“‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:23-24 (NKJV)
Marital and working relationships between men and women were perfect in Eden. Sin ruined them. As a result, some Christian men love to talk about Eve’s daughters wanting to control their husbands (Genesis 3:16). Then they insist that their wives submit to and respect them (Ephesians 5:22, 33). Such men avoid the harsh reality of Adam’s sons imperfectly ruling over their wives (Genesis 3:16). They also forget to love them (Ephesians 5:25).
When a man loves a woman, he nourishes and cherishes her (1 Corinthians 7:3, Ephesians 5:28-29). He loves his children too, the fruit of her body. Such a husband doesn’t abuse his wife – physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Nor does he lord his authority over her. A loving husband helps his wife grow in Christian maturity and wisdom instead. He wants to see her succeed in every godly thing she pursues – at home, church, and work.
Where are these godly men today? Where are the husbands who truly love their wives? Christianity is supposed to be an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, created through conversion. Christian men are supposed to love their wives as Jesus loves his bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25). The ungodly, sinful world that we live in knows nothing about this divine relationship. So why are so-called Christian men abusing their wives and girlfriends or thwarting their success?
Some husbands refuse to let their wives work outside the home, ignoring their God-given talents and skills. Others insist that all women remain silent in church (1 Timothy 2:11-12). They let them sing, play instruments, and teach Sunday school or a women’s Bible study, but that’s it. Such men don’t allow women to teach men or preach. Maybe they feel that their manhood is threatened. But this isn’t biblical or right. It’s an ungodly spirit of control.
“There is neither male nor female” in Christ (Galatians 3:28). We are “one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:4). The Holy Spirit works differently in people. He produces apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in order to equip the church and edify the body of Christ (4:11-12). The Spirit still doesn’t distinguish between men and women or draw gender lines. Miriam and Hannah prophesied (Exodus 15:20, 1 Samuel 2:1-10). So did Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:9). The apostle Paul expected women to pray and prophesy in church (1 Corinthians 11:5).
Under Mosaic Law, only Aaron’s descendants – men aged 25 to 50 – could serve God in the tabernacle and temple (Numbers 8:24-25). Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross did away with all that (Matthew 27:51). We’re a holy priesthood now (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Because the veil was torn and we don’t need a physical temple, anyone can enter in – men and women, children and adults (Hebrews 10:19-22). This means that anyone, anywhere and at any time, can pray to and serve God. But too many men limit women’s divine access to the home. They like to draw gender lines at church.
An ungodly spirit of control always leads to abuse. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) visited Bob Jones University, Patrick Henry College, and Pensacola Christian College in order to address sexual abuse on their campuses. [PHC denied all accusations but Homeschoolers Anonymous and Kathryn Elizabeth upheld them.] Paul said that sexual immorality must “not even be named” among Christians (Ephesians 5:3). That GRACE exists and has visited “Christian” churches, schools, and camps is a disgrace.
Too many men today insist that women respect them. When will they learn to love and respect women – as wives, mothers, and fellow workers in the Lord? No wonder so many women reject men and turn from their God today! They can’t find godly men who really love them.
The day is coming that “the kingdom of God will be taken from” the visible church “and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:43). I pray that before Jesus returns for his bride, he shows churched unbelievers what a loving Christian marriage actually looks like.
UPDATE: Read my blog post “Men Don’t Leave.”