2 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
— Titus 2 1-5, NKJV
A few days back Rollo linked to a post on a missionary couple’s blog titled How to Make Your Wife Submit to Your Authority -6 Tips. The tone of the post is an attempt at comedy, mocking the idea that a husband would want his wife to follow the biblical command to submit to her husband. The author Caleb is clearly very uncomfortable with headship and submission as it is written in the Bible. This last part is key, because from the post it seems that he is very much in the mood for headship and submission if he can do a bit of crossdressing.
The very title of the post is designed to encourage feminist rebellion in an age defined by feminist rebellion. The title is a reminder to wives that they need to be on the lookout for what feminists and their own rebellious urges are already telling them: Watch out! Your husband is a brute who is going to try to dominate you and make you not be true to yourself! Don’t be a doormat!
Alright men here’s another post for you! Let’s not beat around the bush, the Bible commands our wives to submit to us!
Modern wives of course don’t need this reminder, but Caleb doesn’t leave this to chance. He reinforces this by implying that there are an army of Christian husbands chomping at the bit to make their wives submit to them:
While God’s Word commands women to submit to their husbands it never tells men that it’s their job to make sure their wives submit to them. Don’t think for second that you need to lay down the law and “show her who’s boss”!
This isn’t true, at least not in any meaningful sense. It is true that the Bible doesn’t say “show her who’s boss”. This is language feminists use to inspire rebellion. It isn’t biblical; it comes from Caleb. It is also true that the responsibility to submit lies with the wife; the Bible doesn’t say wives should only submit to husbands who are worthy of submission. In fact, it clearly says wives need to submit even to unworthy husbands. Ironically it is Caleb who frames submission as something the husband must be worthy of in order for the wife to comply. What the Bible does tell husbands is that we have an obligation to teach our wives what is right according to the Bible. You can find this in Ephesians 5:25-27 where husbands are commanded to wash their wives in the water of the word in order to present them as holy and without blemish. You can also see this in 1 Cor 14:34-35 where wives are told to turn to their husbands for biblical instruction.
But feminist rebellion is a sin that Caleb clearly finds funny, and one would be forgiven for suspecting Caleb quite likes this particular sin. Again, it doesn’t appear that Caleb is truly against the idea of headship and submission in the abstract; his objections appear to stem strictly from the ordering of the roles in the Bible. Caleb delights in the thought of wives refusing to submit to their husbands, and takes this as an opportunity to instruct husbands to submit to their wives. He instructs Christian husbands step by step in the theological equivalent of putting on a bra and panties, applying lipstick, speaking in falsetto, etc.
Caleb takes the Apostle Peter’s teaching to wives and applies it instead to husbands. While Peter teaches wives:
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
Caleb teaches husbands to win their wives without a word, by quietly fixing any mistakes she makes. This will win her love Caleb explains, and will thereby make her want to submit.
…suck it up and fix it for her without saying a word. She’ll love you for it and next time she’ll be a lot more likely to listen to your advice.
Caleb sprinkles this cross-dressing theology in with actual theology (the parts which don’t offend modern Christian feminists). He effortlessly switches between teaching men they have an obligation to lead their family in study and in prayer, to reminding men to be diligent in doing the things their wives command them to do (emphasis mine):
Take the initiative to be a spiritual leader in your family and lead by example.
Be regular in your Study of God’s Word and personal prayer time.
If you have kids make sure you have a regular time when you can read and teach God’s Word with them too.
Don’t be lazy about your “honey-do” list or anything else for that matter!
Be known for honesty and faithfulness at home and work.
Beyond the problem of Caleb’s fetish for cross-dressing, there is also the problem of him telling husbands to teach the Word in this part of the post, while at the same time claiming husbands aren’t to tell their wives to submit. This isn’t possible unless a husband censors the parts of the Bible which teach wives to submit to their husbands. A husband would have to blot out Eph 5:22-33, 1 Pet 3:1-6, Col 3:18, 1 Tim 2:11-15, Tit 2:1-5, and Gen 3:16 to avoid teaching his wife to submit to him.
Instead of teaching their wives to submit, Caleb wants husbands to take over as much of the role of home maker as possible:
When you come through that door after work don’t automatically expect that your wife has waited all day to run circles around you and make sure you are comfortable and well fed.
The fact is she’s probably glad you’re home so that SHE can take a rest!
As husbands we are called to love as Jesus loved and that means serving!
Ask her what you can do to help, find ways to lighten her load and she will thank you.
The irony here is that no doubt Caleb thinks in encouraging wives in their spirit of rebellion that he is sticking it to husbands while helping wives. While he claims that it isn’t a husband’s place to tell his wife to submit, the way he frames the post is that a wife withholding submission is something which primarily harms the husband. This harm is after all the very source of the intended joke in the post. But the reality is this is about far more than the husband. Peter tells us wives should submit because it is what is beautiful to God. With his framing of the issue Caleb is encouraging wives to do the opposite, to do what is ugly to God, in order to take his petty jabs at husbands. He is so concerned with taking feminist shots at husbands that he encourages wives to do what the Apostle Paul explains in Titus 2 causes the word of God to be blasphemed.
There is also the temporal cost in the form of men, women, and children suffering in families plagued by feminist inspired strife. This is a huge price to pay for a few cheap laughs, but of course this isn’t really about laughs at all.