Gains & losses; submission & self-sacrifice
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matt. 16:26)
What does it mean to lose or forfeit oneself – one’s very soul? Obviously in the eternal sense, the destination would be hell. But there may be other senses, perhaps not the primary meaning of this verse, but legitimate extensions of this verse. For example, Christians may lose themselves by giving their allegiance, their minds and their consciences over to false teachers, modern Scribes and Pharisees masquerading as regenerate believers, or legalists who major on minors, such as the Patriarchalists in conservative evangelical Christianity.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:25)
For what does it profit a woman if she gains perfect submission to her husband and loses or forfeits herself?
For what does it profit a man if he gains perfect self-sacrificing love for his wife and loses or forfeits himself?
And what does it profit the Kingdom if the church misrepresents wifely submission and husbandly self-sacrifice and loses its way as a result?
How could a bit of misrepresentation in a relatively unimportant doctrine (it’s only the doctrine of marriage, after all, not a core doctrine like the doctrines of God, sin, Christ’s incarnation, atonement, salvation and redemption) – how could a little misrepresentation of a secondary doctrine have such a profound effect that it could make the church lose its way? Here’s how:
Misrepresentation of the doctrine of wifely submission (and to a lesser degree, husbandly self-sacrifice) is helping enable covert spouse-abusers to parade as true Christians, and is causing a massive disregard of the plight of victims of marital abuse.
At this blog we’ve been pointing this out for some time. This post isn’t covering new ground, but we will just keep saying the same old thing in new ways until the church heeds this cry for justice, particularly the complementarian side of the church that is aligned with organizations like CBMW.
Wake up. Please.
And lest any followers of CBMW think “Hey, there is a Statement on Abuse at CBMW, and they have a pretty balanced and qualified definition of wifely submission, so what’s the problem?” … I say to such readers, there is a problem. There is a giant gap between rhetoric and practice. And even the rhetoric – the published statement about abuse and the qualifiers of wifely submission – has a lot that needs improvement if the practice is ever going to get closer to what I think (I hope) the good folk at CBMW are aiming at. For an example of what needs improvement, here is a link to my Critique of CBMW’s Statement on Abuse which I posted a while back.
And that’s only a critique of the rhetoric; the practice needs more than a makeover – in many cases it needs a complete overhaul.