Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Promote Godly Patriarchy

Godly Patriarchy

Without presenting supporting scriptural references at this time, I will attempt to describe as fully as possible, my understanding of “Godly Patriarchy” as being unique among any other status called “Patriarchy”.

I promote Godly Patriarchy that is based entirely upon the example found in the Bible.  The specific example is that of God with His people: both Jewish and Gentile believers.  I intentionally am not appealing to the Biblical passages that occur in Israel from the time the Law was given to Moses until the coming of Christ.  My reason for doing so is that those passages are in relationship to what I consider the civil law of the nation of Israel.  As a gentile believer in Christ and a citizen of the state of Arizona, USA, the civil laws of Israel have no jurisdiction here.  There are other forms of patriarchy revealed in the Bible, practiced by both Jewish and other people groups, pagans, heathen and barbarians as well as civilizations that were the peak cultures of the world at their time.  These other forms of patriarchy will not be discussed here, because I am not making comparisons or trying to salvage bits and pieces of their best.

I promote Godly Patriarchy that is based upon the foundation of God’s love and grace as demonstrated to His people.  The relationship of Christ with each of His churches reveals the relationship that God desires for a husband to have with each wife he may be married to.  This patriarchy reveals a man loving his wife and taking responsibility for her and their family in the same way that Jesus does for His churches.  Jesus did this voluntarily, of His free will, without coercion, not based upon any need that He had for the churches, not because any church was attractive to Him or had any benefit to offer Him.  The sole reason that Jesus takes responsibility of leadership and care for any church is His undeniable love for each church. 

The patriarchy that follows the example of Christ will never force or attempt to force any woman to be a wife to a man, no matter how godly or ungodly he may be.  No husband that identifies himself as a Christian has any right to demand a woman behave in submission or obedience to him and his leadership, or remain under the protective umbrella of his love and authority against her will.  She should always be free to remove herself from the blessing and benefit of her marriage relationship, as far as the man is considered.  Dealing with God may be another matter altogether.  No godly husband should ever consider controlling his wife by means of intimidation, fear or coercion. 

To understand his lack of control and her liberty, we need only look at the way Christ deals with His own.  As a believer, a child of the Father and in a type of marital relationship with Christ (part of the Bride to His Bridegroom) we are not held to our Lord Jesus by anything other than His love for us and our love for Him in return. 

A husband has not been given the authority or power to cause a woman to be his wife, much less his property against her will.  While she may become his wife by the means of promises, ceremonies and sexual intercourse, the husband has no means whereby he may force her to become or remain his wife.  He may endeavor to do so, but all he will accomplish by strength or force, is to cause her to comply externally, never reaching her heart.  Her heart (where the Holy Spirit is enthroned) is where the treasure of a wife is found and unless her heart is affected, she may well stray or escape such a relationship.  Even if she were to remain with him, she will be distant, cold or phony.  Her husband should endeavor to reach her heart with his love for God and her.

I promote Godly Patriarchy that gives a woman the opportunity to be the kind of wife that is demonstrated by the relationship of a church to Christ.  The key to understanding the role of a woman as a wife in Godly Patriarchy is recognizing the role of a Christian (as part of a church) toward the Lord.  If we can understand the Apostle John’s text where he said “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love him, because he first loved us.” we are better able to comprehend what a woman’s focus is to be as she endeavors to excel as a wife.  A church responds to the love of Christ by loving Him in return.  A church will love Him, not because we feel loved or because He gives us things and grants our wishes, but because of whom Christ is.  The love of God working in her and from her will produce a uniquely Christian wife.

The role of a woman is not to become a wife based upon what her husband does for her, but because of whom he is.  Too often in our culture (in the USA) it is assumed that a wife may remain in or leave a marriage based upon her feelings or what she gets out of the relationship.  Such is not reflecting the church/Christ relationship.  Our cultural example puts the woman/wife in the driver’s seat of the marriage.  Is a church in control of its relationship with Christ?  No and for good reason.  Any human relationship between people of different abilities, strengths and visions, must, of necessity have a division of authority.  Partnerships are only for those that are equal in right and authority.  No church is on an equal stance with Christ.  He is God and we are not, not even close. 

In addition, Christ has taken upon Himself the leadership and protection detail of His churches, voluntarily, as being subordinate to the Father (yet equal in nature), yet superior to the churches.  He exercises authority over the churches, leads, protects them and provides for them as He sees their needs until He presents them all together as one chaste Bride at the end of time.  Jesus is the original guy bringing His girl home to meet Dad. 

This being so, what do we call Him?  The answer is, “Lord”.  We show Christ honor, respect, reverence and praise.  We relate to Him as one who respects His authority and position, appreciating who He is and rest secure in His protection, obeying Him as He directs us.  We do His will, not He doing ours.  We identify Him, relate to Him and submit to Him, as being our Lord.  We do not chide Him for having plans that are different from ours.  We do not criticize Him for acting independently from us or for not seeking our counsel.  We do not question His motives or actions when we do not understand His ways.  After all, the Father put Him in the leadership position over us.  To rebel against Christ‘s leadership over us is to rebel against the Lordship of our Heavenly Father. 

These same principles are overlaid on the husband/wife relationship.  Ephesians 5 teaches us that this overlay is God’s plan.  When a woman becomes a wife, there are certain characteristics, behaviors and responsibilities that go with the position.  These were designed by God and are not the idea of any man.  A woman/wife is not answerable to her husband for meeting the criteria of a wife.  She is answerable to the Lord.  She will fill her role as a wife to and with her husband, but not under obligation to him, but rather under obligation to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The Bible makes reference to the husband being the head of the woman and or family many times.  These references are not indicating any superiority or inferiority of personhood, but are rather declaring that God has designed marriage and families with structure and order.  That design reflects the relationship of the Godhead with His creation and their redemption.  A godly woman that becomes a wife does not become inferior in character or value to her husband.  Both men and women were created in the image and likeness of God; we share equally in His love and care.  What she does have is a position in the family that is under the authority and protection of her husband, this does not demean her.  It is a voluntary position, a role she assumes in her service to God and one that God elevates to a place of excellency and honor as shown in Proverbs 31.  She answers to God for her effectiveness and accuracy in her position.  When God created Eve to be the helper to Adam, she became a valuable player in God’s great plan of the ages.

It is not the divinely designed role of the wife to exercise leadership, oversight, criticism or authority over her husband.  All those responsibilities fall upon the shoulders of his head, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Her role was spoken of by our Father in Genesis 2; He said, “I will make a helper fit for him”.  The role of a wife is to be: 1. Be a woman of God in all areas of her life, 2. Be a helper of her husband, a complimentary assistant to him, 3. To find satisfaction and joy in being who she is and in being a part of a great plan and program that may for some include being a mother and investing herself in the future through her children.  For all wives it will include being a bulwark of strength and resource to her husband as he follows the call of God on his life.

I promote Godly Patriarchy that displays the purpose and place of a man in the world as an example of the character and mission of Christ.  The first woman, Eve, was created to be a helper for Adam in fulfilling the great task that God had given him.  God declared the need for Adam to have a helper as Adam recognized his singleness. 

It is a rare man today that recognizes that need.  Perhaps he is rare because so few men recognize God’s claim on their life as Lord and Savior.  We seem quick to recognize our need of Christ as Savior, but are quite reluctant to acknowledge Christ as Lord.  As men we seem hard pressed to submit our selves to Christ as our Head, at least we have a hard time understanding the depth of that commitment.  We struggle with the identity of being under the headship of Christ and yielding to Him, while at the same time identifying our selves as the head of our wives and children.  At the same time we expect our wives to make that level of commitment to us. 

It is my opinion that most of the problems that exist between husbands and wives would be solved if both parties recognized the authority of Christ in their lives.  God gives every man a mission for Christ and usually blesses him with at least one wife to be his helper in that task.  The mission given to men is not always, or even usually, that of being a pastor, teacher or preacher of some kind outside of his family.  But God does give those positions to every husband within his family, he is the priest of his family, God’s representative and agent in bringing his family to the knowledge of God, guiding them in His word and will.  He is also given a place of responsibility as a light bearer in the work place, to shine for Christ in behavior and spoken word, making an impact of some kind on our secular world.  These are formidable tasks, added to the responsibility of making a living and growing in his relationship to Christ personally.  His greatest support and encouragement, besides the Holy Spirit should be his God given helper, his wife, who is often the agent the Holy Spirit uses to succor and support him.  It is impossible for a wife to be a helper to a man that doesn't know that he has a series of tasks and responsibilities and is not doing them.  Men, we need to be busy about the Lord’s work before we get concerned about our helpers effectiveness.  Leave that to her Lord and your head, Jesus Christ.

I promote Godly Patriarchy that demonstrates the love of God for His own redeemed ones and the love of those redeemed ones for Him.  This love is most surely demonstrated by God sending His Son Jesus to take our place in judgment against our sin on the cross.  Our only appropriate and acceptable response to His love is to love Him in return as noted in the above quote from I John.

Godly Patriarchy – Godly Marriage is the arena where we as mere human men and women are given the opportunity to teach each other about the love of God.  We are also to demonstrate in this arena, the love of God with His order and relationship to us and each other; the message of grace and salvation to our children, grandchildren, relatives and the lost world around us.  This will never be accomplished if husbands and wives are struggling for control, of each other and of leadership of the family.  We can overcome the natural tendency to struggle for control by personally yielding our own lives to Christ and following His divinely ordained structure for marriage, finding the place He has for each of us.  Human will and wisdom alone will not suffice to construct the divine design for marriage, our Lord, with His word is required to bring about that development.  If each will not submit to Christ the divine order is impossible.  The next best scenario is pressurized chaos, with the strongest will temporarily in control.  Control will always be a contest of wills and endurance.  In the divine order, peace reigns, the peace of God, because ultimately, He is in control, not us.

In summation, Godly Patriarchy Is:
·       God being in control of our marriage.
·       Men being in submission to Christ.
·       Women being in submission to Christ.
·       Men in leadership.
·       Not about mere human control.
·       Filling our role from God.
·       About peace in the family.
·       Not designed for chaos.