Today I was taken back when I read some comments made by a fellow Christian. Some comments about “strong and controlling women”. I was taken back several years to a time when I struggled to find freedom as a woman in the church and remembering how my freedom came from knowing truth.
First let me say, I am partial to the house church setting, finding it refreshing to be a part of something that is outside the boundaries of the control present in denominational church. A little of the same spirit that has caused immigrants to cross oceans and astronauts to explore space. It’s the “new frontier” being opened up by the Holy Spirit and very exciting!
Actually, it is a return to the original and Biblical model and pattern of fellowship but very “new” for many Christians.
However, when going new places we often take our old baggage with us. This is especially true in the church! And the problem is, our old baggage will contaminate the new environment. Pollute it and bring death.
The wrong teaching concerning women in the church, particularly the roles of women in marriage and women in ministry, has been a very destructive and effective tool of the enemy’s for centuries and I was abruptly reminded today he is determined to come into my new world called “house church” as well.
The way he will weasel in is through un-renewed minds of people who are entering my new world. People who love God but have baggage they are determined to hold on to, usually because that baggage represents some kind of power.
The comment was in effect that “some women are so strong and controlling that they don’t allow their husbands to grow in the Lord”.
What?! What is that supposed to mean?! How can that be?
The devil himself can’t stop a man from serving the Lord and growing in the Lord! Nor can he stop a woman from growing in the Lord. Can he send persecution and difficulty and blind people to truth? Of course he can! But he can’t stop a decision and choices of the hearts of individuals to seek the Lord and serve Him.
Yes, it is wrong for a woman to dominate or control her husband and equally wrong for a husband to dominate and control his wife. But even being dominated can’t stop the desire and hunger for God in a person’s heart nor can it stop God’s response to that hunger, which will produce spiritual growth.
As I mused and thought about his comments I was reminded of an incident in my life many years ago. I was part of a large denominational church at the time and attended Sunday school class on Sunday mornings before the service.
We got into some pretty good discussions in that class and one day the discussion ventured into the role of a woman in marriage. One of the men in the class was a part time “Christian marriage counselor” and offered some input.
According to scripture he said, the man is the “head”. He then referred to the women’s position as the neck! [I know, I know! Church people can come up with some weird stuff. And most of that weird stuff has put people in bondage for centurys.]
He then went on to say the neck is what supports the head and turns it in the direction it needs to go etc.. but warned the “neck” should never try to be the “head”! Well, I guess not! That would be an impossibility! As are a lot of other things women get accused of.
He then offered the women in the group some “advice”. If their husbands were a bit timid and found it difficult to gather the family to pray etc, she as the wife, should look for opportunities to build his confidence. This was her duty as a Christian wife.
So he suggested to the ladies that they should lather their husbands with praise when they did such small things as initiate prayer over meals or read Bible stories to the children etc.
“Oh honey! I am so proud of you!”, “You da man!” etc.. That kind of “praise”.
The counsellor indicated this would build the man’s confidence and make him stronger as the one who was the “head”! And, because the husband was God’s chosen authority and leadership for the marriage, the wife should be careful not to usurp that position.
After I choked back the barf I had a few questions for this man.
1.“So you’re saying the husband’s Christian conduct and his ability to be the “head” is dependant on his wife doing her Christian duty and building him up?”
2.“If he can’t be “the man” unless she does her duties as “the wife”, does that not put her in the position of leadership by default?”
It’s been so long I don’t remember his response but I remember my indignation. I was furious at such a teaching!
I recognised in his ignorance this man was promoting spiritual manipulation. And I knew manipulation to be a form of witchcraft. So the very teaching was giving the enemy a foothold in marriages.
I have since seen this type of Christian marriage counseling in many forms. Dressed up in different curriculum and with different titles. Some even promoting the wife’s use of sex as one of the tools to “help” her husband. Shameful!
What is so difficult about a Christian husband and his Christian wife;
1.being equal before the Lord and following Him,
2.preferring one another in love and
3.taking personal responsibility for their conduct and obedience to the Holy Spirit?
What in the world is so hard about that?!