“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor.11:3).
The great controversy of the universe is: “Who will have the authority over me?” God’s original intent, and it hasn’t changed, was for the man to take the lead, with the woman as his helper, in the restoration of the earth. Of course the devil usurped the “delegated authority” given by God to Adam by deceiving the woman. Satan introduced the spirit of rebellion and rejection of “headship” to the first humans, and since then all humans have had to deal with it.
Even after people become Christians, they still have to deal with headship. This is the first lesson a believer must learn. If we do not immediately submit to the Lordship of Christ as revealed in the scriptures, you can rest assured that there will be problems. All humans have a choice: We can follow the way that God “intended things to be,” or we can do as many others are doing and follow the path of “the way things are.”
Obviously in homes where there is no man present, the woman has to take the lead, but even in these situations the woman must recognize that God’s order has not changed. God never intended for society to become so “chauvinistic and feministic,” and he doesn’t apologize for it, but he still expects for those who choose to follow him to submit to his order.
All men, regardless of race, creed or status in life were created to lead. If a man takes a wife and does not understand that he (Christian or not) stands in God’s delegated position of authority, then that marriage is on the rocks from day one. There will always be a battle for headship where there is no respect for God’s order. Anything with two heads needs to be placed in a museum.
Sure, women can lead, and many of them do an incredible job, but they must never be disrespectful of God’s design.
Bob McClain, Living By Faith Ministry, Oxford
Understand the perspective, context of original message
In reflecting on our question of the week, I am looking at Ephesians 5:21-33. For us to better understand St. Paul’s message, we need to understand his perspective and that of his readers. In Paul’s time, women were considered to be inferior by society. Therefore, Paul writing that wives should be subordinate to their husbands would be expected. The husband was considered the head of the household, and so this would be in keeping with convention. However, Paul also puts responsibilities and expectations on husbands by telling them to love their wives as their own bodies. This would have been considered radical thinking by many people of this time.
The reality is that St. Paul puts the entire context of his message in relationship to Christ and the church. He begins his message by telling husbands and wives to be subordinate to each other out of reverence for Christ, and he finishes this section by referring to this as a great mystery, which needs to be understood in reference to Christ and the church. Ultimately, the answer is that to focus on the words of a single sentence is to miss the overall meaning of St. Paul’s message.
From a Catholic perspective, we believe that the author’s meaning must be understood in order to apply Scripture to our lives. Today, we recognize that husbands and wives are equals, and I’m certain that if St. Paul was writing to us today, his message would remind us of that fact.
Bryan Lowe, Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, Anniston