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Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | Comments (24)

Earlier this year, Mark Oden preached a controversial sermon to his congregation in southeast England. He titled his message “Marriage and Women,” which included a plea for the wives in his congregation to “submit to their husbands.” In the aftermath, some irate wives—along with their disgruntled husbands—vowed never to attend the church again. One female attender said she was disgusted by the message, adding: “How can they talk that way in the twenty-first century?” Another quipped, “What kind of medieval sermon is that?” Pastor Oden, himself a married father of three, responded, “I am passionate about helping people to have healthy marriages. I did not set out to unnecessarily offend people, but I stand by what God has said in His Word, the Bible.” That pastor’s passion to cultivate healthy marriages, coupled with his courage to present the truth is regrettably rare in many churches of our day, but the response of his audience is not.

For the July 2010 edition of Sojourners magazine, feminist scholar Anne Eggebroten wrote an article titled “The Persistence of Patriarchy,” in which she described her recent visit to Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. Eggebroten was pleased with John MacArthur’s sermon and even commented on the kindness of the members who were eager to meet and greet her. What she was not pleased with was the church’s views on female roles within the home and church. With unconcealed resentment, she described Grace church as a place where “God is male, all the pastors, deacons, and elders are male, and women are taught to live in submission to men.” As Eggebroten’s article progresses, one gets the impression she visited the church looking for sad, dejected women who begrudgingly accepted their role in the home. If that’s the case, she came to the wrong place—as her article demonstrates. After talking with several joyfully submissive wives in the reception area, she became frantic to escape—at least that’s what it sounds like. She writes, “It’s time to get out of here, I tell myself. I’m feeling tense, as if I might cry or launch into a diatribe.” She finished her rant by quoting a barrage of other liberal feminist “Bible scholars” who, through agenda-driven interpretations, heap contempt on God’s Word by claiming the church is mistaken in its understanding of what St. Paul really meant. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

A multitude of other current examples could be listed, all demonstrating the same thing—the issue of authority and submission in the home is not appealing to our fallen culture. Society has been victimized by a godless, Christless, non-biblical philosophy of living perpetrated through the centuries and energized by Satan himself.

What we’re seeing in our day was also true of the philosophy behind the French Revolution, which was a humanistic, egalitarian approach to life. The French believed they could have a society with absolute equality—a classless, godless type of humanistic existence. That atheistic mindset now dominates Western civilization: no sexes, no distinctions, no authority, no submission, and no humility. And rather than reject that philosophy, many churches often reflect it, falling prey to the lies of our age. Much like the angry multitude in Psalm 2 who defied the Godhead, we live in the midst of a godless society that sees God’s divine order for life and family and cries out, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” The world views God’s design for the family—and women—as a threat, and much like Anne Eggebroten and her liberal friends, it seeks to redefine and overthrow that design altogether.

That brings us back to Ephesians, and the most important portion of this post—what does God say about women’s roles in the home? After all, He created the family, designed woman, and established her roles and relationships within the family. If God is the engineer, we’d better stick to His plans. What are they?

After making a statement about mutual submission in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:21), Paul proceeds to answer an important question: How can we submit to one another in the context of a family, while still recognizing the God-ordained roles of headship and authority? Beginning with Ephesians 5:22, Paul answers that question. Remember, he came to the idea of submission because that’s what epitomized the character of the person who is truly Spirit filled. Then he outlined how mutual submission should work in a family.

Paul’s instructions for family life in Ephesians cover several verses, beginning with 5:22 and running through 6:4. He was writing under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, of course, so this was not merely the apostle’s private opinion (2 Peter 1:21-21). God Himself inspired the very words of the text, including the order. Paul spoke here to wives first, then husbands, children, and parents.

The admonition to wives is simple, covering just three verses: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

Several key ideas in that text are worth pointing out immediately. First, the word translated “submit” doesn’t actually appear in the Greek text of verse 22. The idea is clearly implied, however, from the command of verse 21, which instructs all believers to submit to one another. Remember, wives aren‘t being singled out and consigned to a second-rate status. There’s a sense in which everyone in the family must submit to everyone else. Verse 22 simply begins a practical explanation of how wives ought to demonstrate their submission.

Second, notice that Paul started and ended this short section by specifying whom wives should submit to: “their own husbands” (Ephesians 5:24). Women as a group are not made serfs to men in general, and men aren’t automatically elevated to a ruling class over all women. But Scripture calls each woman to submit in particular to her own husband’s headship. In other words, the family itself is the primary arena in which a godly woman is to cultivate and demonstrate the attitude of humility, service, and sacrifice called for in verse 21.

Third, the command is general and sweeping. It’s not limited to wives whose husbands are fulfilling their function. It’s not addressed only to wives with children, wives of church leaders, or even wives whose husbands are faithful believers. It’s categorical and unconditional: wives. Anyone who fits that classification is obligated to obey the command of this verse by submitting to her own husband.

What, precisely, does this command require? The Greek word for “submit” (hupotasso) means “to line up under.” It has the idea of placing oneself in a rank lower than someone else, but in no way does it imply any essential inferiority. Nor does it demote the wife to a second-class status in the home or marriage. It speaks of a functional ranking, not an inferiority of essence.

Notice also that the word submit is not the word obey. What it calls for is an active, deliberate, loving, intelligent devotion to the husband’s noble aspirations and ambitions. It does not demand blind, fawning, slavish kowtowing to his every whim. The Greek word for “obey” would be hupakouo, and that is what Paul demanded of children in Ephesians 6:1 and slaves in 6:5. But a wife is neither a child nor a slave, waiting on her husband while he sits in an easy chair and issues commands (“Hand me the remote!” “Get me something to drink!” “Fix me a snack!” Fetch my slippers!”). Marriage is a much more personal and intimate relationship than that. It’s a union, a partnership, a singular mutual devotion, and that truth is emphasized by the words “your own husband.”

The expression itself suggests a tender partnership and mutual belonging to one another. Why wouldn’t a wife willingly respond in submission to one whom she possesses? Paul was subtly pointing out the reasonableness and the desirability of the wife’s submission to her husband.

This is a role that God Himself ordained for wives. In Genesis 3:16, God said to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” On the one hand, marriage is the perfect union of two people who become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). On the other hand, God has clearly ordained that the husband should be head in that relationship. For the sake of unity and workability, the woman is to be subject to the leadership of her husband—not as a slave but as one who is provided for, cared for, and made secure by her husband. It does not have nearly as much to do with what she does for him as what he is responsible to do for her.

Even nature seems to affirm the proper order. Men normally have the advantage of greater physical and emotional strength, while women usually have a more tenderhearted strength and character that equip them to be a support and encouragement—helpers suitable to their husbands.

We find a parallel passage in Colossians 3:18, where Paul also instructed wives to submit to their own husbands. But there he added a brief phrase that sheds light on why this command is so important: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (italics added). The word translated “fitting” means “seemly, proper, or right.” It is an expression commonly used of something that is legally or morally binding. Paul seems to be pointing out that the headship of the husband and the submission of the wife are an accepted law of virtually all human society. (That has certainly been the case in most societies for the vast majority of human history, and it was most definitely true in Paul’s time.) Paul was suggesting that it is “fitting”—and recognized as such throughout the history of human culture—because it is the divine order. It is “fitting in the Lord.” This is a very strong expression about the propriety of the husband’s headship.

Scripture is both clear and consistent. Every time the Bible speaks about the role of the wife, the emphasis is exactly the same. This is not some chauvinistic private opinion of the apostle Paul, as some have suggested. Nor is it an unclear principle that’s only vaguely suggested in Scripture. Every passage that touches on the subject of the wife’s role says essentially the same thing (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-2).

Of course, if every husband loved his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25), there presumably would be less resistance to the biblical teaching on the role of wives. But some husbands, rather than presenting a Christlike model of leadership to which their wives joyfully submit, instead play the part of an idle tyrant. Unbelief, anger, passivity, abuse, ridicule, laziness—all those sinful attitudes cause many wives to question God’s charge to submit. But God’s Word answers with stunning clarity. We’ll take a look at that next time.

In the meantime, here’s a question for the discussion thread: What barriers prevent wives from seeing the beauty of submitting to their husbands?


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#1  Posted by Jillane Mcgahhey  |  Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Hello, It has been many years but I met John after a concert at Temple Baptist in Redford, Michigan. Anyways I wanted to comment on this article. I attended a Baptist Church not to long ago that talked about submission in the home but did not emphasize wives but emphasized men and weman. We rarely seen men stick around and the wives that came without their husbands well..they never came. We ended up closing that church..long story..but we ended up at a huge church called Inter-City Baptist of Allen Park, Michigan. In that church the one thing that hit my husband and I both was the involvement of the men in the church. Alot of men participated in everything..even the kitchen. Honestly I felt more safe then I had in many years being under a unhealthy pastor's teaching ministry. He knew better to preach that about submission but his main goal was to be in control of everything including families himself and he succeeded to a certain extent. My husband is the one that confronted him and the pastor left. But damage was done to many families over the years. We found this out over time by people that came to us. Inter-City Bapt. walked us through this process of selling the church after first seeking out God's will in the matter. We are still sorting out things we learned in the past and need your prayers. Thank you for sharing this article. God Bless, Jill

#2  Posted by Jillane Mcgahhey  |  Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 10:01 PM

What other older weman say on their take on submission in the home..such as blind submission to the point of taking abuse is one reason this subject of submission isn't readily accepted by weman in general. Also for me it is a lack of good teaching on the subject of submission and the men that teach it at times teach this subject the way they want it interpreted. At this one church we attended the preacher would be gone on all of these "mission trips" while his wife was left at home with 4 teen sons living at home with her. He was gone a larger share of the time of the year. I wanted to say something but the men of the church didn't seem to think this was wrong. The pastors wife came to me one day and mentioned that since her husband had been home she hadn't even seen him (10 days he had been home). Lots of other ladies heard her say this and it did get back to him and the next year he was not gone as much.. But prayer does alot and I don't think it is emphasized as much as it should be concerning matters a woman submitting to her husband.

#3  Posted by Bud Hornbeck  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Thank You Pastor MacArthur for the clarity with which you presented this much misunderstood topic. I believe every man or woman who claims Christ as Lord and Savior should read and understand this more fully. I pray that all who read this would help spread this to those on the outside who are in unawares. Thanks again, May God continue to Bless you, your family and staff as you continue to spread the Truth in Christ

#4  Posted by Brian Thomas  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Thank you for the article. This is a bit off topic but somewhat related. In the article you state that it is God's design that husbands lead over their wives and I have seen this theme about God's design in many other of your articles/sermons. For example, it is God's design that men marry women and not man marry man because that is God's design. That said, I've also heard one of your sermons that states that "family planning" is not mentioned in the bible so it is not un-biblical to limit the amount of children we have. However, if it is God's design that we can have children into our forty's, shouldn't it be un-biblical to have a vasectomy or take birth control because those options weren't by God's design? Isn't this what "Be fruitful and multiply means"? Thank You.

Also, the button below reads "submit". Is that button only for women? Where's the "Rules Over" button? Just kidding :)

#5  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 2:14 PM


As you mentioned, nothing in the Scripture explicitly limits or forbids safe forms of birth control. Obviously, abortion is murder and in a completely different category. However, other methods of birth control, including non-abortive forms of the pill, condoms, and the common surgical procedures of tubal ligation or vasectomy, do not pose a problem biblically . . . if both spouses are persuaded in their consciences before God they should—at that time—have no more children. That being the case, no Scripture prohibits such a couple from carrying through with their decision.

Here’s something for your consideration. By definition, birth control would also include a couple who carefully plans their family according to the female reproductive cycles (i.e. fertility awareness, calendar charting, etc.) But most people exclude that from the discussion. Why? Doesn’t it control the birth of children, as to how many and at what time? I suppose it all depends on what you mean by “birth control.” All, or at least, most families control the birth of children in some measure.

From a biblical perspective, the Lord seems to have left that issue up to every individual husband and wife for their own determination. John MacArthur says it should be something couples consider physiologically, as to what they can handle, financially as to what they can afford, and spiritually as to their ability to shepherd responsibly. No doubt, all those things enter in the discussion on some level.

Some Christians claim it is sinful for believers to practice any form of birth control, but such statements simply cannot be supported from God’s Word, and therefore we should abstain from being dogmatic about issues on which God is silent.

Consider this too, Brian. In some cases, where no birth control is practiced, could it not be considered irresponsible? For example, couples who are severely limited in finances, challenged physically, or spiritually immature? Some might quip, “Oh, Just trust the Lord!” However, trusting the Lord and testing the Lord are two different things.

So, nothing in Scripture prohibits married couples from practicing birth control, either for a limited time to delay childbearing, or permanently when they determine their quiver is full and their family complete.

In addition to that, John MacArthur said something long ago that I think is applicable here:

Couples should not practice birth control if it violates their consciences (Romans 14:23)—not because birth control is inherently sinful, but because it is always wrong to violate the conscience. The answer to a wrongly informed conscience is not to violate it, but rather to correct and rightly inform one's conscience with biblical truth.

#7  Posted by Pamela Thennes  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:09 PM

I am concerned about a marriage situation in which the husband is a ob/gyn doctor. He believes they should not use birth control and delivers all their children at home. She is exhausted with the load of the continual pregnancies and the little ones. He is not willing to allow her to have outside help in the home. She would like to be able to limit the pregnancies. He rules! She submits. How does this fit in with God's balance of the man loving the woman? What are her options in this type of marriage? How can she disagree and be biblically correct? Any insights on this? I would love to hear them.

#8  Posted by Amanda Covarrubias  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:13 PM

I have been having a really hard time submitting to my husband. We are both new to the faith and our marriage has endured some hard and and scaring matters. We both decided to make God the foundation of our marraige and our lifes. However, it is difficult at times to fully grasp and accept God's Word. My husband and I, did not treat each other in a loving manner all the time prior to knowing Christ, things have change alot in our relationship, but I still fall so short on submiting to my husband completly, and I am having trouble understanding what it really means by "in everything." I want to be a godly wife with all my heart, but it seems to be a bit challenging at times. Can some one guide me please!

#9  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 9:37 PM


There are many factors in the situation you introduced requiring further “data collecting” before anyone could give conclusive counsel. For example: were the husband and wife initially unified in their decision to not practice birth-control? Has the wife specifically requested outside aid (did she discuss this with her husband first)? Has she spoken with her husband about the possibility of limiting her pregnancies? Is the husband’s issue with birth-control one of morality, health, or something else? Most importantly, does this couple profess to be Christian? Do they belong to a local church? On and on the list could go.

It would be nearly impossible to give good, solid, thorough counsel in a blog-like setting such as this, especially through a third party.

Proverb 18:13 would definitely apply here: “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.” [NASB]

If this woman is a believer, I’d begin by giving her some solid literature from GTY about marriage and family. If the husband is hostile to Christianity, and refuses to allow his wife exposure to it . . . again, see the challenge here?

Anyway . . . some of her questions will be answered through the exposition of Scripture in that material. A good start would be “The Fulfilled Family,” or “God’s High Calling for Women.”

It sounds like maybe she is a friend of yours. Certainly your prayers and encouragement will be invaluable.

If she is not a believer, that changes things quite significantly.

I hope that helps, Pamela. Thanks for your question.

#10  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 9:48 PM


I may sound like a broken record here, but I'm going to refer you to "The Fulfilled Family" sermon series by John MacArthur. The more I interact with that teaching, the more equipped I become to obey God within the context of my marriage. The audios are free from the link I've provided below. You can listen, read, or download for later. The series is timeless. It has aided generations of Christian couples and will probably enrich generations to come. Also, its one of the most requested resources from GTY. Are you interested yet . . . ?

Your question is BIG and BROAD, but I assure you John’s material will provide you with the help you seek. I'm not shrugging off or dismissing your question. I truly believe exposure to the teaching of God's Word on His design for the family will give you a serious advantage. I pray God blesses your pursuit of biblical womanhood. Press on, sister!

Here's the link:

#11  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 11:19 PM

I live in the eastern part of the globe (the 3rd world as they called it) and women here are very submissive. There is a certain people group here where a woman can demonstrate submission to her husband by washing the feet of the husband and then drink the water used in washing the feet of the husband. Well that’s quite extreme you may say but that’s still in practice even today. There are other extreme practices at home which really put women in extreme submission but the women are quite happy to do them.

We have missionaries in that place and there are already converts and some are already attending church (underground church). Now my question is: are we going to maintain such cultural practices? What does the bible say about such kind of submission?

#12  Posted by Donna Taylor  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 7:48 AM

My husband has always expected me to work outside the home, even when our children were small, and even though he has a good job and is well able to provide. Mainly because he has big material "goals" and he thinks women who stay at home are basically lazy. I hated having to take my kids to day care, and have struggled with the resulting resentment that a good Christian man would not follow biblical principal for the order of the family. Submitting to a man who expects me to be an equal financial provider is very difficult and has adversely affected our marraige. Our church rarely, if ever, addresses this subject, I think because we have women preachers, and it is a controversial subject. He sidesteps this by pointing out that I am to be his "helper", and that is what I'm doing. I wonder if other women have dealt with this, and what men think about it?

#13  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 9:19 AM

*By Shauna Bryant*

Thank you for this article and for bringing this issue up. It is controversial, but it shouldn't be. I went from being a career driven woman (and my husband was fine with that - we were both unsaved at the time) to being a stay at home, home schooling mom and we couldn't be happier as a family. Until I actually held my daughter I had every intention of returning to work within 4 weeks. Once I held her though I knew there was no way that was going to happen. Once I was born again I tried being a Godly wife as make a long story short I had a bad attitude about it thinking 'well, my husband isn't being a biblical husband (he was as at that point still unsaved) and since he's not doing his job then I'm not either'. When I was doing what I should have and he wasn't (now, he was still a good husband and man by mans standards, but not a Godly man) I thought it wasn't fair and I was also scared of becoming one of those 'ignorant bible thumping door mat wives'. Sorry, but that is what I thought back then.

While reading my Bible I realized that I could not stand before a Holy and Righteous Judge with the pitiful excuse of a petulant teenager saying "Well, God, he didn't do his job so I couldn't do mine". No, I realized that I had a responsibility to My God for MY conduct according to His Word regardless of what anyone else was or was not doing. Once I began to serve the Lord with this mindset I could be a proper biblical wife.

My husband eventually also was saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ. I can't even explain in words how wonderful our lives are now, how great it is to be raising a Godly family together secure in the Lord! If anyone would have ever told me that when we were first married I quite frankly would have laughed at them with scorn. Thank God that He does indeed make 'foolish the ways of the wise'....or else we would never have experienced this quality of happiness and joy in our family. A Pastor once said to me "You know, take a triangle and place Jesus above, where He should be and put you and your husband at the other ends. You are far apart, but as you each move closer to the Lord you will find you also become closer together, and even if only one of you is following the Lord, well that is your first priority anyhow". I wholeheartedly love and honor and thank God for my husband.....but the first love for each believer is to be Jesus Christ.

To Alex post #11

I believe something to consider would be that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Perhaps that Bible lesson could be incorporated into the cultural practice. The woman should be submissive, but perhaps it's fitting that in 'loving her like Christ does His church' the husband could, once in awhile, wash his wife's feet as Jesus did the disciples? We must remember that as Jesus served, so must we.

I'd add a class about the serious diseases that can be transmitted in drinking filthy water. My husband has feet issues due to his time on the military with those boots and the weather. I take care of his feet and massage them....even soak them, but I would not ever drink the water in which I do this. In a lot of 'third world countries' these kinds of issues can be resolved by proper medical knowledge - we have missionaries in South Africa that help villagers in this way along with their Gospel ministries especially since they deal so heavily with Aids patients in the clinic they have.

#14  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 9:24 AM


I think your question concerns cultural expressions of submission. Such was the case in 1 Cor. 11, where Paul addressed the issue of women wearing head coverings. That practice was not a universal command from God, but rather a local custom in Corinth that reflected a divine principle—submission. It seems to have been relatively harmless to put a covering on your head.

In contrast to that, drinking the water from your husband’s foot washing . . . if I understand you correctly, the men do not demand their wives practice this . . . is that correct? You also stated the women were quite happy to do it. I think it would be wrong for a missionary to come in and force a woman in that situation to abruptly stop a cultural practice she is happy to perform. Some short-term foreign missionaries are notorious for that kind of error.

On the same note, it would be equally wrong to force a woman into that kind of cultural expression when she is not a part of the culture. Your question was, should you maintain that cultural express of submission in marriage? Maybe you should ask the ladies . . .

#15  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 9:45 AM

#14 - Tommy. As I was reading your reply to Alex, I was reminded of the weak and strong Christians that Paul talks about in Romans. Strong Christians should never make weak Christians to violate their consciences.

I agree with your reply to Alex. On the same hand I agree with Shauna about medical and health issues.

#16  Posted by Jennifer Cordeiro  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Dear Amanda,

How great that God saved both you and your husband!

Before God saved me, I thought submission was for weak and docile women. I was not like that at all, and was proud not to be.

I was in a panic when my husband first started talking to me about submission. Most of what he said, I didn’t even understand-it was so beyond my way of thinking.

But then God started working in my heart. I started hearing God’s Word, and wanting to obey. (Already the fact that you want to obey God in this matter is His work.)

Submission seems totally crazy to the world’s way of thinking. I was taught I would be happy only if I looked out for myself and was free to do/say/think everything I wanted to.

But gradually God showed me that I am free when He sets me free to NOT follow the things my flesh wants to do, and instead to obey Him.

It is hard to do. Sometimes my cheeks would burn-wanting to respond back to my husband, but holding my tongue. Then with time, I began to see the fruit of God’s work-peace in our home, a close relationship and deep trust built with my husband, more humility from trying often and failing.

In the end all the glory is God’s, because He has carried me along and enabled me to do what I was never even able to believe/understand, let alone accomplish!

I would like to encourage you to pray and ask God for wisdom (James 1:5). Read the Bible. Listen to a lot of good Bible teaching (any of Pastor MacArthur’s teaching on this site!). A good topic is the sovereignty of God.

This is one thing that helps me to submit-to realize that everything that comes into my life comes because He allows it, and He works everything for my good: Romans 8:28.

My husband, who is a dear Christian brother, can be wrong sometimes, but God NEVER is!

The very best to you my Sister!

In Christ,


#17  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Me too, Elaine. Shauna made a good point. That's a tricky situation. Men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Latent within that command is protection. From my perspective, the practice Alex described could be potentially dangerous and harmful (health-wise) for my wife. But again, I'm an American, and we must keep that perspective.

#18  Posted by Amanda Covarrubias  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Thank you Tommy and Jennifer,

Is of great help to know that I can get some sort of guidess from fellow brothers and sisters. I will look into the sermons, which I had already stated to look into, and the link Tommy suggests. Thank you again, and God bless.

#19  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 11:38 AM


I had no idea the water drinking from after washing a man's feet.

That's a new thing to me. It's something different but that's the

custom. It might not taste good. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing


Oh, I prayed last night for Amanda and Donna for God's wisdom and strength for them.

#20  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 12:20 PM

* By Shauna Bryant*

I just wanted to clarify that I don't believe part of bringing people the gospel is also 'westernizing' or 'easternizing' them, because cultures are different.

However, just because something is part of a person's culture doesn't mean that it is good or healthy. I do believe that drinking filthy water is an unnecessary health risk and once people were educated about it would make a more informed decision. Not continuing to drink filthy and potentially diseased water isn't exactly ruining a persons culture. I feel the same way about female castration. Many people don't understand that this has caused fear, shame, lifelong diseases and complications, pain, infertility and even death for many, many women. As people are getting more educated about this they are making different decisions, though many still force it because of 'custom'. I watched a documentary sometime back about a tribe that believes only the fattest women are desirable so before marriage a woman is placed on a strict regiment of drinking and eating - pretty much 24/7 - and drinking literally gallons of warm milk (having to do with the belief that since they honor the cow a woman should literally look like one) everyday. None of the women in the documentary were very happy with their weight, the force feeding (which for family honor they felt compelled to do though some had to be flogged to be enticed to continue forcing drink and food down their throats) or the life long medical complications and shorter life spans they had to painfully endure due to their size. This to me would also be a medical issue, also an idolatrous one with the honoring of the cow and all. And then there are the cultural practices that are so heinous we cannot even speak here of them. I don't see how 'loving your wife like Christ does the church' has anything to do with continuing a custom that places the person at serious life risk. Someone may say "Well, Jesus died for us" and many have and we may also have to die for the Gospel's sake, but that cannot be compared to placing a person's life at risk so you can personally be exalted or be honored. Having a custom doesn't automatically make something right. Abandoning an unhealthy custom isn't wrong either and doesn't have to be equated with changing a whole culture. There are many customs - as Tommy pointed out - that people still do. Also, if we look at the things people have done throughout the ages because of custom, tradition, or an ill-informed belief, I think we can all be glad that some 'cultural changes' have been made. By the same token, there are many culture practices we have abandoned that we certainly should have kept.

#12 Donna

Dear Sister I will pray for you. The advice given to listen to the series is a must do (for your husband too-you can have him listen as part of your study in being a biblical wife and he will, as a result, hear about his responsibilities as a husband) but also it doesn't sound like you and your husband are even going to a proper church. I don't know if he's willing to do anything about that....but it should be checked in to because since your church isn't even following God's Word it's no surprise when those who attend aren't either. Christ honoring, wife cherishing men who submit to the Lord simply aren't going to be found in a church Pastored by women. Your belief of that (women preachers) being one of the reasons a Christ honoring family isn't being preached is exactly one of the many reasons women aren't to preach. Faithfully studying Gods Word, praying and being part of a proper church- which will have Godly men to help guide your husband will be an immense blessing to your family and honoring to Jesus Christ.

#21  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM

The practice of women drinking dirty water after washing their husbands feet is meant to solely degrade and subjugate women. It is a practice that does not honor or respect women. It is a shame things like this even take place.


Hi Shauna:

I think you hit on something key, Shauna. Submission, to me at least, is nothing more than lovingly obeying God. If He asks us to submit, then we do so, not out of fear or duty, but out of a love that honors Him. It is true with everything that we do, if our spouses are not treating us in kind, so what, we still honor God by being obedient to His Word.

I always think of it this way, when anyone treats me unkind, I put my horse blinders on, look straight ahead, and ignore any hatred leveled against me, and just do what God says to do: love our enemies. It does not matter how someone else treats us, just do what God expects us to do in each and every situation.

Great post, Shauna.

Hi Elaine. :)

#22  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Only animals would drink it. We are not animals. I agree it's a harsh sicken treatment. We need to pray for those people. Amen.

#23  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 27, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Germs from water.

Like parasites and such. Even polluted from oil too.

Women must drink clean water. I believe the women must walk away

and get clean fresh water from the well and drink it. I think men's

laws are too strict in eastern side of the globe.

#25  Posted by Michael Peters  |  Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Dear Donna

I am blessed to hear of a God fearing woman like you implementing Gods Word in her life. Now concerning the church you are attending, It states in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission, and I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." and Paul said in Romans 16:17 "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned and turn away from them." So I urge you find a new church where you can do the the will of of the Lord in truth. If your church is not following these doctrines there is know telling what there teaching.

#26  Posted by D Cargile  |  Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 11:33 PM

The inability to see a true picture of a submissive wife is a barrier that prevents wives from submitting to their husbands. Whenever the term "submissive wife" is used it brings to mind the image of a "blind fawning, slavish kowtowing woman" who goes along with her husband's every whim. Television and films have perpetuated this image and generations of women have been touch with a false image of a submissive wife. Another barrier is the word submission is heard as "obey". Not only is the word heard as obey it is even taught in some churches as "obey". I have personally been told that if your spouse tells you to do something illegal or morally wrong you are to pray over the matter and ask God to give you the ability do what your spouse has told you to do because you are to obey and not question. They have even gone so far as to use scripture to validate the truthfulness of their statement. Yet I never believed what I was being taught was true because it was not consistent with the word of God from what I had read and studied. It was not until I heard John MacArthur speak on this very issue in one of his sermon series that I had a confirmation that what I believed to be true of God's view of submission was accurate. When we have the truth of God's word taught acurately to a heart that is longing to be obedient to God then we see the beauty of a wife submitting to her husband.