In previous posts, I’ve described how I tried to keep the male provider role in mind when deciding how hard to study, what to major in, what jobs to choose, and how much to save. I wanted to earn the respect of my future wife, and have leverage to lead the family according to a (known) plan that would produce results for God. But not everyone sees self-sacrificial decisions that produce results as worthy of respect.
Here is a comment from a Christian feminist:
Based on this, and other things you’ve said, I… would frankly consider you ineligible for marriage. I have read some of your blog and it seems to me that you trust in your own earning power, your own planning ability, and haven’t even considered that it’s God who gives you the health and strength to carry out these things. Also, if you’re planning to retire at 50 with this net wealth, then you’re not giving enough money away. I don’t want to marry a dead beat guy who can’t provide. But I don’t want to marry an arrogant guy who thinks he can provide better than God either.
I think what she’s saying here, is that despite the husband’s abilities as a provider, wives are not obligated to respect their husbands. Why not? Because the husband’s preparation and planning to be the main provider was all a gift from God. The husband didn’t sacrifice anything or make good decisions in order to become a good provider. God did that. So, the wife should just give God the respect, not her husband.
Is her view consistent with Ephesians 5:22-24, 33?
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
What her view really means, in practice, is that the wife only has to “respect” her husband when she feels like it. And when is that? When he makes her feel happy. By doing what she tells him to do.
And, since provider ability was all God’s doing, the husband didn’t really make good decisions about education, work experience, and finances. God made all those good decisions. The husband doesn’t actually know how to make good decisions, and so he shouldn’t be making the decisions for the family.
In practice, only the wife knows what God has decided for her (and the family). God speaks to her directly, through her feelings. So really, she should just explain to her husband what God is telling her through her feelings, and the husband should submit to her decision-making.
What does the Bible teach about women and marriage?
Consider Genesis 3:16:
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
Is the woman’s her desire for her husband a romantic or sexual desire? It is not.
Famous evangelical theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem explains in his book “Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood”:
The word translated “desire” is an unusual Hebrew word, teshûqåh. What is the meaning of this word? In this context and in this construction, it probably implies an aggressive desire, perhaps a desire to conquer or rule over, or else an urge or impulse to oppose her husband, an impulse to act “against” him. This sense is seen in the only other occurrence of teshûqåh in all the books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), and the only other occurrence of teshûqåh plus the preposition ’el in the whole Bible. That occurrence of the word is in the very next chapter of Genesis, in 4:7. God says to Cain, “Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it” ( NASB ). Here the sense is very clear. God pictures sin as a wild animal waiting outside Cain’s door, waiting to attack him, even to pounce on him and overpower him. In that sense, sin’s “desire” or “instinctive urge” is “against” him. 20
The striking thing about that sentence is what a remarkable parallel it is with Genesis 3:16. In the Hebrew text, six words are the same and are found in the same order in both verses. It is almost as if this other usage is put here by the author so that we would know how to understand the meaning of the term in Genesis 3:16. The expression in 4:7 has the sense, “desire, urge, impulse against” (or perhaps “desire to conquer, desire to rule over”). And that sense fits very well in Genesis 3:16 also. 21
(Quotation found on Dalrock’s blog)
How Christian feminists interpret the Bible
I urge you to listen to a presentation by Dr. Wayne Grudem at a meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). He evaluates the claims of a Christian feminist named Catherine Kroeger.
- The MP3 is here. (30 minutes)
- This MP3 is a more detailed version, with slightly worse audio, and a gap at 56-58 minutes. (68 minutes)
- Here is a written summary.
Bottom line: not every church-attending woman who paints herself as a “spiritual” Christian (with words) takes the Bible seriously as an authority (in her actions).
Men: make sure you evaluate wife-candidates thoroughly, and make sure that they demonstrate the ability to do what the Bible says, especially when it goes against their feelings and desires. Never believe words about the future. Evaluate actions in the past. Your marriage must achieve something for God, and that means you must choose someone with proven character and ability, to help you execute your plan. That is why we evaluate women before proposing. Remember, after you marry her, you will be morally obligated to love her as Christ loved the church. Make sure you pick someone who is easy to love all the way.
13 thoughts on “Christian feminist says that husbands who provide don’t deserve respect”
‘Bottom line: not every church-attending woman who paints herself as a “spiritual” Christian (with words) takes the Bible seriously as an authority (in her actions).’
I concur. I saw this play out in real time talking with Catholic women who said they are feminists. You point out any Scripture and they immediately dismiss it. We’re talking about the Word of God here.
So I learned immediately…if a person says they are a Christian feminist…they are not. They are a feminist. The two ethoses are polar opposites of each other.
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I was thinking the same. The term “Christian Feminist” is an oxymoron.
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Coincidentally, I just learned last night that couple I’ve known for nearly 20 years is getting divorced. We attended Sunday adult bible classes together for 11 years in a class devoted to young married couples and young families. She dominated her husband. She would claim outwardly that she loved him but he literally did all of the housework and whatever else she told him to do despite being the sole income for the household. I guess in her mind, being a mother was the only job she should have and that only after someone else (i.e. her husband) did the dishes, laundry, and cleaning. He claimed he was happy to do it, but it was clear that he was striving to gain her respect. So, it was announced last night by her that they were getting divorced and that he had be cheating on her for 7 years. Let’s just say that most of us guys who were in the class with them back in the ’00s were not surprised. (And yes, she is an out and proud feminist, if you’re curious.)
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That’s terrible! I think he must have felt helpless that doing all these things didn’t get him the support and care he needed. I know there is an epidemic of sex-withholding going on these days, and men don’t have any leverage to stop it. It always seems that there is some way for the woman to rationalize not having to respond to a husband who does so much as a provider and in the home. It’s scary. I think men believe that if they just do this or that for her, then she will feel obligated to him. But as you can see from my post, there are spiritual sounding ways to just take and take and take, and give nothing back.
Of the feminist topic but covered by her. I found the comment regarding finances silly.
If you trusted in your money more than God, and if God himself came along and told you to give and you said no there would be an issue.
Money is only an abstract idea in an economy. All the patriarchs Jacob Abraham had lots of land and livestock. Those are a literal money in a bartering society. In our money based society with little bartering we have currency as the means to create more ability to make money for us.
It is silly to assume that we should live our whole life Ina miraculous realm of God just giving enough. We need good financial stewards to provide for ministries, be good employers etc.
God can provide for us when we are in need though just enough or having others give to us, but we don’t choose to put ourselves in those situations by bad ideas.
Also why are you bad for not giving enough, yet if you had wasted it on expensive clothes and cars thst would be ok, I assume
Respect is vital. It doesn’t mean worshipping the husband, but rather regarding his position in the household as one of importance. I hear Christian women denigrate their husbands and it really bothers me. Are there things we can chuckle about? Sure—just like men chuckle good-naturedly about our quirky habits. But in the end, I’m not going to shout my husband’s failures and/or weaknesses from the rooftops. A Christian wife should always seek to elevate her husband with both words and actions to her peers, her parents, and her children. God is still above all, but God also expects us to show proper respect to authority he has put in our lives.
Many of the radical feminists get offended with a man doing anything for a woman, due to “toxic masculinity”, like opening doors, paying for meals on dates, and I guess now providing for their wives! I have no idea at all why any woman would shun and turn you down for wanting to provide! Any wife would be lucky to have the luxury to stay at home and raise a family while her man provides financially! She is privileged in that she doesn’t acknowledge the countless women who CAN’T stop working and putting their kids in daycare but wish they could stay at home. My mother wanted to, but she had to keep working to keep our family’s benefits like health insurance. She was lucky she and my father could work part time on opposite schedules to be present in my life. So many can’t have that option :( To decry a man who is more than willing to provide is an insult to all women who are forced to work that would rather be stay at home moms and don’t have the luxury of a spouse who makes enough to support her. Not to mention how hard it is to find a man willing to step into the traditional role, having been brainwashed by the radical feminists to view any woman who wants a traditional wife’s role as homemaker and mother as a moocher who just wants a “sugar daddy”. What a shame! I’d marry a man who would provide for me in a heart beat!
‘Famous evangelical theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem explains in his book “Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood”’
It amuses me somewhat to find positive references to material from prominent members of CBMW (The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) when Dalrock and crew regularly denounce them for what they consider feminist-influenced, if not outright feminist, teaching. Conversely, supposedly non-feminist Christians like Sheila Gregoire practically spit venom at the same people for being, as they see it, so patriarchal.
By the way, I think the book Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood is available online free here and, I think, other sites.
Dalrock’s post that I linked was very positive on Grudem. I like Grudem. I think he doesn’t water down complementarianism or male headship as much as others do. And he treats his wife nicely.
Just can’t win, can we, guys! Happily, God sees all and will judge everyone justly on the Last Day.
Christian MGTOW is winning. Retiring at 50 is winning.
If we don’t have Christian women who are chaste and debt-free, etc. then the right move is to hold on to your money and pass on marriage. What men need is a woman who thinks ahead about what’s expected of her in a marriage, and spend their pre-marriage years preparing for it. Someone who doesn’t waste their 20s studying easy things, running up debts, and partying with alcohol and bad boys.
The good-decision making of a marriage-ready woman will be displayed in their chastity, their STEM degree, their accumulated wealth, their sobriety, their interest in apologetics (to defend God, instead of treating God like their cosmic butler), their deep reading in non-fiction, their spending restraint, their interest in caring for children and the elderly, their contentment with singleness, and their absolute hatred for feminism and progressive policy.
If we can’t find women who are serious about marriage, then we need to pass on marriage. It’s not a good deal for men who are chaste and have made good decisions with education, career and finance. The self-control and understanding of what marriage is has to be on both sides for marriage to work.
I am cutting to the chase a little: there are plenty of women who would put down a man for many different reasons. Maybe he’s too intellectual, maybe he’s too engrossed by his work (she wants a doctor/lawyer, but she wants him to wait hand and foot on her… and she doesn’t want to deal with his schedule). Maybe he’s too into (whatever interest … apologetics, fantasy football, Mexican food, etc.)
A lot of this tells me 1) many women don’t have wisdom or discernment (people’s interests change as they go through different seasons of life and also with a family and kids) and 2) you don’t need every woman to respect you. You just want your (future) life partner to respect who you are.
I’m supposed to hunt down D. A. Carson and Gregory K. Beale, editors: “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” since I believe Kroeger (and others) argue that kephale means source, which no lexicon agrees is a semantic value. I would also note that Beale and Kroeger were both at Gordon-Conwell and Beale disagreed with Kroeger over ‘source’ (no prof except Kroeger ever said that kephale was source and no prof agreed with Kroeger over her interpretations).
Interestingly my retired senior pastor had a very small minority view: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/35/35-3/JETS_35-3_341-360_Hugenberger.pdf (“Complementarian in marriage, Egalitarian in ministry”)
In any case, I do think many who proclaim themselves to be “Egalitarian” are really “Christian feminists.”
Let me tease out a little bit what happens if a wife does not respect her husband.
He feels inadequate: he’s never good enough. Whatever he does, he can’t make his wife happy. He can’t do enough — because everything he does is flawed or worse than if she did it.
It unfortunately feeds a vicious cycle (one about love and respect). An disrespected husband will start to act unloving.
Part of the problem is that by being disrespectful, it is like worldview, an interpretative lens — the wife views her husband’s actions with disrespect and thus everything is deficient. He could be incredibly well-meaning, but if she is careless with her words, she could extinguish any nascent ability or interest. A simple example would be: a husband doesn’t have much ability to be a fixer-upper, but he is interested in learning and in improving. A wife is careless with her words and repeatedly tells him he stinks at it.
What happens? He’ll stop trying. Isn’t that obvious?
Let’s think of some alternatives. Instead of snuffing that out with a nasty word, why not encourage him? Why not say: Honey, thanks for trying and for doing X, Y, Z. It would also help me a lot if you did A (, B, C).
Sometimes people do rise to the level of expectation. My senior pastor used to exercise this rhetoric (I call it a “Winston Churchill” like rhetoric) — he used to thank people for their service/ministry before they even did it. He might include a few concrete things that they could do — e.g., “Thank you for being very patient and for welcoming people to this outreach, in your devotion to Jesus Christ.” People might be a bit surprised, but they would say to themselves, “Wow, I want to make my senior pastor proud. I want to do my best.”
Men also have an unpleasant word for women or wives or are bad-tempered/short-tempered, aggressively assertive women (also read: women who are lacking in social skills). It’s “shrew.” We don’t like to use that word unless we’re around other men.
I’m not excusing the husband — so this is more descriptive of what I’ve observed. Husbands who involve themselves in affairs — it’s rarely with stunning beautiful women. It’s sometimes the case that the mistress is homely — but she’s not a shrew, quite the opposite.
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I think the best response to the woman you quoted is just to smile sweetly and say, “I wasn’t really asking your opinion of what a man is.” The implication is that you should be making an effort to impress her and as she’s very likely not a candidate (ever, hopefully) to be your bride, why would you care what she thought?
I agree that being studious and planning and working hard are very much biblical principles. The Bible has an entire book of such principles in Proverbs.