A common Christian error concerning marriage is ‘mutual submission.’ The fallacy is usually built on,
Ephesians 5:21 …and be subject to one another in the fear of Messiah.
The very next verse delves into marriage relationships, therefore, the two must be connected, right?
Well…. not so fast!!
Simple logic and a reading of the next few verses in context will quickly dispel the ‘mutual submission applies to marriage’ fallacy.
As you read Ephesians 5:22-33, notice that while Paul is instructing on marriage, he is very clear to demonstrate that marriage is a picture of, or mirror image of, Messiah and the ekklesia/qahal/church.
22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Messiah also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Messiah, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Messiah also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Messiah and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she reverences her husband.
Marriage is a picture of Messiah and the ekklesia!
Now, please explain ‘mutual submission’ to me again and how that applies to Messiah and the ekklesia… How exactly does He submit to us? Really?? Mutual submission? Bwahahahahaaaa!!!
Egalitarian Christian feminists desperately want 5:21 to over ride 5:22-33, but it is a logically fallacious pipe dream!!
In fact, going back and reading 4:17-5:21 clearly demonstrates that 5:21, ‘mutual submission,’ has to do with how believers in community and in fellowship/worship are to treat each other. No such ‘mutual submission’ exists in marriage. Instead, as Paul says in multiple places and in multiple ways, and exampled or directly taught throughout Scripture, man is to be the head and leader his house. Period.
I do not need to belabour the point. The Scriptures are abundantly clear and this is well expounded throughout this blog. God has an order of authority, designed before the creation of the world and implemented in the Garden. We can learn it and walk in it, or we can be rebellious. Blessings follow obedience.