Mutual Submission, Part 7

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

Mutual submission can 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.

After I wrote Part 6, Surfdumb asked the following pertinent question:

Comment by Surfdumb
Have you tried contacting Grudem? I think you did recently with Foster or Tennant because you wrote about it.

I think our pastors have been able to get hold of him long ago.

That would be great if he was able to respond to two or three of the passages you disagree on.

I think Kevin DeYoung likes Grudem and I’d bet you agree that Kevin is knowledgeable about voices. If Wayne won’t respond, you might want to consider emailing a short excerpt of your critique, maybe this Part 6, and see if KDY responds.

I’m not an important person. I have no formal theological education and I’m not fluent in Koine Greek. I’m a self-taught nobody. Educated, credentialed scholars are not expected to engage with—let alone debate—persons like me. My strength, if I have one, is being able to explore other sources and analyze them, not to pose as an expert.

For example, when I wrote my most scholarly—and heretical—work, “Grammatical analysis of John 1:1c and John 1:14,” I directly or indirectly referenced the works of many different prominent scholars and other writers (E.C. Colwell of Colwell’s Rule, Max Zerwick, Blass, Debrunner, Funk, Lane McGaughy, Paul Dixon, Daniel B. Wallace, Phillip B. Harner, Don Hartley, Kermit Zarley and Robert Hommel). I also examined the arguments from Jehovah’s Witnesses, including that of Greg Stafford.

In general, I am not doing primary research, I am doing meta-analysis. Few, if any, of my arguments are novel. With this in mind, I want to completely repost “Dividing Ephesians 5:21 & 22” by Koine Greek expert Mark Aubrey. It is very short, but concisely underscores the key issue surrounding the topic of mutual submission:

Mike Aubrey — Dividing Ephesians 5:21 & 22
Honestly, the division of these two verses, in my opinion, is a perfect example of Biblical scholars knowing little to nothing about how language functions holistically, particularly at the level of pragmatics and discourse – this is one occasion where my always seeking to give the benefit of the doubt really struggles.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been irritated with the explanation,

“The imperative mood is implied in verse 22.”

That’s not an explanation. That’s a cop out.

As we reviewed in Part 1, there is no division between v21 and v22 in the original Greek. In my years of dealing with this passage, I can’t tell you the number of times someone has quoted Ephesians 5:22ff to insist that wives are commanded in the strongest terms by the Lord Almighty in Heaven and Earth from the moment of Creation to obey their husbands in every possible way, while they fail to quote the entire sentence from Ephesians 5:18-22. That an entire doctrine is derived from a sentence fragment—and there is rarely, if ever, any hint of sober reflection on this fact—is truly one of the most remarkable things I’ve witnessed. Here is one example:

Comment by thedeti
Once again, we need to return to the original source material.

Eph. 5:22-24 (NIV)

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

I discuss this comment in much more detail in “The Original Source Material.”

But it’s not just the laity and amateurs who do this. The scholars and interpreters do it! They don’t explain why it must be divided that way. They don’t give explanations for why the verb in v21 is not a command (i.e. imperative) but the missing/implied verb in v22 must be a command (i.e. imperative). The referent verb (v21) is not an imperative, but it is just assumed that the referrer verb (v22) must be anyway! For example, consider Wayne Grudem’s ESV translation:

Ephesians 5:21-22 (ESV)

21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives and Husbands

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

It seems that the only reason that the verb in v21 is translated differently—and physically separated—from the verb in v22 is because of the theological implications. No Biblical scholars who understood how language functions holistically, particularly at the level of pragmatics and discourse” would approach the Greek this way. Our example quotes from Chrysostom in this series highlighted this.

It would have been impossible for the original audience to start reading the letter in v22. Without the referred to verb, it would have been indecipherable. The original listeners must have started reading—or more likely listening to—the passage at an earlier point in the letter. This is one of the things Aubrey means when he says that Biblical scholars show their ignorance of how language functions.

Recognizing this, but not wanting to judge a person’s intentions, Aubrey asks his scholarly peers for an explanation. Perhaps there is a good, scholarly reason that Aubrey has simply missed. But all he gets back is what he calls a “cop out” response. I call it circular reasoning, for that is what it is. The scholars have begged-the-question.

 

(Begin sidenote…)

In Part 1 we showed one example of Grudem begging-the-question. This is a common problem:

Richard S. Cervin
Grudem has cited 49 examples of what he claims are occurrences of κεφαλή*meaning “authority over” or “leader.” Let us examine each passage in detail to see if Grudem is correct. [..] First of all, 12 of these passages (nos. 38-49) are from the NT, and are therefore illegitimate as evidence, since they are disputed texts. In citing these NT passages, Grudem commits the logical fallacy of assuming what he sets out to prove. The whole purpose of Grudem’s study is to determine whether or not κεφαλή can denote “authority over ” or “leader” in Paul’s epistles. He cannot therefore cite Paul as supporting evidence. This brings his count down to 37.

Source: Richard S. Cervin, “Does kephale mean “Source” or “Authority Over” in Greek Literature? A Rebuttal” (1989).

Grudem clearly begs-the-question here. When he lists examples of kephale that are supposed to prove his claim, he can’t help but assume what he sets out to prove. In Part 5 and Part 6, we demonstrated that he did the same thing in his list of uses of hypotassø. Whenever there was a use of the word that was not obviously about authority, he just assumed it was about authority:

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:

(End sidenote…)

 

Aubrey states “this is one occasion where my always seeking to give the benefit of the doubt really struggles.” In this he reflects the Principle of Charity, the general principle of scholars to assuming good faith and the most rational explanation in the arguments of others. So poor is their “argument,” that Aubrey finds it difficult not to conclude that personal bias is the personal motivation for this behavior. He struggles to avoid the ad hominem.

 

(Begin sidenote…)

Can we see hints of this struggle in his comment section?

Comment by Bryan L
What happened to the rest of the post (I read it in Google Reader)? I found it interesting and even learned something new about v. 21 & 22.

Comment by Mike Aubrey
I’m holding off on the rest of it for another post. It will be back in a different place at a different time. Don’t worry, you’ll see it again.

I’ve never been able to determine what he removed.

(End sidenote…)

 

This is the problem I have faced for years. People go as far as arguing—with 100% certainty even when pressed—that Paul is telling wives, in v22, to unconditionally obey their husband’s authority in every aspect of life and that mutual submission, in v21, is grammatically impossible. Such persons are not acting as they should if they were arguing in good faith.

Scholars are supposed to make arguments and give explanations for their interpretations. They are not supposed to make assumptions and unsubstantiated declarations. There has to be a good reason for their interpretations, especially when they are pressed for an explanation. Intellectually, blind faith is not acceptable.

I would love to have a genuine debate with one of these scholars, assuming that they didn’t just laugh at the nonsense that I say. If one reached out to me, I would eagerly hope for a constructive back-and-forth. But all indications are that many are not being intellectually honest. I understand that this is a serious charge, but like Aubrey it is difficult to try to avoid this conclusion. There is just so much evidence of bias that it is extremely difficult to ignore. I will, of course, continue to use the Principle of Charity, but readers here should be wary and keep this all in mind.

Aubrey is not the only one who has difficulty here. Richard S. Cervin (from the paper mentioned in the sidenote above) had the same problem with Wayne Grudem:

Richard S. Cervin
I do not wish to cast aspersions of Grudem, but the quality of ‘scholarship’ which he exhibits in his article is so poor that I can only draw two conclusions: either he has deliberately misrepresented the facts, or that he is so blinded by his ideological position on women that he is incapable of seeing the facts as they are. I am inclined to the latter conclusion, and it seems to me that Grudem has come up with these examples simply because he wants them to mean ‘authority over’ or ‘leader’ so as to bolster his interpretation of Paul.

In my analysis during this series, I have come to the same conclusion: Grudem is not engaging in rational debate, nor in many cases are the people who quote him. To put it not-so-gently, Grudem is engaging in propaganda. I’m convinced that Grudem’s relative popularity in the Manosphere is due almost entirely to those citing him because he confirms their biases, rather than on the merits of what he argues. I will try to demonstrate this in the next posts in the series.

9 Comments

  1. professorGBFMtm

    ”Such persons are not acting as they should if they were arguing in good faith.”

    I had never heard so much about ”good faith” in such a short space until I came across a certain blog in the latter day ‘sphere.

    ”assuming that they didn’t just laugh at the nonsense that I say. If one reached out to me, I would eagerly hope for a constructive back-and-forth. But all indications are that many are not being intellectually honest. I understand that this is a serious charge, but like Aubrey it is difficult to try to avoid this conclusion. There is just so much evidence of bias that it is extremely difficult to ignore. I will, of course, continue to use the Principle of Charity, but readers here should be wary and keep this all in mind.”

    In the latter-day ‘sphere they want to be seen as ”legitimate” in ”bluepiller feminist chumps” (like Dalrock essentially did with warhorn media) eyes as they assume guys like Doug Wilson, Jordan Peterson, and Aaron Renn(yeah those guys are legit in the eyes of ”bluepiller feminist chumps” over the age of 35 or 45-who know who they are-most people for decades barely know who the current vice president is -so why would they need to know who Doug Wilson, Jordan Peterson, and Aaron Renn are? )

    The easiest explanation of the above is that your average redpiller watches FOX news and listens to Ben Shapiro religiously as the left watches CNN AND MSN & that talk show with that Colbert guy -yet neither gets most, don’t care that much about anything they care about -most of redpillers and ”bluepillers” don’t make up the majority, currently or before they ”unplugged” of the 95% of Christians who never read the Bible at all?

    1. Lastmod

      Aaron Renn.

      Yeah, the man who goes to the church of the hot-christain-women-in-NYC who just cannot find any real, devout, christian man who put Jesus first…..that they just happen to be really attracted to…you know, that guy. Over 6′ a decent job (well over 150K a year), around the age of 30-35 with no baggage, no kids, lives on his own or preferably OWNS his own condo or home. Has hair. Works out daily, is a “leader” in the church. Volunteers, loves children, can bring her to orgasm by just looking at her.

      That guy. Him. Yeah…..that guy is everywhere in NYC.

      Renn also forgets to mention that the women just have to show up in his world. They are everywhere! Beautiful, smart, educated. Guys today are such losers! The women he knows just wants a man who is christian! The men wont lead or step up!

      In his plastic bubble life, women are perfect and ready to be wives, partners and helpers…its those “blue pilled christian men in the church who are ruining it for everyone”

      His “new urbanism” stances on redevelopment, and smart , working cities have made them unaffordable, ugly and worse for everyone. I still dont know how any man can take him seriously

      He should read and study Victor Gruben, Garett Eckbo and others.

  2. professorGBFMtm

    Speaking of a plastic bubble life certain ”leaders”(in their mind mostly, not in reality ) in the ‘sphere didn’t like I not talking about women on every comment at Spawnys.-like their little juvenile punk butts do, who still think they’re in jr high/high school do every time with some bible verses thrown in to show it’s ”Christian” or at least ”Christian RPtm”-like saint Rollo use to say at ‘dals- these foolish supposedly ” red pill” evangelicals have to try to act as if JESUS approves of everything like the ”red pill” -what they do.
    Yet the same supposedly tough guy ”red pill” -non-”blue piller chumps” say nary a word when Cheque d’Out/Spawny himself posts videos or pics, they then know nothing-seen nothing -heard nothing (like Sgt. Shultz) to do with precious women nor saving civilization they know nothing like the little coward hypocrite juveniles They truly are as sharkly said at SF ”WE are not who We portray ourselves to be as we deceive bluepiller feminist chumps just as we do ourselves.”

    In other words, I would believe the ”leaders” ”good faith” gibberish and non-sense if I hadn’t experienced a WordPress-wide supposedly ”akismet” initiated ”moderation” from Sunday, February 5th, 2023 to Monday, August 16th 2023-when I straight up at spawnys told jack I will never come back to his fed funded glowie ”good faith” site that’s only nearing million-page hits now because of my help in ’21.
    They think I owe them more. Yeah, that’s why I’ve been lovingly ”correcting ”them as they need that more as their essentially little juvenile punk butts do, who still think they’re in jr high/high school.

  3. professorGBFMtm

    Maybe the ”leaders” in the sphere should heed what their saint Dalrock(in how they respond mainly to Derek as they know the GREAT BOOKS FOR MEN will fight for what’s right no matter the odds or number that stand against the knowledge of reality, here in response to someone asking about Bonald at Throne Altar who disagreed with Game & even dare I say Saint Dalrock-even though ”schisms” are supposedly new now i have been told lately by ”experts”.

    Here:
    Blogger Bonald from Throne and Altar made this basic point in his recent post Pile up on Social Conservatives (emphasis his):

    When we realize that true eros desires an I-Thou union, we see that Game is actually hostile to eros because it teaches the man to regard his partner as an It to be manipulated rather than a Thou to be communicated with.

    Will S. says:
    November 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm
    Thank you Dalrock, for your personal testimonial here. I hope that Bonald reads it, and learns how Game worked for you. Perhaps he’ll be less quick to judge Game and its users in the future.

    Nah; who am I kidding?

    [D: I don’t have any beef with Bonald. My guess is he came of age in a different era and didn’t get the kind of awful advice Deti and I received. He probably leads his family naturally and can’t understand why so many other men run astray there.]

    In my case,as I don’t know exactly about Derek,I never listen to people but reality-hence why I don’t like echo chambers like most others.

  4. Derek L. Ramsey

    Surfdumb, if you read this, I’d like your advice at the end.

    ——————————————————————-

    Here is the perfect illustration of my problem with Jack’s and Wayne Grudem’s arguments.

    Jack says in his piece Wayne Grudem’s Study of the Greek Word kephalē, “Head”:

    “In sum, Grudem has made a very convincing argument that the original Greek use of the word kephalē (“Head”) must necessarily entail one having authority.”

    Is it very convincing? Should we take Jack at his word? Did Jack take the time to examine the evidence for himself? Should you reject the countless hours that I’ve put into researching this topic? What does Jack base his confidence on?

    Here is what Grudem claims:

    Just to remind the reader, this is what preeminent means:

    Got that? Grudem says that 0 of 7 lexicons call ‘kephale’ preeminent (which includes superior and the synonym supreme). Here are two of the examples that Grudem gives:

    In his very first example he gives an example of head denoting being superior.

    In his third example he gives an example that explicitly gives a meaning of “pre-eminent status”, supreme, and superior. It’s all right there: “Pre-eminent.” “Supreme.” “Superior.”

    Again in the fifth example we see the meaning of superior. Sure it is in a restricted context (religious superiors), but that’s fine: it still matches the meaning.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Guys, this stuff isn’t hard to spot. This is just facially ridiculous. It refutes itself! I didn’t even have to put in any effort at all. I just read what Grudem wrote and instantly saw the contradiction.

    Do you know how many people in the comment section pointed out that Grudem had blatantly contradicted himself? Not. A. Single. One. It’s a credulous echo chamber.

    One comment was especially egregious intellectually (and overtly personal):

    “By separating Higher Status from Authority. Derek in essence has made the Headship of the Husband purely ceremonial.”

    Higher status is *literally* in the first two of the definitions I cited above, which Grudem himself supplied. Both of them! All the commenter had to do was read the article.

    ——————————————————————-

    Surfdumb, why should I willingly engage with people who—for reasons I won’t speculate—can’t even achieve the most basic levels of intellectual rigor? I know you desire that there be a fair back-and-forth portrayal of both sides in a debate, and I deeply wish we could have that, but it is completely clear that only one side in this debate is interested in fairly examining all sides of the issue.

    Enthusiastically promoting obviously false information…in what way can I put a positive spin on that? Right now I’m having the same issue the Richard Cervin and Mike Aubrey had. I’ve exhausted the “attack the ideas” options, and I’m only left with unpalatable choices.

    What should I do? Should I cease all engagement with Sigma Frame and cut it off completely? Or is there some other way I should approach this other than what I am doing?

  5. Surfdumb

    “Is it very convincing? Should we take Jack at his word? Did Jack take the time to examine the evidence for himself? Should you reject the countless hours that I’ve put into researching this topic? What does Jack base his confidence on?”

    1. “Is it convincing?” IMO, reading Grudem about 20 years ago, it was solid sounding to me, as a consumer. If the question is for Jack, then of course I don’t know, but it’s a good intro for a conversation with him. It might go something like this, “Jack (or any PCA member, Grudem is popular in those churches), when I read Grudem, his arguments don’t make sense to me because I only see contradicting proofs of his conclusions. Do you see it differently?”

    For me, I said, as a consumer, but that means l didn’t look at it deeply. Probably similar to pagans saying they believe Americans are killing the planet, and when asked probing questions, they retreat to, “because the scientists say so.” I am not saying that’s going on for Jack, but could be for others.

    2 and 3. “Should we take Jack at his word,” and “did he take time to look at the evidence?”

    I would say yes, without doubt to the first part. How much time he spent might be non-essential to answering the other questions.

    4. “Should my hours count for nothing.” Of course not, but I do think they should be of less importance than the unity-aspect and having a linear discussion (linear because it’s electronic dialogue). So at the appropriate time in a discussion, the hours could be put into it. So if you are two English Victorian gentleman in leather chairs, and he says something like, “Preposterous! Prove it, and I will bet a Cuban cigar and a fresh orange on it.” Then he has the interest. In this case, if I understand your motivation, you are writing to the Lord, and for future readers, so the hours of proof are done ahead of time, but a person still has to be carried by interest (or force) to continue in a dialogue.

    5. “What does Jack base his confidence upon?” A rhetorical question meant to establish a understanding of why he sees it differently. Getting at that is why I suggested, and still do, contacting Kevin Deyoung about Grudem. He’s a theological professor and could provide an honest response. I emailed Victor Davis Hanson once, and got a response to my surprise, so you never know. Any opening email could say something like, “Kevin, you’ve written a book on sex and gender roles and cited Grudem. I look at Grudem’s proofs, and I see them saying something different about “Kephale” than what he says. I’m really confused about his arguments. Could I ask you about one or two proofs of his that confuse me?” That bridge has probably been crossed with Jack, but maybe it could be restarted.

    6. “Why should I engage with people who can’t achieve basic levels of intellectual rigor?” That sounds mostly rhetorical. What if I said, because I will pay you ? (just joking). “With people” Proverbs speaks of wisdom of when to speak, and when not to, but Jack is a subset of people, a brother. Engage when the time is right for you, however, there does seem to be some contention currently, so sooner than later would hopefully be fruitful. If it was meatspace, I’d ask you to both do something together as a break, like helping someone move, or to rebuild a church. Then after the bond is strengthened, look again at this.

    7. “Should I cut off contact with SF?” Maybe for a time, but eventually, , most likely privately, there will have to be some emails to clear the hurts. You say SF is promoting obviously false information. That would be hurtful to me to read about myself. You’ve written examples of not being treated fairly. A real impasse. Or maybe an opportunity. It would be a great resolution if you and Jack had a good, on-line, backslapping of each other. That wouldn’t mean agreement, but probably a resetting of rules for how interactions take place. This kephale appears to me a symptom of the larger disagreement about authority versus unity. If I remember correctly though, you’ve written that you write at SF for the purpose of correcting the authority model. Maybe you expected a better reception to your corrections, that’s understandable, but it didn’t happen that way. Is that justification for cessation of dialogue? That’s a personal call, but as implied, I hope two brothers can shake on it, whatever “it” ends up being.

    What a long comment!

    —————————————————————————————————

    [Editor’s Note: I’ve merged both comments together]

    What’s a long comment without a post script?

    I think I wrote about resetting and having a structure for interaction. That was in response to should I engage. If the engagement is due to seeing yourself written about, then probably not. I don’t think it is healthy to engage if I am not asked a question. So if I see my name, and an implication, or accusation about me, I usually consider it wise not to be goaded into something that I wasn’t explicitly invited to. It just isn’t productive. For politics, Republicans using a set of old-time rules destroys them in a fight with a combatant not playing the rules. In this case though, you want to engage about ideas, so not responding, or expecting a response, unless a real question has been asked, seems like a good filter for when to engage. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a solid biblical reason for the old system of honor of the white-glove slap and request for a duel, if one’s honor is besmirched. My advice to stay out of it is in contradiction to men who knew of sacrifice, hardship, and honor, so it could be way off, but I still lean to staying out.

    I see that as part of the cost for keeping a discussion focused on ideas, and rancor/divisiveness limited. Another tool? Having to be vulnerable first and saying, “you wrote such-and-such. That hurt. Did you intend to hurt me?”

    There’s that darned question mark symbol again. But in a conversation with brothers, an honest answer might be, “yes, Upon reflection, I did want to hurt you. That was uncalled for. I’m sorry.”

    That’s a good explanation of why I didn’t like the long posts between you and Sharkly. Too much was written because of the long comments, and then it’s impossible to deal with an issue. That’s the linear aspect of blogging I referred to. I’ve seen short comments for people writer’s are annoyed with, so short comments aren’t a fix-all, but surely, in many words, there can be problems (which is a reason I am doubtful of the use of my two comments here, they are too long).

    IMO, it’s presumptive to assume we can dialogue about ideas on blogs in comment sections. It’s different than writing letters, but more like talking to someone at a school board meeting. That’s why I think shorter is better. If it can’t be done shortly, then I think that’s evidence an issue would need to go to private emails.

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      Thank you for your two comments (which I’ve merged together into one to make it easier to reference and eventually respond to). I’ll give them some thought.

    2. Derek L. Ramsey

      Surfdumb,

      “Engage when the time is right for you, however, there does seem to be some contention currently, so sooner than later would hopefully be fruitful. If it was meatspace, I’d ask you to both do something together as a break”

      I followed this up with “Mutual Submission, Part 8” (2024-06-19) where I responded to “Wayne Grudem’s Study of the Greek Word kephalē, “Head”” (2023-04-19). It was a long break. Plenty of time to cool-down.

      My response got zero engagement. The post I was responding to only had engagement for less than 48 hours. This is not the only time this has happened either. Many of my posts are written against older articles.

      The reality is that unless I respond quickly (within 24 hours ) in the comment section at Sigma Frame (where I’ve been shadow banned), then there is no engagement at all. Any break to cool down will typically end all future engagement.

      My engagement is one-sided. So when I asked…

      “Why should I engage with people who can’t achieve basic levels of intellectual rigor?”

      …I’m referring to engaging with the ideas they present without any expectation that there will be a corresponding response. So what I mean to ask is…

      “Should I engage with the material people present—expecting no meaningful engagement in response—if those same people can’t achieve basic levels of intellectual rigor?”

      Isn’t failing to respond by walking away just implicitly declaring myself intellectually superior? From my perspective, that’s an ad hominen.

      Does this change your advice?

      “…there will have to be some emails to clear the hurts”

      I don’t get responses when I email Jack. That option is not available. Nor does he respond to comments I leave him here on my blog. Similarly, he’s shadowbanned me on his blog. Dialogue, it would seem, is not an option. Given this, when I ask…

      “Should I cut off contact with SF?”

      …what I’m really asking is….

      “Should I engage with the ideas people present if those same people will never respond directly, but may still read what I write?”

      One option is to keep writing about Sigma Frame, but to stop linking to Sigma Frame so they don’t know what I’m writing about.

      Peace,
      DR

    3. Derek L. Ramsey

      I’ve seen short comments for people writer’s are annoyed with, so short comments aren’t a fix-all, but surely, in many words, there can be problems (which is a reason I am doubtful of the use of my two comments here, they are too long).

      I find your long, well thought out comments to be more useful than your short ones.

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