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Q&A #119 - Submission - its relevance for women & men today
by Robert Nguyen Cramer
This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.
Having read your webpage article at http://www.bibletexts.com/versecom/1co14v33.htm, I think it is important I tell you I am not a feminist. I think there are valid explanations for the particular instances in the New Testament that give the impression that Paul was a misogynist. I don't agree with most of the "theories" related to the translation problems. Your editorial information is the first I have come across that is in plain English without the overly educated babble that looses something in translation and it doesn't twist things to fit the situation.
Over 20 years ago I taught a course that defined "submission" as the heartfelt belief that God's greatest good for a woman lies in accepting and living the whole feminine role of companion, helpmate, and mother; a complete absence of the desire to exercise authority over man or usurp the role God gave him, which is to:
Women have the power to uphold men in their roles, and I firmly believe by not doing so, we have dropped the ball and created a monster.
I, too, am not a feminist, nor am I a masculinist. Though some refer to me as a scholar, like you, I am really a Christian honestly exploring the Bible texts and early Christian practices -- and earnestly endeavoring to be a faithful Christian and heeding the theology and practices of our earliest Christian brothers and sisters -- with Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life.
From my own experience on the matter at hand, I am very happily married to my original wife of 27 years, and we have 4 wonderful and wholesome kids. Years ago while I was studying for a very manly (!) nursing degree, my wife was our sole means of financial support. (In terms of certifiable manliness, actually I was a high school and college athlete with regional and some national recognition, and the nursing was part of a Christian ministry I served for 6.5 years.) After we began having children, we made a conscious decision that one of us would always be available as a full-time parent and spouse-keeper until the kids were old enough to to care for themselves. My wife chose and still chooses to be the stay-at-home parent/mom, but I have always been just as willing to be the stay-at-home parent/dad. (As a trained nurse, I taught my wife her first lessons in bathing and otherwise caring for a newborn.)
Though this has been our choice, we also respect different conscientious choices made by other Christian couples -- couples who have felt they needed both husband and wife to work to provide adequately for their families.
Diversity: Just as there were considerable differences between different Christian apostles (e.g., Paul and Peter, as described in Galatians chapter 2), so there were increasingly vast differences between the theologies and practices of the various Christian communities that each founded and spawned. Early Christianity flourished within that diversity. Though Constantine's imperial church progressively squelched that diversity after 313 A.D., we are no longer under those constraints. We each can lovingly edify others with what we have discerned to be nearest right in our lives, but we also need to heed Jesus' teaching, "Judge not."
Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer