Mutual Submission

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Tim Challies is on a roll lately, tackling some controversial topics. Now he's got a succinct argument for why Ephesians 5:21 does not and cannot mean that every individual in a congregation submits to each other person in the congregation. This has important consequences for one relatively recent interpretation of the passage that begins with the next verse about wives' submission to husbands and husbands' love for their wives as reflecting the relationship between Christ and the church. One view that's become common maybe in the last twenty years is that the call for wives to submit to their husbands is part of every believer's call to submit to every other believer and thus isn't a specific instruction just for wives. The problem is that this passage requires a non-symmetrical relationship to make sense of the Christ-church analogy. That means something of the wife's submission is not true of the husband's love, and something of his love is not true of her submission.

There are so many other issues that this brings up, but since his post basically says nothing false that I could detect on one reading, and I think that's extremely rare when it comes to such issues, I had to give it a mention.

Update: For more on the Challies family, you can read about his drunk toddler. Should we trust his views on the family?

3 Comments

Do you think that there are any circumstances that could obtain, such that Christ submits to the Church ?

In yukky Tampa, Fla
- Raj

You're killing me here! Don't judge me on the basis of on instance of my child being drunk out of her gourd! :)

Raj - Christ submitted His will to the church. In an earthly sense He had no desire to be crucified and to face God's wrath, yet He did so. So He submitted His will to God and in a sense to the church. However, that type of submission is entirely different than a submission to God-given authority. There is no way that humans could ever have authority over Christ.

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