For the love of marital strife.

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

–The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil

There is another aspect to the Dr. Russell Moore sermon I wrote about in my previous post.  It contains something astoundingly common for modern Christian leaders, and that is a provocation to marital strife:

Some of you—in your marriages, right now—are experiencing deadness, and mistrust, and conflict because you, husbands, led that woman into fornication.

Feminism has weaponized female discontentment and sown marital strife.  Pastors and other Christian leaders have responded to this not by countering it with relevant Scripture like 1 Peter 3:1-6, but by joining in. The reasons for feminists to encourage female discontentment and marital strife are fairly obvious, but for Christian leaders the reason for their perverse delight in sowing marital strife is more puzzling.

While the reasons are puzzling, the pattern is crystal clear.  I’ll share just a few examples in this post, but you will see it everywhere.  Pastor Caleb Suko opens his post How to Make Your Wife Submit to Your Authority -6 Tips with:

Alright men here’s another post for you! Let’s not beat around the bush, the Bible commands our wives to submit to us!

This is of course carefully calculated to stir up feminist resentment in the wives who are reading.  Suko knows that the modern Christian men reading aren’t clamoring to force their wives into submission, they are cowering in fear of contentiousness from their feminist wives.  The whole point of the opening line was to fan the smouldering feminist resentment right off the bat.  The same is true for:

Don’t think for second that you need to lay down the law and “show her who’s boss”!

Likewise, Pastor Sam Powell writes in Headship is not Hierarchy:

Did Adam sit on the couch and say “Woman, beer me and shut those kids up!” I think not.

Dr. Richard L. Strauss preached in What Every Husband Needs to Know (background) that if wives are unhappy, their husband is to blame:

This gives an entirely new meaning to the misunderstood doctrine of male headship. Headship is not some masculine doctrine cleverly designed to bolster the husband’s sagging ego. Headship involves the husband’s solemn obligation to establish an atmosphere of love in which the basic needs of his wife are fulfilled—an environment in which she is free to grow and develop into all that God wants her to be. Her submission will then be the voluntary response to his loving leadership.

She responds to what she receives. If she receives irritability, criticism, disapproval, unkindness, indifference, lack of appreciation, or lack of affection, she will respond with a defense mechanism, such as bitterness, coolness, defiance, or nagging. Some women turn to drinking or submerge themselves in social activities.

But if the woman receives love she will respond with love, and will blossom into the most beautiful creature under God’s heaven. When a man claims that his wife doesn’t love him anymore he is unwittingly admitting that he hasn’t loved her as he should have.

Dr. David Clarke at Focus on the Family explains that women being discontented in marriage and men being happy is a sign that God made women better at marriage than men.  A wife’s discontentment isn’t something she needs to overcome, it is a virtue, and proof that she is better at marriage than her fool of a husband:

Well, these little stories we heard just a few minutes ago from these ladies, I have heard a million times at my seminars, in my therapy office, oh, just one after the other, good solid Christian women…  There’s no real intimacy. I’m dying inside. And the key is, they’re not letting the husband know that. The guy has no clue. He’s perfectly happy. So, when that woman hits the wall and leaves him, he is the most stunned guy on earth.

Now He’s got a master plan, because if we work together and let the woman actually teach us, ’cause she has many more skills interpersonally that we will … ever will have. She’s got a Ph.D. in emotional intimacy and spiritual intimacy very often. We have like a third-grade education.

Clarke is so concerned that wives might follow the instructions in 1 Pet 3:1-6 and try to win their husbands without a word that he insists that wives schedule time for strife:

…many Christians and pastors, the Christian community are on board with this problem in trying to get their attention, ’cause the wife is told … I see this in books all the time and from pastors from the pulpit. If you just love your husband, uh … treat him well, meet his needs, then he’s gonna turn around and just love you back the way you really need to be loved. Absolutely false. He’s a guy. He doesn’t know how anyway. He doesn’t know there’s a problem. And if you keep loving him, he’ll think everything’s fine. He will never get it. You have to get the man’s attention. You gotta sit down and say, “Honey, I’m not happy in our marriage. Here’s why. Let’s change it.”

The woman’s got to tell the man, “Look, Honey, I want to have a meeting with you in three days. It’s about our marriage. It’s gonna be very serious. In fact, it’s extremely serious and I want the kids aren’t gonna be in the house when we have this meeting.” And you set a time and that will get his attention…

You gotta get a man with a shovel to the head, metaphorically speaking, of course.

Some pastors don’t trust the wife to schedule the strife, so they schedule it for her.  Former Acts 29 president Pastor Mark Driscoll suggested in Marriage and Men (“How dare you!”) that the strife begin during his sermon and continue on the ride home:

 …some of you guys have already given her that look, “Don’t cry, don’t let ’em know they’re talking about me. Just hold it together.” You’ve already intimidating her right here. Some of you guys have already whispered in her ear, “I don’t want to hear it. We’re not talking about this in the car on the way home.” Some of you have already whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry. I’ll do better. Trust me. Let’s just move on real quickly.”

How dare you! Who in the hell do you think you are?! Abusing a woman, neglecting a woman, being a coward, a fool, being like your father, Adam! Who do you think you are?! You’re not God! You’re just a man! You’re not an impressive man! You’re not a responsible man! You’re not a noble man! You’re not a respectable man! You’re not a responsible man in any regard!

Likewise, in his sermon Women’s Hurdles current Acts 29 president Pastor Matt Chandler explains that if the wife is in any way tempted to feminist discontentment it is the husband’s fault, and schedules the strife for the ride home:

Really, men, here is a great way to gauge how you’re serving, loving, and practicing your headship.  If the most secularized feminist in the world showed up in your home and began to kind of coach your wife toward freedom and liberation from your tyranny, our wives should be so well cared for, so nourished, so sowed into and loved, they would say, “What you’re describing is actually tyranny. I love where I am…

Men, here is a good opportunity. If you’re like, “Well, gosh, I don’t think she would say that at all,” then, men, I think on the way home, you should probably repent and confess before the Lord to your wife.

As disturbing as it is that Christian leaders are deliberately sowing strife in Christian marriages, it is even more disturbing that this has become so commonplace that it now feels normal.  No one notices this, because this is what we have come to expect from Christian leaders, especially complementarian leaders, in our feminist age.  But this evil compulsion (for it truly is evil) is anything but normal for Christian leaders to practice.  It only feels normal because we have become numb to this profound wickedness.

Posted in Attacking headship, Disrespecting Respectability, Dr. David Clarke, Dr. Richard L. Strauss, Dr. Russell Moore, FamilyLife, Focus on the Family, Mark Driscoll, Marriage, Pastor Caleb Suko, Pastor Matt Chandler, Pastor Sam Powell, Rebellion, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye | 17 Comments

Dr. Russell Moore: Wives don’t sin (part 1)

Dr. Russell Moore explains at FamilyLife the key to avoiding infidelity in marriage*:

It’s been said that the best defense is a good offense. Russell Moore says that when it comes to maintaining marital fidelity, a wife’s best defense may well be to move into her husband’s life with hard questions and a loving presence to open up the dialogue about marital fidelity – before the affair happens.

Note that in the FamilyLife summary above, the temptation to sin only affects husbands.  In the beginning of the segment Moore does briefly reference premarital counseling where he has both the husband and wife write out how they would be tempted to cheat, but for the rest of the program the presumption is that only husbands are tempted by sexual sin.

Dr. Moore describes a situation where his wife’s radar went up:

Early on, in ministry—serving a church—we had a young woman, who would come up after every sermon. She would say, “Ah, Brother Moore—that was just amazing! I’ve got some questions to ask you, from Habakkuk.” Then, she would stand and ask questions. Maria said to me, in the car, on the way home, “She’s after you!” I said, “You’re crazy! You are crazy! I look like a cricket. [Laughter] She’s not after me.  Secondly, she’s just this godly, truth-seeking woman. She’s just intensely passionate about Habakkuk.” [Laughter] Maria said: “Well, I don’t know about all that, but I know women. I know how women act, and she is after you.” She was not threatened by that.  She didn’t nag or berate me about that. She just made sure that, every time that woman approached, she was right there with me.

Moore can’t see sin/temptation in women, so he couldn’t see it in the woman who was moving in on him.  His takeaway from this story is not to recognize his own blind spot, but to declare his wife to be a Christian version of Xena, Warrior Princess:

That woman came and sat down one time—next to me, on the pew, before service started—to ask me a Habakkuk question. Next thing I know, here comes Maria. She just squeezes herself right down between us, reaches up and kisses me on the cheek, and just starts rubbing my back, while I explain the eschatology of Habakkuk.  [Clapping] What that is—is a warrior princess for Christ—in her marriage.

His wife’s mate guarding strikes me as wise, but Christ’s words in Mat 5:47 seem to apply:

Do not even pagans do that?

Moore then reinforces the concept that only husbands are tempted to cheat:

If you wives are going to work, with your husbands, toward godliness, you cannot be threatened by the idea that your husband is going to feel some attraction for some other woman. If your husband tells you that he has never had any attraction to anybody else but you, he is a liar! Don’t be threatened, wives, when your husband sits down and says to you: “I believe that I may be vulnerable. I find myself noticing So-and-so when she walks in the room,” or, “I find myself just spiritually dry, and joyless, and bored right now. I’m afraid that’s an inroad to Satan. Help me to crucify the flesh.” That’s a blessing from God!

Next Moore changes the subject to fornication.  He points out the problem with the euphemism premarital sex, because it creates a sense of marriage retroactively covering fornication:

Paul says, “If you cannot handle yourself and keep yourself under control, marry. It is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Why is that the case? It is not simply because fornication will do bad things to you later on—although, it will. It is because God has revealed, “Fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Now, one of the problems that we have in our church, and possibly even in your marriage, is that we do not really believe that. We do not really see the spiritual war that is going on, at this point, because we assume: “It’s premarital sex. So, once the marriage takes place, the issue is now resolved.”

The term premarital sex is deceptive not just because it hides the sin of a couple fornicating with each other before marriage, but because it also expands to cover all of the other acts of fornication the two members of the couple engaged in with a parade of other people.  While Moore can see the smaller problem, he doesn’t seem to be able to see the larger one.

Moore ironically then uses the same frame of mind of premarital-sex/retroactive-marriage to frame fornication as strictly a sin by husbands, who prey on their future wives (emphasis mine):

Some of you—in your marriages, right now—are experiencing deadness, and mistrust, and conflict because you, husbands, led that woman into fornication. You have never gotten to the point of repentance before God for evil. Every act of hiddenness that you took to manage your own image and to cover over your sin, you will be able to do, just as easily, again, with some other woman. “She’s the love of my life!” You’ll feel that way about somebody else, one day. “We were just so carried away!” You’ll be carried away again, one day.

Until you get to the point—specifically, men—where you, as a former fornicator, get on your knees with your wife and say: “I am guilty of not protecting you, of not exercising godly headship over you, of not loving you as Christ loved the Church. I repent before God, and I repent to you,” you will never understand what the Scripture is talking about when it says: “You were washed. You were freed.” The problem is—we assume that, because the issue is in the past, that the issue is over; but as Alice von Hildebrand put it so poignantly one time, “Nothing drives two people further apart than sinning together.”

Your wife, men, may not trust you right now because she knows her parents couldn’t trust you then. Until that is dealt with—with the kind of heart that cries out, “Lord, have mercy, and free me, and wash me,” you will never find the kind of spiritual power and freedom in your marriage that you so desperately need.

Note that he claims the husband’s sin is not exercising godly headship over a woman he wasn’t married to.  Yet he wasn’t her head, because she hadn’t (yet) chosen him to be her head!  She only chose him as a fornication partner.  Once he was her head, it wasn’t fornication anymore.  Moreover, for the vast majority of the couples listening, the (now) husband wasn’t the first, or even second, and probably not even the third man she fornicated with before marriage.  Did all of those other men also have headship over her?  Is the last man in the chain that she fornicated with, the man who married her, more guilty than the other men because he married her instead of moving on?  If the husband hadn’t later married her, would his fornication with her really be less sinful?

Note that the problem is not that Moore is calling men to repent of their sexual sins, nor that he is warning them of the temptations they face.  This is loving.  The problem is that he isn’t showing this same love to the women in the audience, and is in fact helping them deceive themselves into denying their sins and their temptations.  Even worse, he is withholding this love from the more easily deceived spouse, at a time when the culture is teaching her that sin and rebellion are virtues.

*Broadcast  February 12, 2013.  Also published here.

Posted in Dr. Russell Moore, FamilyLife, Turning a blind eye, Uncategorized, Wife worship | 89 Comments

Carrying on like teenagers.

Scott shares a tip on diffusing spousal friction in:  When in doubt, grab her by her waist, put her on the kitchen counter and kiss her neck.

Added to the fun was the fact that my daughter, who loves this stuff grabbed my phone and snapped the shot.

This picture looks like something two high-schoolers would do. Remember?

And Mychael has many times referenced back to the fact that these moments make her feel like she is in high school again. It’s kind of the point.

It works, every time. And even if she knows I am doing it, it doesn’t change the fact that it worked. What “works” about it is still a bit of a mystery to me. But usually the look on her face changes rapidly from whatever scowl she has to slight resistance, to indignation to resignation and then relief.  It takes about 4 seconds for her to go through every one of those emotions.

See his full post for the picture as well as the required disclaimer in our age of Duluth.

See Also:

Posted in Beautiful truth, Game, Marriage, Romantic Love | 53 Comments

I think he has earned a puppy party.

In Why Man and Woman Are Not Equal Glenn Stanton writes:

The New York Times’s Gail Collins told NPR unequivocally that the most important primary finding of her brilliant book America’s Women (which faithfully sits to the left behind Leslie Knope’s desk in every Parks and Recreation episode), is that the most powerful and important influence women have had on our nation’s founding, growth, and success is this: They make men behave. All their other important contributions are secondary.

I was unfamiliar with Leslie Knope or the show Parks and Recreation, but given how important she is to Stanton I knew she and the show had to be hilariously feminist.  I did a bit of googling and found this fitting clip.

I am a goddess, a glorious female warrior. Queen of all that I survey. Enemies of fairness and equality, hear my womanly roar. Yeah!

Related:  Solipsism as a religious experience.

Posted in Focus on the Family, Glenn Stanton, Manosphere Humor, Moxie, You can't make this stuff up | 112 Comments

Something in common.

7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.[d] 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; 12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

— 1 Cor 11:7-12, ESV

In the discussion of a recent post the conversation turned to the different temptations faced by men and women.  That the two sexes would face different temptations is only natural.  However, there is at least one temptation that men and women share;  both are strongly tempted to worship women, to put women in the place of God.  You can see this outside of Christianity with the prevalence of mother goddess religions.  You can also see it in Genesis 3, in the way that the serpent tempted Eve (emphasis mine):

4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,[b] she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Eve was tempted by telling her she would be like God.  Adam’s temptation was to listen to his wife instead of God:

17 And to Adam he said,

Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you…

Modern Christians have succumbed to this same temptation.  Thus despite us living in an age where female rebellion is considered a virtue, conservative Christians constantly warn men that they need to be wary of the sin of not listening to their wives.

Others, like FotF’s Glenn Stanton, come right out and teach* that men require their wives to take on the role of headship, so the wife with her natural goodness can instruct her husband on issues of morality.

Man and woman are not equal. He owes what he is to her. That is hardly her only power, but it is among her most formidable. Christianity has always known this….

Woman is the most powerful living force on the globe. She creates, shapes, and sustains human civilization.

Most women, of course, love this message.  But if we are honest, so do most men.

*HT Smithborough

Posted in Attacking headship, Focus on the Family, Glenn Stanton, Not Listening, Rebellion, The Real Feminists, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Ugly Feminists, Wife worship | 50 Comments