More On Obeying And Submitting To Authorities…

October 25, 2009 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

Yesterday, commenter “5yearsinPDI” posted a comment that was so amazing, I decided it deserves its own post.  Here it is.


5yearsinPDI wrote:

Let us all suppose for right now that CJ/SGM is 100% totally correct about their interpretation of submission and obedience to leaders and what it looks like.

Let us then draw a parallel with submission in marriage.  Let us suppose a husband is 100% correct in what he thinks about how his wife should submit to him and respect him.

Let me tell you something that is also 100% correct…the minute you open your mouth about what anybody owes you or what you have right to expect from others, you suddenly are 100% wrong.  Not in Bible exegesis of the Greek word “submit,” but in attitude and focus.

The husband needs to focus on how he can sacrifcially lay down his life for his wife, and how he can live with her in an understanding way.  He does NOT need to tell her she should be submitting.

The wife does not need to be nagging him to be more understanding and sacrifical.  The wife (not the husband) needs to focus on how she can be more serving, respectful and submissive.

Likewise, pastors need to be focused on how they can guard the flock and feed the flock and lay down their life for the sheep.  The pastors are not to stand up front and start telling the sheep to submit all the time.  They are to be praying and fellowshiping in such a way that they grasp God’s heart for what the sheep need in sermons and counseling and so forth.  They are to be with the sheep – with them, not aloof – right there in their lives caring about them.  When that happens, people automatically want to submit and look to the pastor.  Who doesn’t want a truly caring, sacrifical, godly pastor?  I know what it is like to have a pastor like that, we’ve had a few.  We loved and honored them with all our hearts, and they NEVER – not once – had to tell the church to submit.  It happened automatically; people were cheerful in service.

This is like the most basic rule of counseling.  You tell the person in front of you where they need to change, not where the other person needs to change.  You tell the person where they need to serve and give, and not what they have right to expect from other people.  You tell a husband to lay down his life, and tell the wife to submit.  You don’t tell a husband that he sure has an independent stubborn wife and to set her straight, and you don’t tell the wife that she is married to a lazy wimp and needs to nag him to be a real man.  You direct the person to their own need to change themself.

Even if SGM has the Bible exegesis of the word right (which I do not think they do), they still have the subject all wrong.  The mere fact they have to keep focusing on this from the pulpit means they are wrong.  CJ came to my church in the 1990s and literally berated people with these verses, almost yelling at the church.  If things are so bad that you have to do that, try pointing the finger at yourself.

Early in our marriage my husband was whining to God about me not being submissive.  God spoke to him to start putting me ahead of himself, and he vowed in that moment to lay down his life for me.  He didn’t tell me anything for months, but he said I changed overnight, it was incredible.  Somehow I may have sensed on some invisible intuitive level his change, or perhaps God broke through in me after he faced his own selfishness.  I don’t know for sure, but I do know that if leaders have to keep telling people to submit, then the leaders have a problem.  Adult believers are not little kids, and it is time they were treated as fellow heirs of God’s grace.

© 2009, Kris. All rights reserved.