Thursday, October 9, 2008

Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands

Bruce Ware, Professor of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

This news is old, but since I'm late on the Blogging scene, I thought I'd repost this article by way of my friend, Christina Whitehouse-Sugg's Facebook note even if it has been Blogged about several times I wish to offer my response:

You've got to be KIDDING me!!!Share
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 10:34am
I heard about this last week but simply couldn't believe it...I should've known better. For those of you who haven't kept up to date on Southern Baptist theology lately, here's one of their most prominent theologians arguing that husbands beat their wives because the women aren't submissive as the Bible says they should be.

I feel sick to my stomach.

The text is copied below, but here's the link:

Southern Baptist Scholar Links Spouse Abuse to Wives' Refusal to Submit to Their Husbands

Bob Allen

One reason that men abuse their wives is because women rebel against their husband's God-given authority, a Southern Baptist scholar said Sunday in a Texas church.

Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said women desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.

"And husbands on their parts, because they're sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged--or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches," Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.

In North Texas for a series of sermons at the church on "Biblical Manhood & Womanhood," Ware described his "complementarian" view as what "Southern Seminary as a whole represents."

Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve's curse in the Garden of Eden meant "her desire will be to have her way" instead of her obeying her husband, "because she's a sinner."

What that means to the man, Ware said, is: "He will have to rule, and because he's a sinner, this can happen in one of two ways. It can happen either through ruling that is abusive and oppressive--and of course we all know the horrors of that and the ugliness of that--but here's the other way in which he can respond when his authority is threatened. He can acquiesce. He can become passive. He can give up any responsibility that he thought he had to the leader in the relationship and just say 'OK dear,' 'Whatever you say dear,' 'Fine dear' and become a passive husband, because of sin."

Ware said God created men and women equally in God's image but for different roles.

"He has primary responsibility for the work and the labor and the toil that will provide for the family, that will sustain their family," he said. "He's the one in charge of leadership in the family, and that will become difficult, because of sin."

Ware also touched on a verse from First Timothy saying that women "shall be saved in childbearing," by noting that the word translated as "saved" always refers to eternal salvation.

"It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God's ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as--for the most part, generally this is true--as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man's position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men," Ware said. "Rather than wanting that, she accepts and embraces who she is as woman, because she knows God and she knows his ways are right and good, so she is marked as a Christian by her submission to God and in that her acceptance of God's design for her as a woman."

Ware cited gender roles as one example of churches compromising and reforming doctrines to accommodate to culture.

"It really has been happening for about the past 30 years, ever since the force of the feminist movement was felt in our churches," Ware said.

He said one place the "egalitarian" view--the notion that males and females were created equal not only in essence but also in function--crops up is in churches that allow women to be ordained and become pastors.

Ware said gender is not theologically the most important issue facing the church, but it is one where Christians are most likely to compromise, because of pressure from the culture.

"The calling to be biblically faithful will mean upholding some truths in our culture that they despise," he said. "How are we going to respond to that? We are faced with a huge question at that point. Will we fear men and compromise our faith to be men-pleasers, or will we fear God and be faithful to his word--whatever other people think or do?"

Ware offered 10 reasons "for affirming male headship in the created order." They include that man was created first and that woman was created "out of" Adam in order to be his "helper." Even though the woman sinned first, Ware said, God came to Adam and held him primarily responsible for failure to exercise his God-given authority.

Ware also said male/female relationships are modeled in the Trinity, where in the Godhead the Son "eternally submits" to the Father.

"If it's true that in the Trinity itself--in the eternal relationships of Father, Son and Spirit, there is authority and submission, and the Son eternally submits to the will of the Father--if that's true, then this follows: It is as Godlike to submit to rightful authority with joy and gladness as it is Godlike to exert wise and beneficial rightful authority."

Bob Allen is managing editor of

Copyright © 2002-2008

And here were my responses on her note:

Ben Currin wrote
at 1:21am on July 17th, 2008
Yeah, I just saw that on another messageboard---it seems consistent with the fundamentalist calvinazi thinking of today. Check out:, or even worse:, and .

Ben Currin wrote
at 1:26am on July 17th, 2008
Review of The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective:

77 of 142 people found the following review helpful:
Quotes Scripture Out of Context - Unbiblical, March 6, 2002
By Caralen Haymans - See all my reviews

I'm a 24 year old single Christian woman who has been a Christian for about 9 years. I recently started reading books on a woman's role in the Christian life. I was very emotional throughout the entire book because of the poor women who read this book deserve something better. Most women probably don't read the Bible while they are reading this book, so they probably don't realize that the author is ripping passages out of context. One example: she believes that it is easier for women to sin than men by quoting a passage about Eve being deceived and Adam not.
She instructs women to do everything their husbands say, even in questionable circumstances. The Bible says that we are not supposed to sin against our consciences and that other Christians are not supposed to ask us to do so.
The book puts husbands at such a lofty level - way above friendship and companionship. I am afraid that women will think that they will have to "worship" him and walk on eggshells around him.
The book says that women will have to have sex with their husbands whenever (and however) he wants to whether I want to or not, and to just "grin and bear it" or, as the author puts it, "suffer for righteousness sake".
Ben Currin wrote
at 1:27am on July 17th, 2008

This book, I sincerely believe, elevates husbands too high - and makes him an idol. This book does NOT leave the reader with the idea that marriage is a partnership. It left the impression that the worth of a woman is somewhere in-between a child and a slave. Wives must ask permission to do *anything* (including how to dress and wear their hair) and must do *everything* a husband says unless the Bible specifically says not to. Even in questionable situations - because "the husband always knows best".
If this is what marriage is supposed to be (a union between a master and a slave), I want no part in it. I want my marriage to be a union between friends (who aren't afraid to speak differing opinions) and equals before God.
Also, I don't like to be accused of being a "weak Christian" or in "rebellion" whenever I disagree with the author.

Ben Currin wrote
at 3:26am on July 19th, 2008

Ben Currin wrote
at 3:33am on July 19th, 2008
I read somewhere about some church that had to have male heads for female sunday school classes......crazy stuff.

Ben Currin wrote
at 3:57am on July 19th, 2008,+First+Baptist+Church+Wilmington,+North+Carolina&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=30&gl=us

Also, check out this site:

Mary Hollings Whitehouse (Raleigh / Durham, NC) wrote
at 7:53am on July 17th, 2008

We might all end up on with our names on a list for reading this one, but it makes some good points.

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