Mutual Submission, Part 10

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

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 “Habitually Being Wrong,” it was revealed that the folk at Sigma Frame had discussed “Mutual Submission, Part 1” without engaging with me (and if they discussed any other part of the series, they didn’t let me know). So while I wasn’t planning on a 10th entry to the series, I’ve decided to read and respond to the three relevant comments in “Hypocrisy in the Manosphere.” It’s unclear if they meant for me to read these or respond to them, but I will do so regardless.

Comment by Jack

Comment by Jack
“Paul very much appears to be describing mutual submission between all members of the church, including both males and females.”

“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.”

“Loving wives is one key way that a husband submits to his wife. […] …the submission of husbands to wives reflects a greater type of submission over wives to husbands.”

Derek L. Ramsey: Mutual Submission (2024/6/5)

So now it is clear. There is no structure of authority.

Let’s stop right here. Neither Paul, nor I, said that there is no structure of authority. My argument is that Paul is not talking about authority at all (except for the mutual authority described in 1 Corinthians 7:4). Authority is not being discussed, it is not the topic, it is not the concern, and it is not mentioned. It is orthogonal to what is being discussed. Neither Paul, nor I, are weighing in on the nature of authority, so the ‘structure of authority’ is not in view.

Comment by Jack
Everybody submits to everyone and this is what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Regarding “this is what it means,” I noted that submission is just one aspect of being filled with the Holy Spirit and just one part of being in the Lord,  explicitly stating that submission joins other aspects of being filled with the Holy Spirit: speaking to one another (in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs), singing, making music, and giving thanks. Moreover, these are obviously not the only ways to be filled with the spirit, but are figurative representations of the fullness.

Submission is part of one’s godly service, along with all the other virtues described in the New Testament: patience, kindness, service, joy, meekness, gratefulness, honor, faith, hope, love, purity, truthfulness, contentment, endurance, godliness, gentleness, prudence, goodness, devoutness, reasonableness, mercy, tenderness, humility, respectfulness, obedience, strength, pleasantness, commendability, worthiness, self-control, affection, etc.

Comment by Jack
Men love their wives by submitting to them, and men submitting to their wives is a greater form of submission than wives submitting to their husbands.

Paul taught that husbands submit to their wives by loving them, not that husbands love their wives by submitting to them. Here is what I said:

Loving wives is one key way that a husband submits to his wife.

Jack has reversed this, and in doing so created an unfortunate strawman:

Men love their wives by submitting to them

Rather than what was claimed:

Men are submitting to their wives by loving to them

In propositional logic, this is the formal fallacy known as “Affirming the Consequent.”

There is really nothing exceptional about husbands having “a greater form of submission.” It is quite common for Red Pillers—especially Christian patriarchs—to note that Paul’s command for them to love their wife is, by far, the harder and greater task than the wife submitting to and respecting her husband (which are relatively easy in comparison).

That does not suddenly become untrue because loving happens to be Paul’s primary example of a husband’s submission. It is equally true that the husband’s ‘role’ is the more difficult one, whether or not you believe that agape love—of a husband towards his wife—is a type of submission. It is as true for the Christian patriarch as it is for the Christian complementarian or the Christian egalitarian.

Comment by Jack
In the past, I always gave Derek the benefit of the doubt, but this really does sound like gynolatry / pedestalization.

Given that this conclusion is the result of fallacious reasoning, I suggest continuing to give the benefit of the doubt.

If one applies the Principle of Charity, it will no longer sound like gynolatry or pedestalization, neither of which logically follow from anything that I have presented in my (now) ten part series. If one reads the quote that is at the top of each article in the series, they’ll see that I quite clearly promote unity, not the pedestalization of either sex (which would undermine unity).

Comment by Jack
Let’s talk about what Christian ‘mutual submission’ looks like.

Men submit to God by loving and honoring their wives. Women submit to God by respecting and submitting to their husbands. Obedience is an act of love for and submission to God. Boundaries are a big piece of being obedient, which means men should not be spreading sugar on every woman, and wives should not be submitting themselves to every man.

Jack’s understanding of submission as ‘obedience’ (an implication of authority) is wrong here, and so his conclusion is incorrect. Paul never tells wives to obey their husbands, because Paul wasn’t discussing authority (or boundaries). In the full context of his letters, he is very explicit and obvious about this. In my opinion, it is not especially ambiguous how Paul carefully avoids the very thing Jack is claiming that he taught. Jack is certainly entitled to his opinion, but the evidence supporting it—which, although I’m familiar with it, he didn’t actually present—is not strong.

Jack’s teaching here is not an argument. It’s a bunch of unsubstantiated assertions. While I respect his right to have and share whatever opinion he wants to have, he isn’t debating. There isn’t much more to say about it.

Comment by Jack
When someone is filled with the Spirit, they become humble and submissive in nature, e.g. being ready to serve those in need, offering a generous will to one’s fellow man, honoring elders, loving the women in their care, being willing to defer to the wishes of others when appropriate, not arguing with those who are weak in faith, and so on.

I have no objection to this. Submission is one of the general Christian virtues, like the others mentioned above. All the virtues—including service, generosity, honor, loving, and not quarreling—work seamlessly alongside submission.

Comment by Jack
It does NOT mean they become spineless wussies with no boundaries.

Jack may be concerned with boundaries—a topic adjacent to authority—but Paul wasn’t discussing them. His personal wishes have no bearing on Paul’s instruction.

Comment by Jack
It does NOT mean men should submit to their wives by agreeing to everything she says and by doing whatever she tells him to do.

Jack may be concerned with how couples should deal with “tie breaking” and “conflict resolution,” but Paul wasn’t discussing those directly. A proper submissive attitude would certainly assist with those problems, but by nature of unity, not authority. In any case, because that isn’t the focus of what Paul is saying, it is orthogonal to the debate and so we’ll set it aside.

Comment by Jack
It does NOT mean wives should submit to every man in church, nor even submit to the pastor more than her own father or husband.

This is obviously a true statement, so I’m not sure where Jack is going with this. As I laid out in the series, Paul is concerned with a proper submission in Christ. If it is proper for a woman (or man) to submit to a man (or woman) in the church—whether pastor, elder, teacher, etc.—then she (or he) should do so in an appropriate manner. Otherwise she (or he) should not. Wisdom is called for, not blind or absolute obedience to rules, axioms, maxims, and organizational charts.

Inherent in Jack’s comment seems to be the underlying assumption that submission is an imperative—a command—rather than a matter of conscience, discernment, wisdom, or common sense. As we’ve discussed at various points, the language Paul uses (e.g. middle voice) pertains more strongly to the latter rather than to the former.

Comment by thedeti

Comment by thedeti

Here is the crux of Derek’s argument:

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).

And, summarized, Derek asserts that Paul did not tell wives to submit to their husbands.

This last sentence is false, and it is hard to account for Deti making this claim. Paul told husbands and wives to submit to each other. I would like clarification of if Deti has a reading comprehension problem or if he is blatantly lying. I hope, and assume, that he just made a typo or accidentally added an extra “not.” Here is what I said:

Paul explicitly states that everyone is to submit to each other.

There is not a hint of ambiguity here. If everyone is submitting to each other, then wives are submitting to their husbands. Full stop.

But that’s not all! I also said this:

Paul does tell wives to “be submitting” to their husbands, but he does so implicitly.

So there we go: Paul implicitly tells wives to submit to their husbands. Full stop.

While Jack was merely wrong about what I wrote, a matter easily corrected by pointing out the logical fallacy, Deti seems to be making no effort at all to accurately portray my viewpoint. He apparently states precisely the opposite of what I actually said quite clearly. If my refutation of a claim is merely to reiterate what I previously wrote verbatim, then something is deeply wrong with the discourse.

Fortunately, things improve in later comments:

Comment by thedeti
He bases this argument on a claim that the Greek word used there is in the “middle voice”, a voice which doesn’t exist in English, and so when it got translated to English it was put into the active voice and stated as an imperative.

I could quibble with this formulation, but as long as we don’t treat this as conveying laboratory precision, I’m fine with this summary. It should be good enough.

Comment by thedeti
Phrasing and absence of punctuation in the Greek indicates the “submission” is intended to be mutual between spouses.

Not just phrasing and (lack of) punctuation, but other linguistic features as well, such as verb elision, the use of participles, an inclusio, and a chiastic structure (which I didn’t even bother to mention in this series). There is also the number of words assigned to husbands vs. wives (indicating point of emphasis), as well as “how language functions holistically, particularly at the level of pragmatics and discourse.” In short, there is quite a lot of different linguistic evidence to suggest that “submission” is intended to be mutual between spouses.

Comment by thedeti
Paul intended to instruct spouses on what’s typically more difficult for men and women: It’s harder for men to love (submit to) their wives; it’s harder for women to submit to husbands.

Eh, sort of. Paul certainly tailored his general instruction in a sex-specific way, but I’m almost certain that Deti and Paul would not agree on what “submit” means, so I’m hesitant to enthusiastically embrace Deti’s summary here. It’s a bit loaded.

It’s challenging to write about submission in English when the English word is not a great fit for the Greek word. I don’t know of any easy way around that, but it’s neither mine nor Deti’s fault. But as above, let’s just accept it as workable enough and move on.

Comment by thedeti
ONE: If Derek is correct, all English translations of scripture are useless and errant. All Christians must therefore become scholars of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, since this is the only way to understand the text. Or, they must study under and receive instruction from others who are ancient language scholars.

Just as those who have taken the Red Pill have learned that some pills are bitter and hard to swallow, so too is this reality.

I suggest reading this related comment by John Bradshaw and my responses.

Next, read “The Living Voice” where you can see that the Roman Catholic Church concluded just what Deti fears: that scripture is voiceless and inherently error-prone. But rather than concluding, as Deti does, that everyone must become scholars of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, Roman Catholicism concludes that a Latin translation is authoritative and relies on an external authority to determine truth without the need for a preexisting scriptural backing.

Rather than go in depth on this complicated issue, I’ll merely note that once you acknowledge the realities of scripture, there are various ways that one can approach the problem. Not everyone has to become an agnostic like Bart Ehrman. Not everyone has to go to the other extreme and act as if these issues don’t exist. These need not be impediments to faith, but they are not simple matters either, and the assumption that they must be simple will only lead to error.

Comment by thedeti
This cannot be so.

Christianity was intended to be taught to, understood by, and lived out by, a mostly uneducated, illiterate, hardscrabble people. These concepts are not supposed to be difficult to teach or grasp. It should not require an 8000 word exposition requiring the equivalent of a degree in ancient languages to understand one – ONE – aspect of spousal relationships. If you have to spend over 8000 printed words explaining a very, very simple concept, then you either don’t get it or you’re hiding something.

It’s the fallacious Appeal to Consequences.

I try to avoid any appeal to anecdotes, but this is going to be very difficult. What Deti believes is, in large part, due to his own personal experiences and assumptions. A person operating under different set of assumption would not see the problems that he sees. His objections are tied to his personal situation, rather than being universal precepts.

The vast majority of the difficulties that Deti faces are in the consequences that embracing mutual submission would have on his assumptions, his worldview, and his life. He’s simply unwilling to accept the consequences, and so fallaciously concludes that the concept is inherently wrong. This is the fallacy.

There is nothing particularly difficult to grasp about the concept of mutual submission. Huge numbers of people have no problem grasping it and implementing it in their own marriages. That’s one reason that I don’t find the “you wrote too much, so it must be false” argument to be particularly compelling.

It could just as easily be flipped around and said that Deti’s viewpoint is too difficult to teach or grasp and requires an entire manosphere to teach it, but that too would be fallacious. Nevertheless, I’ll be honest and illustrate it with an anecdotal personal opinion. I do not find Christian patriarchy to be intuitive in any way, nor do I view its history in a positive light because I don’t come predisposed to spin it in a positive light. Without those assumptions, Patriarchy does not make sense. This will likely shock those who are predisposed to it, but this merely illustrates that it is our assumptions, not the facts-of-the-matter, that desire to determine our beliefs. There is nothing inherently obvious or natural about Christian patriarchy, which is why one must use reason and evidence to determine what Paul was saying.

Comment by thedeti
TWO: The strongest part of Derek’s argument, and really the only way he can support it, is to equate “love” with “submission”.

No, love and submission are not equivalent concepts.

In propositional logic, if A⇒B and B⇒A, you have equivalency. But I’ve only asserted A⇒B, not B⇒A. Thus, Deti is committing the same formal fallacy, “Affirming the Consequent,” that Jack also committed above. They just use slightly different words to make the same claim.

Like Jack, Deti has setup an unfortunate strawman. The rebuttal he makes is against an argument that I didn’t make, and is thus useless.

Love is just one of many possible forms of submission. Jack’s summary is a good example to illustrate this:

Comment by Jack
When someone is filled with the Spirit, they become humble and submissive in nature, e.g. being ready to serve those in need, offering a generous will to one’s fellow man, honoring elders, loving the women in their care, being willing to defer to the wishes of others when appropriate, not arguing with those who are weak in faith, and so on.

I did not say that submission is love (as Jack wrote), but I said that love is (an example of) submission.

Comment by thedeti
Christ is the model for how husbands are to love their wives. So…. did Christ ever submit to His disciples? Did He ever submit to anyone other than His Father? Christ washing the disciples’ feet was not submission. He told the disciples to allow Him to wash their feet. “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” He did not submit to them. He loved them. Christ’s going to the Cross was not submission, except to His Father, Who told Him to go. If anything, His footwashing showed mutual submission among the church, because He told them to do to each other as He showed them.

Deti asks “Did He ever submit to anyone other than His Father?” without realizing that the biblical answer is a clear and unambiguous “Yes” (as we discussed in both Part 1 and Part 5). In doing so he undermines the very foundation of his argument and his belief.

Deti probably didn’t intend it, but he just proved, by contradiction, that biblical submission isn’t about authority.

The Greek term used in Luke 2:51 of Jesus submitting to his parents is the same term used of husbands and wives submitting to each other in Ephesians 5:21 and that Peter uses in 1 Peter 2,3,5. If Deti were correct that Jesus did not submit to anyone other than his Father, then the term used in Luke 2:51—which is the same as the term used in Ephesians 5:21—cannot imply obedience to unidirectional hierarchical authority. But if Deti is incorrect, then his argument that Jesus did not submit (e.g. feet washing) is false, which also invalidates his conclusion that submission implies authority.

I concluded this:

Jesus—in the flesh—never gave up the authority that he had received from his Father, but always acted in accordance with it. He may have freely chosen to submit himself to his disciples by washing their feet, or to the will of his parents, or to the judgment of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod, but he nonetheless retained all authority that was granted to him, even the power to call down angels to his aide. Submitting to others did not change his rightful authority.

I do not believe that Jesus was ever under the authority of—in submission to, in the English sense—anyone but the Father, even as he submitted to others—in the Greek sense—at various times throughout his life.

The reason feet washing was an act of love was because it was submissive. The duty of washing the feet of guests would have fallen on the lowest status available member of a household (whether slave or free). Indeed, the washing of feet was among the most servile, subordinate, and submissive acts that a first-century Hebrew male could perform. Yet, Jesus, over the objections of the horrified Peter, cited his own authority to do so, indicating that submission does not imply (the rejection of) authority. In terms of propositional logic, if we take the contrapositive of this, it is thus true that the exercise of authority does not imply that one does not also submit (i.e. submission to authority isn’t strictly unidirectional hierarchical). Thus, it is as I said above:

Paul is not talking about authority at all

Deti’s argument about Christ also self-refutes his claim that a wife must obey her husband in literally everything, including sin. For now, I’ll leave that proof as an exercise for the reader.

I may need to go back and add these arguments to my series. They are a very strong proof of what I’ve claimed.

Comment by thedeti
When husbands love their wives, they are to do it “as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her”. They do it out of obedience and submission to God the Father, because He instructed and commanded it.

How does one read the Gospel of John and come to a conclusion like this? Here is what Jesus said:

If you love me, keep my commands.

…and…

Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.

…and…

You are my friends if you do what I command.

Jesus taught us to obey out of love and friendship. It was about personal relationship. Love in the form of a personal relationship is the essence of the fourth gospel and of the gospel itself:

Bruce G. Charlton
 Jesus does not talk about rules for living, does not talk of morality. Does not tell people how to behave in the details (or indeed the sweep) of everyday life. Indeed, this trait is very marked indeed. Jesus is hardly-at-all a moral teacher. When he refers to sin, he nearly always means death, and suchlike realities of this mortal life. And when Jesus speaks of “commandments” he essentially means to “love one another” (as he goes on to explain) and Himself – clearly a qualitatively different matter from the commandments of Moses.

Love is mentioned many, many times; and seems like the core term – a new and all-transcending principle of life – the new reality that Jesus made-happen.

Jesus replaced Pharisaic legalism with love, and it is this love that Paul—Paul, of the book of Romans—speaks of in Ephesians 5. And, quite notably, the love that Jesus commands is mutual: to love one another.

Comment by thedeti
God tells you to do it, so you do it. “If ye love me, keep My commandments.”

Deti’s faith appears to be like that of the Pharisees: one of following rules and regulations, of obedience—submission, in the English sense—to authority and law. It is as I said above: Deti’s personally chosen worldview makes accepting mutual submission an untenable proposition. It upsets the very foundation of the faith. It’s not that his arguments are logically invalid, it’s that the worldview assumptions he brings in are so different than my own. We can read the exact same words and conclude something completely different because our very conception of Jesus and his conception of love is different.

I do not do what Jesus wants me to because it is a commandment, I do it because I love him and desire to be in an intimate relationship that was promised:

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Our relationship to Christ is like that of a husband and wife, not a parent and child. It is why Jesus described us as brothers and sisters, not fathers and offspring. It is why Paul described the church as Christ’s bride, not Christ’s offspring.

Comment by thedeti
Christ loves, gives, pours Himself out for His Bride, the church.

Deti describes the various acts of love that Jesus showed the church. He is, presumably, preparing to stretch the analogy as far as possible so he can then apply it to husbands and wives. But Paul does not tell husbands to love their wives by doing the acts that Jesus did when he loved the church, he just tells them to use Christ’s love as an example of their love.

Let’s repeat that. Jesus loved the church as demonstrated by various actions. Husbands are not told to love their wives by repeating those same actions. The only action they are told to perform is to love. This is what Jesus taught in the gospel of John.

Comment by thedeti
Christ is the head; the Church is the body. The Church does what He says: Trust Him, and obey Him. The Church doesn’t have to be the church. She or her members can leave anytime they want. Then they no longer receive Christ’s protection and provision and salvation.

In saying “[they] can leave anytime they want,” I’m not sure if Deti is trying to make a point about divorce. I’d prefer not to get into that discussion here, so I’m just going to move on.

Comment by thedeti
So it is with husbands and wives. Husband love, gives, pours himself out for his wife. How does he do this? He works. He toils. He provides, protects, teaches, trains, corrects. He represents his family to the world as the public outward “face” of the family. He is the first interface and liaison between his family and the rest of the world. He is the head.

Deti is, ironically, making a strong case that kephale (‘head’) connotes preeminence, as we did in in Part 8, in “Changing Language,” and elsewhere. He even uses the same language that we used! I could probably take this quote wholesale and add it to one of my articles on the topic. The fact that we can use the exact same quote in diametrically opposed ways is yet another example that the primary difference between us is one of worldview—personal assumptions—not of biblical exegesis.

Comment by thedeti
He washes her in the water of the Word.

All stop. This is simply false. Husbands are not being instructed to wash their wives in the water of the Word. The subject of the verse is Christ and the church, not husbands and wives. Christ washed her—the church—with “the water of the Word” which John Chrysostom understood to refer to the baptism of faith. Chrysostom understood that washing in the baptism of faith to apply to the husband personally:

John Chrysostom
Let us wipe off the spot that is within, let us smooth the wrinkles that are within, let us do away the blemishes that are on the soul.

Chrysostom—a native Greek speaker—understood that a husband must himself be “washed in the Word” if he is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

Chrysostom understood, as I explained a few paragraphs above, that it was not Jesus’ actions that were to be emulated, but his love. Indeed, that is precisely what Paul actually said in his own words: love. He didn’t tell husbands to give up, pour out, or wash their wives. He told them to love. The actions of Christ inform the nature of the love that the husband shows, but are not themselves actions to be directly emulated. This is, of course, most obviously seen in the simple observation that there is no corresponding ritual of baptism between a husband and wife, nor are husbands supposed to die for their wife’s eternal salvation.

Comment by thedeti
The wife does what he says: trusts him, submits to him, does what he says.

Deti begs-the-question by presuming the very thing under debate. In like manner, I could just as easily declare that he is simply wrong because submission (like kephale ‘head’) does not imply authority. Both are equally unhelpful to a meaningful discussion.

Comment by thedeti
She does not have to do this. She can leave anytime she wants. Then she no longer receives his protection or provision.

Deti, unfortunately, makes clear that he is talking about divorce. He may believe, erroneously, that divorce is acceptable (as does his debate partner Red Pill Apostle here), but Paul is obviously not discussing it in his context. Deti has lost the focus on the topic of discussion: mutual submission. There is an even greater irony in that Deti likes to cite 1 Peter 3 to claim that only wives should submit to their husbands, even as Peter forbids divorce in that same passage. I discussed this in Part 9.

If you are interested in going down the divorce doctrine rabbit hole, see the biblical teaching in “On Divorce.”

Comment by thedeti
This was presented in analogy form to make it easy for a mostly illiterate, uneducated people to understand and then walk out in their daily lives. This is not supposed to be difficult to understand. This is not supposed to require a degree in ancient languages to understand. Again – if you need a degree to understand this or it requires hours on hours of scholarly instruction to understand this extremely simple concept, you either don’t understand it, you’re hiding something, or you’re overcomplicating it. It’s not complex. It is hard, but “hard” is not the same as “complex”.

The problem with inductive inference is that it is a very weak form of argument.

In “Dividing Ephesians 5:21 & 22,” Mike Aubrey says this:

Mike Aubrey
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.

Did you see that part about how language functions? He’s saying the same thing that Deti is saying: that the scholars who agree with Deti’s position are failing to interpret the passage in the way that the mostly illiterate, uneducated people would have understood it when they heard it read out loud.

Let’s emphasize this. It is Deti’s viewpoint that the original listeners would have found to be completely foreign. Remember all that talk I did about elided verbs, participles, inclusios, chiastic structures, and points of emphasis? These are all things that a 1st century native speaker would have intuited automatically. They had no need for a degree in ancient languages because they were native speakers. But you and I are not. That difference is extremely important, no matter how much Deti resists the consequences.

Deti thinks that his view must be correct because he’s interpreted the passage through his own personal biases, but those biases have no bearing on what the original audience would have heard. And the original audience would have found Deti’s understanding to be nonsense, in large part because his understanding of the words used are not the same as the original.

Deti thinks he is making a good point here, but his position falls to his own objection.

Let me pause here to point out one thing: Deti certainly can know that mutual submission is correct, because it has been revealed in scripture by God himself. He doesn’t need an advanced degree to understand it. He just has to be willing to accept it, as millions of other perfectly normal people have. This is not an issue of interpretation, it’s an issue of personal choice, of free will. This is why he makes fallacious appeals to consequences, rather than making strong arguments. Mutual submission challenges his core beliefs, but it isn’t challenging to understand. It may be right or it may be wrong, but the primary difficulty is accepting it if it is true.

Comment by thedeti
THREE: So… husbands submitting to wives. Derek presents this as good and as part of the natural order and what God intended. No. Adam submitting to Eve and not to God is what caused the Fall in the first place. Adam did what Eve told him to do and not what God told him to do. That was the entire problem.

Deti is trying to insert a doctrine into Genesis that does not exist. The description of the Fall of Man in Genesis mentions nothing of submission or authority. The entire problem that Deti mentions is not present in the text.

Adam sinned because he disobeyed God. God told him not to do something and he did it. He didn’t command Adam not to listen to his wife. His wife told him to do what God had forbidden and he did was his wife told him to do in that particular instance instead of what God told him to do.

If a husband tells his wife to sin and she does it, the error is in choosing to sin, not in listening to her husband. Yes, she should never have listened to her husband in that particular instance, but listening to her husband wasn’t the problem, it was sinning.

Comment by thedeti
This whole thing happened because Adam did not tell Eve “no, I’m not going to. Now put that apple down right now and stop listening to that serpent. God said no. Now knock it off.”

Deti is making an invalid inference by presuming that because Adam was wrong to listen to his wife that one time that he must be wrong to listen to his wife any other time. This does not logically follow from anything presented in Genesis. It is a deductively invalid argument.

Nothing in Genesis states that it was Adam’s role to correct his wife. That fictitious dialogue—and the doctrines of hierarchical authority and correction that it implies—is entirely of Deti’s imagination. Deti has not developed his argument from scripture itself, but has instead invented bespoke stories to support his worldview.

Comment by thedeti
“Because you hearkened to the voice of your wife and ate of the tree….” That’s the point – men aren’t supposed to submit to their wives in disregard of what God says.

Deti believes that women are supposed to submit to their husbands in disregard of what God says. This aptly illustrates the absurdity of this claim.

Comment by thedeti
FOUR: If everyone submits to everyone, that’s chaos. That’s the opposite of order.

Again, we have a worldview problem. Deti has presumed from his extra-biblical belief that both marriage and the church structure must be based on a unidirectional hierarchical authority. His experiences tell him this. So even though Paul and Peter preached something different, Deti can only view what they’ve taught in light of his own experience. It’s self-blindness.

Mutual submission is not chaos, but is the very essence of order that leads to unity:

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.

People who have embraced mutual submission—whether explicitly or instinctively—experience peace in their relationships. I wrote about this in depth in “The Disadvantage of Authority,” where I showed how the emphasis on authority leads to chaos and division, while the deemphasis of authority leads to harmony. I used the example of Anicetus and Polycarp to illustrate mutual submission:

Irenaeus once recounted the tale of how Polycarp and “pope” Anicetus, Bishop of Rome disagreed over the Easter observance. Anicetus, out of respect for the visiting Polycarp, chose to set aside his differences and submitted to Polycarp. According to Roman Catholicism, Anicetus had more authority than Polycarp, and according to Protestants the two Bishops had equal authority. Yet, regardless, mutual submission took precedence over their individual authority and Anicetus submitted to his elder.

Had either Anicetus or Polycarp viewed submission as a matter of authority, their interaction would have been punctuated by chaos and division. Instead, they had peace and order. By contrast, in the midst of the Filioque Controversy in 1054AD, both sides met in Constantinople and demonstrated the chaos that erupts when submission is rejected:

“At Constantinople the impression bequeathed by Cardinal Humbert and other western visitors was one of incredible arrogance. … It offended western visitors to find that at the consecration of the elements, Greeks did not add water to the cup until after the bread and the wine were sanctified.” — Chadwick, Henry, “East and West: the Making of a Rift in the Church.” (2003) p.226.

Both sides held firmly to their authority and this led to the Great Schism.

Comment by thedeti
That’s not what God intended.

It is exactly what God intended. It’s why Paul explicitly told us that this was intended.

Comment by thedeti
God set out the model and Paul said it explicitly: As Christ is head of the church, so husband is head of the wife. That’s what scripture says (in English, at least). That means someone is in charge. That means someone is ultimately accountable and responsible.

Deti is correct to qualify this “in English, at least” because ‘head’ in English is not a match for ‘head’ in 1st century Greek. As this series showed, the latter does not connote all of these implications of authority, structure, and hierarchy. For this reason, his conclusion is unfounded.

Comment by thedeti
And the objection always comes that this means women are automatons who have no agency. Wrong.

The biblical interpretation is not determined by how anyone uses—or misuses—it. That’s another appeal to consequences. I’m not interested in this objection because it isn’t relevant to the biblical understanding of mutual submission. Deti is correct to reject this objection, but he should be objecting it because it is irrelevant, not trying to argue against it on its merits:

Comment by thedeti
No woman has to do any of this with any man. No woman is required to submit to any man, or live with him, or have sex with him, or do anything else with him. She has full free will. She can leave anytime she wants. So it is with the Church – no one is required to follow Christ or obey Him. Any of His followers can leave anytime they want (and they do – all the time. Sometimes quite publicly and spectacularly).

All of this argument is unnecessary because it isn’t addressing the topic of discussion: mutual submission. If you find this topic of discussion interesting, go ahead and discuss it. I’ll simply move along.

Comment by thedeti
I’ll just await my Greek or Hebrew bible now, along with all the instruction I’ll need to understand what God was really saying.

Deti sounds like the atheist who says “how can Christianity be true when there are a gazillion denominations that all disagree?” It’s the same argument that’s been debunked time and time again. I won’t spend any time on this. It isn’t a relevant objection to mutual submission.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
The concept of female submission to male headship gets really difficult to argue against in light of 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Peter 3:1-7, 1 Tim 2:11-14, etc. existing.

None of these are especially challenging. As soon as one accepts that submission (and kephale ‘head’) does not imply authority, the vast majority of the “difficulty” vanishes. Indeed, once submission is understood apart from authority, it becomes really difficult to argue for patriarchy.

I discussed 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 in Part 5.

I discussed 1 Peter 3:1-7 in Part 1, Part 2, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 9.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
The mutual submission scriptural twist Derek ascribes to is one that Gregoire has also established as biblical fact in her teaching on her blog.

Is this supposed to be Guilt by Association? If so, then we’re not off to a good start. Nothing I wrote in this series interacts with Gregoire or her work, so there is nothing substantive here to respond to.

RPA applies the “twisted scripture” motif that Dalrock applied more than a decade ago. We talked about this in Part 9. It is neither helpful nor convincing.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
Given the preponderance of evidence supporting male authority in both marriage and church leadership, the argument is either emotionally based in feminism (Gregoire, see her educational background and read her own words) or a combination of emotional reaction…

Claiming to have all the evidence, but providing none of it, is not constructive. Also, my series is obviously not emotionally laden, so it is really weird, irrelevant, and inaccurate to bring that up. Moving on.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
…with a penchant for pedantic minutia resulting in linguistic analysis that will make your eyes bleed.

After complaining about fallacious appeals to emotion, RPA makes a completely unhelpful and non-substantive objection, using emotionally charged language (“pedantic” and “eyes bleed”). Though there is some irony there, there is also nothing for me to respond to, so I’m moving on.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
What is quite interesting is that the proponents of language analysis paralysis…

Using buzzwords in place of an argument is not helpful either. Is there any aspect of my series that is particularly difficult to understand? I wouldn’t know, because no evidence was given of this empty claim.

Is there a problem in something that I wrote that is too difficult to understand that requires clarification? Or is there a problem with the reader’s ability to understand what is made plain? Or is there a different problem that has nothing to do with the substance of the debate (e.g. an unwillingness to debate)?

If it is the last, then it is irrelevant to the discussion and I’ll just move on.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
…are effectively making the same argument about God’s word that Satan did in the Garden with Eve and they do so directed mainly at female emotions just like the king of lies did. Satan basically told Eve that God did not really mean what He said and if she ate of the fruit she’d be just like her ultimate head (God) without suffering consequences.

This is begging-the-question. Red Pill Apostle assumes that his version of what I’ve set out to debate is the correct version. This is plainly circular. Thus, as his comment shows, he brings precisely nothing to the discussion. He isn’t here to discuss or debate, he’s here to tell us what to believe.

I have not told you that God did not really say what he actually said. Indeed, I tend to emphasize rejecting those things that God clearly did not say in favor of those things he did say. Recall above how Deti ascribed to God things that Genesis did not say in order to avoid the things that were actually said. The same is true of Paul:

Paul explicitly states that everyone is to submit to each other.
“Did Paul really say that everyone is to submit to each other?”

Perhaps someone should answer that question before throwing stones at me, accusing me of working alongside Satan. While I got value from Jack’s and Deti’s comments, RPA’s is proving to be decidedly unhelpful. Indeed, it is a prime example of how not to debate.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
Preachers of mutual submission in Ephesians 5 tell women that God’s word really doesn’t mean what it says…

Actually, I tell them exactly what God’s Word says…

…submit yourselves to one another in fear of Christ…

…while also criticizing proponents of patriarchy for taking Ephesians 5 out of context by slicing and dicing the sentence into incomprehensible sentence fragments that no native speaker could possibly have understood when heard in isolation:

the wives to the husbands as to the Lord

Those who fling stones should be careful that they are not guilty of the very faults that they find in others.

The simple fact is that I’m interested in what the original audience would have understood and I’m exploring the perfectly valid questions about that. You should ask yourself why I am vilified for doing something that is perfectly reasonable.

A large proportion of my series, Part 5 and Part 6 in particular, is based on exploring the actual Word of God. Far from telling people what it doesn’t say, I’m strongly emphasizing what it does say.

Such a spurious accusation has no role in rational discourse.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
…she does not have to obey her earthy head (husband) and that obedience to God’s word is actually bad, or if one is a Gregoire feminist, even worse, abusive. It’s another “obeying God is bad” argument.

Do I really need to explain that “she does not have to obey her earthy head (husband)” begs-the-question for the umpteenth time? Do I need to explain, as I did in Part 8, that ‘head’ does not imply authority or obedience? No, because I already did.

Comment by Red Pill Apostle
Satan is consistent, that is for certain.

One day I hope for a discussion that contains no ad hominem. That’s probably asking too much.

If your concern is authority, hierarchy, submission to authority, and the influence of Satan, consider Paul’s teaching on the subject:

“Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach; the husband of one wifeone who is leading his own household well, having his children in subjection with all dignity—Indeed, if someone does not know how to lead his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?—not a new believer, so that he does not become conceited and fall into the condemnation of the Devil. Moreover, he must have a good reputation among those who are outside the church, so that he does not fall into reproach and the snare of the Devil.

Deacons must be husbands of one wife, leading their children and their own households well.”

Can we all agree right here and right now that those who are divorced, in troubled marriages, or remarried—a sizable portion of the Christian manosphere—are to be treated as would any new believer: forbidden from teaching, ministering, leading, and exercising authority on Christian doctrine, lest they become conceited and fall into the condemnation of Satan?

See, I’ve been equated with doing Satan’s work on many occasions merely for stating what the Bible actually says. But those who are divorced or remarried or those in troubled marriages are the ones that Paul says are likely to fall into the condemnation of Satan. In fact, it is far more likely that these troubled men—especially those hurling accusations of allegiance to Satan—are themselves serving his will. So a little humility and introspection is in order.

Let’s stop with the personal attacks and ad hominem, please.

3 Comments

  1. professorGBFMtm

    ”Comment by Jack
    It does NOT mean wives should submit to every man in church, nor even submit to the pastor more than her own father or husband.”

    Where was this same generic claptrap gibberish nonsense when certain ”good guys” at SF and what site that ”good guys” Jack and Sparkly as well as modern-day Saint theDeti think belongs to them also Spawnys was insinuating Liz and Elspeth needed to show how ”under authority” they were?

    Jack like others can’t even tell how much of a hypocrite he looks like while worried ” are you saying I’m NOT a real=true Christian when you disagree with my well-known super sensitive like a Gamma hoe woman Jack’s and EOS’ supposed ”redpilled ”(really fool-pilled as most are in the sphere) ”Christian” ”authoritah”!

    ”Can we all agree right here and right now that those who are divorced, in troubled marriages, or remarried—a sizable portion of the Christian manosphere—are to be treated as would any new believer: forbidden from teaching, ministering, leading, and exercising authority on Christian doctrine, lest they become conceited and fall into the condemnation of Satan?”

    ”See, I’ve been equated with doing Satan’s work on many occasions merely for stating what the Bible actually says. But those who are divorced or remarried or those in troubled marriages are the ones that Paul says are likely to fall into the condemnation of Satan. In fact, it is far more likely that these troubled men—especially those hurling accusations of allegiance to Satan—are themselves serving his will. So a little humility and introspection is in order.”

    ”Let’s stop with the personal attacks and ad hominem, please.”

    They kept seeing their supposed ”redpilled” father Saint Dalrock do it to others like Lydia Mcgrew, DarwinCatholic, Bonald, and ZippyCatholic.

    Like Sharkly, Saint Dalrock was an anti-Catholic-most likely NOT believing they were true Christians also,-even though ”lady” Lydia Mcgrew was a protestant, from the above list of his early ”enemies”.

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      Professor,

      “Where was this same generic claptrap gibberish nonsense when certain ”good guys” at SF and what site that ”good guys” Jack and Sparkly as well as modern-day Saint theDeti think belongs to them also Spawnys was insinuating Liz and Elspeth needed to show how ”under authority” they were?

      Jack like others can’t even tell how much of a hypocrite he looks like…”

      This comment of yours is a strong rebuttal.

      It is equivalent to my criticism of Sharkly for criticizing me for how I choose to run my family and for telling me how I must run it. I, correctly, pointed out that he was spitting on the very concept of patriarchy.

      Jack is correct that Patriarchy implies that submission is not universal, but applies within specific domains: it is qualified. However, the Christian patriarchs in the Manosphere do not apply this concept in a logically consistent manner.

      I would show much more respect to the Christian Manosphere’s conception of patriarchy if it were not hypocritical.

      Peace,
      DR

  2. professorGBFMtm

    ”Comment by Jack
    Men love their wives by submitting to them, and men submitting to their wives is a greater form of submission than wives submitting to their husbands.
    Paul taught that husbands submit to their wives by loving them, not that husbands love their wives by submitting to them. Here is what I said:

    Loving wives is one key way that a husband submits to his wife.
    Jack has reversed this, and in doing so created an unfortunate strawman:

    Men love their wives by submitting to them

    Rather than what was claimed:

    Men are submitting to their wives by loving to them”

    I would take ”jack” seriously if I didn’t know about him going behind the sphere’s ”red pill” back and liking posts by the ”guy”(people in the sphere 12-13 years ago thought ”he” was a woman) who said this:

    ”The problem with Dalrock’s formulation is that it is a classic “men’s rights” approach to things; men must never be criticized or told to take responsibility for their actions in regards to their relationships with women because only women sin and only women have responsibility. Dalrock is very eager to accuse the men who seek to impose responsibilities upon men of “being sinful” on the basis that any criticism of men or responsibilities imposed upon men gives aid and comfort to “feminist rebellion.” Other than this however men are to be held blameless; only women’s shortcomings are to be highlighted and talked about.

    Dalrock’s post “Fragging Christian Headship” starts out with a little gem from Mark Driscoll:

    Dalrock’s quote from Mark Driscoll (from “Fragging Christian Headship”):

    “Lord God, as well, I pray for those men who are here that are cowards. They are silent passive impish worthless men. They are making a mess of everything in their life. And they are such sweet little boys that no one ever confronts them on that. I pray for the women who enable them, who permit them to continue in folly, those who are mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives. I pray Lord God for men who are chauvinists. Those who are mean who are brash who are rude who are harsh. Who Lord God think they are tough when in fact they are satanic…”

    I know that Dalrock’s intent is to make Mark Driscoll look bad with this quote; that Mark Driscoll is a man basher shamelessly pandering to women and “fragging headship” as Dalrock puts it. There is nothing wrong with what Driscoll said however; Driscoll is not “fragging headship” or encouraging “feminist rebellion,” he is actually supporting headship and undermining feminist rebellion by setting standards of behavior for the men of his church. When men rise to meet the behavioral standards that Driscoll is setting for them they will be competent as masculine heads of household and they will present themselves to their wives as men deserving of respect and deference.”

    Now see why many thought that ”Jesse” was a woman over a decade ago? Yet ”jack” supports that supposed ”Patriarchy”.

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