Men & Women Together!

For hundreds of years, church organizations and civil governments have debated the role of women. In our Western societies today, most women have more freedom than at any time in history. But so do most men. Is increased freedom for women a sign of national decadence, or a sign of relief from years of women being oppressed?

The truth is probably somewhere in between. The feminist idea of today is that men and women are equal in every way and should have legally enforced equal access to everything—education, jobs and even military combat. Few Bible students believe this view, as the Bible defines different roles for men and women—and simple observation shows that as a whole, men and women have different strengths and weaknesses.

The opposing view is expressed by the letter, below, and believed by all too many church men: "women are inferior and their freedom is a major cause of world problems." This letter reads like a combination of the book of Job and a long soap-opera. It demonstrates the amazing lengths to which people can go to justify themselves and blame their problems on others. The statements about women are a vast mixture of error and truth—a massive effort is required to sort out the two. It would require more than a whole newsletter to completely answer every accusation, so we comment only on the biggest difficulties. We pray for the recovery of both women and men who have had bad relationships because of this kind of thinking.


Letter: June 2, 1997

Dear Norm,

Your politically correct view of men and women in this article, helps explain why you think it just fine for women to teach men in Godís Church. It should be noted women have sought to "teach" and offer "good" advice to men ever since the garden of Eden. Donít forget Adamís sin was letting his wife teach him (Gen 3:17). It is their gullible nature that is the reason they are not to teach (1Tim2:14; 2Tim 3:6; 1Pet 3:7).

Response: Genesis 3 says nothing about Eve "teaching" Adam. Her words are not recorded, but "she also gave to her husband with her and he ate" (v 6,12). Verse 17 indicates that Eve said something to Adam ("because you heeded the voice of your wife."), but the Hebrew qowl for "voice" here implies a "sound," not a "lecture" or long teaching. Adamís sin was not that he listened to his wife talk, but that he disobeyed the clear command of the Eternal (v 17). He was not deceived as Eve was.

There are many scriptures relating to women teaching. We will have an article on the subject in a later issue.

Letter: Women are easier to persuade, any phone call sales personnel knows this. Car salesmen are trained to sell { to} the woman, she will take care of the husband. Like all men, they will give in just to give his ears some rest, and if he doesnít, she will pout for the next 2 weeks. If something negative happens as the result of her not getting her way, he will be subjected to her endless whining and "I told you so. If you would have just listened to me!"

Response: If a man really believes the Eternal made him the head of his family, then he should improve on Adamís approach and take charge of his family. He should tell his wife that he wants her opinion, but that he is going to make the ultimate decision as to what car they buy. If his wife whines and pouts to get her way, then the husband must deal with her like a child—he must make sure that the childish behavior is never rewarded by "getting its way." He can simply not buy the car or not allow her to drive it until she "grows up." But if something negative does happen because the husband failed to listen to his wifeís good advice, then he should learn to listen. It is hard for a man to accept good advice and patiently refute bad advice from the same person, but that is what the Eternal expected Adam to do with his wife, and what the Eternal expects men to do today.

Your letter contains many generalizations about men and women. Scientific testing organizations such as Human Engineering Laboratories have proven that some human capabilities tend to favor one gender. For example, twice as many men as women scored well on certain engineering aptitude tests, whereas twice as many women as men scored well for some artistic aptitude tests. Also, men tended to score higher on tests requiring concentrated thought, where women score higher on tests requiring thinking about several subjects at once. However, these same testing organizations show that there are many exceptions to the general rules. There were women with strong engineering aptitudes and men with strong artistic aptitudes.

It should be even more clear if we examine this issue on a purely physical basis. If we picked out 100 men at random and 100 women at random, we would find that a much greater proportion of the men than women could lift 60 pounds over their head. However, the strongest woman would probably be able to lift more than the weakest man—maybe more than the weakest 10 or 20 men.

The Biblical principle of judgement is that people are judged on what they do, not on what their nation, family, or gender has a tendency to do.

Letter: In addition to being easier targets in the physical world, they are also of the spiritual. Women dominate the field of astrology, mediums, physics, channelers. The women in mass seeing visions of mother Mary. That is the real reason why Satan chose to "get" to our first family through Eve. Like women today, she is the weaker vessel. Note during Adam and Eveís discussion over the two trees, Adam promoted Godís point of view, while Eve promoted Satanís point of view, and you know very well who prevailed. You may think men and women are "equal," but if one is easier to deceive than the other, then they are not equal. You decide which is inferior.

Response: While women may dominate some of the demonic areas that you named, we might ask who dominates the positions of dictators, false religious leaders, inquisitors, and soldiers of genocide? Men! While there are exceptions in all cases, the vast majority of humanityís evils as recorded by the Bible and secular history have been plotted and carried out by men! If we view Genesis 3 as a competition between the strength of Adam and Eve, it looks like Eve is stronger because her idea was followed. The lesson we are to learn from Genesis 3 is that husbands and wives should learn to work together to follow the Eternal. Eve was not "anti-God," she specifically gave Him credit for the birth of her children (Gen 4:1,25).

Letter: Oh, I know today it is great sport to hammer on men while exalting women. I might add it is also safer both mentally and physically. Women are much more likely to scream and howl than men are. Sorry, just one more way we are not equal. Yes, Iíve seen men portrayed as fools, while women are exalted on TV, in ads, sit-coms, daytime soaps (we all know who produce soaps, women), movies, (showing women in command or beating up men), magazines and the list goes on. There could be 10,000 men and 1 woman doing some job and the media will of course focus on the woman so all can see her in a manís role.

Response: Men, husbands and fathers are certainly exploited in TV and movies—though probably not any more than women have been exploited over the years as mindless sex-objects. Humans have a tendency to like to be told that their problems are someone elseís fault. Our media provides programming for men who want to feel superior to women, and for women who want to feel superior to men. Adver tising is designed to get money from both kinds of people. While there certainly are some women advertising and media executives, the majority are still men—men more interested in making money than what they are doing to American families.

Those who believe the Bible should not be trying to "more accurately place the blame," but working toward cooperation between men and women.

Letter: Today, we have college courses teaching girls how to have families without husbands. Then we can talk more about "deadbeat dads". We also can have "take your daughters to work day" but of course no counterpart for boys, that would be discrimination. Women can also be forced into all male schools, but not the other way around, women can and do have a fit until the idea is rejected. Women get preferential hiring for all governmental jobs. We will also lower standards everywhere so women can fill menís jobs. Then we will point our finger at those awful men for being angry. In the Church, we will always honor motherís day, but never fatherís day. We will teach, "A train without an engine is like a family without a mom". I wonder where that puts dad, caboose maybe?

Response: Obviously, the scriptures teach that children should be raised by both parents. Teaching otherwise is wrong. Except for items reserved specifically for the Levites or priests, the Bible says little about who can do what kind of work. Please remember that, for hundreds of years, women have been legally prevented from even applying for most jobs. Governments should not be in the business of forcing private businesses or schools to accept or reject anybody. Free enterprise means a particular business can decide to hire all female workers or no female workers. If women tend to do well at a specific job, then those businesses that hire women will be more successful, and those that do not will suffer. The same would be true for men.

Letter: We will teach how equal men and women are, never mind, even though they are stuffing science classes with girls, it is still boys who are inventing everything, just as men always have. Never mind men are more goal oriented and less distractable, (Mr. Kelly had a lot of fun with that one.) while women are very distractable. We will teach: women are just as good as leaders as men. Never mind twice as many women are suffering from depression than men, about 20-30 million in the United States alone. Never mind one of the manifestations of a depressant is a distorted view of reality, as is the case with all paranoids (at times turning little problems into absolute disasters). Anorexia is almost exclusively a feminine problem, is this not a problem that has reality distortion? Never mind P.M.S. is a powerful dynamic in marriage which is exclusively hormone induced and also distorts reality, and she thus becomes totally irrational, illogical, and impossible, also women are naturally more emotional, and emotion also distorts reality. Thatís why God teaches men to just get away from them at such times. Proverbs 21:9; 21:19; 25:24; 27:15; 9:13; 14:1. Why donít you mention these scriptures, Mr. Edwards? Never mind all that, we will teach she is just as capable as him, and he should listen to her "good" advice more.

Response: Again, these are generalizations, probably based on some truth. Some ailments are found in women most often and some in men. But saying women are inferior because they tend to have more illness is a distortion of reality. Women, on average, live several years longer than men.

You have listed six scriptures about foolish or contentious women. Here are seven about good women (1Sam 25:3; 2Sam 14:2; 20:16, Matt 26:10, Acts 9:36, Prv 14:1; Prv 31). You can also find a lot of scriptures on evil men and on good men. We could try to count all of the scriptures about "good" and "bad" men and women and see who has the most of each. Or we can get the Biblical view directly: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28).

Letter: Iím sorry if this offends you but this is all true. Men and women are not equal, you decide if one is inferior. Let me give you a hint, girls suffer more from low self esteem than boys, while boys are perfectly happy with themselves. Girls know the answer to this question even if you donít. Donít get me wrong, men donít have a higher calling or more potential at all, but to believe that we are all equal is to deny reality.

Response: I am glad that you see men and womenís ultimate calling is not different. I also agree that men and women are not physically "equal"—they have many different characteristics and the Bible never says they are "equal." However, is one superior to the other? That is like asking whether a cow or a goat is superior. It depends on many factors and what your needs are. Most cows will produce more milk than most goats; but the best goat will out-produce the worst cow. Goats can live in places where cows cannot. If you want to design and build a house, the average man might do better than the average woman. If you want to decorate a house and raise four children in it, the average woman might do better than the average man. Emphasizing whose abilities are superior tends to cause strife. What is needed is emphasis on men and women working together.

Letter: In addition we will claim SAT tests are favoring men, how can that be if we are all equal? How can the same test favor one if the two are equal? My point is we are only pretending we are equal, when in the real world we are not! When we enter marriage as "equals", we set in motion inevitable confrontation. Since no one is in charge and we obviously donít think alike, (women elected Clinton not men), there will be strife. Yes, only women would elect a known sex pervert and liar with the character and morals of an alley cat. This is now a known fact.

Response: There are some tests which men tend to do better on, and some which women tend to do better on. There is not "inevitable confrontation" in a marriage because the Eternal set the husband in charge of his wife (1Cor 11:3). My reading indicates that Clinton derived a large part of his vote from middle- and lower-income women who either did not know or did not care about his background. (Also, we have looked at an Internet site documenting some of Clintonís "exploits" and over 70 of his former associates who have died by "suicide" or murder.) Yet it is interesting that only one woman, Paula Jones, is effectively trying to bring him to justice—apparently numerous men also knew what he was doing. But before we condemn women for Clintonís election, we must look at all the men that voted for him, and all the men that voted for other misfit leaders when women were not allowed to vote.


Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, as a whole and as individuals. Rather then boast of oneís strengths and fault the other for their weaknesses, both need to work to lessen their own weaknesses, and learn to share their strengths with the other.

Letter: In addition to all the differences above, women are more prone than men to drug addiction (says Betty Ford), panic attacks, phobias, and inability to control credit card spending so say those companies. It is also known women are prone to make decisions based on emotion and feeling rather than fact and logic as men do. This coupled with her unpredictability and irrational mood swings on a regular monthly basis, leads her to distorted perceptions of reality, incorrect conclusions and false accusations. Hardly traits of good leadership.

Response: The number of men convicted of crimes far exceeds the number of women. We could write more about how men tend to fight rather than talk and their other failings as leaders, but that would not help anyone very much.

Letter: Women are superior to men in word processing, they are also very good at a task that is given to them. They have superior smell capability, but inferior night vision, I could go on and on but why?

Response: Please donít! We do not need any more generalizations.

Letter: The point is, every strength men have is God-given at creation to perform his leadership role. Every strength we know women have is to perform her support role. The admission of the reality of such differences destroys the very premise for womenís liberation, which is, we are all equal, so there is no need for family structure. You might as well know, I support men not women in this age of the family-destroying feminist movement, which every one else is supporting.

Response: Some women, such as Deborah the Judge or Queen Elizabeth, had strengths that made them good leaders. Some men have a lot of muscle, but not the ability to converse and settle problems peacefully. In general, we agree that the Eternal gave more leadership strengths to men and more supporting strengths to women. Working together is the key.

Letter: In the beginning God created Adam, perfect and complete in every way except reproduction. God made Adam in His own image, contrary to what some believe God is NOT half male and half female in form. God is male in form and has always appeared so. (Ezk 1:26-28, Josh 5:13, Dan 10:5-8; Rom 1:20 and 1Cor 11:7.) Yes, the woman is part of the human family, and has the same potential, but it is the male form that is the image of God, so says Paul. Yes, God created the human family male and female, "he created them."

God, after instructing Adam (Eve was not yet made) about the two trees, and a big job to do, decided if Adam were to reproduce and accomplish His task, God would give Adam some help. Now lets see, if I were to send you some help in producing your paper, would that mean to you this "help" would become your co-boss to whom you would expect to follow? Of course not, youíre the boss, the one in authority if you will. And the helper is just that, helping to implement your direction, certainly not your boss. So it is with Adam and Eve, Adam was her leader from the beginning, just as Christ is subordinate to the Father, they of course made Eve subordinate to Adam. The problem was Eve, just like women today, would listen to anyone but her husband.

Response: Actually, you have brought up an excellent case: the production of Servantsí News. I really believe that the Eternal has sent me some help. The three who spend the most time are Marleen Edwards, Pam Dewey and Norman Arthur. I suppose they spend most of their time carrying out my general directions, but they have a very wide latitude. My wife, Marleen, selects letters to go into Servantsí News and types them in, though I may do more "narrowing down." Marleen has a habit of re-proof-reading the Servantsí News masters after it supposedly has been "completely proofed." She finds several mistakes in nearly every issue. Pam opens all of the mail and decides what to do with it. She forwards the letters she feels I need to see as well as certain e-mail messages from Sabbatarians on the Internet. (I would like to do this myself, but I still have dozens of unanswered letters and thousands of unread e-mail messages from when I tried to do it myself.) I usually tell Norman which articles I want on the front page, and he usually creates the final layout completely on his own. I agree with at least 95% of what he does with each issue.

In nearly every issue, all three of these people disagree with or suggest how to improve something that I wrote or included, and I change the issue because of them. I am not talking about proof-reading only, but major content. After they explain the scriptures or reasons for their suggested changes, I do it. Other times I disagree. I do not regard Normanís opinions as more important than Marleenís or Pamís opinions simply because he is a man. If I regard one of these three individualís opinions above another, it is because I believe they have greater experience, knowledge, or wisdom in a certain area, not because of their gender.

Does the fact that I listen to my helperís disagreements result in major confrontation? Usually not. Sometimes I do get into "arguments" with my wife over what should be included in Servantsí News. The answer is not for me to "stop listening to my wife because she is emotionally inferior." If I did that, I would miss all of her great help. The answer is for me to be a stronger leader, less emotional, and close enough to the Eternal to answer softly "a soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger" (Prv 15:1). Obviously, my wife needs to do the same, and realize that she should obey her husband if it is not clearly in conflict with scripture (Eph 5:22-24, Acts 5:29). But husbands and wives cannot make each other follow these scriptures, they can only make themselves follow them. So that is what I intend to do!

Letter: Adam did his job, he passed on Godís instruction to Eve which she was able to closely repeat to the serpent. Obviously, Adam did his part in communicating what God had told him, to Eve. Short of physically restraining her, Eve listened to the serpent instead and forced her husband to choose between doing right and arguing with her, or following her and having peace, the rest is history.

Response: I hope that you do not mean this. The way you tell this, it sounds like Adam was so weak that all Eve has to do is threaten to argue and He has to do whatever she wants. It would have been better if Adam stopped to talk to the Eternal: "Father, she ate it! What do we do now?" I think he would have been answered. If not that, he could have re-explained the Eternalís instructions to Eve, or used his superior strength to run away from Eve for the moment. Adam had choices other than eating what Eve gave him.

Letter: At this point, God reminded her who was in charge, and it was not her, she has just proved why! Knowing women are the weaker vessel and that they make decisions based on "feelings", and Satan being the Ďprince of the power of the air", I knew following a womanís "intuition" could be very dangerous. Yet, the church taught men to do so, what a joke.

Response: There have been times when my wife has wanted to do things based on intuition. Sometimes that intuition is based purely on emotion—usually personal fear—and would be best ignored. At other times, she has properly discerned hidden evil intent in others when I could not. Also, she has intuitively known when our children were hurt or in trouble when there was no explainable physical way for her to know. The solution is for men and women to combine their abilities to determine when "intuition" is false and when it is helpful. I have heard of many other happily married couples who try to operate in the same way.

Letter: The fact is most men have a degree of judgment and decision most women donít have. They are better chess players, inventors, mathematicians, chefs, etc. Men are more emotionally stable, men are not as prone to deception, they are more goal oriented and less distractable. The result is most men are more capable than most women at most anything, not to mention the obvious physical differences as well. We were created that way, call it what you wish but the fact remains men are better at fulfilling their role than women.

Response: Iím not sure how I can help you here. If you honestly believe that "most men are more capable than most women at most anything," then you have not been around many capable women. (Your opinions of them may help to keep them away.) Nevertheless, let me try. I graduated first in my class in college, and, yes, most of my teachers, bosses, and friends since that time were men. But I can think of dozens of things I learned in and since college primarily from women: writing, office organization, word processing, rock climbing, swimming, backpack cooking, team cycling, first aid, chiropractic principles, musical improvisation, hospitality, better interpersonal relations, discernment, Protestant religious history, and I could go on. It is true that "best person in the world" at running, chess, painting, violin, surgery, and most other disciplines is usually a man. But a person who thinks that there is little he can learn from most women is going to miss out on much value in life.

Letter: Iím sorry, some may wish this were not so, but all I have said has been measured and verified. Women are not risk takers, they are more into comfort and security than men are. Men and women are anything but equal.

Response: Women are not risk takers? Here are a few Biblical examples: The Israelite midwives risked Pharoahís wrath by delivering boy babies against his orders (Ex 1:15-21). Moses mother and sister could have been punished for preserving Moses—they had no way to know that Pharoahís daughter would be kind to them (Ex 2:1-7). Rahab risked death if she were caught helping Israel (Josh 2). Jael killed an enemy general by herself (Jud 4:17-21).

Letter: The reason for pointing all this out is to get to the root of our "modern day" wholesale destruction of our families. While men obviously have contributed, women pretending to be something they are not and their independence movement is the cause. Over the past 35 years, we have gone from peaceful, stable, predictably calm families, when dad was recognized head and leader, to what we have today. Near total destruction of our families and women are the cause.

Womenís liberation is the only major change back then that was directly targeted at the "traditional" (God design) family structure.

Response: We disagree! We believe the replacement of God and biblical morality by evolution, science-ism, humanism, and other secular ideas was the major change of this time. During the 60ís, many people believed that science would discover the "secret" of life and be able to cure all diseases—including STDís. From there, came the sexual revolution—where many men and many women decided that marital commitment was no longer all that important.

Letter: Since then all traces of a womanís marital vow of submission has been removed. This has nothing to do with masculine mistreatment at all, it has everything to do with rejecting her subordinate role to become "like" or equal, with equal status with men. Hence family arguing, fighting, and violence, then divorce has skyrocketed in the last 35 years as she changed from sweet, supporting, submissive helper to a criticizing, fault finding, in your face and mouthy competitor. Apparently, many women today believe God must have said He would make Adam a help arguer, because thatís what they seem to do best.

Response: Either you are blind to menís problems, or you must hang around all the wrong women! Who has "altered marriage vows"? As far as we know, couples can still pick whatever ceremony they want. In older wedding ceremonies, most women did vow to obey their husbands "until death do them part." In some modern marriage ceremonies, such promises are lacking. This is why the contractual nature of marriage is so important (see Servantsí News November 1996). If a man expects to be the head of his family, he should make sure that the vows used reflect his understanding of the scriptures. What other women may or may not promise should not affect one coupleís marriage. If a woman promised to obey, then later changes her mind, then she is breaking the agreement and clearly at fault.

While marital difficulties have grown worse over the last 20 years, they were still a major problem 35, 350, and 3500 years ago. In societies where "wifely disobedience" and divorce are not publicly acceptable, the arguments and fights went on privately at home. The working, arguing relationship of the family portrayed in the movie Fiddler on the Roof was common in such a society.

Letter: Your comment relating to self recognition of masculine capability to that of Adolf Hitler is unfortunate, because in order to restore the ability of men to lead their families without having to compete with his wife for his role, it is essential that both men and women accept the fact that men are better family leaders then women.

Response: If a leader requires perfect followers to lead, he is no leader. What if the Eternal required us to be perfect before he worked with us? We would all be completely separated from Him!

Letter: Why did you not rather say that the attitude of desiring the status, possession, or role of oneís head or leader, becoming "like or equal" with him, is of Satan the devil? (Isa 14:13-15) Women want to be seen as menís equal and have no intention of submitting to oneís husband. And nothing he can do is going to change that. This is the truth, rather than speculation about Hitler for crying out loud!

Response: This is another terrible over-generalization. You have just alienated every good woman who is trying to submit to her husband. Why should any woman try to submit if she has been told that she does not want to do it? Why should a man try to be a more loving husband if all the problems are her fault? The thinking in the previous paragraph is a recipe for marital disaster!

Letter: If you know of men desiring their wivesí submission, they are in good company, for God also desires the wife to be submissive. These men know family destruction was caused by her rejecting the idea, and God knows the solution is restoring her submission. Rather than condemning these men they should be commended, and anyone teaching men and women are equal is contributing to the destruction of our families and not telling the truth!! For it is the act of submission that makes arguing, let alone fighting, impossible. This is why rejecting her role, to become equal, opened the door to skyrocketing family destruction since 1960ís until present day. It is a statistical fact that skyrocketing family destruction did not occur until women implemented their liberation movement in the early 1960ís. The above explanation is why and how. This should not surprise us for the Bible tells us it is feminine disobedience that will bring down a nation, not masculine dominance. Esther 1:17-18; Prv 14:1 Lam 4:3; Ezk 16:45. One need only to look at the 1950ís when men were the undisputed head of our families and families were placid and calm, there is your proof.

Response: Most of the above scriptures simply point out the evil of disobedient women, but do not list it as the primary cause of national destruction. The only verses that portend great disaster from disobedient women are those in Esther, which are not the words of the Eternal, but the words of King Ahasuerusí courtiers when they were "merry with wine" (verse 10). It was the same Ahasuerus who issued the order to kill all of the Jews and then "sat down to drink" (Esth 3:13-15). The Bible does say that a king can be destroyed by his wrong approach to women and by drinking too much: "The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:... Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings. It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted" (Prv 31:1-5).

The lower divorce rates throughout most of history do not mean that marriages were any more successful then. Since divorce usually meant social and economic ruin for both parties, and since very few jobs were available to women, couples stayed together "no matter what." Yet there was plenty of evidence that historic marriages were not going well: houses of prostitution flourished--serving married customers, teenagers ran away from unhappy homes, and the literature of most societies reflects the difficulties within marriages. The womenís liberation movement will not solve the problems of male-female relationships, but it is a definite indication that the marriages of the past have not made women happy. If most women were happy, women's lib would have found little interest.

Letter: You make the Proverbs 31 woman sound like she is involved in an independent business career, nothing could be further from the truth. First, women were strictly under the authority of their husbands as God intends, Num 30; Esther 1:22; Gen 3:16. As such, everything she did was with the prior approval of her husband. Her so called business was for the good of the family, Prv 31:21 (unlike women today working for self career at the expense of the family). This big field she bought was measured by square feet, not acres as it was no larger than she could plant by hand, Prv 31:16 In addition, why did you not say she rises before light of day and fixes her family breakfast. I wonder how many women do that today? Yes, a womanís role is in the home, not out in the business world, competing with men, Titus 2:5; Psa 113:9; Prv 31:15; 1Tim 2:15. And yes, God gives us enough rope to hang ourselves, but He never rewards defiance with blessings. This leads finally to another gross error in your article. You quote Rom 5:8 and say "see men must perform their role whether his wife submits or not".

Response: We disagree with your understanding of Numbers 30. It does not say that a woman must consult her husband prior to making a vow to the Eternal, it says that he can veto the vow in the day that he hears about it—which is obviously after she made it. We disagree with your conclusion on Proverbs 31:16. Verse 15 says the virtuous woman has servant-girls. Even one full-time servant-girl could plant and tend a fairly large vineyard.

Letter: Letís take a fresh look at what God is really saying. Letís look at how God implements the marriage covenant (for that is exactly what you are talking about). Its the same covenant for husbands and wives (Eph 5:32). Yes, God proposed marriage with Israel while she was "yet in sin" because he loved her, Deut 7:8. God offered his love, blessings, and protection IF she would FIRST submit in obedience, Deut 7:12-13. We all know she promised to submit (today women donít even do that) but we also know that she didnít, SHE is the one who broke the covenant. So, did God still deliver on his part? We all know He did not, itís women who have broken the covenant progression today! It is interesting we would expect men to still deliver even though God did not.

Response: The Eternal gave Israel much of the promised land in the days of Joshua, and set them high above the other nations in the time of Solomon. Ezekiel 16 describes all that was done for His bride, even though she was imperfect. It was not until she played the harlot many tines that he finally stopped being good to her. Today, if a manís wife does this, he can rightly divorce her and remarry. We know of a few wives who are like this, but this is not the problem that most men are having with their wives today. The problems today are much as Paul describes in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3: Women do not respect and obey their husbands enough, and husbands do not love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Sometimes the fault is mostly with the woman, sometimes it is mostly with the man, but other times it is a lot of both.

Letter: So, God proposed the way of salvation while we too were in our sins, Rom 5:8. But it doesnít stop there because we are talking of covenant progression. If we want to "dwell in" Godís love, we must first "submit", John 15:10. We receive the benefit of Christís sacrifice of Rom 5:8 only IF we FIRST submit and do his commands, John 15:13-14. Yes, we can only take Passover IF we have FIRST submitted. Strangers in ancient Israel could only take Passover if they FIRST were circumcised. That is a natural flow of a covenant: 1) proposal of promises, 2) her obedience, 3) then his delivery of the promises. This is why every time God addresses marriage today in scripture, He starts with the womenís role FIRST, Eph 5:22 (the first scripture husbands or wives are specifically mentioned), Col 3:18-19; 1Pet 3:1. She is always mentioned FIRST because she must start the covenant process in which case a manís love would naturally follow. But today, women have broken the covenant at the outset and as studies prove, she is the one who most often starts the arguments and more often than men engages in physical violence, in which case she loses and the man gets the blame, of course. And that is the sin that is the problem with marriages today!

Response: You are correct that the major "marriage" scriptures start with the woman. However you are completely wrong about the husbandís role being conditioned on the wife submitting. It never says "if your wife submits, then you should love her." We know of many marriages where each person says: "if my spouse will do his/her part, then I will start to do mine." What happens? They both go to the divorce court or their grave waiting for the other spouse to "do his/her part." We have an example of how we are to live: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8). He did not wait for us to be submissive before he fulfilled his part of the covenant.

Letter: Back to Ephesians 5:21 ["submitting to one another in the fear of God."] for a moment, this verse is not addressed to husbands and wives at all, as some misguided "teachers" suppose. Verse 21 is still addressing the saints or the church as a whole as stated in verse 3 through 21. Surely no one thinks God is telling husbands and wives to speak to each other in hymns and spiritual songs. In addition, forcing verse 21 into marriage would be totally incongrusive with all other scripture. (1Cor 14:34-35; Eph 5:24; Col 3:18; 1Tim 2:11-12; Titus 2:5; 1Pet 3:1) Verse 21 would not fit the covenant progression. Not that it would be wrong for him to defer to his wife, but that is his choice, it is definitely not mandated. No, its women who are expected to submit to an imperfect mate, not the other way around!, Esther 1; 1Pet 3:1. We canít start by perfecting husbands anyway, as there was only one perfect leader and few indeed have ever submitted to even perfect leadership! And that, sir, is another truth!

Response: You are correct in noting that Ephesians 5:21 is sometimes pulled out of context in an effort to "undo" the command for wives to submit to husbands. However, the entire chapter is about living a righteous life, and many of the situations where we need to submit to one another in our congregations, we also need to submit at home. For example, if two families agree to go to a restaurant together for dinner, but then they each would like to go to a different restaurant, they need to "submit to one another"—each make an effort to satisfy the others needs, rather than just their own. Similarly, if a family is going to a restaurant alone, the husband should not go wherever he wants to go just because the Eternal has placed him in charge. He needs to consider her personal needs and interests as equal to his own, and then make the best decision for the family.

Yes, women need to submit to imperfect men, but men need to learn to love imperfect wives. Since men represent God in the marriage relationship, and women represent the congregation of Israel and the church, it seems more important to me that men be as perfect as possible.

[Repetitious paragraph removed.]

Letter: Most women today, not only refuse their role of submission, a large and growing number refuse to accept their husbandís name, you know Hillary Rodham Clinton. Their intent is to maintain their independence. You brought up the parallel of Christ and the church, so I ask, do you think we as the bride of Christ standing before Him would get away with saying "we would like to receive your love and blessings but we refuse to submit to you, and oh, by the way, we want to remain independent so we also refuse to accept your name, weíll keep our own." Do you think that Christ will say "well, thatís OK sweetheart. I understand. Here is all my love and blessings." If you do think this, then something is seriously wrong, because of course, he would not say this! Then I ask, why do we expect men to? Some misguided teachers expect men to do something even Christ would not do, according to scripture! Such a concept is preposterous.

Response: When Israel failed in the old covenant, the Eternal withdrew His blessings. But He did not give up and say, "There is nothing I can do." He sent His Son to die and made a way for her to repent. This is the kind of love He has and the kind that men should learn to have.

Letter: Womenís change in attitude in the 1960ís is why men no longer respect and protect them as we all did in the 1950ís. Not until women get their act together will we even begin to save our marriages and families.

Response: Again, this is over-generalization. There have been good and bad attitudes in individual men and women throughout history. If an individual woman has no respect for her husband, she is not likely to get much protection. But since our Father put men in charge of marriages, we believe they cannot just leave the responsibility of beginning to improve their marriage to their wives. The May 1997 Servantsí News contained what we believe are scriptural grounds for divorce. Unless they are in the process of getting a scripturally justified divorce, each man and woman has a duty before the Eternal to individually make his or her own marriage better.

Letter: Hollywood and TV advertisement producers under the influence of Satan the devil like to portray men as incompetent nit-wits today, anything a man will say to a woman is shown to be wrong; while she is shown to be competent, in control, and always right. This obviously discredits fathers in the eyes of all, including the children. Children are too young to understand, in the real world just the opposite is true. Of course, the church has always supported the Hollywood version.

—Eric Trowbridge and Richard Bernard

Response: In our personal knowledge of dozens of problem marriage cases, "church organizations" usually counseled in favor of whoever was politically most important to them, whoever would be the most troublesome to disagree with, or whoever came to them first. Sometimes, women were sent back to overbearing, drunken, wife-beating, adultery-committing husbands and told that they were not submitting enough. And yes, the man either had an important position in the church or was a big contributor. Other times, honest men with rebellious wives were treated just as you describe—but their wives were somehow important to the church: they were big contributors, a mistress of someone important, or they knew secrets that could "ruin" people. But in our experience, women suffered more than men at the hands of the ministry.

One last point: my wife entered your letter into the computer for me, and will proofread my reply. She is faster and more accurate than I am in these areas. She also wrote down answers to some of what you said. A few times, I believe her writing was too emotional. But there were times where she brought out scriptures and points that I had not thought of. All of the words here are mine (not hers), but because I listened to her, this response (and many of my other articles) are much more helpful than they would be if I were writing alone. That is what the Eternal had in mind when he made men and women: "And the LORD God said, ĎIt is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to himí" (Gen 2:18).

—Norman S. Edwards

Return to index