A few questions and answers from my new class, Advanced Principles Of Family and Marital Counseling.
What is your initial impression of biblical complimentarianism as it pertains to the Christian family and to the Christian church?
Being a product of Southern Seminary (CBMW) and having taken classes with such renown Complmentarianists as Bruce Warren, Randy Stinson, and Russell Moore, this was not an initial impression at all. My belief lines up with CBMW with a few exceptions. For instance, I believe that is permissible for women to teach adult males, pray in the presences of males, and to hold certain leadership positions in the church. The exceptions of elder/ presbuteros as in 1 Peter 5:1 (pastor/ poimen as in Ephesians 4:11, or bishop/ episcope as in 1 Timothy 3:1) I personally take the view each of these is the same office, and excluded to male leadership. The same is true of deacons.
As for those who almost ubiquitously point to 1 Timothy 2:12, let me anecdotally say that women should worship by singing , which is a form of speaking. Seriously, though, Paul was not condemning women teaching men, but of holding the office of Preacher/Teacher. Even a ridgid a complimentarian as John MacArthur states that, “Paul does not forbid women to teach under appropriate conditions, and circumstances, but to fill the office and role of pastor or teacher in the life of the church.”
So my view on complimentarianism as it pertains to the church is that male leadership is essential, not because women are inferior in any regard, but because it is the command and will of God. The same is true for male headship in the home.
How would you define male headship? Do you find this concept to be supported by Scripture? Support your response with Scripture.
When I practice leadership in the home, if I do so by the commands of the Bible, then that leadership is sacrificial. Just as Christ sacrificed for His bride, I am to sacrifice for my bride. When we love our wife’s as Christ loved the church; what women would not want to submit to that kind of leadership? We all have specific gifts and experiences that make us more adept at certain roles. I remember hearing Adrian Rogers say that Joyce kept the “books” in their home, because she was better at money than he was. But she did those books under his authority.
Submission should not be confused with subservience. The role of the husband is one of great responsibility. The Bible states that the husband is the “head” of the wife. The Greek word translated head here is Kephale. A lexicon has defines the word as such: anything supreme, chief, prominent of persons, master lord. It is apparent that the husband is to have the role of authority in the marriage relationship. While many egalitarians have a problem with this concept, their arguments fail to meet with the criteria found plainly written in the Scriptures.
As Wayne Grudem points out, an argument that the word kephale actually means “source” makes no sense. A man cannot be the source of his wife. And the argument that he is the source of happiness is contrary to the definition of kephale. Instead, it should be seen that the husband is the authority. This does not force the wife into subservience, however. When looking at the original intention for marriage, one sees that the wife, in this case Eve, was to be a helper for her husband. The Hebrew word for meet found in Genesis 2:18 is ‘ezer and literally means “one who helps.”
They are to be a partnership, in essence as well as in application. The husband should consult his wife on most every question of the family and marriage. He should cherish her input and her wisdom. Any man who believes that a woman is of inferior intellect has obviously never considered Proverbs 31. True leadership is finding the right dynamic, where each individual is contributing his or her utmost to the partnership so that it is performing at its highest efficiency.
Having said that, the headship, or authority, ergo responsibility, squarely lies with the husband. The husband may delegate out certain responsibilities to his wife, but ultimately, he is responsible to the family and to God for the outcome and conduct of his charge. That is male headship.
The husband’s roles are laid out in Ephesians 5. The roles are headship, a self-sacrificing attitude, and a determined will. He is to show authority (headship), love his wife above himself (self-sacrificing), and be as determined to see the marriage succeed as Christ was to see His bride redeemed (determination.) In 1 Peter 3:7 husbands are admonished to give honor to their wife. Husbands should not make them the butt of jokes or allow them to be seen as anything beyond the honored bride that they married.
How would you define female submission? Do you find this concept to be supported by Scripture? Support your response with Scripture.
The word submission has a nasty connotation in the modern culture and society. It has become common practice for the word “submit” to be removed from many wedding ceremonies. This portion being replaced by custom vows or a more modern flair on the traditional, such as, “I promise to stand by your side.” The point is that when the words submission and marriage come up in conversation, many “liberated” women cringe. It truly is a shame that the word has come to be a synonym for slavery. Again referencing Ephesians 5, the Greek word for submission is hupotasso and is define as such: “A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".
So it is easy to see that the non-military term of “voluntary cooperation” is in view here. The wife is voluntarily giving herself to her husband. In this there is a beautiful illustration of the husband-wife dynamic that is so prevalent in the God-Believer relationship. We must willingly give ourselves as slave of Christ, if we are to be in a right relationship with Him. According to Tony Evans, there is also a relationship illustrated in the fact that God is Trinitarian in nature, and that the marriage illustrates that characteristic of God in the three-way affiliation between man-wife-God.
It is John Piper’s belief that most women who reject this complimentarian view do so because they do not understand the role of the husband. This is a great explanation, because when a husband loves his wife the way Christ loves the church, she would flourish in that environment. Submission is not about losing one’s identity or power; it is about trust. Trust in the husband, and more importantly, trust in God.
Just some closing thoughts from me personally. The conclusion of the matter is not as simple as it would seem. The power struggles of everyday life will work their way into the marriage. When she wants to go shopping on Black Friday, and he has his eye of the football schedule, interests will collide. And there is the command that husbands and wives are to submit to each other in Christ. (Ephesians 5:21) Hopefully some clarity can be seen in the fact that submission and love are so very similar to each other. There are circumstances where it is appropriate for the husband to submit. If he has entrusted her with the family finances, (ala Dr Rodgers) he should submit to her decision that there is insufficient funds to purchase a new big screen television. And likewise, wives are to love their husbands. Nevertheless, this system of male headship and female submission is God honoring and is proven to work at making a successful marriage.
 MacArthur, John. Commentary; 1 Timothy. Moody Press. 1995. 86.
 Lexicon. [online] http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/kephale.html
 Grudem, Wayne. Does Head Mean Source. [online]. http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/tj/kephale_grudem.pdf
 Lexicon: [online] http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/hupotasso.html
 Piper, John. Desiring God Blog. [online] http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/is-a-wifes-submission-culturally-outdated