I suspect some of you are wondering if I am ever going to get around to discussing what I think it means that the "husband is the head of the wife." I promise, that post is coming soon.
It seemed important to me to highlight why I think the current teaching (so overwhelmingly popular in certain segments of the Church) is incorrect and damaging.
So please allow me just one more post before getting to the heart (or the head) of the matter.
When I began thinking about all this I posted here about why I believe the teaching that the husband is "the priest of the home" is not biblical, noting that no scripture states such a thing. On the contrary, the Bible tells us that all those who are followers of Jesus Christ are a holy nation and a royal priesthood!
I received a few emails about that post. One recommended I read a particular book, one written for Christian husbands. The book, a popular one I'm sad to say, purports to give the biblical rationale for the husband as priest of the home. I was familiar with the book. I read it a few years ago when it was given me to pass on to someone in my congregation. Since it sat on my desk for a couple of weeks before I saw the person it was intended for, I took a look inside.
The author is a popular speaker and writer who, along with his wife, travels nationally with the sponsorship of a large Christian organization. The two of them give seminars on marriage--and much of what they say is sound and could be helpful. Nonetheless, a little error takes on a life of its own and can do great harm. The book made me angry. So angry in fact, that after reading for about half an hour I threw it across the room. I'm a pretty mild person, most days.
Why was I so upset?
The book, in my view, borders on idolatry. The author tells his readers three things. One, the husband is the priest of the home. Two, the husband is the prophet of the home. And three, the husband is the king of the home.
Prophet, priest and King--those are considered "offices" of Jesus Christ!
However, said the book's author, since Ephesians 5: 23 states that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is of the Church, abd the husband fulfills the same roles with his wife that Jesus does with the church, why, that means that the husband is prophet, priest and king. The book instructs the husband in great detail just how he is to fulfill those three roles in his home. I had read about ten pages in each section before becoming so disgusted I could not read any more--and the book went sailing across my office and hit a wall.
Why stop with prophet, priest, and king? Why those three things? Why not say the husband is savior, redeemer, sanctifier, and healer?
My husband is a man who loves God, who loves me, who loves his children (and now his grandchild), and who seeks to be a blessing and an encouragement to me. When I need help, he helps if he can. If I need direction, I can ask and he will give what advice or suggestions he can. He prays for me. He critiques my sermons if I ask him (and once in a while even when I don't). He protects me when the situation calls for it. Occasionally he pushes me (not physically, figuratively). I would not be preaching today if not for his persistent encouragment and umm, nagging. :-)
For all this and more, I am grateful to him and to God.
He does not presume that he, as a male, should speak for God in some way that I cannot do. While he is, in some ways, a priest in our home, he knows that I am as well. And as for being KING? Because Jesus is King and he, as the husband, fills the offices that Jesus fills? This book claims exactly that. NO WAY! That is idolatry.
Again, the follwers of Christ are all called a royal priesthood. All of us.
I will not put my husband in the place where only Christ should stand. That is a burden no man should, nor indeed could, bear. I am responsible for my own walk with God, and my own spiritual life. Can my husband help me? Yes, indeed he can. And I can help him as well.