THE ERROR THAT PAUL TAUGHT MUTUAL SUBMISSION
As popular as the idea of mutual submission may be in various cycles and taught by certain teachers; nevertheless, with respect to the meaning of the Greek word 'hupotasso
' and Paul's use of it in his letters (and Peter's use of it): this idea is a foreign concept to scripture. This is clearly the case in Paul's letter to the Ephesian saints, in what we call chapter 5 verse 21:"Submitting yourselves [#5293 hupotasso] one to another in the fear of God"
. Which will be explained in a moment.
ROOTED IN THE HUMANISTIC PHILOSOPHY OF 'FAIRNESS'
It is a notion that has sprung out of the humanistic philosophies that have been brought into the professing Ekklesia, and tolerated and swallowed by too many who do not have the scriptural knowledge or sagacity to recognize the error being promoted therein.
It is another example of the 'fairness doctrine'. It is a doctrine (conjured up by man) that cannot conceive or accept a God that is not 'fair'. Is God 'fair'? No
, he is not 'fair'. God is equitable and just, righteous and holy, impartial and pure (as he defines all these things). That is, God is impartially-just and righteous.
Questions based upon various scenarios:
Is it fair for an employer to pay one group of his employees who have worked hard for him a relatively long duration of time one amount of money; and then pay another group of employees who have not worked nearly as long or hard the same amount of money, or even more than the first group of employees?
How about this unusual example of a question: Is it fair for one man to take the wife of another man? Well now, that would depend perhaps. On what? Factors not yet divulged.
But moving on:
What of a man who 'abandoned' his wife previously; who over a decade later, takes her back - but does so from her second husband? The second husband, who took her as his wife after she had been 'abandoned' by her first husband? Is it fair for her first husband to forcibly take her from her second husband (while the second husband is weeping and pleading for her along the way)?
And what of a man - a very wealthy man in fact, who sixteen or so years after his wife bore him his first son, casts both her and his son she bore him out of not only his house, but his country - and though more than able to give her and his son more than enough food, shelter, even transportation (camels) and the like, only gives them enough food and water that they could sling over their shoulder. That is it. No 'alimony', no 'child support'...nothing else. Was that fair, was it even just and right for him to do this? What should the police, courts and child services do in such a case? What would they do to this 'type' of father and husband?
These questions (with all factors presented in detail) would be answered very differently, depending on the philosophy adopted by those that are asked to give their opinion, true?
So which philosophy do you ascribe to?
Is it 'fair' or 'unfair' that God does not
call or even expect (command) a king, or a husband, or a father, or a master to do as some seem to think these ought to do - claiming even that they are 'commanded' by God to do; that is to follow they doctrine, they call 'mutual submission
'? Now since God does no such thing. The question is: Is God just in NOT
(i.e. men; husbands; fathers; masters) to 'mutually submit' to all those
(i.e. wives, children; servant-slaves) that scripture does clearly state have been divinely arranged under their rule and authority?
Well no professing Christian is willing to say so up front. No, instead they have to find obscure passages or phrases contained in a passage here or there, that is in their minds at least, subject to being easily manipulated to 'say' whatever it is that they want them to 'say'. The scripture warns all such though - but at last, few there be that are concerned about these warnings...their fear in not towards God, but fear of not being able to get what they want when they want it; and they want it to be 'christened' by 'bible speak', at least. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.""Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD..."
So even this present evil generation (of people), attempt to compel God to acquiesce to their belief, that he be a 'fair' God - that he must be a fair God; yet he remains as He Always Has Been - Is - and Will Ever Be.
The passage in Ephesians 5:21: "Submitting yourselves
[G5293; ὑποτάσσω; hupotassō
] one to another in the fear of God"
, is not
teaching 'mutual submission'. Rather, Paul is setting the stage for what he is about to speak to, relative to 'submission' [G5293; ὑποτάσσω; hupotassō
] and 'obedience' [G5293; ὑποτάσσω; hupotassō
and G5219; ὑπακούω; hupakouō
] in each of the respective spheres of human-to-human relationships. Such as: wives submission and obedience to their own husbands; children's obedience to their father and mother; and servant/slaves submission and obedience to their own masters in the flesh. [Other places, the apostles speak to and call upon subjects to be 'subject to' kings and their ministers.]
We see this repeated elsewhere as well:
1 Cor.14:34 "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak ; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law."
Col 3:18 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
Col 3:20 "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Col 3:22 "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God"
And again in Titus 2:
Tit 2:4 "That they [the elder woman] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
Tit 2:5 "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Tit 2:9 "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;
Tit 2:10 "Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
And again in 1 Peter:
Subjects to kings, etc.:
1Pe 2:13 "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
1Pe 2:17 "Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
1Pe 2:18 "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
1Pe 2:19 "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
1Pe 2:20 "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
Peter then sets forth to these servant/slaves, Christ as their example of suffering patiently under the yoke and rule of a hard perverse master - and in a moment we'll see that Peter will "Likewise..."
include as an example of Christ's suffering patiently under a hard "froward"
master, the wife under a hard husband ("if any obey not
] the Word..."
1Pe 2:21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1Pe 2:22 "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
1Pe 2:23 "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
1Pe 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1Pe 2:25 "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
Then on to the wives, Peter says:"Likewise"
- in the same manner as servants are to subject themselves either the "good and gentle" or else "froward" (abusive) masters; the example of Christ suffering unjustly being set forth (if the case is such); so he now says to the wives "...ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
"While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
"But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
"For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God,
necessarily in their husbands] "adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
"Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."
Ephesians 5:21 is wrongly being interpreted to say that God requires 'mutual submission' between individuals in these various spheres of relationships, the untenability of this assertion is made clearly evident merely by trying to make this sound sensible in this way:"Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. "And [likewise] you ['masters'], you be subject to your ['servants'] in the same way, with all fear; not only to the good and gentle ['servants'], but also to the froward ones. For this is thankworthy, if a ['master'] for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully [from his 'servant'/'slave']. For what glory is it, if, when ye ['masters'] be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently [from your 'slaves']? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it [from a froward 'slave'], ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."
See how absurd this sounds when you carry this naively concocted 'doctrine' of (alleged) 'mutual submission' all the way out to its obviously ridiculous conclusion? You cannot force the wording of these passages to express what it cannot mean - certainly not in reality - and expect it to make actual sense. And what of kings being required to be 'subject to
' and 'obey
' their subjects? Or parents, 'submitting
' to and 'obeying
' their children? All these are equally absurd, ridiculous and untenable.
WHAT GOD WILL REQUIRE OF THOSE GRANTED POSITIONS OF
POWER AND AUTHORITY
David, through the inspiration of the Spirit of the LORD God said: "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men [must be] just, ruling in the fear of God"
Yes. So there is one of the first and best standards given to us regarding how a man, a husband, a father, a master (etc.) is to "rule over"
those God has commanded to be subject to
, under subjection
and submissive to
, to be under obedience
and obediently obey
those God has placed "over"
And those who fail to rule justly will most definitely answer to the LORD - both here in this life (if God chooses to begin his judgment of them here) and without doubt after this earthly life. No good but also no evil deed will go un-rewarded.
But while there is this call of God upon men to rule justly; for husbands, that they dwell with their wives in an understanding manner and elsewhere to wash them with the water of the Word as Christ does his Ekklesia (etc); to fathers not to discourage their children; and masters to treat their servants with justness. This is not by any stretch of the imagination a call from God
to husbands, to supposedly 'be in subjection to
' their wives, or a master 'to be subject to' his servant/slaves, or a parent to 'submit to' and 'obey' their children.
No, while the latter are to be so to their respective 'superiors' (in position - not value before God); those over them in positions of rule and authority, are not required to do the same - in spite of teachers who claim Eph. 5:21 says so.