The Trinitarian Marriage – The one and the Many

 

2-w-axe-180RJ Rushdony wrote The One and the Many in   1971.  Amazon provides the following description for the book:

The question of where ultimacy lies should be central to the Christian. It is easy to see the social implications of allowing priority to fall to either the one or the many. This volume examines in-depth the Christian solution to the problem of the one and the many – the Trinitarian God. Only in the godhead is this dilemma resolved. Only in the Trinity does there reside an equal ultimacy of unity and plurality. Rushdoony examines the history of Western thought from the standpoint of the one and the many and demonstrates clearly that the most astute thinkers were unable to resolve this philosophical conflict. What is needed now is a complete return to the Trinitarian view of God and its implications for a Christian social order.

I believe the doctrine of the one and the many is the proper framework to address Christian marriage.  The Trinity provides an example of a one and many dichotomy; The one God and yet three persons.  Another example of one and many is the Christian’s union with Christ; there is a oneness and yet a many-ness.  In the later example the union is incomplete until the return of Christ and the wedding supper of the lamb consummates that union.  But Christian marriage is not awaiting the consummation of the union of husband and wife.  Jesus says that God has made the two one flesh. [i] The many, husband and wife, are joined into one, a union of both into something greater than the parts.  It is telling that as Jesus describes His ministry of winnowing, He speaks of dividing son from father and daughter from mother, but He does not speak of dividing husband from wife.[ii] This is an argument from silence or exclusion and so is too weak to stand on its own, but coupled with the rest of scripture it highlights the sacredness of the oneness of marriage that is the result of God’s own joining activity.

The point is that the atomization of the individuals in marriage violates the unity God created and the disregard for the two persons violates the many; although there has been little overemphasis of the unity in history.   Feminists often complain that a woman can lose her identity in marriage.  They symbolically reject the joining by hyphenating their name, to preserve their pre-married identity.   But the identity of both the husband and the wife is altered when God joins them into one flesh.  As an axe-head is joined to its handle neither the axe-head nor the handle are same, together they have become the axe.   The parts are distinct but they are not separate.  There is one marriage with one head and one helper.  The two are united, but distinct – one flesh, but two persons.

In the Trinity the three persons are in perfect harmony.  They have the same values, purpose and agree on the same decrees and actions.   Yet, each persons possess their own volition. [iii]  The Son, who is one with the Father[iv] came to do the Father’s will[v] which the Son and the Father agreed to before the foundations of the world. [vi]  How does the Trinity maintain the unity amongst the diversity of the persons?   Of course there is no sin among the members of the Trinity that might lead to conflicts, but another possible insight is that there is perfect submission.  Jesus comes execute the Father’s commands[vii] even when it costs Him his life.  He is not concerned about being mistreated as a doormat[viii], or losing His identity or not able to become all He can as are feminists when they speak of submission.  He does His Father’s will and the Father declares Him His beloved. [ix]

I believe that this is the pattern of the one and many that a Christian marriage ought to emulate.  Both Peter and Paul use Christ as the example of submission that wives are to pattern their own submission to their husbands.  The warning against a wife’s insubordination given by the Apostle could not be more stern.

 Titus 2:5  …obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

The resistance to submission whether because of loss of identity, fear of being mistreated like a doormat or to become all that one can is blasphemy against the Word of God.  Feminism is blasphemy, it destroys the one for the sake of one member of the many.   Feminism in practice does not image Christ and the church, but Lucifer and his fall from glory.

Pastors and Christians who continue to stir up fear in women over abuse or a loss of identity are doing the Devil’s work.  I am not dismissing or justifying a husband’s physically harming his wife, but that the concern of the exception has destroyed the obedience to the rule.  The rule is summarized in Ephesians 5:22-28

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.   For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.   Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

Each time a Christian defines submission apart from Christ and by such statements as not becoming a doormat he is effect stirring up blasphemy, doubt and fear not meekness, obedience,  and Christ likeness.   The oneness requires submission even as the many-ness requires loving sacrifice.  To diminish either is to add to the decimation of the family, which is already devastated.

———————————————-

[i] Matthew 19:4-6  And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’  5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

[ii] Luke 12:51-53  Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.  For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.  Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

[iii] John 3:8   The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit

The word translated “wind” is the same word translated “Spirit”.  The words of Jesus are translated by Young as “the Spirit where he willeth doth blow, and his voice thou dost hear, but thou hast not known whence he cometh, and whither he goeth; thus is every one who hath been born of the Spirit.”

The Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son, but He goes where He wills. This demonstrates the volition of the Spirit.

[iv] John 10:30  I and My Father are one.

[v] John 14:23-26   Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.  These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

[vi]Ephesians 1:3-5   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He (Father) chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him (Father) in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His (father) will,

***For the sake of clarity I put the antecedents to the pronouns in parenthesis.

John 10:29   “My Father, who has given them to Me,

[vii] John 10:18  18 “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

[viii] This “being treated like a doormat” is a commonly voiced fear and often used as qualifier of wifely submission from the pulpit.  It is a feminist charge and not a Biblical concern.

[ix] Matthew 3:17   And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

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Musings on Authority!

 

gavel

We live in an age where authority is under assault.   During the social upheaval of the sixties it was not uncommon to hear “don’t trust anyone over 30” and no doubt you have seen the “Question Authority! ” bumper stickers or heard about uprisings against the police.  While these are some contemporary assaults, the principle of authority has been severely thwarted by philosophy and theology for some time.

It would be difficult to construct a more significant presupposition to ethics than authority.   Christian ethics are founded by a doctrine of authority.   Something is write or wrong simply because God, the ultimate authority, declares it so.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:18  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  This is the basis for His Lordship.  The three offices that Christ is said to hold are all based on His authority.  As a prophet he speaks truth because he is the authority of what is true.  As priest he is authorized to make intercession to the Father and as the King he has authority to rule and judge.

The commands of God can likewise be expressed in terms of authority.  The first table of the law limits the authorized objects of worship and manner to honor and serve that authority.  Honor your parents is the recognition of authority given to them by God to raise their children.  The laws against murder are a claim over who has authority over human life; likewise theft is the violation of the authority over a possession.  The commands against adultery are commands that require the respecting of who has authority over another’s sexuality.   The commands against coveting are recognition that a desire to disrespect authority is in itself a violation of that very authority and the mental supplanting of self in its place.

The modern age of anti-authority is concomitant with the rise of antinomianism.   That is to say that as men have disregarded the law they have at the same time disregarded the authority that underpins the law.  Men have entertained their own hubris towards a usurpation of the authority of God, taking for themselves the authority to create or ignore laws as they see fit.  The authority of God rests on His claim as creator and provider for all of creation. Without the intervention of God’s creative work nothing would exist except God and without His work of providence nothing would continue to exist.  The authority God possess over the universe is based on its dependence for existence from God.  Much like a painter has authority to put paint on the canvas where he chooses the creator has the authority to create as He pleases.

Authority flows from a source like a flowing river.  It is not as a well that appears in the midst of the land seemingly disconnected from a source.  The Christian view of authority has no islands and no spontaneous appearances of authority, all authority is Christs; all expressions of that authority are assigned by Him.

Rom 13:1bFor there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

Authority is derivative of the interactions with in the Trinity.  The Son has been given all authority, but who had the authority to give it to him but the Father. Fathers have authority over their children and the heavenly father also has authority over the eternally begotten son.  But unlike earthly fathers and sons who are tainted by sin and often are conflicted, the persons of the Trinity have no conflict in their purpose or plans and they are untainted by sin.  The Son came to do the will of His Father which is in perfect harmony with the purpose of the son.  In this way the Father and Son are one; one mind one purpose.

Children are under the authority of their parents because their parents have the creative claim and God’s command.  God gives to the parents the children he selects for them in the quantity he selects to raise them with assigned parental authority.   A neighbor does not have the authority of a parent over another’s children, because God has not granted to them that authority. When a civil magistrate claims to have authority over children they are making a claim of authority that has likewise not been granted to them by God.  The secular claim of authority reduces to might makes right.   While Christ has all power and all authority it is not His might that gives Him authority but His claim as creator and preserver.  The secular claim fails on its own terms because God is more powerful than any magistrate and thus according to their own reasoning He still has all authority.  So even if the police have guns and the IRS has the tax code the state does not have authority to raise children or remove them from parents, for the children to belong to their earthy creators and their heavenly creator.  Christ has appointed the magistrate to authority, but that authority has boundaries and limits.  The magistrate is not to be God’s social architect to design a world according to the imagination of the rulers, but to execute wrath on him who executes evil.[i]  That begs the question of what is evil, and what evils is the magistrate authorized to adjudicate. That question can only be answered by seeking the definitions of the appointing authority, that what is evil is what God calls evil and only those evils that God has authorized the magistrate to adjudicate are authorized activity of the civil magistrates.

In the realm of the church, the modern floating unaffiliated “Christian” who is under no ecclesial authority, who claims the sacraments for himself and scorns apostolic succession, is a symptom of the anti-authority zeitgeist.  Beyond the independent member is the equally anti authority manifestation of the independent church and independent pastor.  The polity of independance is foreign to the teachings of the Bible.  It is not to say that these are not true churches or true Christians, but it points out to a spirit of autonomy and false liberty from authority.   The Reformation made an appeal to the authority of the Bible over the pope, counsels and traditions of the church.  Sola Scritptura trumped ex cathedra.  Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms stated the principle clearly in the historic statement:

Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us.

On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me.[ii]

This doctrine of Sola Scriptura was never intended to be a “me and my bible” as the authority.  Luther did not start a new church, but restored the church of the apostles under the authority of the God breathed scriptures.  Some have taken the Sola Scriptura doctrine as an invitation to create an autonomous ecclesiology, but a thorough reading of the scriptures would prohibit such a result.   Luther would be aghast at the modernist approach to the sacraments apart from the authority of the apostolic church.  The family does not have jurisdiction over baptism or communion and elders are not self-appointed.

Perhaps the most the destructive manifestation of the anti-authority spirit is in the modern configuration of marriage.  God has created marriage with an authority structure.[iii]  Husbands have authority over their wives, wives are to be subject to their husbands in all things.[iv]  But the modern marriage, often characterized by the label marriage 2.0, defies the authority of God to exult the authority of the wife.  The Church has contributed to the anti-authority trend.  Wives are rarely exhorted that they are helpers to their husbands rather than partners .  They are more often told that they are equal not subordinate and that submission is to be avoided so that she can be all that she can be.  Some Churches will give lip service to the Bible’s commands that women submit to their own husbands, but will immediately define submission to be anything, but true submission.  In doing so, they stir up women to insubordination and discontent, telling them to avoid being doormats and creating images of abusive angry patriarchs with imagined or exaggerated abuses of the past, before the golden age of the anti-authority wife.    Wives are taught that sex is a reward for their husband’s dutifully earning his way to her bed.[v]  But the Bible teaches she has no authority over her body and her sex.[vi]  Women follow the example set by ministers who engage in male shaming language and the condemnation of men for being masculine.   They are in essence being taught by example to speak evil of those to whom they owe honor, their husbands who posses the authority of Christ over her.  They are styled as dignitaries in…

Jude 1:8    Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.

and

2 Peter 2:9-10  preserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,  10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…

and

Hebrews 13:17  Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

I believe it is good to question authority to inquire whether one’s claim of authority is legitimately given by God.  But in our zeal to resist tyranny, unlawful claims of authority, we must have equal zeal to honor the authorities that God has ordained.  If western Christendom is to be preserved it is my contention that the authority of husbands must be taught and all opposition to his legitimate authority rebuked.  That means that ministers must have the courage to condemn wives of their sins of desiring to be partners, insubordination, withholding, and spiritual contention in the home.  It also means that preachers must demonstrate and support honor to the household authority.  Husband is to wife as Christ is to the church and defamation of the husband in the presence of the wife is akin to leading a rebellion against Christ.

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[i] Romans 13:3-4  3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

[ii] http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~lyman/english233/Luther-Diet_of_Worms.htm

[iii] 1 Timothy 2:12-13    And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.  13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

[iv] Ephesians 5:24   24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

The jurisdictional limits of a husband’s authority are expansive indeed.  Many like to point out that a husband does not have authority to command his wife to disobey God, but this is a cavil as the apostle is clear that his authority over her is comprehensive.

[v] An Example of such a teaching comes from AL Mohler who writes that a wife should withhold sex until her husband earns her favors  “Consider the fact that a woman has every right to expect that her husband will earn access to the marriage bed. ….Therefore, when I say that a husband must regularly “earn” privileged access to the marital bed, I mean that a husband owes his wife the confidence, affection, and emotional support that would lead her to freely give herself to her husband in the act of sex.”  http://www.albertmohler.com/2005/06/09/the-seduction-of-pornography-and-the-integrity-of-christian-marriage-part-two/

[vi] 1 Corinthians 7:4-5   4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.  5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

The Ministry of Transvestism?

Tim CurryFor the Christian the goal of counselors and ministries ought to be to help people live according to the Word of God.  To those who are in Christ, they work to help them understand and apply the law of God as a response to the authority of the creator while they concomitantly help the Christian to apprehend grace found in Christ.   A ministry is in the business of equipping the saints in pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)    A life of joy is a fruit which is the result of the knowledge of pleasing the Father, honoring the Son and walking in the Spirit.  Happiness is not the purpose of ministry, that is not say one cannot be happy in ministry, but the great men of the faith and the apostles lived with severe trials of discomfort, persecution and conflict.  A counselor that seeks to suppress the law for the expediency of the illusion of peace is not a shepherd of Christ, but of the world.  This is way so many marriage ministries are loved by non-Christians and nominal Christians, because they are of the world.   I make a most serious accusation for consider 1 John 4:5: They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.   Those who claim to be Christians who teach/advocate worldly wisdom should take head to the damage they are doing to the bride of Christ. 2 Peter 2:20  For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  They bear the burden described by James, James 3:1  …let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.  So I do not make this accusation lightly but with all due gravity, for it is a serious thing.  Now, just because one’s ministry is valued by those of the world, doesn’t not necessarily mean that one is of the world.  One is of the world if they teach and think in a manner contrary to scripture and especially when they compromise to appeal to itching ears.[i]

The word “world” as used in 2 Peter and 1 John is the Greek word cosmos.  It does not refer to the matter and space, but to an order or arrangement.  The opposite of a cosmos is chaos or a lack of order and a purely random happenstance of muddle.  The apostles contrast the Biblical ordering or arranging of truth, reality and ethics with the arranging of the natural and rebellious man’s commitments to truth, reality and ethics.  The whole of this order can rightly be called a philosophy.   James tells us the source of the philosophy, which he styles under the heading of wisdom, is crucial to discerning of which order it belongs; either from above, ie the infallible Word of God, or earthy sensual and devilish.  Philosophy that is arrived at by our senses is sensual, from fallen thoughts is earthly and even arrived at the suggestions of devils.  Again I repeat the warning of the apostle:

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  Colossians 2:8

So that brings me to Christian marriage ministries.  Remember their objective is to influence others to live according to the ordering of Christ as revealed in the scriptures.  They are to be concerned with holiness not happiness. (Joy is a fruit of the spirit and will follow as an outgrowth of holiness.)  So when I observe that what they are teaching is antithetical to the scriptures it is necessary to expose them.[ii]   One such ministry that has come onto my radar is Marriage Builders, a site run by best-selling author Dr. Willard F. Harley, Jr..   You might be familiar with his book “His needs – Her Needs”.  He writes a piece entitled   Why Women Leave Men in which he writes that the reason why women file for divorce is they are unhappy, and he seems to validate wives actions for being unhappy.  Harley does not present his practice as overtly christian, but he is venerated by many pastors, he speaks at Christian conferences and his books and programs are staples of marriage ministries, so whether he makes himself out to be a christian counselor, others in the church respect him as such.   But if he is a christian my analysis is fitting and if not the same charge is leveled against those Christians that advocate his work.

Men’s perceived failure to satisfy their wives is punctuated by the fact that women file for divorce twice as often as men. In other words, their unhappiness with marriage often results in divorce.

The most common reason women give for leaving their husbands is “mental cruelty.” When legal grounds for divorce are stated, about half report they have been emotionally abused. But the mental cruelty they describe is rarely the result of their husband’s efforts to drive them crazy. It is usually husbands being indifferent, failing to communicate and demonstrating other forms of neglect.

….Surprisingly few women divorce because of physical abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, criminal behavior, fraud, or other serious grounds.

Harley’s solution is not to exhort women to pursue a meek and quite spirit, but for husbands to get with her program and make her happy or she will destroy the family. Harley wants to neutralize this threat by submission; that is a husband is to abandon his headship and authority to his wife’s feelings so as to avoid the calamity of a frivorce.  He has a little gimmick he calls a Policy of Joint Agreement, wherein the husband submits to his wife and in particular her feelings.

This policy helps men take their wives’ feelings into account whenever they make a decision. They avoid thoughtless habits, learn to meet emotional needs with mutual enjoyment and resolve their conflicts.”

By take into account, he means make her feelings the primary factor in every decision thereby “meeting her needs” so she will take her hand of the handle of the guillotine. Harley wants men to live in fear of their wives, who if not sufficiently placated, will file for divorce and destroy the home. I searched but I found no such article or reference on his web site that advocated wives fear their husbands or submit to them or even try to make thier husbands happy, but I did glance an article entitled “How to Make your Wife Happy“.  (I do get the feeling that if a wife did fear her husband he would be accused of abuse at least according to the Duluth model)  This is contrary to the scriptures in which wives are to fear their husbands Eph 5:33.  Your translation may substitute a euphemism for “fear”, such as respect of reverence.  The word in the Greek is phobos and is translated in every other instance as fear.  It is the same word that phobia comes from and used by Paul in Romans 13:4

For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Pretty scary stuff and it is clear that Paul does not mean respect but that his use of phobos means fear or even terror.  An accurately rendered of Eph 5:33 is

… “but also, every one in particular — each so love his own wife as himself, and the wife — that she may reverence the husband.”

The Bible says wives are to fear their husbands and not the other way around.  Harley is advocating that men act like women and women act like men, and hence Transvestism.

Transvestism (also called transvestitism) is the practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the other sex.[iii]  –wiki

His egalitarian Policy of Joint Agreement has no basis in scripture and fails to call for the wife to be subject to her husband in all things.[iv]  He fails to call women to repentance for frivolous divorce and covenant fraud.  He fails to tell husbands to teach their own wives[v] using Bible’s instructions to her, to sanctify her unto holiness. [vi]  Harley also fails to point out that Paul says the order of authority in marriage is part of God’s created order and reflects the order of authority established by God, [vii] with the women under man, man under Christ and Christ under the Father.

If he were interested in aligning a marriage with the Word of God, certainly he would tell men to rule their households well, [viii]  warning them to listen to God and not their wives [ix] and he would tell wives to learn the discipline of contentment and the joy of being a helpmate.  But he seems far more interested in validating the discontent in women, who buy his books and will feel all tingly as he tells them to suppress the wisdom of scripture and make their man her servant to her happiness.   I found his website and his ministry to be worldly according to the scriptures.  If this is what passes for christian counsel we are all in desperate need of real shepherds.  The Christian family is endangered because of  divorce and the shepherds are watching and applauding the slaughter of the sheep.

My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; They have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; They have forgotten their resting place.  All who found them have devoured them;   Jeremiah 50:6-7

[i] 2 Tim 4:3

[ii] Eph 5:11

[iii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transvestism

[iv] Eph 5:24

[v] 1 Cor 14:35

[vi] Eph 25-27

[vii] 1 Cor 11:3

[viii] 1 Tim 3:4

[ix] Gen 3:17

A Few Thoughts on Christian Counseling and Marriage Ministries.

tug-of-warCounseling is the Christian equivalent of a therapy, it is often a synthesis of Bible teaching with modern psychology.  Marriage counseling in particular has become a growth industry for both the secularist and the Christian in part because of the dismal state of marriage in North America.   It is common to hear well-meaning Christians and especially family ministries recommend Christian counseling.  The New Testament knows nothing of a professional counselor; the Old Testament refers to counselors, but probably not like the counseling center at the local mega-church.  The Old Testament and especially the book of Proverbs refers to counsel or counselors, not as a profession but in advocating that a mark of being a wise man is that he is humble enough to receive advice from others.  Advice is helpful if the advice is helpful; much advice given today is not helpful, but harmful.  My position is that advice is only helpful if it is in harmony with the infallible and inerrant Word of God.

Willard Harley, the author of the best seller “his needs her needs” once lamented that his practice had the same divorce rate as couples that did not attend his counseling.  We further writes:

In my effort to overcome failure, I made a crucial discovery: I wasn’t the only one failing to help couples. Almost everyone else working with me in the clinic was failing as well! My supervisor was failing, the director of the clinic was failing, and so were the other marriage counselors that worked with me.

And then I made the most astonishing discovery of all: Most of the marital experts in America were also failing. It was very difficult to find anyone willing to admit their failure, but when I had access to actual cases, I couldn’t find any therapist who could prove their own success or train others to be successful in saving marriages.

In fact, I learned that marital therapy had the lowest success rate of any form of therapy – in one study, I read that less than 25% of those surveyed felt that marriage counseling had helped. A higher percentage felt that counseling had done more harm than good.”

One of the many objections I have with the methods of “Christian Marriage counseling” is the disregard of the household jurisdiction and the order of authority and responsibility with in the household.  When a couple shows up for counseling the counselor becomes the arbitrator of conflict and uses his position to referee the session.  A counselor becomes the head of the marriage, even if temporarily, usurping the God ordained covenant head of the family. Christ does not command wives to be subject to counselors, nor does he command elders to rule the home. It is a jurisdictional encroachment that supplants rightful authority.  I frankly doubt that most “Christian counselors” actually respect the Biblical doctrine of authority and many even demean it.  The egalitarian cancer has metastasized and infected all parts of the body of Christ.

Most men are raised to respect chivalry and have an inherent and holy instinct to protect the less able to protect themselves.  The instinct often manifests itself in the counselor, when he has a predisposition to protect the weaker vessel; thus he/she has a bias against men as a potential threat to women. This impulse lodges a bias of women as victims, not because of any circumstance other than she is weaker.  The predisposition dismisses the possibility that she, as the weaker one, might be guilty of wrongful actions against the stronger including neglect or fraud. The treatment is full blown prejudice against the male, who is presumed as an abuser to some degree and negligent to the “needs” of the weaker vessel. Thus a husband is presumed to be either ignorant of how to love his wife or malevolent toward her. The prejudice is antithetical to the idea that the husband has authority over the wife and is to sanctify her by the washing and watering of the Word, that is if he uses the Word according to the uses in 1 Tim 3:16, for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.  For many counselors who have been affected by the Duluth model, a husband using the scriptures in this manner is to manipulate (repentance and sanctification are manipulation according to these white-knights) and to Lord it over the wife.  It is, according to them, not servant leadership to use the Word for correction, simply because she doesn’t like it, therefore she does not feel loved, therefore it must not be loving.    If it were loving she would feel all tingly and not rebel; so she cannot be corrected from rebellion, because to lead her to repentance only provokes bad feeling in her which is unloving and manipulative.  This reasoning confounds love as a committed action to the provocation of feelings.

A source of the prejudice proceeds from the erroneous notion that women are only responders and men are initiators.  If a woman is responding poorly it is because her husband is initiating incorrectly.  A consequence of this view is that women lack moral agency or at least not as much as men.  In practice this works out such that the husband is responsible for his own sin and those of his wife.  But if he is responsible he is certainly not allowed to correct her, that is abuse whether emotional, spiritual, or intellectual abuse.  The deck is stacked against the expression of Biblical marriage.  Because the relationship of husband and wife and Christ and the church are strong parallels according to Eph 5:31-32, the prejudicial view would also accuse Christ of being unloving in His correction and discipline of the church.   To be consistent, one would also have to assert that the reason more people do not respond to the call of the Gospel is that God as the initiator is doing it wrong.  I for one do not want to charge Christ with not being loving or not initiating in the correct manner; it would be far wiser to recognize His authority, fear Him and keep His commandments.

If the counselor desires to uphold the scriptures then the counselor should have a strong inclination to see to that a woman fears her husband (Eph 5:33), that she be subject to him in all things, (Col 3:18, Titus 2:5), that she refrain from complaining (1 Peter 3:1-4) and that the husband also be in subject to elders who rule in the ecclesial jurisdiction. That in husbands submitting to elders over matters of the church and wives submitting to husbands in matters of the family, both are subjecting themselves to Christ (Heb 12:9).

When a couple walks into counseling for “relationship issues” the counselor’s first line of questioning is to elicit why are they here?  Some of the likely possibilities include:

1) A husband’s complaint.  The wife is not cheerfully submitting to her husband.  The remedy: admonish her to submit to her husband in all things even as church is in submission to Christ and as Christ our example is in submission to His father (Eph 5:22-24).

2) A wife’s complaint.  The wife has a complaint against her husband’s treatment of her.  The remedy: admonish her to win him over without a word and act in such a manner that he will observe her behavior characterized by respect and purity. (1 Pe 3:1-2)  The counselor should under no circumstances become an arbiter of a conflict or representative of the wife’s complaint, it is not his home, his job is to reestablish Biblical order.  The temptation is to convict the husband of not loving the wife as Christ loved the Church, but Church’s feeling are not the gage for the love of Christ.

3) Sexual sin in the relationship – remedy first forgive as Christ has forgiven you, then stop defrauding and step up your game in bed so that the other will not burn in lust but enraptured with the love of the other. (Matt 18:21-35, 1 Cor 7:5, Prov 5:19)  “Accountability” is all the rage in Christian spheres, while it may be wise for one to have some safety fences is certainly not commanded and it is most unwise to give power of a wife over her husband.  Counselors need to tread lightly here and act cautiously lest they make law where God has not.

4) Bona fide medical complications that require prayer and perhaps fasting. Remedy: pray with them, suggest a fast to the Lord, and work with the deacons to help them in various difficulties.  There may be any number of complications and a couple may just need a friend so that they do not bear the burden alone.  Some circumstances may require some additional education so they know what to expect.

In no instance should a counselor cast doubt or aspersions on the manner in which the husband runs his house. That is between God and him, even if the counselor thinks he is ham-handed in his approach he must not hint at such in the presence of the wife as this will only feed her discontent.  A wife’s discontent is one of the great drivers of divorce in America, it is a sin and should neither be countenanced nor provoked.  The counselor must not receive an accusation against the husband except for cases of proven adultery or verified physical abuse that required medical treatment. Any such discussion where a husband’s obvious sin is not present, the counselor must tread lightly with all humility knowing that there is always more to the picture than meets the eye. While it is good to encourage men to improve themselves including how to manage their households, it is wrongheaded to assume a best practice for all situations and it is foolhardy to confound love (actions) with feelings that are provoked. After all God is love, but he still disciplines His own.

Hebrews 12:6-11 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Ironically it is the husband who submits to his wife, who serves her feelings that, is the most likely candidate to find himself receiving papers from his wife’s divorce attorney.  Between 70 and 80 percent of all divorces are filled by women, and most of them for no other reason that she is unhappy.  A man fails when he makes the decision to make his wife happiness the controlling concern in his leadership, thereby transferring his leadership to her emotional state.  This is a paradox, that when a husband does what God commands and what he knows is best for the good of the family, the wife respects him more; when he listens to his wife and not God he gets her contempt.  In the end she is happier when he does not focus on her happiness, but on her holiness.  Adam listened to his wife and not God, men should be encouraged to learn from Adam’s failure and obey God and not their wife. The counsel that turns men into supplicating wimps is an abomination and a cancer to the family, yet is the most common approach for marriage ministries and Christian counselors.

In short the counselor’s task is not to make the marriage happy, their task is to make it holy.  To lead the couple toward the goal of holiness, the counselor needs to reorder the marriage according to scripture.  The women complain and men comply approach must be disposed for a Biblical model of the home.

Men ought to be encouraged to lovingly lead: to take the reins and sanctify their wives with the washing and watering of the Word, including teaching, rebuking and admonishing them.  The counselor should speak to the husband, while not in the presence of the wife, to examine his motives to make sure that his leadership is for the Kingdom and not his own.  Resources to areas that the man might need some guidance might also be given, but again not in the presence of his wife, nor should such discussion ever be revealed to her.  To breach this principle is to undercut the husband’s position in the home and validate a wife’s discontent by creating an expectation in the wife that she and the counselor are ganging up on him to change.

The wife should be admonished to subject herself to her husband in all things and the only exception is if he is requiring her to clearly violate the law of God.   If he asks her to make sammiches and does so coarsely, she is to not voice her objection, but by her meek and quite spirit persuade him to love as Christ loves us.  Both must freely and passionately give and enjoy regular intimate activities.  How often is regularly? The answer is as often as either one desires, your body is not your own.  The counselor should resist the temptation validate her feelings.  If he engages her with questions of her feelings it should be only to help discover areas where she is resisting to submit or giving in to her anxiety and fear.

Unfortunately counseling like I describe would most likely fail, because wives would avoid such Biblical correction and they would object to losing the shift of power and control that they have come to expect from making their hubby go to counseling.  With no divorce threat, no advocate to force him to change she might lose her status as the victim of patriarchy.  Those that listened to the Biblical advice would not need to keep coming back and so the counselor would lose revenue from their return customers.  Those who disliked what the Bible has to say would find some other “expert” that would help the wife make her husband submit to her and give justification for the role reversal by labeling it love.

 

Independence!

IndependenceAmerica’s birthday is July 4th commonly known as Independence Day.  It is the day representatives from the 13 colonies signed the declaration of independence, a document that stated their grievances with King George and stated their intensions of self-rule independent of the rule of King George and England.  Independence is in the DNA of the American. The character trait of the rugged individual is adored and celebrated in the folklore of the western expansion, the frontiersman, the cowboy, the inventor and the industrialist.  It is little wonder that independence is often mentioned as a character trait that parents want to instill in their children.  Independence from the government social handouts is virtuous personal responsibility; independence from indentured corporate servitude is laudable economic freedom and independence of thought from the hypnotic media is to protect rationality.  Even the Reformation was a declaration of independence of sorts from the tyrannical abuses of Rome and a return to the truth of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  American’s love their independence and with good reason, it is virtually synonymous with liberty from tyrannical over-reach and has often produced a better human condition.

But not all independence has been a benefit, in fact the human quest for independence has produced more suffering than any other pursuit.  The attempt to be independent of God brought sin and death into the world.  The attempt to live independent of His law inflamed that sin produced the most wicked acts of humanity.  Then there is the modern attempt for men and women to live independent of each other inside the marriage that is destroying the family the very building block of society and God’ dominion taking design.

It is more common than not to hear a parent talk about how they are raising their daughter to be independent or to have an independent career.  This is an unbiblical desire, it is rooted in feminism and a desire to independent of God’s design for the family.  Paul writes  in 1 Corinthians 11:11  Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord.”  The feminist’s training  for independence is training for divorce, something that God hates, and training for female contention in the household. In other words it is preparation for a woman to create the conditions to live a life unmarried or to want a divorce once married and to thrive after the divorce. It is antithetical to the Biblical family and destructive to society.  It ultimately supports fornication as an act if independent pleasure and encourages the destruction of the economic family unit.   It treats the heart and lungs as separate organisms rather than distinct parts of the same organism.  But a heart cannot survive without the lungs nor the lungs independent of the heart.

Both the feminist independence and male analog of men going their own way(MGTOW) fail to unite men and women together in such a way as the union is greater than the sum of the parts in dominion taking dynamo also known as the family.  Both the feminist and the MGTOW operate with fear.  Feminists fear that they will lose their identity in the union and will fail to realize their personal potential if they do not enter the market place and submit to a man.  This is unbiblical fear and why Peter commends women who follow the example of Sarah who are submissive to their own husbands with any terror of the outcome.  It is a denial of the stated purpose of the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.

The MGTOW fear is more rational in that it observes contemporary happenings and trends and concludes that none are exempt from the destructive force of  female discontent.  MGTOW’s fear that any woman he marries might leverage the family courts to destroy his dominion work, take from him his earnings and remove his children from his life.  He also observes that the women are taught to be perpetually discontent and to withhold sex as a means of declaring her independent control of herself.  He rationally believes that the risk is too great for probability of reward.

While the apostle makes known an exception for those who are called to an asexual existence to remain single, it is the exception not the norm; for God declares that it is not good that man be alone.  He says that the marriage bed is undefiled and that marriage is honorable.  He stated that it is He, God that makes the two one.  God put the heart and lungs together so that His image bearers can take dominion over all creation and reproduce Godly offspring.

Inside this new mysterious union is a hierarchy of authority, and a protocol of communication.  The husband is the head, the representative of God and to God for the covenant marriage.  The wife is a helper to her husband and if he is in error and in disobedience to the Word,  she is to remain submissive to her own husband, without a word, that he may be won by the conduct of his wife, when he observes her chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 1 Peter 3:1-2   Hardly independence as taught by the feminists today.

Too often the church has allowed counseling to be the voice of the wife so that her word not her conduct is prioritized over her husband.  Counselors routinely treat the couple as independent humans rather than a single organism with a God designed authority feedback protocol.  Do you not know that made the two one?   Counselors make it their practice to tear asunder what God has joined by encouraging independent tale-bearing, female insubordination and shaming of masculine expressions of headship.

Dominion will suffer as the family is eviscerated for independence.  The picture of Christ and His Church has already suffered the atomization of individual independence.  Ironically the more independence that women claim from husbands the more tyrannical the state will become.  The only way to enjoy the blessings of liberty, of the comfort s that arise when men take dominion in technology, agriculture energy etc. is to live according to God’s design as dependent creatures.  Dependent on His providential grace and dependent on each other in Biblical marriage.

Forget Bitcoin, Female Happiness is the Real Currency

feminism6Proverbs 22:7-8 … the borrower is servant to the lender.  He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow…

One of the more interesting ideas of feminism is that women’s happiness is a type of used as means of currency to be exchange.   Interestingly the counterpart of happiness is unhappiness and discontent which is the foundation of feminism.  Feminism teaches that women are entitled by their birth-right to be happy, and they certainly would be if the patriarchy did not suppress their own happiness with unbearable discontent.  Discontent is like debt placed upon others to enslave them to the task of making women happy.    This phenomena is easily observable in this election cycle as politicians are eager to validate women’s discontent and pander for their happiness.  Their happiness leads not just to their vote, but for the approval of others for their acquisition of the female-happiness-currency . It is equally easy to observe the practice in action within marriage where the slogan” if momma is not happy, nobody gets to be happy” is the default method of controlling the husband.  Husbands are taught and encouraged to live their lives to make their wives happy or face consequences like forced celibacy, divorce or the prospect of an unhappy wife who is bent on making those around her unhappy.

Betty Freidan wrote about women who were loved and lived lives of comfort, but they had an existence of discontent.  Thus the modern age of feminism sought to validate that women’s unhappiness and change society so that women are entitled to happiness.  Laws were changed to pay off thedebt of discontent, but simply making payments is not enough.  Keeping society in perpetual debt means perpetual power for those who are collecting.  A happy woman is berated by other women simply because her happiness fails to validate other women’s discontent.

Women are entitled to happiness is perhaps the essence of the feminist ethic.  If something makes her discontent it must be changed.  If she has an unhealthy body, she must make society accept her/love her for the fat girl that she is; meanwhile it is the healthy bodies that are disparaged for creating body image issues among the Haagen-Dazs crowd.   If a discontent woman wants to be a CEO, rather than compete against the men, like every man must do, she simply starts a campaign about glass ceilings that make her unhappy.  She is entitled and if men will not make her happy then the government will.  She is entitled to be defended by men for her safety, but if she wants to be in the military or a police officer nobody should threaten her happiness in such an unsuitable position.  She demands: sexual license without judgement, free birth control, the right to change her mind on any sexual encounter at any time including afterwards, extended pregnancy leave, subsidized daycare, abortion on demand, no-fault divorce, forced child support under threat of jail, and the right to fight against men and the moral indignation to punish any man who dares fight back.  When men fail to give her the entitled happiness, the government insurance kicks in to underwrite her debt by the  FDIC Female discontent insurance corp.

 

It is not just the Betty Frierdans of the world that advocate the currency of female happiness, much of “conservative” Christianity agrees.   Al Mohler writes that a husband must earn his access to the marriage bed; what in essence he is saying is that a husband must first pay his wife in the female-happiness- currency before she will agree to sell him sex.  This is a form of prostitution advocated by the church, where the wife can negotiate the price of sex and if discontent refuse her husband.   She may trade mowing the lawn, vacuuming, flowers or dinner, but these are just acts to acquire the true currency of Female – happiness bucks.   I have heard a dozen times at weddings that men are required or have a duty to provide happiness to their wife.  This sold as love, but loving and producing feelings of happiness are very different.  A simple example should illustrate this point.  Christ  loves His church and is sovereign over the events of history, but she often is unhappy with persecutions and trials that He brings to her.   Is it Christ that is unloving or is the church?  Yahweh loved OT Israel and lovingly sent her prophets to lead her to repentance, yet she was unhappy with the prophets of God and in her unhappiness she killed the prophets.  Would any dare call the God who is love deficient because he failed to produce happy feelings in Israel?  Likewise a husband in scripture receives no imperative to make his wife happy, but he does receive the imperative to love her or better stated perform acts of love toward her as Christ does toward His elect.

Courting Disaster

10 command at USSC

I have not posted much lately in large part due to problems with my laptop keyboard, but the actions of the US supreme court this last week have motivated me to overcome my difficulty and post an initial reply.  This last week the nation witnessed the gross overreach of the court.  The US constitution no longer is the document that constrains the government, simply because the court no longer abides by the constraints framed in the constitution.  The only peaceful remedy is the impeachment of the court justices, but there is no political will do do so.   In two decision the nation witnessed the out of control court rewrite a law passed by congress and redefine the meaning of word that has stood for all of recorded human history.   Some may wonder under what doctrine of authority would provide for the empowerment of the court to abandon reason, history and culture with such arbitrary disregard for our founding and the prohibitions and warning of such an overreach.  Some may quip that the court is a de facto oligarchy rewriting our laws as they seem fit according to their own designs and motives.  This is proven by the recent decisions.

There are many frameworks that one could use to analyze the court’s decisions, but perhaps the simplest is the frame of Dialectical materialism abbreviated DM in the following.  DM is based on an application of a philosophical embrace of evolution.  The theory holds that contemporary ascendancy is the outgrowth of out of the past forms that subsequently perished for the new and improved form.   While the theory has its genesis in biology it is a comprehensive worldviews that applies to history, ethics, government, social structures and meta-physics.  While Hegel is credited for the originating the theory it was Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels that took the theory and made it a movement.   It is the philosophical underpinning of the communist revolutionary idea.   It can be summarized as the current form called the thesis, is opposed by a conflicting form or idea called an antithesis, and in a struggle for dominance the thesis is removed for new form that is neither the thesis not the antithesis, but a synthesis.  The synthesis in turn is the new thesis only to be challenged by yet a new antithesis and a new struggle and a new synthesis.

While many in academia were unwilling to call themselves full blown communists they did however adopt the DM view of progress.  Cultural Marxists have long desired to remove a powerful obstacle to their implantation of socialist theory, and those formidable obstacles include the family, sexual morality and an allegiance to their own of history.     In 1963 the Communist party USA entered into the congressional record their 45 goals.  Among them include:

  1. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
  2. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
  3. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
  4. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
  5. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
  6. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

The court made giant strides to accomplish these goals.  The destruction of the thesis is happening before our eyes at a rapid rate.  The family is endangered with the prevalence of fornication easy divorce and feminist revolt, now with the dialectic definition of the court the family is even more threatened.  No society has gone down this road and survived.  I think that historians in the future will shake their heads at such attempts to change what should not be changed.  Change for the sake of change is not a good idea as those things which are proven pillars of a civilization are necessary to sustain that civilization.  Marriage and the clear meaning of words in the constitution are now being quickly eroded.   I do not know if there is enough moral capitol to left to survive another generation and more to the point I do not if the anger of God has been kindled and His patience consumed by His justice.   I know the court will not listen but I repeat words that will not fade away that God has left for them:  Psalm 2:10-12  Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.   Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.   Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

The court is heaping up judgement for the day of reckoning, but the philosophy is the godless philosophy of that comes to the West by way of Darwin, Hegel Marx, Engels, Mao and our current president.  The rejection of the old tried and true ways for the new and improved ideas of fallen creatures who think they know a better way.  They begin with the denial of God and then His ethics, but as recorded in Psalm 2:4-5  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure.  If I were to grant some truth to DM I would say that sin is the Thesis and Christ’s righteousness is the antithesis, but His final judgement and deceleration of His elect as blameless and righteous is the synthesis that will never change.

The court is not the highest court in the land, the judge of heaven and earth will judge all.  He does not change will apply His standard and of which all are guilty but for the elect in Christ the penalty is paid and the righteousness of Christ is imputed.  The court will stand not just as creatures of the King, but as judges who were responsible to execute justice.  They have not only failed at justice they have given God the finger at hopes that he does not exist, or that eternity is not a long time.  They wrong on all accounts.