MUST-READ: How the feminist welfare state causes generations of fatherlessness

Minette Marrin

Story by Minette Marrin here from the UK Times.


In a study presented to the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), the sociologist Geoff Dench argues from the evidence of British Social Attitudes surveys since 1983 that there is a growing number of such extended man-free families: “Three-generation lone-mother families — extended families without men — are developing a new family subculture which involves little paid work.”

The culture is passed on, as you might expect. Lone grannies are significantly more likely to have lone and workless daughters than grannies with husbands or employment, and the same is true of their daughters’ daughters. Baby daughters (and baby sons, too) are imbibing with their mother’s milk the idea that men, like jobs, are largely unnecessary in any serious sense.

The problem with this new type of extended family, Dench says, is that it is not self-sustaining but tends to be parasitic on conventional families in the rest of society. In fact, it appears to lead inexorably to the nightmare of an unproductive dependent underclass.

Clearly one of the worst problems with such a subculture is that although it’s not self-sustaining it has a powerful tendency to replicate itself. A boy in such an environment who grows up without a father figure is much less likely — for many well documented reasons — to turn into the sort of young man a girl could see as a desirable husband. A girl who grows up without a father never learns how important a man could be in her own child’s life. She will not see her mother negotiating an adult relationship with a male companion, so she won’t know how to do it herself or imagine what she is missing.

Before anyone starts to point the finger of blame at such girls, it’s worth remembering that many of them are simply making a rational choice. Badly educated at a rough sink school, facing a dead-end, low-paid job that won’t even cover the cost of childcare, such a girl will naturally decide to do what she wants to do anyway and have a baby to love. She knows she will be better off having welfare babies than stacking shelves and better off, too, if she avoids having a man living with her, even supposing she could find one from among the antisocial, lone-parented youths on her estate. That is because the state subsidises this rational choice, disastrous though it has proved, and has done so for decades.

Women quite understandably now talk of such lifestyle choices as their right. They’ve been encouraged to. And the state has actually made poor men redundant.

Please read the whole thing, this may be the most important thing I have ever posted on this blog.

I want to suggest that it is women’s embrace of radical feminism that has caused the shortage of men. The “compassion” (just give bad people your money!),  and moral relativism (don’t judge me!), etc. that young, unmarried women seem to like so much these days are in direct opposition to marriage, family and parenting. It undermines the reasons why men marry in the first place. And I’ll explain why.

First, moral relativism. Women today seem to have lost the ability to filter out men based on whether they can commit and fill the role of father and husband. They prefer to “have sex like a man” and to not judge anyone. But the reason why they refuse to make moral judgments is because they don’t want to be judged themselves. Instead of learning how to be a wife and mother, women have embraced partying and hooking up. But hooking up (and friends with benefits, and cohabitation) DO NOT result in a man committing to a woman as a husband and father for life.

Second, big government. The solution that women embrace because of their fear of abandonment by men is to lobby for more and more government programs to give them security no matter how they choose. They don’t want to restrain themselves in order to avoid causing expensive social damage, e.g. – STDs, abortion, divorce, etc. They just want to do have fun and then have someone else pay the costs. But if working men have money taxed away to pay for things like abortions and welfare, then they cannot afford to form families on their own – especially if they want to raise Christian children outside the day care/public school system that they are paying for but won’t use.

Could it be that the reason that men are no longer suitable for marriage is because the incentives they had to marry (regular sex, the respect of filling the role of protector and provider, being able to lead the family spiritually in the home, and having well-behaved hand-raised children) have been taken away by moral relativism and big government? Could it be that the man shortage is caused by women who CHOOSE to be irresponsible about who they have sex with, and who CHOOSE to rely on bigger government as a fallback for their poor decision-making?

You all know that I want to fall in love and get married. This is probably the number one thing stopping me from doing that. The feminist idea that men are evil and can be replaced with government programs is now dominant in the West. This basically means that my children will be less prosperous, less free and less secure than I am. I do not want my children to have the poor character that results from being dependent on a secular left government for their livelihood. And I am also concerned about the kind of world the children will live in as the traditional family, which is a bulwark against state power, declines in influence.

I wish women started to think about how marriage and parenting really work. Instead of thinking about recycling and vegetarianism, women should be thinking about forming their own character for the role of wife and mother. They should be thinking about how to strengthen men’s roles instead of weakening them through premarital sex and big government. They should have the attitude of wanting to learn about obstacles that will prevent a good marriage – and not just ideas but threats to the finances and liberty of the family. They should not believe that “everything will work out as long as we love each other”. Love takes preparation and work.

By the way, this article from the libertarian Cato Institute explains more about how the government creates financial incentives for people to break up families and harm children.

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60 thoughts on “MUST-READ: How the feminist welfare state causes generations of fatherlessness”

  1. A must read book is Nancy Pearcey’s “Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity.” Aside from being an excellent book on the Christian church’s melding into the culture around it and how that has damaged the church, she has an excellent chapter titled, “How Women Started the Culture War,” which documents how women took over the households from men, and then accepted the feminist ideas of equality of roles and moral relativism, and how it has really impacted the church and family.


  2. Read the chapter, Wintery, and what can I say?

    I agree totally that the industrial revolution is what removed the father from the home and that was not a good thing.

    Businesses before that time were family oriented, Farms, Bakeries, Smithy shops, etc.

    The closest things we have to them now are the ma and pa shops being put out of business by Wal-mart.

    Also, just to make sure you know, I don’t agree with the loose morals both men and women are engaged in that also undermine the family and the nation.

    But the problem I have with the chapter I read was the wrong definitions of Help meet and Headship. (which btw headship is completely not a biblical term, though widely used and accepted.)

    When God saw that man was alone, the problem was that he was alone, not that he didn’t have someone to boss around. This is the problem I have with translating Ezer Kenegdo as “helper” because it comes across as the man’s “little helper” rather than what it actually means.

    The KJV does a good job translating it Help Meet, but since most here don’t understand Elizabethian English, it can still come across as a lesser form “helpmate” which it doesn’t mean at all.

    Ezer Kenegdo or in KJV English “help meet” means something very different than little helper or helpmate.

    Ezer/Help is a strong word in the original language often used for God, as in God is my help, and does not in any way imply an inferior help.

    Kenegdo/Meet means “facing” or corresponding to. This implies the equal but different position she holds, neither superior not inferior.

    So therefore, while I agree that the industrial revolution removed the father from the home, I’m still not convinced that women started this problem. I think they are only trying to figure out how to survive in a world where their men have either been removed or the men have removed themselves.

    On to headship. Did you know that “head” as used in Ephesians five actually only means “head” as in that thing at the top of our bodies and didn’t carry the leadership connotations we give it in our modern language.

    Also, if you read Ephesians 5, nowhere is the man told to lead or rule his wife. He’s told to love. Never told to lead.

    Marriage, from the beginning, was a partnership. Selfishness and hardness of heart turned it into a leader/follower dynamic.

    The Proverbs woman is the best example I can give of a woman who is a partner to her husband. He totally trusts her with the home and her industry. He trusts that she will do him good and not evil all the rest of his life.
    So, for whatever reason the man is called to sit in the gate, whether for politics or what, the woman remains at home, running it, and they are both fine with it. He’s not threatened, she’s not trying to control him,etc.

    So this is where I differ with the chapter you post. It’s in the misunderstanding of the original Bible languages and saying that women are trying to take over headship. There is no headship to take over. They are either both there working towards the goal, or not. They are either both present or not.
    And if the man chooses not to be present, what woman can make him stay?

    There is much troubling our world, marriages and families. With that I can agree. But blaming women for wanting to take over? I’m not convinced in the least.


    1. Mara, whether or not “headship” is a biblical term is not the issue – the issue is what it means. “Trinity” is not a biblical term either.

      That the husband is the head of the wife you might say is the reverse of the wife being submissive to the husband. No place does this headship/leadership role of the husband imply inferiority of the wife – there are differing roles. God is the head of Christ, yet Christ is not inferior to God the Father. Role differences. If the wife is submissive to her husband, that implies he is the leader. Yes, the husband is told to love his wife, which really defines what sort of leadership he holds. The analogy is of Christ to the church, so unless you say the church is equal to Christ in roles, and that the church does not submit to Christ’s leadership, then your understanding of Ephesians does not work.

      It appears to me that you support the egalitarian position of husband/wife relationships rather than the biblical complementarian position.


      1. Glen…


        No, I support the biblical egalitarian position rather than the culturally influenced complementarian postition.


          1. I’m glad you laughed.
            That really was what it was for.

            My point was not really to say one is biblical and the other isn’t.

            My point is that sometimes people slap the term “biblical” onto something thereby trying to make it legitimate through the use of adjectives.

            We could talk about biblical slavery or biblical polygamy and not be lying in the least. Both are very biblical. Both are talked about in the old and new testament.

            But just because they are both ‘biblical’ this doesn’t make either one of them Christian or Christ like.

            So, for me, the question isn’t whether something is ‘biblical’ as in, it’s talked about in the Bible. The question is, what is God’s heart on the issue.

            I’m not suggesting a person should look outside the Bible for God’s heart but rather look at the whole of the Bible, the overview, OT&NT, what God/Jesus did and said and what was important to Him — to determine whether something is just biblical or reaches to the level of Christian, Christ-like, Christ-pleasing.

            Oh, and I mean it when I say culturally influenced. Many in the complementarian movement really just want to go back to the 1950s because things were so much simpler back then.

            I don’t think we can go back. But I’m not distressed. My God is big enough to handle the 21st century. Post modern doesn’t scare Him in the least. Nor do feminists, egalitarians or anyone else for that matter.


      1. I think Mara, it may help you if I say that the time to choose your leader (for a woman) is during courtship. That’s the time when a woman has to decide whether she is comfortable being led by a man, whether his plans and his goals are interesting and compelling for her. Women need to be careful about thinking that they can change men after they marry them. Women need to have objective evidence that the man can do everything they need him to do – work, save, leader the family spiritually, be faithful, be attentive to her emotional needs, speak her love language, etc.

        This is why I recommend no touching during courtship, to keep the judgment clear and objective, so that evidence of present capability can be demonstrated. In the past, I have been asked to read the Bible, pray, go to church, give gifts, read books, write essays, work harder at work, etc. by women I courted. This is in addition to tell them about my experience with teaching children, managing money, long-term friendships, how I treat family, etc. Often, I am asked to go into action against a challenger to the faith, either in person or in writing, so they can see me fight. And of course, they want to hear all about of my after action reports from workplace apologetics and my charitable giving – scholars funded, events organized and sponsored, etc. And more like that. I’ve owned my sports car for 12 years, and my pet cockatiel is 21 this year. The cockatiel is supposed to live from 12-16 years. I have many long-term friendships and they write referrals to the woman for me before the first date. It’s just to show whether you can do what’s asked of you.


        1. I think that if men go into a relationship wanting to be the leader rather than following the words of Jesus Christ in Ephesians 5 based on the foundation of the words of Jesus Christ, women are better off not marrying at all, nor having children. They ought to remain celebate and go into missions.

          I want a partner, not a lord.
          I already have a Lord. I don’t need two.


          1. You mean these words from Ephesian 5?

            Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.


      2. I’ve also heard it said that no body can have two heads as some sort of support for husband leadership.
        But the problem with that is if you make the man her head and Jesus her head, the wife DOES have two heads.
        btw this is no knock against Ephesians 5 but against people who try to make it about leadership instead of relationship.


        1. A body needs only ONE head. In fact it would die if it has two heads.

          Jesus is the head of the church. A husband is the head of his family.


  3. WK,

    I have two comments on the post. First, I would encourage you to check out the sermon series at this link:

    This article and the full series which is referenced at the bottom of the article is a great teaching series on the roles of men in marriage. I believe the problem with marriage today (and why the family is in such trouble in the West) is because of a complete lack of understanding of the roles men and women in marriage. With respect I believe feminism and post-modern thought are contributors to the state of marriage and family, but at the core is the misunderstanding of roles. Think about it, if men really embraced what it was to be a good (Godly) husband, could big government, attitudes of feminism or other change their mind? Same with women who really embrace the Godly role of a wife.

    Second, I have taken the opposite approach with respect to children. My wife and I have been married for 10 years in September and both know we have a lot to learn. We have four beautiful children and feel like a big part of our witness to the world is being a loving, stable family. We hope to be peculiar in our behavior and commitment so that people will ask how it is that our family is so different than all the others they see. Any comment about obediant children, the love and affection we show for one another, or any other compliment is an opportunity to praise God for the truth of the Bible and how He arranged marriage and family.

    In short, I would encourage you if it is your heart’s desire and feel God is leading you toward marriage to do so, have as many children as He would give to you and your wife and be a peculiar people for the Lord. You and your wife will have a lot of work to do as you grow closer to the Lord and closer to one another, and you can train your children in the way they should go, they will not depart from it. Be encouraged brother!! No matter what happens in this world, God will preserve those who are faithful. Believe me, the journey is worth all the struggles.


    1. Honestly I have tried to lead Christian women and I might as well be herding cats! And I mean homeschooled, farm-raised, young-earth, Calvinist women! The best kind! The ones who claim to to hate feminism the most! They refuse to be led just as much as Naomi Wolf or Amanda Marcotte.

      Well, I exaggerate a little. OK, a lot. But still.


          1. When a woman is convinced that a man respects her, values her opinion, and loves her as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that woman will find it much easier to trust the man enough to be willing to be led by him. Instead of concentrating on finding the right kind of woman, perhaps the effort should be spent on being the right kind of Godly man. Then God will take care of finding the woman.

            Not to say that wives do not need to be submissive to their husbands even if they don’t meet the above standards–they do. That is why it is so important for a woman to look for a truly Godly man to marry, because once you marry, then Biblically you are stuck with following where he leads. The only “safe” husband is one who is totally committed and willing to submit his own will to God’s. If he is following God, then you will be ok following him.


          2. The problem is that I do think about love, but in the CS Lewis Problem of Pain chapter 3 sense!

            When I love a woman, I try to persuade her (by changing her mind with reading, experiences, writing, talking, etc.) into the kind of wife and mother I can safely marry. But they don’t seem to want to be led by me – they think it means that I DON’T love them.

            I try to make them read that chapter from Problem of Pain, but I don’t think any of them do, and so they don’t think of love as willing the perfection of the beloved.

            So, just when I start to get interested and tell them all the things I want them to do to prepare for marriage and parenting, they think I don’t like them and that I’m judging them and they run off!


    2. Jeremy, I could go to your link but I’d rather not. I’ve heard it all before.

      Women are also called to prophesy and are part of the priesthood of the believers.
      Men are not the high priests of the home. Jesus is. Any man who wants to be the high priest over his wife is treading on very dangerous ground. She needs no other mediator than Christ.

      AFA protector. I’m thankful for what protection my husband gives as a man.
      But anyone who messes with a woman’s children will find out what mama bear protection is.

      In other words, women, even married women, are also prophets, priests and protectors. It is not the exclusive service of the man. He may express different than she, but he does not express it alone.


      1. Mara,

        Although you feel you have heard it all before, I would encourage you to go to the link and consider it anyway. I assure you there is no intimation that the man is to replace Christ as a mediator or “high priest” that takes the place of Jesus in the home. The missing piece which is so often left unconsidered (which happens to be the focus of the teaching series) is what the man needs to do to be a good leader. Personally, I found it an overwhelming challenge in light of all that I needed to put into practice to really be a good husband to my wife (only she could tell you whether i’m making progress in that area).

        The focus for me is not on how to control or lord over my wife authority with constant reminders of her subserviance to me as the male. My focus is on submitting to God and following the Biblical standards for being a Godly husband. Some questions that come up for me would be: What does it mean to love my wife as God loved the church? What kind of things will I have to give up to adequately fulfill the roles and responsibilities of a husband and/or father? etc.

        Notably women have the same task. What does the Bible expressly state the role of a wife and mother to be? How would a woman adequately fulfill those roles and responsibilities. I did not intend to address those questions in the comment, just to encourage WK in his quest on the question at hand.


        1. Thank you for working toward understanding, Jeremy. By your list for yourself I can see that you will do well.

          Even though I called myself egal above, I can totally live in peace with non-egals when they maintain the attitude you have.

          As long as it is remembered the focus in Ephesians 5 is on submission (of both parties — plz read vs 21) and of sacrifice rather than who is in charge (which I still maintain is not even brought up) then it should work for you or anybody else.


  4. As an FYI the article linked to feminism demolishing chivalry doesn’t exist any more.

    And there’s nothing wrong inherently with Calvinist women. If they’ve studied the Bible enough to realize they’re Calvinists, they should have no problem with gender roles.


    1. I fixed ALL the related links and RE-TESTED them all.

      I apologize for the hard line I am taking on these male/female issues. I assure you that in private I am very supportive of women – well, Christian women, anyway.

      I’m just trying to set standards to encourage women to think more carefully about how to make better choices about men, and how to think about marriage and family in informed, effective ways. I just think that women need to withhold sex from men before marriage (thus making them demonstrate their love in word, writing and deed), judge men to within an inch of their lives during courtship, and to cut taxes to the point where an ordinary man loses the fear that he will not be able to support a family. The worst thing in the world for a man is to lose his job, and he needs to have a lot saved up to protect him from that fear of losing his identity.

      If you want a man to love you and start a family and be a good Dad, let him keep the money he earns, let him have a special role as protector and provider, and during the friendship/courtship, the woman should fill his head with ideas that will make him romantic, loving, chivalrous and devoted to his relationship with God in Christ.

      For example, make him read the Bible, go to church, work harder at work, save money, take on demanding relationships with child-substitutes, defend the faith, defend the woman’s honor, write book reports, write love essays, send gifts, speak about his emotions, honor his commitments, etc. Friendship/courtship is the time to test him out.

      I read over that post and it really was pretty mean. I just CANNOT STAND the idea of children growing up without a father. It makes me so unhappy. And if the government is encouraging women to not marry and to raise children without a father, and to not stay home with their children then government needs to stop doing that. Let’s pay for successful marriages instead.


      1. Wintery: “I’m just trying to set standards to encourage women to think more carefully about how to make better choices about men, and how to think about marriage and family in informed, effective ways. I just think that women need to withhold sex from men before marriage (thus making them demonstrate their love in word, writing and deed), judge men to within an inch of their lives during courtship, and to cut taxes to the point where an ordinary man loses the fear that he will not be able to support a family”

        Don’t have a problem with this paragraph.
        Thought I better let you know where I agree with you to help you remember that we don’t disagree on everything.


    2. Well, my problem with a Calvinist woman is that she would believe a system which I think has done horrendous harm to the church of Christ – a belief system that makes God the author of sin, a God who created people to send to hell, a God who has pre-programmed robots. If a woman lacks discernment, confusing God’s foreknowledge with fore-ordination, then she isn’t reading her scripture rightly. A Calvinist says you can’t tell people Jesus loves them because we have no idea whether that person is one of the elect (Jay Adams specifically states this). No, I want a woman who can rightly divide the Word! But we don’t want to make Calvinism an issue of discussion, do we?


    1. Well, Christian Scientists (or other cults like Mormons, or a Jehovah’s Witnesses) will naturally have different positions in on biblical doctrine than orthodox Bible-believing Christians.

      (Note: I paraphrased this comment for Glenn to make it sound nicer. I hope he doesn’t mind!)


      1. Sort of like the way that Mormons think that the universe is eternal, not created out of nothing, and Jehovah’s Witnesses think that Jesus is not divine? They aren’t reliable on core theology, so of course they will be wrong on other things? Right?


  5. McS, it really is a huge issue in the Evangelical movement. (Many) Men DO want to tell women what to think and how to be saved rather than allowing women to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head even if some want to dismiss you because of the CS thing.

    (Many) Men want to define submission for women and make it something it’s not rather than allowing women to search it out for themselves and how it applies to their own lives.
    (Kudos to Jeremy above who appears willing to give his wife room for this rather than needing to tell her what it is)

    This is why I keep pointing to the fact that God NEVER tells men to lead their wives. He NEVER does. Men just assume this by a few things God DID tell women. And instead of women working out what God tells them to do, men want to jump right in there and say, “What God meant was…”

    And much of the jumping in there and defining God and what He meant for women, though perhaps well-intentioned, usually ends up being male-serving, turning the gospel into a rather male-favoring gospel.

    This is a huge turn off, not to just those outside the church, but to many within who have btdt and have more t-shirts on submission doctrine than anyone here cares to see. I could provide links, but I will spare you, this time.

    I was on board with submission doctrine back in the early 80s. It was put forth as what would “Save” Christian marriages clear back then.
    But what many don’t want to see is the fact that Male rulership in the home IS NOT saving marriages. Nor is is saving our nation.

    And women are either leaving Christianity because they cannot separate the baby from the bathwater, or they have stopped letting men tell them Who God is and what God wants and are seeking it for themselves using the Bible WITHOUT the male-headship lens.
    i.e separating the baby — what the Bible really says… from the bathwater — what men say the Bible says.

    Here’s one woman who’s had enough with men defining God and men and women in a way that favors men and disfavors women.


    1. Here’s one man who will never marry until women recover a Biblical (complementarian) understanding of marriage.

      If you like feminism more than Christianity, then just say so. Don’t conflate the two. The two views have nothing to do with one another – they are oil and water. They conflict at every point. You’re a feminist. Don’t bring the Bible into it. Be a feminist, and leave Christianity to Christians.

      But don’t worry – if a lot of Christian men just refuse to marry feminists, you can still tax away all our money and have children without us. That’s feminism. Children don’t need fathers, right? I’m sure all the research showing that children do need fathers is biased.


      1. WK, if you wait for “women” to recover the Biblical understanding, you will never marry. Perhaps you should rephrase that to say until you find a woman who understands Biblical roles – complimentarianism.


        1. The problem is that it is irrelevant who I meet. Mara’s worldview is enshrined in law. And her laws have removed the security, liberty and prosperity that I need to run my life my way (e.g. – weakened counter-terrorism/gun control, mandatory health insurance/public school monopoly, high taxes/welfare).

          I’m not going to participate in marriage with anyone given that feminism is enshrined in law and government. The feminists want government more than husbands. They think that a government check is a substitute for a father. They don’t want to raise their own children (and maybe work part-time), they want a full-time career. So let them have that.

          If complementarian Christian women want to marry, let them get out there and make their pro-family views into public policy. As it stands, there is a 40% out-of-wedlock birth rate which was caused by feminism, which opposes chastity, chivalry, courtship and marriage.

          A 40% out-of-wedlock birth rate requires government subsidies for single mothers, as well as expensive social programs to deal with the damage caused by children raised without fathers. And that means higher taxes. A man cannot marry and have a family if he is already paying for the problems created by feminism. So women will have to choose between feminism and husbands. Between feminism and fathers.

          (Note: when I say feminism, I mean third-wave feminism)


          1. I think you are mistaking me for a third wave feminist.
            I’m conservative.
            I want men and women to both have money and fund what they believe in, not having the government take it away and funding what they believe.

            I sent my daughter to Washington D.C.
            She loves babies, because I love babies and she’s conservative. I could see her going into politics and running as republican. She may or may not want to do this. But if she does she won’t forget her roots planted firmly in one of the few republican congressional districts in my liberal state.

            I don’t see were women being equal to men in marriage and church has done all these things to you.
            I think you are comparing apples to oranges.

            I take no money from the government.
            I’m so conservative. When I qualified for WIC, I refused it. It’s not the government’s job to take care of me or the children I produced.

            You paint with too broad a brush.


      2. Maybe you should focus on the Christian/Christlike understanding of marriage.
        You might be shocked at what you find.
        Christ came and turned all things on their heads. He raised valleys and lowered mountains.

        All Paul tried to do in his letters was to try to take what Jesus said and make it workable in the terribly slave and female oppressive culture of Ancient Rome.
        What we do now with Paul’s letters is undo the work of Christ based on misunderstanding of Paul’s intentions.

        We give Paul’s words more weight than Jesus Christ. We make Paul’s words the foundation for marriage rather than the words of Jesus Christ.

        Jesus said, don’t desire to rule.
        Men say, “God says husbands are to rule over their wives.”
        God never says this.
        You and other men calling it ‘biblical’ all you want doesn’t make it so. It just appeases your conscience of the sin of wanting to rule.

        I think we agree on one thing. Men and woman are better off remaining unmarried as long as it’s all about who is in charge.


        1. Mara,

          You do just as the rest of the feminists do – you try to say Paul is misunderstood. Twist the Scripture all you like, but it still says that in marriage the husband is the leader. He is a loving leader, willing to die for his wife as Christ did for the church. The wife is his equal in every way, just with a different role. If women quit trying to be men, our society wouldn’t be so screwed up.

          The thing about men being the leaders, is that they also are responsible before God as to how they succeed in their mission. God told men to love their wives – he never tells that to the wife!

          It isn’t about who is in charge. My wife would could tell you how freeing it is to allow the husband to have the responsibility of leadership. Every decision is done jointly, but when there is a decision that cannot be agreed upon (it has been rare in our almost 34 years of marriage), then the husband is responsible for the decision made, whether he gives in to the wife or she gives into him. And if the decision ends up being wrong, it is the husband who bears responsibility for it.

          If you ever served in the military, you would better understand this similar leaderhip/submission relationship.


          1. Glenn: “You do just as the rest of the feminists do – you try to say Paul is misunderstood”

            Peter said that Paul’s words are hard to understand. If Peter, one of Paul’s contemporaries said this about him, it might behoove the rest of us to stop being so sure we knew exactly what he was talking about.


    2. Mara,

      Your problem, as well as others promoting the unbiblical – yes, UNBIBLICAL – egalitarian view is that they have been victims of unbiblical use of the BIBLICAL complimentarian view. I’ve had to counsel those sorts of men. As noted, when God told the wife to submit to her husband, that immediately implies the husband is the leader. The corporal submits to the sergeant, but the sergeant does not abuse the leadership role. The fact that men have abused the God-given leadership role (or even abandoned it) and women have usurped the man’s authority, is a large part of the problem with society, let alone a problem for the church, which has led to much liberalism. It is a fact that every church who has women in leadership goes liberal in their teachings. Look at the ELCA, the Episcopal Church, PCUSA, Methodists, etc – all have women leaders and all have left orthodox doctrine.


      1. I don’t think that feminism is reconcilable with Christianity. Feminists are feminists, and they use Christian-talk to get their views accepted by Christians who don’t know what feminism is really about: the marginalization of men, the enlargement of state power, and the destruction of the family.

        (Note: not first-wave feminism, which I approve of)


        1. How do you define first wave?
          That may be all I am?
          I’m not for the marginalization of men or anyone.
          I believe in strong men and women and strong marriages. I simple don’t view strong marriages as the man having a trump card to use against his wife.

          Shout biblical and unbiblical all you want, Glenn.
          Say your scholars are better than mine. I don’t care much.
          As I said. BTDT. Got the t-shirts.
          You will know them by their fruit and the fruit of submission doctrine leaves much to be desired. All over the place. You just don’t want to see.

          All I wanted was to caution the next generation that the salvation of our nation does not rest on gender roles.
          The Bible doesn’t even define gender roles. Attitudes, yes. Roles, no. That is adding to the gospel.

          The gospel is not about gender at all. Like young earth vs old earth, it isn’t the primary issue. But focusing on it as though it will save you is keeping people from coming to Christ just like debating young earth as though it will save you.


          1. It has never been hinted as a salvation issue, any more than creation issues. But one’s understanding of the scripture can be grossly messed up by twisting the scriptures about man/woman roles and young/old earth creationism. Once you start interpreting the Scripture to your bias, where does it end? No, gender roles are not about salvation, but neither are any other moral issue about salvation. But the Bible does indeed speak to them. And the “fruit” of the “submission doctrine” (a misnomer) leaves nothing to be desired when practiced biblically. As I said, it is the abuse of the roles which has led to bad “fruit.” And there are many legalistic churches who teach an abusive version. The church I go to does not do so, nor would I attend a church that did. I have counseled men who have attended such churches who preach submission as a dictatorial-type relationship, and they are the ones with marital problems. Don’t blame the bad fruit on the Biblical standard – blame the misapplication and abuse of the standard.


  6. Saying that “some things” that Paul said were hard to understand certainly did not mean the plain things were hard to understand, and Paul’s teachings in Eph. 5 is plain. What egalitarians do is the second part of that passage by Peter – they twist what he says to their own destruction.


  7. Glenn,

    There are churches that teach it right that have abusers attending.
    All that abuser needs is for someone to tell him that God says he’s in charge for it to open another avenue of abuse.
    And no one knows it’s going on, for years.

    Sure, it may be a ‘misapplication’ even there.
    But what I found, as a pastor’s wife counseling difficult marriages, was the ease with which men would apply submission. “Well if she’d just submit like the Bible tells her to then there wouldn’t be any problems,” completely sweeping any responsibility off of himself and onto her.
    It was then I began to realize… These men will be unable to apply Ephesians 5 to their marriages until they get Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
    They want to skip the basics, the foundation, and go straight to the good part where they are in charge and their wives aren’t.
    Men who can’t quote John 3:16 know the part about wives submit, which is a shame.
    The overemphasis along with misapplication of Ephesians 5 and gender roles has produced bad fruit.


    I see that for the most part, the men here are good and want to do right. And if my words came across as an attack, I’m very sorry.

    All I ask is that people be willing to see that sometimes what we take for granted as Bible is really based more on the traditions of men than good apologetics.

    -signing off


    1. Mara,
      You are again giving examples of men who misapply the teaching as your reason why the teaching must be wrong. No, men are sinful, as are women, and both misapply the teaching for their own selfishness. That doesn’t make the teachings wrong. This is not a tradition – it is indeed good apologetic exegesis.


    2. When I think of a woman submitting to me when we disagree, I think of her agreeing to read stuff about my point of view. For example, I know one lady I like a lot who is anti-war and anti-guns. I have two books picked out for her to read to fix this: “War Footing” and “The Bias Against Guns”. Since I am trying to make our friendship progress, I am waiting and hoping for her to SUBMIT to me by reading these books. I am hoping to change her mind.

      I also like to send her gifts. So I sent her some books for Christmas, and some books for her birthday (from her wishlist). When I think of submit, I mean that a women values the relationship enough to try to study things that I care about and to see if her mind changes. Obviously, she makes me do the same. I have to read stuff too. It’s actually an excellent way to test a woman’s suitability for marriage, in my opinion.

      I can’t imagine how any man would interpret submit differently than that. After all, women are there to love. I think the time to test for submissiveness is during the courtship. Give her things to read, then demand book reports. If she really loves you, she’ll submit to your leadership. Men LEAD, they do not DICTATE. There is a difference. It’s just like the office – you have to get buy-in by persuasion, not by ordering people about. They may have to obey, but that’s not going to get the best effort out of them. And in a marriage you need the best effort of a wife to please God. After all, she’s the one who raises the next Michele Bachmann or William Lane Craig.

      I think my notion of submit comes from my not-Calvinism. I think that God draws people to him with various means, but that people have a choice to respond. God isn’t bossy! He wants people to love him, and there is no love without the freedom to refuse. That’s what I do with women during the courting. I give them things to do to test them to see if they want to help me. If they want to help, then great. Otherwise, I just keep them as friends.


  8. Just curious – Wintery, if your friend who is anti-war and anti-gun reads the books but doesn’t change her mind, does her considering your POV fulfill your idea of the way a wife should submit? Or does she have to agree with you after she reads the stuff?


    1. I was just talking to another woman about that today, and she asked the exact same question. It depends on the issue. For things like fiscal conservatism, I think it means that we cannot get married, but we can still be friends. That’s because when a woman supports fiscal conservatism, it’s just another way of saying that she believes in family more than she believes in government. A Democrat is someone who believes that family money is better spent by the government, and that children should be raised by professionals in government-run day care and public schools, (so that all the children are equal).

      But for something like Calvinism, we need to both read books and then have clarity on where we disagree. Actually, that was a disagreement between me and this woman, and after she spent some time reading and talking, she still didn’t agree, but we both said some things that made our different views sound a lot closer together. So that conflict is resolved.

      I am still working on her fiscal conservatism, which is a requirement, I think, for ANY woman who wants to be married, as is the denial of feminism.


  9. So in those cases, it’s not so much a matter of “submission” for its own sake as a matter of agreeing on the issues that are most important to you?


    1. Yes, submitting means submitting to READING THE BOOK or WATCHING THE DEBATE, etc. And I test women to see if they can submit during courtship. There is no submission apart from persuasion. That’s what submitting means to me, anyway. It means letting me try to convince her. If I’m wrong, then why should I win??? That makes no sense. Courtship is about seeing how willing she is to search for truth, and how willing she is to change her mind. And the same applies to me. She and I have to know that the other person will never use coercion in an argument, but instead we will always appeal to what is true. Both of us have to be expert in logic and able to marshal evidence, either from science, the Bible, or history, etc.


  10. My wife says she’s not interested in the debate because she has too much to do to spend time with this :oD What I want to point out that, W.K., your idea of what submission is doesn’t go along with biblical submission. She has to read a book? She has to watch a debate? Give me a break; wouldn’t you like your spouse to be her own person and not a clone of you? I have said it before but I do need to say it again – your ideal spouse must be all about you – you are very self-focused in your courtship ideals. Demanding that she like and do all that you like and do is NOT biblical submission, rather it runs along the lines of the abuse of the idea that Mara objected to. My wife is an individual with different likes and dislikes than me. BUT, we have Christ as our common foundation and our worldview then revolves around that, so that our worldview is the same. But I don’t ask her to watch war movies! The woman you demand doesn’t exist.


    1. We disagree completely on this. (Don’t be mad) The standard isn’t MY standard, of course, it’s what is good for God. Most women don’t want to serve God in an effective way, and my job is to make sure that my wife reads a lot of true things and renews her mind so she will be effective. I’m her husband, it’s my job to make sure she loves God effectively.

      That is so funny because I just recommended two war movies to the anti-war girl. I recommended “We Were Soldiers” and “Rules of Engagement”. Two great movies that would really change her mind, I think.

      By the way I do the same with my Dad. When he started, he knew nothing of laptops, mp3 players, digital cameras and even books on gardening! Now the whole house is decorated with pictures of his flowers that he took with the camera, printed on photo paper and framed. People need to know the truth and the truth makes them happy.


  11. I think it’s reasonable to have a FEW subjects that are so important to a person that a potential spouse would have to agree before marriage. For example, I couldn’t have married a non-Christian or someone who was OK with abortion. However, which subjects fall into that category is a serious question for each individual. I doubt that any two people agree on everything, unless one of them is awfully impressionable.

    I’ve known fantastic marriages in which both members agree on most things, and others in which they disagree on most things. Either way can work – unless one or both of them are so grumpy that they can’t deal with disagreement.

    Asking someone to read a book on a subject can be a decent way to try to bring them around (if the subject is in that critical category). However, most subjects aren’t absolutely essential; romantic prospects are not children and shouldn’t be “assigned” busy work just for their education. Also, some people just don’t communicate like that. My husband is an engineer, and probably the most brilliant person that I know. However, he doesn’t read for fun or prolifically. He becomes informed in other ways. It would not be fair or reasonable for me to expect him to read a stack of books on a subject. Now, if before we were married, I had decided that it was essential to me to only marry a “reader,” I could have given him books to my heart’s content. (That requirement would have eliminated the perfect husband for me, though.)

    I guess my two points here are:

    1. A few things are important to agree on before deciding to marry. Don’t expect the other person to agree with you on everything.
    2. Be considerate of the other person’s time and personality when you’re hashing out the important things – reading/writing is not the best way to discuss these things with everyone. People are different.


  12. Glen:”My wife says she’s not interested in the debate because she has too much to do to spend time with this”

    I agree with your wife. I had to sign off. Busy being a mom to my kids, taking them to lessons, competitions, and recitals over the weekend.

    Plus teaching children’s church.

    You would have loved it, Wintery. It was about the diligent hand will rule and the slack hand will be put to forced labor. Very republican message, if I do say so myself. Really wanted to encourage the kids (some even from welfare families) that God wants to bless them and make them prosper. But they have to put their hand to something. God can’t bless laziness.

    Wintery:”We disagree completely on this. (Don’t be mad) The standard isn’t MY standard, of course, it’s what is good for God. Most women don’t want to serve God in an effective way,”

    I’m not mad. But I think it’s your sweeping judgements, like this, that do get a bit under my skin.
    Please be careful about presuming so much about most women AND about thinking you speak for God. The older I get, the longer I’ve walked with God, the more I’ve learned to take great care in thinking I know what’s best for Him. Things I was positive of in my younger years I learned didn’t mean near as much to Him as it did to me. But it’s a growing process, and it’s a good thing God extends His grace to us as we grow in Him. There’s something to be said of the wisdom of the aged. (of which I’m not one yet, but I do listen to them :) )

    Glenn:”What I want to point out that, W.K., your idea of what submission is doesn’t go along with biblical submission.” (and a bunch of other good things you said in that post)


    Please continue to preach your message, Glenn.
    You sooo have my blessing.

    My enemy is not complementrianism.
    And believe it or not, your enemy is not egalitarianism. I don’t expect you to believe this but I’m saying it anyway.

    The enemy is injustice.

    The enemy is misrepresenting the heart of God to hurting women (and men).
    The enemy is cookie cutter Christianity, putting people in boxes and telling them to be happy with limitations that human beings put on them that God had nothing to do with.

    Glenn:”Demanding that she like and do all that you like and do is NOT biblical submission, rather it runs along the lines of the abuse of the idea that Mara objected to.”


    I don’t need to say anymore except that MORE MEN need to get this word out so that the gospel is no longer hindered by this ‘unbiblical’ view of submission. ;)


  13. Glenn, I appreciate your more measured tone with regard to Mara’s comment above and I happen to agree with your viewpoint. I hope your wife’s article is met with respect and encourage you in your own expression of it. I’ve seen both sides of you and I have to say that the more respectful one is enlightening. I hope to see more of it.


    1. McSpinster, I don’t know where you would say I haven’t been respectful or where you’ve seen a side of me that isn’t, unless you are referring to my responses about Christian Science. I can respect people but I can not respect belief systems that are counter-factual.


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