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Wives submission.

Submitted: 5/31/2005
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Question: I have grappled with the issue of submission, not knowing what it really is or how it really is done. My pastor was a very domineering authoritarian, who taught with much anger and harshness. Submission always felt filthy and degrading. It was commanded and demanded. This made it so very hard to obey. So will you please tell us ladies what submission is, and just maybe there are some husbands who will read your answer and also understand God's True Plan.

Answer: The Bible says, 'Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord' (Ephesians 5:22). In other words, just as we yield ourselves to Jesus as the Lord of our lives, wives are to yield themselves to their husbands. This means that when there is a difference, the wife allows the husband's view to prevail. But this does not mean she cannot express her views and contend for them. It only means that once he makes the final decision, she submits to it (with a good attitide!).

This all sound very good, except when you have to do it. This is why the Bible also says, 'Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her' (Ephesians 5:25). Submission is a voluntary act given by one party to another in recognition of the authority of the other. Its purpose is preserving unity.

It is easy for us to submit to the Lord Jesus because it is so obvious how much He loves us. If He would go so far as to give Himself for us on the Cross, we must believe that He has only our best interests at heart. Husbands must also make it easy for their wives to submit to their authority by going out of their way to show them how much they are loved. When a woman believes her husband is operating out of unselfish motives and in the best interests of the family, she finds it much easier to submit when there is disagreement.

Submission does NOT mean that the wife cannot express her opinions. It does NOT mean she is her husband's personal slave. It does NOT mean she can be commanded to commit a sinful act. Submission is the proper response to loving authority. When husbands, or pastors, are not loving, they are setting the women up for failure.

Please read our article titled 'The Limits of Pastoral Authority' in the Apostolic Free Library on Shelf 4, Leadership and Authority. The principle of submission only applies when a person is properly exercising his authority. When he goes beyond the biblical limts, submission is not required. In other words, church leaders may have the authority to tell me that I must arrive by a certain time or I will not be allowed to play the piano, but they have gone beyond the limits if they tell me that I must arrive at a certain time. My time is under my authority. Who plays the piano in a corporate meeting of the assembly is under their authority.