Marriage and Family | CBE International

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Marriage and Family

Finding oneself married to a non-egalitarian spouse, whether male or female, can be a challenging road to navigate. Consider these case studies. Norma and Charlie: It was love at first sight. Norma and Charlie’s eyes, in all actuality, met “across a crowded room” at their conservative denomination’s annual meeting. Life for the Browns began, as for most entering into marriage, with delight and optimism. The Browns’ church held strongly to the view that “women should be silent” (1 Cor. 14:34), and that all leadership in the church should be male. The congregation was taught that God was male, as Jesus called him “Father” (John 10:30). And, for the first years of their marriage, Norma obediently adhered to the teachings of her ch... Read more
Something has just resonated with me that may relate to other husbands within egalitarian marriages so I will put it out there for your interest and comment. Within complementarian marriages it is expected that men should take the lead, in both the family and church, because they believe that they are biblically mandated to do so. This can lead to many women within that ordered environment becoming passive and retreating from the active development of their own spiritual walk with God. Even though complementarians believe that men should lead, many of the books that encourage such leadership spend a great deal of time speaking to women about how to help release their men into taking up the mantle of responsibility. This is more evident in some of the dating books where prospective bride... Read more
Recently Liz and I visited one of our sons (who is the senior pastor of a beachside resort town church) and his family for a weekend. The last time we were there, about 2 months ago, we heard him begin a series on foundations in Genesis where he touched on men and women as God created them and some of the myths and erroneous marriage practices that arise out of incorrectly interpreting this passage of Scripture. He did the introductory message very well but we were unable to be there for the next instalment so we ordered a CD of the next message which we only listened to on our return, journey. It was while listening to that message on the CD that I asked Liz to pause it for a moment, I had just had an 'aha' moment of something that really struck me while Lee (our son) was expou... Read more
“Where?” I asked Angela (not her real name).  Our kids are in the same ballet class.  Seated next to her in the parent peanut gallery the other day as “Simon Legree la Ballet Instructor” put the class through Arabesques, Pliésand other Baryshnikov-isms, Angela saw I was reading from Galatians.  One observation led to others about families, grandparents, kids, spouses and marriage. Somewhere in the conversation, Angela mentioned that her husband had asked her to “take the lead” in the “spiritual training of our kids.”  Angela clearly found the suggestion that a wife “lead” anything akin to asking to be launched into space without a parachute.  Or flight control.   “That... Read more
Joe’s parents believe women should work only at home, so his father worked long hours at his job while his mother did all the housework. Susan’s parents shared housekeeping tasks because they both worked outside the home much of her growing-up years. Susan thought it normal that husbands do a fair share of work at home. After their wedding, Susan sought a job to help with college loans and a down payment on their house. Recognizing their need for the money, Joe did not complain. But when he came home from work, he assumed his wife would do all the house work just as his mother had. Susan, however, believed that a husband who really loved his wife would not just “bring home the bacon” but would also “help fry it.” Having seen these patterns all thei... Read more
If he had said so a few years ago, I would’ve smiled and nodded.  Today, however, I blinked, smiled sweetly and asked my friend to explain. Bart (not his real name) was telling me about his role as “family priest.”  I told him why I disagreed.  Now, I like Bart.  He’s a well-spoken, gregarious fifty-something with ten kids and five grand kids.  We’ve worked together on various projects and ministry events, primarily at the local Christian camp.  Bart’s an engaging, amiable guy and although I like him personally, our paths diverge on the issue of gender roles like the Rift Valley splits East Africa. “Family priest” was a case in point.  (If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, Google “family... Read more
From the very beginning of our ministry life together my wife (Liz) and I have had an egalitarian approach to both marriage and ministry. Way back then we were unaware of the extensive body of literature available that supports such a stance and so it was more of a preferred and personal way of doing things. Even though I am more naturally an expository preacher, I recall having great difficulty preaching with any conviction the apparent 'male headship' referred to in Ephesians 5:23, or offering an alternative, so I usually avoided going there. When our children were small Liz was more restricted to the home which left me to attend to church leadership matters but we always talked about issues at home and I valued immensely her wise and experienced input. We tried to teach and mode... Read more
Summer is the season of weddings! Many of us will have the pleasure of celebrating with family and friends as they join their lives as husband and wife. Though we have all enjoyed countless weddings over the years, there always seems to be that one moment in the ceremony where we are hit by the immensity of the occasion—when the two become one flesh! As bride and groom are joined as one, before God and their community, we experience an ecstasy we've encountered before—in the early chapters of Genesis. Standing amid the countless wonders of Eden, Adam's aloneness is the only "not good" in a perfect world. Among the many astonishing animals, Adam cannot find a suitable companion. What is missing? Adam needs a creature like himself, made of his substance... Read more
I've known Jack for many years.  He is married to a woman named Geraldine, whom I have known since I was ten.  Jack is what people consider a man’s man.  He loves football, action movies, video games and would totally run in the opposite direction of a romantic comedy if it weren’t for his love for his wife.  And he’s a stay-at-home-dad.  The decision was made for them as Jack lost his job right before they were about to have their first child.  Geraldine has a stable, well-paying job, and it just made sense for her to continue working and for Jack’s work to be staying at home.  He cooks and cares for their child, and she goes to work — and it works for them.  Jack has told me that it’s hard for him, though,... Read more
by Liz Beyer On a number of occasions, Jesus reproved his disciples and the religious leaders for missing what was important to God. He said things like “their teachings are merely human rules,” and “you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Mark 7:5-8, 8:31-33). In Isaiah 55:8, God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Clearly, it is easy for us to lose sight of God’s ways and resort to our own default way of doing things. The popular concept of “headship”—the idea that the man is the leader of his wife and family and that he exercises authority over his wife as her spiritual covering and priest—is one such example of this. “Headship” is... Read more