Note: This started as a comment on Cane Caldo’s blog, and has been slightly cleaned up and modified into post form.
In Real Men Don’t Impede Her Desires, Cane Caldo explains:
Now, once in a great while a man will set a very general expectation on women. If he is a bold Christian he might say, “The Bible says wives should submit to their husbands.” It’s hard to imagine a safer statement than that. The man himself hasn’t actually placed any expectation on women. Yet even then he will surround it with quibbles and bromides and caveats and exceptions so that the plain and unoffensive statement has no practical meaning whatsoever; lest some man out there start to actually believe what the Bible says. But at least he made some vague attempt at something that might look like an expectation if it is seen at some distance in a dark alley on a moonless night.
Cane is right. Even when it initially seems like they are placing this expectation, the surrounding words negate it. After Cane’s post on the Nashville Statement Fortified I looked to see who the fortified statement came from, and found the names of the authors here. While I recognized Pastor Wilson, the other names weren’t familiar. One of the signers is Pastor Tim Bayly, an early Executive Director of the CBMW. Bayly still supports the CBMW founding document, which invented the sin of a wife submitting to her husband in a servile way. He also supports the CBMW founding book, which carved out space for women preachers like Beth Moore, so long as they aren’t technically in authority over men*. But he subsequently broke from the group for (among other things) not promoting one of Pastor Wilson’s books. Bayly is also surprisingly critical of fellow PCA Pastor Tim Keller, calling him a feminist.
So Bayly is not only an ally of Pastor Wilson, but like Wilson is on the bleeding edge of pastors publicly defending “traditional” sex roles. He supports some of the terrible things the CBMW did at their founding, but not the worse things they have done since then. Not surprisingly, Bayly has written a book titled Daddy Tried: Overcoming the Failures of Fatherhood. In promoting the book he did a Q&A at the Barnabas blog where he was asked what wives can do to help their husbands stop failing as fathers:
Q: What can wives do to help their husbands better fulfill their role as fathers? What about sons and daughters, how can they help?
A: Well, this is the million-dollar question, but here are some thoughts.
WIVES: Don’t nag, but pray. Don’t become bitter, but sweeten up. Don’t try to fill in the gaps in you and your children’s emotional lives by doubling down on your own intimacy with your children. Teach your children to honor their father, and honor and submit to him yourself without complaining or giving subtle looks that tell your children your resentment.
If he had ended here, his answer would be quite good. He tells wives not to nag, and to submit. But of course, he can’t end there, as that would prove Cane’s observation to be incorrect. Starting with the very next sentence, he undoes his good work and tells wives to nag their husbands for not making them feel loved (where did that come from?), and to use their Pastor as a sock puppet through whom they can lead their husbands:
Explain to your husband that you wonder if he loves you because real love between a man and his wife is as emotionally intimate as it is physically intimate. Ask your husband to go with you to meet with the pastor; tell him that there are some things you’d like the pastor’s help explaining to him. Don’t baby him. Ask questions that are open-ended. Study him. Learn his fears.
Pray for your husband. Neither parade nor hide his failures. Don’t use your emotional intelligence to show him up in front of your children. Let him make mistakes. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised to find out he was right. Many men learn fatherhood by watching their wife’s motherhood and doing what helps and strengthens and protects her.
*To argue this feminist interpretation, the CBMW founders Piper and Grudem brought in Dr. Douglass Moo to explain that when Paul wrote in 1 Tim 2:14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner that Paul didn’t mean that women are more easily deceived. Dr. Moo joined the NIV Committee on Bible Translation in 1996, which means he was on the committee at the time Grudem says they were secretly working on a gender neutral translation after lying to Grudem by claiming they had abandoned the project.