In part two of this discussion we asked whether God has ordained that a woman must have a priest in the home to represent her to God and God to her. Today we continue our discussion about whether a husband is to have the position of king over his wife in their marriage. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) supports the claim that the husband is to be king over his wife and this view is taught in an on-line book on their web site. The book is called “Building Strong Families” by Dennis Rainey (Dennis is on CBMW’s board of reference) and we are focusing on chapter 4 of this book called “The Husband as Prophet, Priest and King” this chapter authored by Bob Lepine.
Mr. Lepine admits that the teaching about the husband as King has been abused by many well-meaning Bible teachers. Because of this he says that we need to “proceed with caution”. Although a king is thought to be someone who wields power and enjoys privilege and position, Lepine says that the husband needs to go beyond that to be the kind of kingly husband his wife ultimately wants and needs him to be. Lepine then focuses on the king as a warrior and a representative of “his wife and his family in the culture”.
I personally found this part of the chapter to be the most alarming. This patriarchal teaching about the husband as “representative” of his wife and family is lived out by a group called Vision Forum and their leader Doug Phillips. Taking the husband as “representative” teaching to a position of “law”, Doug Phillips teaches that “God does not allow women to vote”. Quoting from Mr. Phillips:
“In regards to a woman’s right to vote; if husband and wife are truly “one flesh” and the husband is doing his duty to represent the family to the wider community, then what PRACTICAL benefit does allowing women to vote provide? If husband and wife agree on an issue, then one has simply doubled the number of votes; but the result is the same. Women’s voting only makes a difference when the husband and wife disagree; a wife, who does not trust the judgment of her husband, can nullify his vote. Thus, the immediate consequence is to enshrine the will of the individual OVER the good of the family thus creating divisions WITHIN the family.”
So if the husband is “federal head” then he makes all the decisions and she is forbidden by God to vote. Do you see the problem here? This type of “federal head” concept of the husband as King and representative of the family taken to its logical conclusion makes the husband’s rule in his family virtually unchallenged by anyone. Who then can decide if the husband is being unkind to his wife?
Going back to chapter 4 of “Building Strong Families” Lepine suggests that there will be attacks on the husband’s way of leadership from all kinds of directions. He says that “(attacks) will come from friends and coworkers who, thinking themselves to be wise, have become as fools (Rom. 1:22)” Under the heading Know your enemy Lepine also identifies the wife as someone who will attack the man’s leadership. He says:
There will also be attacks from your closest ally, your wife. While her spirit will welcome the leadership, protection, and provision of a wise king, her flesh will war against her spirit and will seek to thwart your authority. Over time, there will be showdowns as you wrestle with whether to compromise and gain her approval or to stand fast and face her wrath. There will be times when you’ll have to decide whether to serve her or to serve God.”
The advice then is for the husband to stand against his wife. When a wife doesn’t want her husband to vote for her as her “representative” and she doesn’t want his leadership, the husband is to take control of his kingdom and stand up to her anger. He is to lead whether she wants him to take control or not.
Is this really what scripture says? Does the Bible ever tell a husband to take control of his wife or to have a showdown with her wrestling her to force her to a place of submission?
The Bible never once instructs the husband to “lead” his wife. The Bible also never once tells him that he is to be her king or her priest or her prophet. The position of her King is already taken. Jesus is her King and her High Priest and her Prophet. The husband is never granted a place to usurp Jesus’ role. The husband’s role in the marriage is to take the initiative to bond with his wife so that they can have a one-flesh union. In Genesis we find Adam identifying his wife as flesh of his flesh.
Gen 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
In Genesis 2:24, the Bible says “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” For what reason? The reason is because she was taken out of him and he is to initiate a joining of himself with her to be that one flesh union again.
When a husband loves his wife and treats her tenderly and with affection and he sacrifices himself for her, a woman will respond willingly to that kind of love. That is why a husband is not to take authority over her but he is instead to love her and this will bring her willingness to submit to his love.
Right now I am hard at work on our new DVD on the Trinity but when I get a chance to do another post, I would like to respond to some of the questions that were posted on my original 2006 blog article about the husband as priest of the home. There were questions about the wife obeying the husband that I didn’t get to at the time so it should be interesting.