Tag Archive: controlling

Equality in Marriage – 2

Rob and Tina Morley with their kids, 2010

Continued from part 1

Countless times I have heard it preached that married women should submit to their husbands and that the man is the head of the home. It is preached straight from the scriptures. Are those who preach submission really preaching straight or are they preaching skew?In the past, Rob and I tried to apply these “truths” at home.

Today I want to use an example from our own marriage to illustrate how head-ship by the husband is not helpful. Immediately after reading this, some of you have alarm bells going off in your heads.  You might be surprised to find out that in this context “head” doesn’t mean “authority over.” This article, The Head of the Epistles, explains it nicely. The story below is a portion from my chapter “Who’s in Control?” from my e-book, Happy Moms, Happy Homes.

[My husband and I] were no experts at conflict resolution. I felt caught in the middle of a tug-of-war. Or maybe it was more like a three-way tug-of-war with my husband, God, and me. Fortunately, God won the war, but He had to first teach us how submission works in a marriage. It’s not as simple as some would have us believe. I had come from a highly conservative Christian background where godly women were meant to “know their place.”

I tried the submission route only out of desperation. Did it fix our problems? No, it fell short of expectations and it sometimes flew right back in my face…

I can clearly remember one incident where our idea of submission showed its flaws. At the time, we were staying at my in-laws’ luxury country inn. My husband and I were sitting outside one of their suites while the children were down at their grandma’s house. It had been a lovely day, and the kids had been running around barefoot.

Later that afternoon, as the air began to cool, my husband became concerned that the children could catch a cold. He thought that I was being negligent and told me that I must go down immediately to put socks and shoes on them. I didn’t feel that going right then was a good idea because my mother-in-law had said that she was resting and I didn’t want to disturb her. Also, the kids were indoors so I didn’t think the cold air would bother them for another half-hour or so.

Well, my husband became annoyed. He wanted me to respond to the situation as he thought I should. To keep the peace, I went down, despite my reservations. I tried to be as quiet as possible, but my in-laws’ house was small and their room was right next to the living room where the kids were watching TV. I didn’t stay long, but long enough to have disturbed her rest. I had become trapped between my husband’s expectations and my own conscience. Clearly, submitting in every situation did not always have a favorable outcome.

Why do the scriptures say things like “wives, submit to your husbands” (Eph. 5:22)? There is a verse right before verse 22 that says, “submit one to another” (Eph. 5:21), but it’s easy to glance over this as someone has added a paragraph break with a title above verse 22 that wasn’t in the original text. Chapter breaks, subtitles and even verses can hinder the flow of the author’s original intention.  To actually go in depth into the scriptures regarding the portions that people get hung up over would take too much time. My husband and I have given hours to the study of these things and have been richly blessed by other scholars of the Bible. Hopefully, we’ll be posting in more detail on these difficult passages in the future.

One key to good interpretation is context. Another key is to use scripture that is plainly clear to help interpret portions that are hard to understand. One fundamental truth states that there is no longer slave or free, male or female, because we are all under Christ (Gal. 3:28). This scripture was written in order to unify believers. Where there is unity, God commands a blessing. We are not to lord it over each other anymore. We are all heirs of the same promise, and if Christ set us free, then we are free indeed.

I hope I have managed to wet your appetite, because I have more in mind to write and share in the near future.

by Christina (Tina) Morley

What is Church? – Part 2

What is Church? – Part 2 (Click here for part 1)

Just as family is people connected in relationships with the purpose to love and nurture one another and to multiply, so too, the Church of Jesus Christ is people connected to one another in relationships with the purpose to love and nurture one another and to multiply.  The difference is that family is people connected by blood relationships, while the Church is believers connected spiritually.

Just as family needs to get together to have fellowship and serve one another in love, so too does the Church. Ideally, the believers interact with God and one another in prayer, fellowship, breaking of bread and sharing God’s word. This can happen both locally and globally. Locally, where as little as two or three members interact, through to globally, where members interact via all forms of media.

Also, believers learn to understand the mercy and grace of God that they have received in Christ and in the light of this are free to be known for who they really are (like members of a family). Through the Holy Spirit, and through their lives, their spiritual gifts and by means of God’s word, they share Christ with one another and the world, bringing about personal and corporate growth.

However, just as a dysfunctional family doesn’t cease to be a family, so too the absence of healthy gatherings, prayer, breaking of bread and sharing God’s word doesn’t cause Church to cease being. Also, if members act in a dysfunctional way, say for example by never meeting with the other members, they remain part of the Church. Like family just is, church is.

You can be more of a blessing in fellowship and effective in service the more you know who you are in Christ and discover your anointing in the Holy Spirit. God has made you a minister in His House. It doesn’t matter if you have a theology degree or not. It doesn’t matter how old you are or even what race or gender you are. What matters is that you are in tune with His Spirit working inside of you and you bring something to the table. No one lords it over you. No one has the final say. Only His Spirit and the Bible have the final say. If Christ has set us free, then let us stand firm in our freedom (Gal. 5:1, see also John 8:36) to be active members in God’s family, the real Church.

Rob & Tina

One Church, Not Many

It is unfortunate that we have allowed our differences in understanding God’s word on certain issues to divide us, when Jesus accepts us warts and all. In the light of Jesus’ work at the cross, a Baptist and Congregationalist for example, should freely worship, fellowship and pray together. After all, we don’t have separate groupings around the throne of God. Love should cover the issues that divide, and if you believe something differently, then love is the best way to influence someone.

Having said that, wrongly dividing by denomination should at least serve to prick our consciences, that there is one (universal or call it what you like) church. You see, we would all agree that the Christian family living next door to us is part of Jesus’ Church (singular), even if they gather with another group of believers. Or, how about when hundreds come forward at an evangelistic campaign, repenting and believing, not yet part of any local congregation, have they not in that moment become part of Christ’s church? For practical reasons they may in the future meet with other believers separately, yet they will always remain part of Jesus’ one Church.

What of the trucker who is saved while listening to the gospel on the radio? It may take him a while to find a congregation. Is he not part of Christ’s church while not in a congregation? Also, many don’t like to meet in our congregations precisely because of all this controlling thinking. Are they not part of Christ’s church?

Unfortunately, wolves have and do come in and take the sheep after themselves. This, however, does not negate the sheep from being Jesus’. Let’s ask ourselves, “How much of the Wolf is in me?”

Let us “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:1-6 KJV).

Yes, we should definitely resist the controlling mechanism of people lording it over one another, like in the history of the Catholic (Universal) Church, but denying that there is one church is also wrong. The only good reason for Jesus’ church having separate local churches in the Bible was for geographical reasons. Anyway, the evil of controlling one another continues unabated even in our local churches. It is about attitude change as much as structure. The wrong structures existed in the Catholic Church because of the wrong view of leadership. The problem of pre-eminence starts in the heart.


Part 2 (Go here for part 1, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6)

In Part 1 I said that when hierarchical church leadership is removed many hindrances and limitations will fall away. This is because voice is given to the people through whom the Spirit wishes to speak. No single person has authority over another and nobody is able to veto anything, whether intentionally or not. Also, people are able to act more freely. Instead of the feared mayhem the opposite will be true. We will begin to see the Body act under the direction and leading of the Jesus alone, who not only is able to lead each individual, but also the group as a whole.

Many a pastor will be released from the burdens that they have unnecessarily carried when released from single pastor leadership or tiered leadership of any sort. The single pastor or tiered leadership model creates huge limitations in vision, insight and implementation. Often pastors carry the bulk of the work and responsibility that’s intended for many to share. If multiple elders in the body are seen as pastors, then the burden that one or a few carried will be greatly reduced.

If change is made to our church models and pastors are released from the undue weight that they carry, we might even see other gifts surface in some of their own lives. Previously hidden by the title of “pastor,” some might be better teachers, evangelists or maybe administrators.  If this begins to happen, then the role of pastor will be seen more clearly as distinct from the others.

Flawed systems, like those with hierarchy or even the single pastor model, come about unintentionally and somewhat innocently as they appear to be Biblical and useful ways of exercising control.  The truth is we cannot control people in the body of Christ. It’s not our job; it’s the Lord’s. Freedom to explore, learn and grow under the word of God with Jesus’ leading should be given to all.  It can get messy, but loving eldership rather than controlling leadership can help “get the clothes picked up.”

In part 3 I will discuss some obvious challenges of this model.

By Rob Morley

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