them. Of course they did, for they possessed the scriptures already.

Grudem
“When we look at the word that Paul used when he said “submitting to one another” in Ephesians 5:21, we find that this word (Greek hypotassø) in the New Testament is always used for submission to an authority. Here are some examples:“

Grudem states that every example of the Greek word in the New Testament means “submission to an authority.” Can you spot Grudem’s logical fallacy?

FMP leaves out the examples, but they are illustrative. Most of the examples Grudem gives are in the active or passive voice[2]. These cannot rightly be used to interpret the middle voice usage. What remains are, of course, the passages on husbands and wives[3] and one other: Luke 2:51. That’s it. Here is the other one, with the contested verb blocked out:

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was  obedient  (Greek hypotassø) to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

What in the context leads one to believe that the highlighted section should read “obedient to authority?” Is it because Jesus had parents? What’s wrong with, for example, deference here? Why couldn’t Jesus defer to his parents while retaining the authority that he had from the Father? After all, there is no indication in scripture that Jesus ever gave up his authority, even to his parents.

The only reason to read “obedient to authority” here is if you already know the word means “obedient to authority.”[5] Grudem is presuming what the blocked out word means in order to conclude what the blocked out word means. Grudem is begging-the-question: fallacious circular reasoning. If one presumes the conclusion that hypotassø means obedience to a leader or authority, then of course every reference to it must refer to authority! But if one does not presume that, then every reference does not necessarily refer to authority. Circular reasoning isn’t an argument.

Now let’s go back and review the point. When Grudem says…

[hypotassø] in the New Testament is always used for submission to an authority

…and cites a passage where only the word hypotassø itself implies “obedience to [unidirectional hierarchical] authority,” then his argument is not based on context. He isn’t using context to determine what the word means. He isn’t determining what the word means. He isn’t determining. He is reading his presumption into the passage.

But this is all just theory and abstraction. Let’s make it make practical sense. In Luke 2:41-52, the full context of the above reference, Jesus—at twelve years old—went about God’s business (v49) at the expense of his parent’s implicit commands (v48), having abandoned his family without telling them or getting permission (v43-46). So much for being the perfect obedient child! When the Bible says “[Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to [his parents],” his ‘obedience’[5] is is being contrasted with an example where he was not doing this! Luke tells us that it was Mary herself who recounted this story (v51). Hers is a story of Jesus causing her trouble, but thereafter Jesus gave her no cause for grief.

I go over Paul’s use of the word “submission” in “Paul’s Use of Submission.” Grudem and FMP are overstating their case.

Grudem believes that ‘head’ (kephale) refers to leadership and authority and uses that to conclude that  the context of ‘submit’ is one of authority with respect to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5. But, one native speaker of ancient Greek doesn’t agree with Grudem’s contextual analysis:

For had Paul meant to speak of rule and subjection, as you say, he would not have brought forward the instance of a wife, but rather of a slave and a master. For what if the wife be under subjection to us? It is as a wife, as free, as equal in honor. — John Chrysostom, Homily 26, 1 Corinthians 11:3

How could Chrysostom, who had full access to scriptures, conclude that wives were a different class from slaves, with only the latter being in subjection? Hadn’t Chrysostom read what Paul said in Ephesians 5? If ‘head’ (kephale) implied authority, why is Chrysostom concerned with honor? Shouldn’t he be concerned with duty, authority, and leadership? Of course not, because Grudem’s view is a medieval historical anachronism that also suffers from fallacious reasoning.

More to the point, if it were so obvious and clear that Paul was not describing mutual submission, then how did the native Greek speakers miss such an obvious and clear command? In his Homily on Ephesians 5, Chrysostom did not even consider that “to one another” might only have possibly referred to a non-reciprocal relationship![6] The answer is that there is no such obvious and clear command, but rather modern interpreters are using their creative imaginations to insert one where none exists.

Having analyzed this ourselves and found it wanting, let’s see what Grudem concludes from his list:

Grudem
What this list should demonstrate clearly is that to be “subject to” or “submissive to” someone in the sense that is signified by the word hypotassø always means to be subject to the authority of that other person. In all of these examples, there is no exception. The subjection is one directional, and the person who is under authority is subject to the person who has authority over him or her. The relationships indicated by the word hypotassø simply do not envision relationships where the authority is mutual, or where it is reciprocal, or where it is reversed. It is only one-directional.

Wait, what? It is like Grudem is reading something completely different from what we’ve read.

Did Jesus honor his father and mother, deferring to them and listening to them? Of course he did. Did Jesus retain his own authority to do as his Father in heaven desired against the axious wishes of his parents? Absolutely. There was no conflict here. Jesus was obedient to his parents, yes, but not to the exclusion of his Father’s business. Ultimately his parents would need to acknowledge Jesus’ authority.

Why did Chrysostom view the relationship between the husband and wife as one of equal honor when talking about husbands being the head of the wife? Why did he explicitly state that this was not about rule and subjection?

Grudem presumes that hypotassø—in all forms and contexts—implies authority, and so he sees what he expects to see regardless of the evidence. But if one sets aside this assumed conclusion—and it is an assumption—then that conclusion does not logically follow from anything presented so far.

Now let’s look at what Grudem suggests we do as Christians:

Grudem
How then should we respond when people say they believe in “mutual submission”? We need to find out what they mean by the phrase, and if they do not wish to advocate an egalitarian view, we need to see if we can suggest alternative wording that would speak to their concerns more precisely. Some people who hold a fully complementarian view of marriage do use the phrase “mutual submission” and intend it in a way that does not nullify male leadership in marriage. I have found that some people who want to use this language may simply have genuine concerns that men not act like dictators or tyrants in their marriages. If this is what they are seeking to guard against by the phrase “mutual submission,” then I suggest trying this alternative wording, which is found in the Campus Crusade for Christ statement:

In a marriage lived according to these truths, the love between husband and wife will show itself in listening to each other’s viewpoints, valuing each other’s gifts, wisdom, and desires, honoring one another in public and in private, and always seeking to bring benefit, not harm, to one another.

Now this is really interesting. What has Grudem described? He has not mentioned that wives should obey their husbands. Indeed, in his proposed statement, he describes submission as “listening to each other’s viewpoints, valuing each other’s gifts, wisdom, and desires, honoring one another in public and in private, and always seeking to bring benefit, not harm, to one another.” What do you know, that’s exactly what submission—in Greek—is! But it isn’t what submission in English is!

Grudem’s statement hear reveals that there is a problem with the English word for submission, not that there is any lack of clarity with what Paul said. In English “mutual submission” isn’t really a logically coherent phrase. In English, submission is unidirectional and hierarchical leadership, so mutual leadership is a logical contradiction. But in Greek it is not. It is perfectly reasonable, in English, for a husband and wife to defer, respect, honor, and appreciate each other. This is the sense in which Paul was speaking (as indicated also by Chrysostom).

Notice that while Grudem mentions “male leadership,” nothing he presented here actually establishes male leadership. Paul’s use of hypotassø neither necessitates nor invalidates leadership. It’s simply not the topic being discussed. So, by agreeing with Grudem’s definition of “mutual submission” while rejecting his presumption of male rule (because Paul doesn’t command it), we arrive at…. “mutual submission.” Hooray!

Grudem, and by extension FMP, want you to simply accept male leadership as normative, but nothing in the presentation implies that. Reading the above, they want you to accept that submission is a valid translation of hypotassø in order to invalidate the phrase mutual submission so that you will invalidate the idea of mutual hypotassø.” This is using the translation to invalidate the original, which is eisegesis. But Grudem himself acknowledges that the following is biblical:

listening to each other’s viewpoints, valuing each other’s gifts, wisdom, and desires, honoring one another in public and in private, and always seeking to bring benefit, not harm, to one another

Where does Grudem derive this? He gets it from the words of Paul, which include:

…submit yourself to one another in fear of Christ…

That’s what “mutual submission” means, and it’s what wives and husbands are supposed to do. But remember that Grudem said that:

…to be “subject to” or “submissive to” someone in the sense that is signified by the word hypotassø always means to be subject to the authority of that other person…

He can’t have it both ways.

Pay attention: he tried to play word games to fool you into agreeing with him, but he hasn’t actually addressed the fact that Paul says:

…submit yourself to one another in fear of Christ…

If submit always means being subject to the authority of another person, then Paul must be talking about husbands and wives mutually being subject to each other’s authority. Moreover, a simple examination of scripture proves that Grudem’s statement…

The relationships indicated by the word hypotassø simply do not envision relationships where the authority is mutual, or where it is reciprocal, or where it is reversed. It is only one-directional.

…is false. Why? Because of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:4:

The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

This is Paul at his most explicit. Unlike the talk of submission, Paul is directly and unambiguously commanding that husbands have authority over their wives and that wives have this same authority over their husbands. Not only is this mutual, but it is explicitly about authority. Paul can, absolutely, envision a situation where a husband and wife have mutual authority, because he explicitly described it.

Spouses have reciprocal, mutual, reversible, bi-directional authority over the other with respect to their bodies. Why wouldn’t—or couldn’t—they also have this in other areas as well? Paul explicitly envisions an authority working this way. And so I argue that it is plain that…

…submit yourself to one another in fear of Christ…

…Paul does, in fact, envision hypotassø applying to a reciprocal, mutual, reversible, bi-directional relationship where husbands and wives submit themselves to one another in fear of Christ. Why? Because that’s what he says. I’ve had to write an amazing amount of text just to point out this rather blatantly obvious point, but that’s merely demonstrates the sheer power of confirmation bias and gaslighting. Saying something wrong and getting people to believe it is easy. Fixing it is, unfortunately, very hard.

Paul’s idea of submission is one of love and respect, not subordination:

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” — Ephesians 5:33

This is how Paul summarizes mutual submission which he introduced in verse 21 (at the start of the inclusio).

The point of this examination is to show that there is a strong alternative to the view presented by Info, Grudem, and FMP. One cannot simply declare that Paul was not describing mutual submission. At the very least, it cannot be denied that this is a strong possibility.

Footnotes

[1] One could also argue that the passage is mistranslated, but then one cannot claim that Paul didn’t teach mutual submission as a matter of simple and clear exegesis. It’s hard to imply that Christians are foolish for believing in mutual submission when all their Bibles describe it. Mistaken, possibly, but not foolish.

[2] 1 Corinthians 15:27-28; James 4:7; 1 Peter 2:13,18,5:5; Romans 13:1,5; Titus 2:8,3:1; Hebrews 12:9; Luke 10:17.

[3] Ephesians 5:21,24; Titus 2:5; Colossians 3:18

[4] Peter is addressing these instructions to marriages where one partner was not a Christian. The phrase “dwelling with” or “living with” has the sense of domestic cohabitation and intercourse between a husband and wife. Just as Peter discusses Christians submitting to secular authorities, slaves submitting to their cruel unbelieving masters, wives submitting to their unbelieving husbands (to win them over), he also instructs husbands who are married to unbelieving wives to endure this situation. As Paul did, Peter had to instruct Christian to not divorce their unbelieving wives. It is clear from this that Peter was concerned with living in propriety with unbelievers, not with placing people under authority of another. Husbands are to be considerate and understanding of their unbelieving wives. Notably also, when Sarah obeyed Abraham it was when he put her in danger of being raped.

1 Peter 3:1-7 can be paraphrased as “Just as Christian wives should submit to their ungodly, possibly cruel, non-Christian husbands, so too should Christian husbands remain married to their ungodly, possibly cruel, non-Christian wives.”

[5] There is a Greek word for ‘being obedient’ that is not used here: hupakouó. The word used here is hupotassó instead. For example, Paul uses hupotassó in Ephesians 5:21,24 and Colossians 3:18 when talking of husbands and wives but uses hupakouó (“to be obedient”) in Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20 when talking of children and in Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22 when talking of slaves. But in Luke 2:51, the word used is not hupakouó (“to be obedient”), but hupotassó (“to defer oneself”). Notably, Luke, when talking of Jesus as a child with his parents, did not use the term that Paul used of children obeying their parents.

[6]

Mike Aubrey
St. John Chrysostom emphasizes both mutuality and ordered relationships. The fact that he does not see O’Brien’s suggested understanding of αλλήλων [allēlois; “to one another”] as even possible in verse 21 must be seriously noted.

“If … [Chrysostom] fails to address a linguistic problem because he does not appear to perceive a possible ambiguity, his silence is of the greatest value in helping us determine how Paul’s first readers were likely to have interpreted the text.” — Moisés Silva, Philippians, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005): 27.

Instead Chrysostom attempts to explain a complex idea. He does not recognize an impossibility in the mutuality of αλλήλων [allēlois; “to one another”] and the orderly structure of υποτάσσω [hupotassó; “to submit”] and validates O’Brien that “υποτάσσω” [hupotassó; “to submit”] must be understood within structured, orderly relationships. But on the other hand, Chrysostom quite clearly views “αλλήλων” [allēlois; “to one another”] with the sense of mutuality. He sees Paul’s words as leveling the playing field, so to speak. To explain, Chrysostom appeals to the analogy of the master/slave relationship.

“Let there be an interchange of service and submission. For then will there be no such thing as slavish service. Let not one sit down in the rank of a freeman, and the other in the rank of a slave; rather it were better that both masters and slaves be servants to one another;—far better to be a slave in this way than free in any other.” — translator Philip Schaff, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. XIII, First Series (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997): 142.

If “to one another” was always non-reciprocal—as Grudem’s stance requires—then Chrysostom had a simple and trivial response to Ephesians 5:21: note that mutuality was impossible. But instead, Chrysostom gave a complex and non-trivial response to explain the passage. He unambiguously viewed mutuality—the reciprocal “to one another”—as a grammatical possibility. It is absurd to conclude that Chrysostom—a native Greek speaker—just missed the simple, obvious, and unambiguous explanation.

16 Comments

  1. Lastmod

    Once many years ago…..a devout Soldier in the Salvation Army mentioned to me while we were talking about the above verses. He mentioned (parapharasing)

    “Do you realize how hard it is for a man to ‘love’ as Jesus did? Sure, we like ice cream, I love a good steak. To ‘love’ my wife as Christ loved me? Let me tell you, we have a good, solid marriage but sometimes its almost an impossible task for me to still ‘love’ her as Christ loved me in an example of leadership, headship and authority. You know her….she’s the best, but there are times when I have to use every ounce of my mind and soul to not lash out but to teach and love as Christ did. We men like results, women do operate more on their feelings and interpersonal stuff”

    I would assume and believe that women “dont like to submit” but from what I have seen over the past decade in these matters.

    Women must submit / mem dont have to do anything except use “dread game” on her if she doesn’t. As for love? Seen little or none of that demonstrated by Christians in these forums. Sure, spoken about to make them look “holy” but action? I suppose little to none and that is our “curse” to bear I would guess as men.

    Then again, I really dont know what I’m talking about. I dont speak Greek, or Hebrew. I speak a useless dead language and I was not raised from day one in a church and knew Christ at 6 months 😉

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      Lastmod,

      Your comment here…

      “We men like results, women do operate more on their feelings and interpersonal stuff”

      …and your comment here…

      “I would assume and believe that women “dont like to submit” but from what I have seen over the past decade in these matters.”

      …are closely related to what Paul was saying. I’m not sure you intended that.

      People always ask “why didn’t Peter and Paul just tell men to submit?”

      On one hand, most men are not concerned with feelings and interpersonal stuff. Telling them to submit just isn’t necessary, as it isn’t the solution to any particularly common problem that men have. Most husbands find it rather easy to submit to their wife’s wishes (as well as generally respecting her).

      On the other hand, while men have trouble with loving their wives as Christ loved, women don’t have to be told how to do this. They intuitively know how to love, adore, and sacrifice (whether or not they do it is a different discussion). But they have trouble submitting and respecting.

      In Paul, none of the actions (love, respect, submit) are reserved for one sex exclusively. Marg Mowczko says it this way:

      “Submission isn’t just for wives any more than sacrificial love is just for husbands. In the same way that humility, meekness, and kindness are Christian behaviours, so is being submissive.”

      The end goal of Paul’s instructions are the same for both man and women, but the way to get there is different because men and women are different. Different points-of-emphasis.

      If you are a woman who is particularly masculine (have trouble with feelings and loving), then you might find Paul’s instructions to husbands to be more valuable to you.

      If you are a man who is particularly effeminate (into your feelings and interpersonal stuff), then you are likely the kind of man who is obsessed with controlling your partner. In that case, you probably do need to be told to submit, just as a woman who meets this description.

      Have you ever noticed how many men in the manosphere are obsessed with controlling their wives, but also engage in stereotypical effeminate behaviors, such as talking about women constantly, analyzing their behavior (e.g. hypergamy) and corresponding male strategies (e.g. game), and seeking approval/sanction from the mob of men (i.e. social coercion)? Bruce Charlton noticed this. Even our discussion/gossip is decidedly non-masculine, as per Surfdumb’s comment.

      Peace,
      DR

      1. Lastmod

        Yeah….

        I noticed subtly over the years and then blatantly as time went on in some areas of the Christian ‘sphere the following:

        *Its 100% one way or the other. No grey area. The marble falls this way or that. Your wife wont “submit” (let you be the boss in all areas of her life). Drop her. Red Flag. She needs church discipline. Threaten her with divorce. Make sure she knows you have TONS of options with other women. Remind her once and once only.

        *While being the boss, you as a man have to have your gazillion masculine hobbies. You have to have a good job and provision. Education (classes, training, college, trades). You must have time for the gym. The bills. The budget. You decide it, and she doesnt like it? “RED FLAG! Sher wont submit!!!! ”

        You have to have time to “correct” her at home (the way the house is kept, raising children, what you expect for dinner). Time for amazing passionate sex 24 hrs a day with her, and if its not passionate…..”Red Flag! Correct her! You’re letting her dictate and now she will not respect you!”

        You have to have time of course for being a “boss” with church duties, LEADING committees, sitting on the Board. Being a Deacon or Elder and find time time to work, and pray and be the best you can be! If you cannot fulfill this???? “Not a real man!!! Not a real Christian! You must like being miserable! That’s why good (hot) women dont like you!” The list goes on and on!

        -Now, these same men will scoff and choff at Pastor Matt Chandler (as they should) when he said “Men need to go to bed exhausted every night and come home from work with a towel over their arm (so to speak) and be a ‘servant’ at home.” But really what is the difference with the above? All the duties, expectations and work to be just a “Red Pill / Leader Husband” and perceived by other men as a “leader” is just as exhausting and seems to have marriage by “fear” and “keeping up with the Jones’s” instead of a loving, building and striving style of marriage to Christ with a wife who really wants to be with to help with this.

        Heck, I always thought the kind of woman I would have ended up with wanted to just be with me, and heck with what other women thought. My parents operated this way.

        For all the “maturity” and “stoicism” and “leadership” and “wisdom” they possess, there is a ton of juvenile behavior by the men toward their wives or women they have dated.

        I attribute this to “Game” because it teaches you to be a clown, a fool, a jokester and not being serious with someone you claim to “love” it demeans your wife that you dont value her. Especially when you demand she “submit” on everything “cause the Bible says so” while passing off your end of the deal as a “joke”. Its belittling and hence why many marriages end in divorce.

        Everything in the Christian faith is deeply rooted in the old Jewish tradition of family. Father to son. Husband to wife. Family to neighborhood. Identity. The Father builds a room on the house for the new wife of his son. The father tells his people to “teach your children in these ways” the stone altars and stacks tell us “Let me tell you what the goodness God hath done!” All of it.

        Our modern faith or what too many of these men envision is: RULE. OBEY. LAWS. MUST.

        And a casting into a fire of his responsibilities while isolating most men who can and could never fulfill what they supposedly live by. Remember, The Laws the Jews had to follow, it was meant with proper intentions……..but no man could ever uphold them to the letter.

        Hence Jesus. Hence forgiveness. Hence a New Covenant.

        The Bible says about “taking a wife is a good thing” and it can be, but even the best of marriages (my parents for example). They did argue. The ‘sphere with their “zero tolerance” goes nuclear immediately.

        For all this stoicism they have, and leadership, and skill, and sex drive, and career, and skills, and talents…….maybe they should look at the “framework” they are following.

        It leaves nothing for humility. For grace. For teaching. For talking. For letting what God has joined “not” be separated.

      2. professorGBFMtm

        ”Have you ever noticed how many men in the manosphere are obsessed with controlling their wives, but also engage in stereotypical effeminate behaviors, such as talking about women constantly, analyzing their behavior (e.g. hypergamy) and corresponding male strategies (e.g. game), and seeking approval/sanction from the mob of men (i.e. social coercion)? Bruce Charlton noticed this. Even our discussion/gossip is decidedly non-masculine, per Surfdumb’s comment.”

        I’ve noticed since the early 2010s that most of the guys who Monday morning quarterback on bickering(usually they don’t even know the details of it ) are happy to take sides with those (as long as they’re viewed to be cool with them with nary a discouraging word on the bickering their heroes started )who start the bickering they supposedly don’t like.

        ”-Now, these same men will scoff and scoff at Pastor Matt Chandler (as they should) when he said “Men need to go to bed exhausted every night and come home from work with a towel over their arm (so to speak) and be a ‘servant’ at home.” But really what is the difference with the above? All the duties, expectations and work to be just a “Red Pill / Leader Husband” and perceived by other men as a “leader” is just as exhausting and seems to have marriage by “fear” and “keeping up with the Jones’s” instead of a loving, building and striving style of marriage to Christ with a wife who really wants to be with to help with this.”

        Its no wonder this is the case when long before modern times they scoffed, banished, besmirched, and belittled(and still do) the GREAT MEN (and their knowledge) who built the civilization they happily destroyed for high-fives and iois from desouled women and MEN.

      3. Malcolm Reynolds

        > Have you ever noticed how many men in the manosphere are obsessed with controlling their wives, but also engage in stereotypical effeminate behaviors

        Poor men are overly concerned with money.
        Unattractive men are overly concerned with the sexual history of a woman.
        Incels are overly concerned with virginity of a woman.
        Gamma men are overly concerned with controlling their woman.

        People are usually overly concerned with the aspect they lack the most.

        1. Lastmod

          “Incels are overly concerned with virginity of a woman”

          Way, way off.

          Been on many Incel forums since 2011. They never speak about a woman’s virginity, or lack thereof. They mostly dont like men who speak and behave like you if truth be told.

          Incels for the most part………past the age of 25 actually expect women to trate them terribly, or just ignore them. Many do become adjusted to that. They did not expect a betrayal of men. Men who smear, label, belittle and tell them to “just learn Game” and “go up and talk to women cause they dont bite” and “how” to get a girlfriend, because they all know tons of men who are shorter than average, below average looks and date models.

          Even if that could be true. Men like that are indeed an outlier or at the upper edge of a bell curve. I recall women in college (late 1980’s) when talking about the “fat girl” friend they had….would never mentione that she is fat but would say “Oh she has such a great attitude / personality”

          Yeah. Sure. Maybe she does.

          Incels have a ton of problems. The forums are a bit off, and usually the loudest most outlandish ones are the Incels who are between 18-25. Full of hormones, rage, anger.

          Usually this cools off when the ones who are mature realize the men they are jealous of have problems too. Some never mature. Most do.

          Most Incels dislike self righteous men who never had a problem with women coming to lecture them about how easy it is to get a girlfriend or a date “Just be the best version of you / did you know Jesus was single? / Just go to the gym / move out of moms basement”

          I can assure you, that tomorrow……if you suddenly became an Incel, you would be singing a very different tune that you general, uninformed statement above 😉

          1. Derek L. Ramsey

            “Incels for the most part………past the age of 25 actually expect women to treat them terribly, or just ignore them.”

            One can easily become firmly entrenched in the “creep” category—the unattractive male who receives no indications of interest from females—long before being old enough even to date. One adjusts quite early to females smearing, labeling, belittling, and sidelining. One—hopefully—adjusts to the embarrassment and shame.

            You can hear many stories online about masculine women (or transgender men) that successfully pass as men. Once they are no longer women, they find out how truly socially invisible and irrelevant they become. They ask men-since-birth how they can live with such a barbaric social existence—how they deal with casual female cruelty—and the men just shrug as if there isn’t anything unusual or noteworthy about it. And there really isn’t. If you are in the “creep” category, it’s just another normal day.

            Inherent in this is the fact that normal men—including incels—are not concerned with female behavior. They rarely talk about it it, and women are largely unaware that it occurs.

            “They did not expect a betrayal of men.”

            While it is normal to get used to being smeared, labeled, and belittled, and sidelined by females, there was no expectation of a movement where males would systematically do this to other males.

            Why, I ask, are there males picking up the torch—that women had lost interest in—and running with it?

            “Incels are overly concerned with virginity of a woman”

            Why, I ask, are there males who are overly concerned with the virginity of other males?

          2. professorGBFMtm

            *While being the boss, you as a man have to have your gazillion masculine hobbies. You have to have a good job and provision. Education (classes, training, college, trades). You must have time for the gym. The bills. The budget. You decide it, and she doesnt like it? “RED FLAG! Sher wont submit!!!! ”

            Hey MOD here’s some of that masculine hobbies stuff today with that classic self-righteousness that comes from soon-to-be sainthood Christian red pillers who think they are pillars of the conservative Christian community too!

            Sharkly says:
            2024-06-08 at 3:22 am
            “… she immediately responded with “I don’t get into guys’ cars on the first dates.”

            I know I’m older (54), but I can’t hardly remember any first dates I’ve ever been on since I was old enough to drive, where the woman didn’t let me drive her somewhere on our first date. And I was always spinning the rear tires. I wasn’t red-pilled back then, but I did notice that seemingly the more laws I broke driving on the date, and the more aggressive my driving was, the more turned-on they got. It helps if you’ve got a loud muscle car with bench seats.

            {there was the early 1970s? muscle car pic here}

            If she’s into you, she’ll either choose to buckle in next to you in the middle of the bench seat on the way home, or else she’ll move there when you tell her that you want her right next to you. If she still insists on sitting away over by the door, on the way back from the date, your manly charms have failed.”

            See? Just self-righteously be aggressive and break laws in your muscle car to get women interested dude!

          3. Derek L. Ramsey

            Sharkly says: “If she’s into you, she’ll either choose to buckle in next to you in the middle of the bench seat on the way home, or else she’ll move there when you tell her that you want her right next to you. If she still insists on sitting away over by the door, on the way back from the date, your manly charms have failed.”

            Here is Sharkly’s aforementioned car:

            My first car was a piece of junk like this:

            The thing got negative acceleration going up hills. It impressed no one.

            When dating, rather than using “manly charms” of being aggressive and breaking laws, I brought flowers that I picked on the side of the road.

            After marrying, it was challenging even to afford oil changes for this glorious race car:

  2. professorGBFMtm

    ”While it is normal to get used to being smeared, labeled, and belittled, and sidelined by females, there was no expectation of a movement where males would systematically do this to other males.”

    This is why any version of the MRAS doesn’t work as MEN(who claim ”no woman is good”) are the first to suggest their ”amazing -one-of-a-kind=unicorn” to help get MENS rights passed by their holy roller left- right oligarchy-that they imagine luves them this much-if only they hadn’t been tricked by the devil of course. Even though this pre-1869 GBFM =knowledge says this:

    Luke 4:5

    “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.”

    &

    Luke 4:6

    “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”

    Then from further above cont.-other MEN have similar ”amazing -one-of-a-kind=unicorn” to help get MENS rights passed by their holy roller left- right oligarchy.” then it’s time to choose whose ”top-woman” will be numero uno.

    “Incels are overly concerned with virginity of a woman”

    Why, I ask, are there males who are overly concerned with the virginity of other males?”

    So their mother-goddessesses(that they ”say are no good” in public to get high fives from MEN & iois from women who deem themselves ”special”) know which males are maybe not useful nor loyal to mother-goddess whims of lust, power, and baby murder?

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      “So their mother-goddessesses know which males are maybe not useful nor loyal to mother-goddess whims of lust, power, and baby murder?”

      There may be some truth to this. Independent thinking is certainly not viewed as a virtue. Rather, men obsessed with other men’s virginity are correlated with men who tell other men what they must think, say, write, or do.

      Not useful? Sounds like utilitarianism.

  3. Pingback: Mutual Submission, Part 2

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