Ephesians 5:22-33; Pastors Have NO Authority in Your Marriage or Home and Christian Fathers Need to Start Doing Their Job
I have news for Christian fathers: Christ will hold you accountable for how you lead your family. He will hold you accountable presently and in the future. As New Calvinism has all but completely led the evangelical church back to authentic Protestantism, the degree of control that Christian fathers have allowed Protestant elders to obtain in their homes is shocking. Fact is, they have no business there at all.
If they do, and that authority has any significance worth discussing, the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Spirit completely forgot to mention it and the Spirit forgot to remind him while he was writing Ephesians 5:22-33. The message in this text is clear; fathers alone are responsible for leading their families and all others need to get out of the way.
Note how Paul begins this line of thought:
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Note the emphasis on “your own husband.” And note “as [in the same way] to the Lord.” If the elders fit into this pecking order, where are they? Not only that, many more opportunities to include the elders presents itself in the same passage.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
In case the point is missed, in the same way that Christ is head over the church which excludes all others, the husband is the sole leader of his family. And in case that point is missed, it is the same as Christ’s body only having one head which is Christ. Paul is delivering a grammatical triple emphasis.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Paul goes on to even exclude the elders as valid authoritarians in the church much less the home. The church submits to Christ alone, the head of His body as all bodies only have one head. In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands alone.
Then what are elders for? Eldership is a gift, not an office of institutional authority. The Bible expresses the working parts of Christ’s body in terms of different gifts granted by Christ. Primarily, elders are gifted to protect (oversee) the body by teaching sound doctrine and warning Christ’s body about error. They are the doctrinal watchmen on the wall. In this way they “oversee” God’s people. But, they have no authority to “Lord it over the flock.” The only verse used to argue otherwise is Hebrews 13:17. If you do a careful word study on that verse you will find the following to be a good paraphrase:
Be persuaded (peitho) by your leaders and surrender (hupeiko) to the truth that they teach, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Allow them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Also, husbands are solely responsible for teaching their wives the word of God, not the elders. It is the husband who is warranted with sanctifying his wife with the word of God. Beware of any talk regarding “qualification.” Being a husband qualifies you. Let’s face it; most Christian husbands relinquish their responsibility to teach their family to the elders because they have been sold into the idea that only the elders are qualified. That, of course, is a lie.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
“In the same way.” This is one major way the husband loves his wife: by teaching her the word of God. Why would a husband relinquish his responsibility to love his wife to the elders? It is a matter of whether or not you love your wife as Christ loves His own body:
He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.
This reality also includes the in-laws:
31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Lastly, any verbiage that diminishes a wife’s respect for her husband is an attempt to cause division in a home. Married couples need to be on the lookout for this very dangerous use of words in all venues whether church, friends, or in-laws.
32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Routine criticism of husbands in the church is widely accepted, and husbands who accept it are held up as examples of humbleness. What they are actually doing is giving evil unfettered permission and putting their marriage at risk.
Men, you are the pastors of your home and your qualification is marriage. Start doing your job, and start by getting the elders out of your home and refusing to fellowship where marital respect is undermined.