Sunday, August 3, 2014

Usurping the Authority of Husbands

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche

The separate class of elders and gospel preachers in churches of Christ usurps the God-given authority of husbands over their own wives. When power is hedged away from husbands, their options become severely limited to join that peer group, be dependent on it, or leave.

Control over the man-made pulpit and man-created church treasury by a plain-clothed clergy usurps the authority God gave to husbands by misinterpreting the husband-wife contexts of 1 Cor. 11:1ff, 14:34-35, Gen. 3:16 and 1 Tim. 2:8-15 as "man-woman" rather than "husband-wife."

If husbands and wives decide what to do with their own private treasuries as Paul instructs (1 Cor. 16:2) and the husbands are the teacher-preachers, then what becomes of the organizational- institutional view of "church?" It is rendered impotent and is exposed for the unnecessary entity that it is.

My point is to show that from the very beginning, Bible context is often misinterpreted generically as "man-woman" rather than "husband-wife," and the former interpretation sustains a pernicious, superior class of Christians that unnecessarily comes between husbands and wives much like they unnecessarily come between Christians and God. At best, the man-woman interpretation creates a dysfunctional democracy of husbands attempting to counter the clerical class by majority vote.

Neither of which is NT Christianity.

BRIEF EXEGESIS of 1 CORINTHIANS 11:1ff
I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Footnotes: [a] 1 Corinthians 11:3 Or "of the wife is her husband."
This is the first in a list of arguments Paul is using for Corinthians to make judgments for themselves. 

"Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you..." (1 Cor. 11:13).

Paul is not wanting them to remain dependent on his authority. He wants them to mature into Christ as a body of equals not remain dependent; nevertheless, this passage may have different applications to the readers/hearers depending on whether an andras or gune is married or unmarried. This eliminates the false dichotomy of either each word must mean the same thing in the same sense or it must not.

Usually, defenders of the status quo will acknowledge that a husband is the head of his own wife, and that Christ is the head of all husbands but for some reason they may get to verse 12, and say, "See! Andras and gune cannot be both man and husband nor woman and wife at the same time and in the same sense." This is a false dichotomy. Why can't Paul's argument apply depending on whether one is married or not? Defenders of the status quo interpretation may ask, "Is Christ not the Head of unmarried men?" Yes, but how does that negate what I am saying? It doesn't. The status quo will always dismiss arguments to avoid the cognitive dissonance that comes from questioning one's own assumptions and conclusions.

What it does not do is this:

Give all men (represented by elders and preachers or a democracy of husbands) headship over MY wife because she is a "woman."

That is male chauvinism or interpreting (in practice) that men really are superior to women whether one realizes it or not (Gal. 3:28).

The other husband-wife contexts make clear what I am saying:

1 CORINTHIANS 14:34-35
Women [gune] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
These wives "gune" are told to ask whom? "Their husbands [aner, andras] at home." Nuff said. How many elders and preachers tell you "women" to do this? Why would you then need elders or a preacher? Hmm...

1 CORINTHIANS 2:8-15
Therefore I want the men [aner, andras] everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women [gune] to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women[c] will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
Footnotes: [a] Or wife; also in verse 12 [b] Or over her husband [c] Greek she
In 1 Timothy 2:8, an argument some make is that aner means "husband" and that it is not the generic word for mankind (anthropos) which may include women, so that only "men," or males, can lead in prayer or pray publicly. But for some reason--in the same context--to them gune does not mean wife even when "childbearing" is stated right in the context! Nor evidently, to them, was Eve created as Adam's wife in this context (though they would argue she was against homosexual unions), but, I suppose, as 'some woman' Adam stumbled upon, and because she was the only one--I guess he married her! No.

She was created as "his own wife" as in the passages above.

Again, this does not give clergy (a professional Christian, oligarchy of elders) any authority over MY wife--neither will I delegate it to them through "submission" to their man-made, positional authority which is simply a religious version of the State's method not to mention a misinterpretation of Hebrews 13:17.

GENESIS 3:16
To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
I know of none who would exclude Genesis 3:16 from Paul's comment in 1 Cor. 14:34 above though he may be summarizing other verses as he does in 1 Tim. 2:12ff about husbands and wives. Here "woman" means wife, and I think serves as a summary to what I am arguing above that husband and wife is the predominant context in all the passages, and if extension is made to the unmarried then that may well be done, but not as a pretext for clergy to usurp the God given rights of husbands to speak in the assembly and control their own treasuries at home in faithfulness to God and not "men" (as opposed to women).

God created Adam and Eve "husband and wife" (Gen. 2:22-25). If people wonder what single women are to do in a man-made, separate from the rest of life worship assembly in an institutional building, then that's fair enough, but "man-woman" does not trump God's created order of "husband and wife."

"As for me and MY household we will serve the Lord God"--not men.

No comments:

Post a Comment