Are Husbands Supposed to “Get Their Wives Ready for Jesus”?

by | Jan 4, 2018 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 78 comments

Are Husbands to "Get their wives ready for Jesus?" A response to the Desiring God article
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A little before Christmas, an article appeared on the Desiring God website called “Husbands, get her ready for Jesus.”

Desiring God summarized Pastor Brian Stoudt’s article this way:

Husbands, we have the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus. And we’ll only do that well if we learn how to lovingly correct them.

And Stoudt ends the post this way:

From Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus:

Like us, one day our wives will meet Jesus and be perfect, “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). But until that day, until death do us part, husbands have the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband.

With God’s help, and for his glory, may we correct them with the grace and truth that we’ve received.

Much of the advice within the article is quite practical, about how to confront someone when they’re in sin. But the whole approach of the article really shook me.

I shared some initial thoughts on Facebook back in December, and stirred up quite the firestorm. But as I’ve had time to think about it over the holidays, I’ve figured out what I want to say.

Before I jump in, though, let’s address one big pushback I got. Women were saying,

But he’s just writing to men, just like you write to women–so what’s the problem?

I get it. What’s wrong with a post to men encouraging them to hold their wives accountable?

I have no problem with a post about how men should lovingly confront when something’s wrong. I have no problem with an article that says, “Men, let’s challenge our wives to be the best they can be this new year!” I’ve written the same thing about what wives should do!

But it’s not like the author was simply addressing this to men, but could just as easily have written it to women. No, this was a post that could ONLY be written to men because of the “why” behind it. He is saying that husbands correct their wives in order to get their wives “ready for Jesus.” This is not something that wives can do for husbands; he believes it’s a husband’s unique role.

Whoa. Back up that truck.

If husbands need to “get her ready for Jesus”, is she not ready for Jesus without her husband? Can Jesus not get her ready on His own? Is the husband ready for Jesus just as he is, but the wife needs his help to get ready?

Does that even make sense? Does this mean that single women are fully saved, but once we’re married we need husbands to complete our salvation? If so, it would be better to remain single!

There is nothing missing with women’s salvation that requires husbands to complete it.

Readers, Jesus saves me, not Keith. As Tim Fall wrote, my wife has a saviour, and it’s not me. And others have written well about why husbands are NEVER called to complete their wives’ salvation, so I won’t repeat those arguments too much.

But I must insist: This is a gospel issue, people. It’s not really a gender issue. And you DO NOT want to mess around with the gospel!

Jesus is all-sufficient for our salvation. He has already done the full work on the cross.

I doubt that Stoudt intended to promote heresy by implying that women aren’t fully saved, but by saying that women need their husbands to get them ready for Jesus, that is, intentionally or not, what he said. And distorting the gospel is dangerous. I’m reminded of something that Paul wrote (emphasis mine):

Galatians 1:6-9

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (NIV)
Ladies, we do not need another mediator. We already have one.
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5) (NIV)

It is not a husband’s role to get her ready for Jesus. And because of that, this idea that husbands must “correct” their wives can be dangerous, too, both spiritually and relationally.

Let’s tackle the spiritual stuff first.

Are husbands called to “correct” their wives?

I have no problem with husbands and wives challenging each other, confronting each other, holding each other accountable, even rebuking each other. In fact, not only do I not have a problem with it–I would hope that we are doing this, lovingly, in our marriage! What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy? (That’s not to say that marriage can’t make us happy; only that happiness is a byproduct of becoming more Christlike).

But that’s not what Stoudt said. He used the word “correct”.

Think about that word for a moment. You correct someone’s math or grammar–because you know more about math or grammar. You “correct” their understanding of history–because you know more about history. A parent “corrects” a child because they know more about how we should act.

To correct someone implies superior knowledge.

To say that a husband’s job is to correct his wife also says that they have superior spiritual knowledge–not only a superior role, but actually superior knowledge.

There is absolutely nothing in Scripture that says this. We are all made in the image of God. We all have gifts from the Holy Spirit. Men are not closer to God than women are.

If, however, he’s right, and God truly believes that the ideal in marriage is for husbands to correct wives, then why is Scripture so filled with opposite examples?

When I think of stories in the Bible about individual men and women and husbands and wives, it is more likely that the wife is shown to have more spiritual insight than the husband.

  • Zipporah calls Moses “a bridegroom of blood to me” and circumcises her son, because Moses had neglected to do it. (Exodus 4:24-26).
  • Tamar shames Judah into living up to his obligation as the kinsman redeemer, and Judah says, “surely she is more in the right than I.” (Genesis 38)
  • Pilate’s wife warns Pilate not to execute Jesus, but Pilate disregards her. (Matthew 27:19)
  • Abigail goes against her current husband (Nabal) who is endangering his household and disobeys him to petition David (her future husband) for mercy; David says of her, “Blessed be your good sense, and blessed be you, who have kept me today from bloodguilt and from avenging myself by my own hand!” (1 Samuel 25). (NRSV)
  • Sarah correctly tells Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away since they are not part of the promise; God tells Abraham “whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you.” (Genesis 21:10-12)
  • Bathsheba confronts David with his negligence to keep an eye on the kingdom and to fulfill his pledge to make Solomon his heir. (1 Kings 1:15-21).
  • Esther confronts her husband about his decree to kill all the Jews. (Esther 5-8).

Certainly there are opposite examples: David rebukes Michal for not understanding worship, for instance, and Hosea calls his wife to stop her philandering. But in Scripture, when married people disagree on something, you’re more likely to find the wife in the right than the husband in the right.

And what about stories not about marriage, but simply featuring both men and women?

  • Rahab saves the Israelite spies’ lives by suggesting how to hide;
  • the woman anointing Jesus’ feet with oil is commended over the Pharisees;
  • the women stay at the cross versus the disciples who deserted Jesus;
  • Mary becomes the first evangelist rather than the disciples, since she is at the tomb.
  • Deborah leads and judges Israel because she has more faith, and Jael is given the honour of killing Sisera, because she has more courage than the Israelite military leaders.

Why would Scripture so commonly praise women, rather than depicting them as falling short? Was Scripture trying to say that women are more spiritually in tune than men are?

No, not at all. I think it’s because Scripture was written to very male-dominated societies, where the impulse would be to create a very male-centric religion. So God went out of His way in Scripture to praise women’s spiritual insight and gifts, so that women could not be denigrated. He didn’t want a male-centric gospel; He wanted a Jesus-centric gospel! I wish Pastor Stoudt had realized this.

Do you feel like you’ve been taught a very lopsided view of marriage?

Many of us grew up with the idea that husbands SHOULD correct their wives–and it’s led to very dysfunctional marriages.

There is a better way! If you want to learn how to communicate better, deal with issues, and truly grow intimate, you need this book.

Because sometimes the things we believe about marriage actually stop us from having a great marriage.

Now let’s turn to the marriage ramifications of husbands believing they should correct their wives.

Correcting your wife is exactly the wrong focus for a successful marriage.

Let’s say a guy who genuinely wants to follow Jesus reads this article, and now feels that he is being passive if he fails to correct his wife (and Stoudt does accuse men who don’t correct their wives of passivity). After all, his job is to sanctify his wife and get her ready for heaven, so he had better start looking for things to correct her for! He doesn’t want to fail at his job.

His focus in the marriage, then, becomes looking for things that she is doing wrong.

I can’t think of a better way to destroy intimacy.

John Gottman’s marriage institute has looked at the habits that lead to a successful marriage, and the two most important ones are looking for opportunities to connect and scanning for things to praise.

Let that last one sink in for a moment.

If you want your marriage to be successful, you should be deliberately looking for things to praise your spouse for, not deliberately looking for things to critique them for. Of course we may need to confront our spouse from time to time, but if that is the focus of our interactions, we’ll do a lot more harm than good

So what should our attitude in marriage be?

Instead of saying that husbands need to correct their wives and get them ready for Jesus, why don’t we just quote Scripture that comes straight from the Holy Spirit?

Hebrews 10:24 says:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (NIV)

That’s the prayer I’ve prayed for each of my daughters as they’ve met the men they want to marry–“God, may they always spur each other on to love and good deeds.” That’s what I pray for Keith and myself. I can’t think of a better or higher calling.

So, please, let’s just stick to that!

When we make correction and confrontation one-sided, we create unhealthy marriage dynamics and potentially dangerous marriages.

I’ve said this before, but let me say it again: Sometimes we hear advice that works great for our marriage, but we don’t ask the question: “what would happen to a woman in an abusive marriage reading this?” It may work great for you, but you may be married to a good guy. What if your sister, or your friend, is not? If it doesn’t ALSO work for a woman in an abusive marriage, then there is something seriously wrong. And by the way–if it doesn’t work for a MAN in an abusive marriage, either, then it’s also seriously wrong! Any advice that makes one person powerless and puts another in the position of Jesus in the relationship is too easily perverted and misused. Jesus wants us to love each other, protect each other, and spur one another on. He doesn’t want us controlling each other.

Frequently we read articles on Christian sites or we read Christian books, and because they’re couched in Christian terms we assume they must be right. But you’re allowed to be a Berean from Acts 17! They were commended for taking everything they heard, even stuff from the apostle Paul, and judging it against Scripture.

Whenever you hear something that sounds off, don’t automatically assume that you must be sinful if you don’t initially agree. Really examine it. You are responsible for your relationship with God–YOU. So study Scripture. Pray. Get to know Jesus intimately. And don’t let anyone else ever tell you that you’re wrong for doing so.

And then, when all is said and done, let’s just spur one another on to love and good deeds. Because Jesus has already done the rest.

Still find this confusing? Is this nothing like what you’ve been taught about marriage? Check out 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage–because a flawed view of marriage could be keeping you back from a great marriage!

A Desiring God article said that husbands are to get their wives ready for Jesus by lovingly correcting them. Here's why that's off-base. It's a gospel issue!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Angie

    Thank you for being a voice of wisdom on this issue. The false teaching that husband’s sanctify and present their wives to Jesus has been gaining traction in the last decade in some sectors of evangelicalism. I admire you for using your platform to call it out.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Thank you, Angie! (and for all your tweets, too. 🙂 )

    • Jennie

      A great response to this article. I wonder if the author Stoudt is thinking that husbands have become more passive and lazy in the marriage relationship that they need a reminder to encourage their wives just as wives do.

  2. DragonLady

    Thank you!! I didn’t read Stoudt’s article. I was immediately turned off by the title and yelled (in my head) “OUR HUSBANDS AREN’T THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!” But there are other issues, and you address them well. I really appreciate you pointing out the relationship damaging aspects of it as well as the gospel distortion. 🙂

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Thank you! Yes, that’s what I don’t think people get. If we’re going around trying to “correct” each other, we’ll be constantly nitpicking at each other and obsessing over where they’re wrong. How can that be healthy in a relationship? Of course we need to confront and be open when there are issues, but that’s entirely different from making it our mission to find things wrong constantly! How can people think that’s a healthy attitude?

      • Lydia purple

        Also, who determines what is right and wrong? Living actively in sin- yes call each other out. But so many things can be done differently with neither being wrong.

        • Sheila Gregoire

          Very true!

  3. Blair

    Amen, sister! PREACH!! You know, it’s nonsense like this that puts me entirely off the idea of marrying ANY man, let alone a “Christian” one. Just . . . ugh, no. Stay away from me. I don’t want to marry someone just so they can treat me like a child, an inferior, subhuman. I’d rather not, thank you. And Jesus ain’t my husband either, he’s my brother. We are both children of God together. I feel like Christians focus too much on marriage as a metaphor (and that’s all it is, a METAPHOR, it’s not meant to be taken completely literally) for our relationship with God to the exclusion many other good metaphors in scripture. God and his love is so vast, so multifaceted, that no single metaphor could ever perfectly encapsulate it. We NEED those other metaphors to help us with our limited human knowledge to know and understand God even slightly. God is a father who runs toward us, a mother hen gathering us under her wings, a good shepherd, a poor widow searching for a lost coin, a mighty fortress, a helpless newborn baby, and many other things besides, all contradictory and yet somehow it works. God isn’t just ONE thing, he is ALL of them.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Hi Blair,

      Really appreciate what you’re saying about metaphor. I think one of the mistakes being made by Stoudt and his ilk is that they talk the Ephesians 5 passage too literally. Just because husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church does not mean that they can do for their wives everything that Jesus did. To me that seems obvious, but there’s whole doctrine being written that does indeed place the husbands in the role of Jesus in their wives’ lives, and it’s terrifying.

      But I’d just encourage you–don’t give up on Christian guys! I know so many absolutely wonderful ones (and many comment here!). I’m married to a great one. My sons-in-law are great guys. If you don’t know any great Christian guys, or if all the Christian guys you know are controlling, then perhaps you’re in the wrong church circles? I go to a church of about 600 (which is quite large for Canada; we don’t tend to have mega churches), and NO ONE there would ever espouse anything like this article did. It would be completely foreign. I didn’t really know this stuff existed until I started blogging and saw it. So don’t despair. There are wonderful communities out there! You just have to find them.

      • Blair

        Yeah, I know they aren’t all terrible, it just seems that way at times when the worst of them tend to be the most vocal in their horribleness. But I also find that even those who, as you say, would NEVER espouse such things directly, often still have that idea in their head and just express it in subtler ways, slightly more palatable ways, but still the same toxic idea at its core, albeit a less extreme version.

        Idk, maybe I have just been unlucky and met only the worst examples of Christian guys. I hope so, I’d hate to think being a Christian makes a man actively worst than he was before. But I still don’t have to marry one, even if he is a good man, if I don’t want to. We can be good friends at bes, but if I don’t want even my closest friends to come live with me in the same house for the rest of my life, so I don’t see how being married to someone like that would be an improvement. Lol! 🙂

  4. Doug

    Glad you called this out. The Ephesians verse is commonly misconstrued. The washing with the word part is simply a description of how CHRIST loves the church. The message for husbands to imitate is: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church (his body).” It’s even restated a verse or two later: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.” There are many ways Christ loved us that are attributable to him alone. He alone atoned for our sins and he alone rose from the dead. He alone sanctifies us with HIS WORD. Husbands cannot specifically replicate Christ’s love. However, there is a way the washing with the word can be applied to husbands. It involves us speaking words of affection, praise, and encouragement; words OF OURS that make our wives feel loved, appreciated, and sexy. It can even involve “sexting.” Christ’s word sanctifies us and makes us holy. A husbands words should make his wife feel loved and turn her on.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      That’s beautiful, Doug. I totally agree. Thank you!

  5. Tim

    “Is the husband ready for Jesus just as he is, but the wife needs his help to get ready?” That’s the subtext of the DG post, Sheila. Men have something women don’t, and women only get it if they are married. Thank you for your corrective to the DG post’s bad doctrine, and your advice on what a healthy marriage will look like instead.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      And thanks for yours, Tim! (Somehow you managed to say it in far fewer words). 🙂

    • Lea

      “and women only get it if they are married”

      Indeed Tim. I can’t decide if these guys are just completely oblivious to how this sounds to single women or if they actually do think we’re inferior until we have a husband to ‘correct’ us…Either way to me it demonstrates how their advice is flawed.

  6. Phil

    Hi Shiela. Correct is a very damning word. Which tells the story of the guys message. I prefer the word messenger. There have been many messengers in my life that have prepared me for Jesus. It started a long time ago. It has been women and men who prepared me for Jesus. I just had to be ready. I laughed when reading your fact on women having better insight than men in scripture in the Bible. My first thought was what you described. Balance. Maybe the Bible was written subconsciously in balance? Or it was underwritten by God to provide balance? Makes sense to me. Second reason I laughed is with regard to my marriage. I can’t speak for Grace on her relationship with Jesus. I do know that she stood by me through all of my CRAP to this very moment. Now if that isn’t preparing someone for Jesus I really don’t know what else to say! Nudge is a good word. Maybe we nudge back and forth like you say. Maybe she nudged me for a very long time and now I am well enough to nudge back. Or maybe I am her messenger and she is mine. Together through marriage we seek God and Jesus.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Exactly, Phil. I think of times when I have “nudged” Keith, and I think right now he’s the one nudging me as I’m trying to work through some things. That’s what marriage is supposed to be! But if Keith spent his time trying to correct me and make me better, our intimacy would disappear. I can’t understand why they could publish that article, honestly, and think that it’s okay.

  7. Gwen

    There is a side to this incorrect message of the husband needing to get his wife ready that is damaging to the husband as well. We heard all the teachings about the head of the household and my husband’s extreme responsibility to me and our children. We are just now after 20 years sorting out those messages into what is true and what is ridiculous. But a side effect of the ridiculous (i.e. The husband sanctifying the wife) for us was that the pressure that my husband placed on himself beat him down to a huge degree. He couldn’t even hear that I was sad about something that happened outside our family because he believed that he was responsible for my well being. So he spent all of his time feeling like he was failing me. He essentially did try to take on the Holy Spirit’s role of sanctifying me and couldn’t do it and so was constantly a failure in his own eyes. I would be sad or angry about something and look to him for support and he would try to fix me instead. The chasm between us emotionally felt insurmountable.

    But we are learning now what marriage really looks like. And he now can just listen without feeling responsible for how I feel. I had lots of years of frustration because I’m strong willed and so much of the (not quite but close) patriarchal messages I was hearing seemed to disrespect me as a person. But now I look back and see how harmful those messages were to my husband’s well being also. He wasn’t a monster who wanted to lord over me. He was a good guy trying to follow God but getting the wrong messages and they were destroying him also. So glad for the truth that sets us free!

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Gwen, I’m so glad you made that point! It’s such an important one. Larry Crabb made a similar revelation in his book Fully Alive which I wrote about before, too. I’m going to tweet your comment, because it’s great!

  8. alchemist

    Any doctrine based exclusively on one passage is suspect.

    We’ve been reading a biography of Martin Luther, and apparently a whole bunch of doctrines in that time was based on a single rather obscure passage in the vulgate. One of them (in connection to mass or indulgences, can’t remember) completely fell apart when people started reading the Greek text. If your entire position rests one a single word in one translation, you know you’re making stuff up.
    They went even further and tried to make doctrines out of papal decredals.

    There’s a rather stark warning at the very end of the Bible who adds or subtracts from the Bible. The proverbs isn’t big on relying on human wisdom over God’s, neither is Paul. Jesus wasn’t too impressed by people going around creating rules either.

    Thank you for your balanced, sensible perspective.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Thanks, Alchemist! And I totally agree. I really should read more about Luther. It’s likely fascinating.

  9. Amanda

    23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:23-24

    34Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35

    12I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;b she must be quiet. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

    Adam wa NOT the one deceived, it was the WOMAN who was deceived.

    25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansingb her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:25-30

    • Sheila Gregoire


      Ephesians 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

      1 Corinthians 11:5–women prophesied in church; they weren’t silent.

      Acts 18:26–Priscilla teaches Apollos.

      1 Corinthians 15:21–sin entered the world through Adam.

      Do you truly agree with Brian Stoudt–that women aren’t fully saved?

      • Amanda

        With all due respect, where did the original author say that women weren’t saved? I read the original essay (thank you for posting the link). You are confusing discipleship and headship with salvation. No where did the original author state that women aren’t or can’t be saved, especially without their husband! You are reading that idea because of your own bias.

        Additionally, these verses you have cherry picked are taken out of context of the text. You want to deny my use of Scripture as saying it is inappropriate and misapplied yet isn’t that what you are doing yourself? 1 Corinthians 11:5 says something entirely different (are you really sure you want to use that verse because if you do it seems to me that women should be covering their heads as a sign of submission in church). It no where says women DID prophesy, nor does it say women are supposed to, but rather that if they do their heads are to be covered. Additionally, the word prophesy in this context could mean simply reading of the Word in a group. Acts 18:26 is first of all narrative not normative. It is a telling of what happened not a command of what to do. Secondly, it was the husband and wife (not just the wife) that took the man aside. Thirdly, they took him aside and did private discipleship, not public discpleship or a public teaching in a position of authority.

        Before any reader attacks me, please be sure to read the original article. Lay aside the bias and read it fairly. Also read the verses in context that Sheila has linked. We are told in 1 Timothy 5:19 that the church authority should “not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” If you have not read the original article you are not a witness and your accusation should be regarded as such.

        • Sheila Gregoire

          Amanda, let’s just take the way the article is framed. Do you think that husbands need to “get their wives ready for Jesus”? Is that okay? It’s just a simple question. Do wives need to get ready for Jesus while husbands do not?

          Because EVERYTHING in the article, even the quite fine advice about how to approach a spouse when there are problems, ultimately links back to that.

          So until we deal with that–do wives need their husbands to get them ready for Jesus–nothing else really matters.

          • Amanda

            “Amanda, let’s just take the way the article is framed. Do you think that husbands need to “get their wives ready for Jesus”? Is that okay? It’s just a simple question. Do wives need to get ready for Jesus while husbands do not?”

            Again, what do you mean by get their wives ready for Jesus? You seem to be saying that the author is saying that only the husband can be the salvation for Jesus. Where did the author say that? I believe you are misconstruing the words of the title for sure, but the words of the text as well! Are you rejecting that the husband is the spiritual head of the family? If he is the spiritual head, does he not bear the responsibility to disciple his wife? I do not believe the author in any way presented that the husband is the salvation of/for his wife, but he is responsible to disciple her.

            Additionally, where did the author say that the husband didn’t need to himself ‘get ready’ for Jesus? The author called for men to repent. I don’t see what the hang up is here. You are trying to make the author say something he doesn’t say.

            Reading the ending “But until that day, until death do us part, husbands have the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband.” I think sheds immense light on what the author means by the title. And it’s not what you are saying he means. Do we not train our children to be ready for their future spouse? Isn’t it arrogant to say that as mother’s we have the authority to train our children for their future earthly spouse and yet our husband doesn’t have the authority to train and disciple us for our future heavenly spouse? How great an honor and as women we should be humbled by the thought!! Jesus will be our bridegroom, shouldn’t we yearn to be prepared!

          • Sheila Gregoire

            Amanda, let me try this again. You said this: “Isn’t it arrogant to say that as mother’s we have the authority to train our children for their future earthly spouse and yet our husband doesn’t have the authority to train and disciple us for our future heavenly spouse?”

            So is the husband already trained and discipled to meet his heavenly spouse, but we are not?

            What about a single woman? Is she trained and discipled to get ready for her heavenly spouse?

            Do you see the problem?

            I have no issue with all of us becoming instruments of sanctification in each other’s lives. I have a big problem with saying that a wife needs to be trained and discipled to meet Jesus, whereas a husband does not. This means that Jesus has sanctified men, on a whole, more than He has sanctified women. That’s a gospel issue.

            So, let me reiterate: why do women need to be discipled to meet Jesus but men do not?

          • Amanda

            Sheila, this will be my final words on the matter as I believe scripture is very clear. Husbands are the spiritual leader and head of the home, including the wife. I count this as a blessing! As for me and my home I will choose the Lord’s ways. Amen.

          • FollowerOfChrist

            Amanda, I tried to post this earlier, but has problems. I want you to know that it is refreshing to see someone stand firm on how God intended the family structure to be. My wife and I are very much in agreement with you. God gave us each roles that point to the example of the church and Christ. Men and women are equal in value but have different God-given roles in the family. Thank you for speaking truth.

      • Lisa

        Amanda, yes Eve was deceived.

        Adam was NOT deceived and he did it anyway. Adam fully aware of what he was doing.

        Not a good advertisement for men being more spiritual or more fit to be leaders.

    • Phil

      Ephesians 5 vrs 6 – 20
      6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

      “Awake, O sleeper,
      and arise from the dead,
      and Christ will shine on you.”
      15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

      Seems we have to be so careful how we quote scripture.

      • Amanda E Sherman

        Phil, are you addressing that to me? I don’t understand the connection you are making with these verses? Can you please explain more? Thank you.

    • Kay

      Hi Amanda! Can you explain more about why you are sharing these verses? Sheila’s post is about whether it is a husband’s job to correct his wife in order to get her ready for Jesus, so I’m just curious why you are presenting verses that have to do with a woman’s role in the church, which isn’t the focus of this discussion.

      Also, Sheila explained why the Ephesians 5 passage does NOT say it is a husband’s sole purpose to correct his wife, so again, I am confused why you just posted the verse over again with no commentary. Can you expand? In the Ephesians 5 passage, Jesus is the one that washes the wife with water through the word and presents her to himself (Jesus) as holy and blameless. The only command here to husbands is to love your wife like your own body and care for her. The command is NOT for husbands to wash her with water through the word or present her blameless to Jesus, because that’s impossible; only Jesus can do that. And the word “correction” doesn’t appear here at all, and that’s the point of Sheila’s concern. It’s not a husband’s primary job in life to correct his wife. If she’s in sin, yes, of course. But how damaging to teach men that they are failing to love their wives if they aren’t seeking to correct her all the time.

      I commend the author’s call in the original post for men not to be passive. I struggle with my husband’s passivity, and if I am sinning I do hope he would correct me, and frankly I don’t know that he would because his personality avoids confrontation. But it is no more his job to correct me than it is mine to correct him when either of us is in the wrong. But as Sheila said, the problem with the word correct is that it means the wife is wrong. So to say to husband’s “It’s your job to correct your [WRONG] wife” is not Biblical at all. We aren’t always in the wrong just because we are women. And it’s damaging to focus constantly on all the ways your spouse is messing up instead of encouraging them in their faith. There’s just a huge difference between a call to correct and a call to encourage. The call to correct comes only in specific circumstances (when someone is sinning); the call to encourage and spur one another toward good deeds is in all circumstances. The author made some very poor word choices unfortunately. He had good intentions I’m sure!

      • Sheila Gregoire

        Thank you, Kay! Great synopsis.

        It’s interesting, but I agree that the author probably did just make poor word choices. But the fact that he would make those word choices, and not even realize that they are an assault on the gospel, means that, at heart, we are believing doctrine that is wrong (about how, as you pointed out, husbands are to wash their wives with water through the word). There’s some seriously wrong doctrines on marriage going on here, and because those doctrines exist, people then use poor language choices that ends up distorting the gospel.

        This is why doctrine matters. If he had a true view of marriage, he would never dream of writing that a husband needs to get a wife ready for Jesus! So the fact that he chose those words, that those words came to his mind, means that he is believing something at heart that is wrong.

        And the fact that so many people can skim over those words, and not see the problem with them, is scary to me (though I’m getting more of that on Facebook than in this comments section).

        So I really appreciate you laying it all out so well. I hope that people will get this.

        • Lea

          I was very frustrated with this article, Sheila, because it started out with someone referring to ‘challenging’ his wife, and he turned it into correcting her! For Jesus. Sigh.

          Challenging someone can be a wonderful thing! I have friends who challenge me to do things outside of my comfort zone. If it weren’t for the title, I would have thought this would be about that…challenging your wife to follow her heart and get that degree she wants, or go for a new job, or something like that.

          But no.

          • Sheila Gregoire

            Exactly, Lea. Words matter!

        • Michael Edwards

          I contacted the author through his blog to tell him of this discussion. Hopefully, he will see the message and respond. I honestly believe that the article, though well-intentioned in its exhortation, is a little slanted and misses the role of women in marriages, and fails to mention the situation of single women at all. (I have no intention to respond to any question on that subject at all.) Honestly would not have chosen that buzz phrase, which is what I believe it turned out to be.

  10. Phil

    Shiela – The South is down today – it is 18 degrees and it snowed somewhere close by lol. So I have some time on my hands. So I asked Bryan myself as to exactly what he meant with his post.

    My Question:

    Dear Bryan,

    I am kind of interested as to why you chose the word CORRECT your wives instead of WORK with you wives or be a MESSENGER in each others lives? Why do you slight the hand to make it the HUSBAND’s job to prepare their wives for Jesus. Why not Husbands and Wives Prepare each other for Jesus? Why not Husbands and Wives CORRECT each other?

    Would appreciate your clarification.

    Bryans Response: Thank you for your excellent questions, Phil. We do believe that both husbands and wives, as members of Christ’s body, need each other, and sometimes need to correct each other. I, as a husband, need my wife’s correction when I sin. We were simply focusing on that part of this relationship because we were considering Ephesians 5:25 and following, where Paul focuses on that part of this relationship. But we also gladly affirm Peter’s call for husbands to live with their wives according to knowledge — knowing that if we don’t, even our prayers are hindered (1 Peter 3:7)!

    I hope this helps. Much grace to you, and thanks again for asking these questions.

    Have fun with that I guess…. I get what he is saying…just I see it as dangerous to focus on one scripture and use language that is tough like that…Back at my home church there was this family that I absolutely loved. The Husband taught one of our Sunday School classes. It was absolutely awful. I couldn’t stand it. Wonderful man, wonderful family. He just chose some bad ways to deliver the message. That is what I got today. I’ll shut up now. FILTER

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Yes, thanks for that, Phil.

      What scares me in this whole thing is that people don’t realize when they are distorting the gospel! We have become so used to language that puts men as the Holy Spirit in their wives’ lives that we don’t even realize when we’re attacking the gospel.

      That’s why I said in the article–I truly doubt that Stoudt is intending to spread heresy.

      And I stand by that. I’m sure he doesn’t (and his comment to you shows that). But the fact still remains that we have become so caught up in this language as the husband as the Holy Spirit that we are actually corrupting the gospel with our language.

      And our language matters–Jesus, after all, is The Word.

      So let’s just talk about each of us holding each other accountable and being iron in each other’s lives. Those things are true without ever needing to use gospel or salvation language to tell them.

  11. Sheila Gregoire

    Here’s a comment I just left on Facebook replying to a woman saying that I didn’t understand the sanctification process that Stoudt was alluding to. I thought it was important to share here:

    “What you’re saying is that it’s okay for the husband to be the “instrument of sanctification” in his wife’s life. I’d agree with that. An instrument is an object that God uses to do something in someone’s life, and ANYTHING can be an instrument of sanctification. But, by that logic, wives are also instruments of sanctification in their husbands’ lives. In fact, the biggest instruments of sanctification in my life has been my children! So, if that’s true, if we all need instruments of sanctification, then could we write an article about how our children need to “get us ready for Jesus”, because they too are instruments for sanctification? Or could we write an article on how wives should “get their husbands ready for Jesus”, because wives are instruments of sanctification?

    He would say no, because what he is saying is not merely that God can use husbands in their wives lives as instruments of sanctification, but that husbands are specifically called to be instruments of sanctification in a way that no one else is. So, in Stoudt’s view, wives need husbands for sanctification, but husbands don’t need wives for sanctification. Thus, wives actually DO need husbands to get them ready for Jesus, but husbands do not.

    Do you see the problem with that? I have no problem saying that we can all be used in the sanctification process. But saying that husbands are unique in this process does say that there is something lacking in women’s salvation. And that is the problem.”

  12. WomanforGod

    [Editors’ Note: When a commenter says that this is a worldly website because they disagree, and then includes this:

    “Christian women should know their God so well that they would not submit themselves to marriage with abusers, alcoholics and dictators.”

    the comment will be deleted. I am very adamant that at To Love, Honor and Vacuum we do not blame women for men’s abuse. To say that a woman who is abused simply wasn’t a Christian when she married will not be tolerated. Thank you.]

    • Lisa

      Thank you Shelia.

  13. Nicole

    I absolutely loved how you mentioned that actively looking for faults in your wife to correct her is a really good way to destroy intimacy! It goes both ways for sure!it really drives a wedge into the marriage when we are constantly criticizing or critiquing behavior, even if the intentions are to be helpful, I cringed as soon as I saw the title of this post. Whenever I read things that paint men in a closer to God, holier than thou light, I always feel sadness in my heart, like I’ll never be on the same level as my husband because I was born a female. Also, pretty sure NOWHERE in the Bible does it say for husbands to sanctify their wives, however it DOES say for husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her. Funny how I don’t see any of that sacrificial love in those patriarchal teachings. As always, thank you for addressing these kinds of teachings and helping me to make sense of them!

    • Sheila Gregoire

      You’re so welcome!

  14. Melissa

    Here’s the verse that kind of rocked my beliefs about male and female “roles” in marriage and the church. Genesis 1:27. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

    Male AND female. The question I asked was “Are you or are you not created in the image of God? Yes. Okay. Am I or am I not created in the image of God? Yes. I am as well. Okay. But I’m lesser than you because I’m a woman? Does that make sense? Does that add up? We are either both made in the image of God or we are not. And if we are both made in the image of God then that means we have equal access to him.”

    Jesus is my savior just as he is my husband’s savior. That’s where it starts.

    • Melissa

      Furthermore, there is a popular women’s study that I shall not name directly but teaches that one defining characteristic of women is that “man is the glory of God and woman is the glory of man.” I used to firmly believe in this. But it’s completely contrary to Scripture! We are BOTH the glory of God! We are BOTH created in his image! Do you have any idea how much freedom my husband and I have both found in the idea that we are equal in the sight of God? For him it was like a huge weight lifted off of his spirit because he got to stop trying to play a role he was never meant to play, one that belongs to God alone. For me it released me from so much guilt and shame that I wasn’t a “traditional” woman. There’s a lot more to the story but I will leave it at that.

      • Sheila Gregoire

        That’s beautiful, Melissa! Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. Gem

    Hey Sheila,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I enjoy reading your blog and have chewed on many good morsels of truth from you. 🙂

    I wonder with this post, though, you are ascribing opinions to Mr. Stoudt that he really does not hold to. In talking about growing in sanctification, you said that, “This is not something that wives can do for husbands; he believes it’s a husband’s unique role.”

    However, in Mr. Stoudt’s response to Phil, he referenced 1 Peter 3, which makes me think that he absolutely would believe it’s a wife’s role too, to actively help her husband in sanctification, or, to “get him ready for Jesus.” He also said that “I, as a husband, need my wife’s correction when I sin.”

    So, I guess I’m in the camp that believes he’s writing to men the same way you are writing to women. 🙂

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Gem, that may very well have been what he intended. But the simple fact is that the words he used do not convey that meaning. And words seriously matter! The fact that someone could cavalierly use the words “get her ready for Jesus” without realizing that this implies something about the gospel is just scary to me. It makes it sound like we have forgotten what the gospel really is.

      Words seriously matter. And saying that they are to “correct” their wives is another word that matters.

      What I struggle with is this: Would someone who honestly believed that both men and women were fully saved ever dream of saying such things, even as a mistake? I don’t think so. Our underlying beliefs affect our word choice. So even if he didn’t mean to insinuate that women weren’t fully saved, he chose words that definitely say the opposite. Why?

      And when people start denigrating the gospel, especially on a large website like Desiring God, maybe this is something we need to get concerned about and speak loudly against. Like I said, this isn’t a gender issue, but a gospel one. And I don’t think we should ever, ever take it lightly.

  16. Doug

    The gist of Stoudt’s article is that husbands are to relate to their wives in the same way they relate to their children. Stoudt basically says: “Fathers [Husbands], do not provoke your children [wives] to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This is ridiculous. Even the father’s relational aspect to his children ends when the children become adults. No where are husbands instructed to get their wives ready for Jesus. The church frequently extends the Christ-bride analogy beyond its intended purpose. Scripture is clear, the LORD intends a husband to be his wife’s lover, to romantically and sexually please her, not be her father. Women and Jesus will never have sex!

    • Sheila Gregoire


  17. Hannah

    Sheila, I think this is one of the best articles you’ve ever written. Thank you.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Thanks, Hannah!

  18. GraceBird

    Can I ask them Sheila what do you think I️t means for a husband to wash his wife with the word to present her as holy (paraphrasing from memory what the verse actually says. I️ agree with your post, I️ am just lookin for what those verses actually mean. And on top of that, what do you make of the verse “men are the image and glory of God but women are the image and glory of man”? This is the verse that has caused me so much pain and confusion and made me question God, my worth and everything. There are lots of verses like that, but that one the most so I️ would love to hear people’s interpretations of I️t (people that do not think that men are superior, better, or more spiritual than women). Thanks!

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Hi there! Great questions, and let me take a stab at them.

      I think we need to be very careful with the Ephesians 5 verse to not mistake a DESCRIPTION of the work that Jesus did into a PRESCRIPTION for what husbands are supposed to do. The command is to “love your wives as Christ loved the church.” It is not to then do everything else that Jesus did, because only Jesus can do the work of sanctification. There’s more on that here.

      As for 1 Corinthians 11:7, here’s a longer (and more scholarly) look at the whole passage, here’s an excellent analysis of it looking at the Greek word “glory”. I hope I’m not quoting too much of the article, but the article is a long one that looks at other passages, too:

      I must also address here 1 Corinthians 11:7-8, which many Christian read as saying the woman was made for the man and is therefore secondary to him, and that while the man is the image and glory of God, the woman is only the glory of man.

      First of all, that word “for” does not mean “for the use of” as in “I made a cake for you.” The word in the ancient Greek means “for the sake of” or “because of.” This is exactly what Genesis 2 says– the man needed to not be alone, and the woman was made because he had this need. She is not “for” the man’s use, she is “because of” his need. This does not imply any subordination of the woman. On the contrary, the one who needs help is the one in the weaker position, not the one who comes to give help! This does not mean Paul is saying men are subordinate to women either– but it does say a lot about the interdependence God intends men and women to have to one another.

      Secondly, as far as “glory” is concerned– we are accustomed to think of this word in terms of the splendor and divine beauty of God. But 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that all believers shine with this kind of glory: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (Emphasis added.)

      This passage is not about that kind of glory, for it would be in direct contradiction to 2 Cor. 3:18 to say men have God’s glory but women have man’s glory. No, there is another meaning of the word “glory” in the ancient Greek, and that has to do with reputation, or the good opinion of others.

      This passage has to be read in the light of the rest of 1 Corinthians 11. The Corinthian church was a large, cosmopolitan center in the Roman Empire, in which a large number of cultures mingled and which had a reputation as the “Sin City” of those times. The young church was comprised of peoples from a variety of backgrounds, and at the time Paul wrote the letter this church was struggling with a variety of matters, one of which was its reputation in the eyes of the community. It helps to understand that the cultures of Israel, Greece and Rome were honor-shame cultures. They tended to think of behavior more in terms of honor and dishonor, in contrast to our way of thinking in more terms of right and wrong. It wasn’t enough, for instance, for a woman to be faithful to her husband; she had to avoid even the slightest appearance of loose morals. This means that women did not go out in public alone; they did not talk to men who were not their husbands, and so on. A woman’s behavior was a direct reflection on her husband’s reputation, and when we see the word “glory” in a text that contains words having to do with honor and shame, we know that the meaning of “glory“ in that text is within that honor-shame context. It is quite clear from the context of 1 Cor. 11 that “reputation” is what Paul is talking about when he says “glory.”

      • GraceBird

        Wow thank you! I️ truly appreciate you taking the time to respond! That helps me so much and gives me a whole new way to look at those passages without feeling sad or frustrated!

        • Sheila Gregoire

          I’m so glad! I thought the last article on reputation made a lot of sense especially. In fact, seeing it that way allows the passage to fit better into the wider context of Scripture. We know that women and men are both in the image of God, so we know that Paul CAN’T be implying that men are more in the image than women are. So this makes much more sense!

          I also think it’s important to remember that much of 1 Corinthians really is about the proper form of worship in order to be well-thought of in Corinth. It’s not supposed to be prescriptions for all time, necessarily, but instead about how the new church can attract new believers in that culture.

  19. Jordy Dyck

    Having read both the article, your blog post, and through the comments, I am quite surprised at the level of accusations going on all around. I have followed DG for years, and have incredible respect for them. I have also followed this blog for a while, and have a high level of respect.

    Yes, the authors word choice could have been a little bit more precise in today’s society that loves to read things into people’s words. However, the word “correct” is a biblical concept and should be used. 2+2 does not equal 5, and it is a ‘correction’ to point out to someone that it in fact equals 4; this does not imply an inferiority of knowledge, simply a mistake. I got a perfect grade in calculus, yet i regularly make arithmetic mistakes. It happens, and I appreciate correction (though it can be humbling if it is from a ‘less experienced’ person).

    Just one verse from proverbs; 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he (or she?) who hates reproof is stupid.” What a bundle of inflammatory words. “Correct” is not in that verse, but all the connotations are in there. Dozens of proverbs contain similar phrasings.

    To accuse Stoudt of distorting the gospel, calling down the curse of Gal 1 on him is an extraordinarily serious charge; Paul is saying that they are cut off from christ, as in, going to hell. That curse is reserved for those who knowingly distort and deceive people with alterations of the gospel, and should be very hesitantly used.

    Passivity, refusal to challenge one another, is a significant problem in the church these days. The cultural flavor of the day is that it is unloving to disagree, overbearing to challenge, and bigotry and hatred to declare someone in the wrong; and to a significant degree that has infect the church. I see it everywhere as a pastor. That doesn’t mean it becomes our focus to rebuke everyone and everything, but to have the courage to do so when we see someone in error.

    “Just as Jesus set his church apart from sin through his sacrificial, loving death on the cross, husbands are to do everything in their power to promote their wives’ holiness.” To my reading, this is Stoudt’s exegesis of the passage in a sentence, and I would wholeheartedly agree. Much of his article focuses on the specific application of “correcting” because it is such a cultural weakness, and yes, the title was a very poor wording choice. I wish he hadn’t used it, and many are turned off the good points he makes as a result. But I believe it is uncharitable to read meanings into that phrase that the author never meant to put there. Not for one moment would he say (I believe) that women are incomplete without a husband, and *must* be prepared for Jesus by them.

    Promoting holiness is in *very* large degree praising, promoting, encouraging the good that you see. And much of scripture contains that. And many other good articles encourage that. It saddens me to see such extreme backlash to one of very few articles that speak about the necessity of “correction” for one another as well.

    • FiifiAB

      Thanks Jordy,
      I think you put things into

      I admire Shiela’s desire to ‘liberate’ (for want of better word) women from the status that culture and (sadly) bad theology has put them. But I think this should be done with care and a sensitive spirit. Sometimes zeal can drive us to extremes where we get nick-picky (about words?, important though they may be) and begin to read into other people’s messages. Words are important, but as Phil and Jordy has shown, it is quite clear that the author does not intent what you are accusing him of here.

      I am not sure if you get the point raised in Stoudt’s response to Phil and Jordy’s comment. I will be happy to see you include an update, or an appendix to this article about this (as you do for other articles when someone makes a really important point in the comments section).

      All the same, I love your blog, from all the way Down Under (no pun intended).

  20. Brittany Ann

    I looked over the article briefly, and honestly it just looked to me as though he were saying that husbands should be a tool that Jesus uses for sanctification. (Not that the husband saves, but that Jesus uses the husband for sanctification)

    In that sense, I am all for it – I need my husband’s correction! Not because he is better than me – but because we all need each other and he can see my sins better than anyone else. After all, he does live with me!

    As for it being only a husband’s role, I do believe God puts men in a leadership position and that this is part of that, but that women have a responsibility too.

    • Doug

      Brittany, Stout clearly implied it was his failure to “correct” his wife that was a cause of their marital problems.


      During casual conversation with an older friend, we started talking about my marriage. I asked for his thoughts.

      “Well, you don’t challenge your wife enough.”

      I was completely caught off guard by his honesty. But he was right, and I knew it. Something had to change.

      A common line of thought in Patriarchy is that husbands should discipline their wives, even to the point of spanking according to some extremists (not to be confused with BDSM, lol). Is this the logic Stout is implying? He gives no hint that he is talking about mutual correction as others have implied in his defense. It seems clear too me after reading his article multiple times, that he actually believes God brought his wife to him and gave him the explicit task of conforming her to the image of Christ. And he would have other husbands see it as their “calling” to do the same! This is absurd and totally contradictory to the joint missionary mandate given mutually to husband and wife in Genesis 1:28.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Hi Brittany!

      I guess what I would say about the correction is this: there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I hope my spouse corrects me when I’m wrong!” That’s a situational thing–when you do something wrong, you hope you are held to account. But to say that “a husband’s job is to correct” is not situational. It’s saying–whether or not there is something really wrong, the husband should be going around correcting. So it’s not based on individual missteps; it’s saying that a husband’s job is to be on the lookout for problems. And it implies that there will, indeed, be problems to which he is more adept at addressing.

      When we say that we each correct each other, that’s great, because we each have our strengths and weaknesses. But to say that one person’s role is to correct is to say that they have more insight into what is right and wrong than the other. It’s taking righteousness out of the situational realm and putting it into a positional realm. And that’s what’s problematic to me. A man is not more righteous simply because he’s a man.

      My husband does challenge me, and I him. But we each have our strengths and weaknesses, and that’s the way God uses us in the sanctification process.

  21. Angela

    I am a new subscriber to your blog, Sheila, and want to say I find this discussion challenging and insightful. Thank you so much for providing a safe forum for many topics often ‘screened’, ‘filtered’ or downright gagged in the name of ‘submission’ or displaying a meek and gentle spirit. I am hungry for this kind of depth, and passion! For whatever it is worth, I agree with your comments and your calling out the perhaps unintended but very clearly present implication of Pastor Stoudt’s article. The very title unnerved me, frankly. I have learned through nearly a decade of prison ministry to mentally test such comments on different circumstances than my own. My husband of 33 years is caring, loving, respectful, kind, and sees me as a full partner equipped to gently instruct when necessary. Sadly, many women cannot say the same. Thank you for bringing that up in your piece. And for removing the comment that would apparently blame a victim for the abuse they suffered.
    Peace and Joy!

  22. Lisa Marie

    Oh Sheila! Thank you so much for this post. I first found your blog a few years ago as I was reeling from reading Debi Pearl’s book, “Created to Be His Helpmeet,” and your words have been used to speak so much grace and TRUTH into my life.

    I have an amazing husband, but I have no mediator but Christ.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Amen, Lisa Marie! So glad you joined us!

  23. Ol' Will

    I consider John Piper and Desiring God Ministries to be (nearly) a cult. My understanding is that Mr. Piper is on board with John MacArthur’s ‘lordship salvation’.

    Lordship salvation, if you delve into it, eventually teaches that if a brother or sister has sin in their lives, we doubt their salvation. Since everyone has sin, you either have to deny your own sin or you begin to doubt your own salvation.

    The Apostle Paul never doubted the Corinthians’ salvation in spite of everything they were doing wrong.

    James, I believe, said to recover such a one for the Lord. (Jas 5:19-20)

    If someone professes Christ, I count them as a believer – no matter what their life looks like. The New Testament has instructions for handling believers who are in sin. It’s not to doubt their salvation. (Mt 7:1-2)

    There’s more but I’ll stop here.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Lisa

      I agree with you completely.

      They’re dangerous. Desiring God will have some very good posts. And then something like this. John Piper is clearly off his rocker when it comes to women. He even believes women need to be very careful how they respond if a man asks them for directions– So they don’t give themselves the appearance of being in authority by saying, “turn right on Elm Street.” Because telling a man where to turn to reach his destination is not biblical, according to John Piper.

      I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. But John Piper can.

  24. JH

    Hello Sheila,
    I have a responsibility to protect my wife from Scriptural error according to 1 Timothy 2:12-14. Do you agree with that?

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Sure. And she also has a responsibility to protect you from error, just as Abigail protected her family (and Nabal should have listened to her!). Our foremost responsibility is to God–that “his will be done.” And what is His will? That none of us should perish, and that all should be transformed into the likeness of His Son. So all of us need to be acting in such a way that those around us see Jesus and are motivated to be transformed into Jesus. That means that if we love each other, we will help move them towards God!

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Or one more thought, JH. If you’re going to bring up 1 Timothy 2:12-14, and treat them as literal (as in a woman should never teach), then I’m curious why you stopped at verse 14? Do you believe verse 15–that a woman is only saved through childbirth?

      Really, verse 15 is the most problematic of all of those verses, and so people who insist that a woman must never teach anyone anything often leave it out. But if you’re going to take those verses as literal for all time, then do you not also take verse 15 as literal? What about verse 9 which prohibits gold wedding bands and pearl necklaces? Are those to be taken literally?

      Perhaps we should instead look at this as cultural, and written for a particular time in a particular culture, where heresies featuring women were predominant? And perhaps we should also look at examples in the book of Acts where Paul called female teachers his partners in the gospel?

  25. JH

    Sheila, thanks for your response. By the way, I am not coming back at you with an axe to grind.

    Women who are teachers to other women and children is not a problem whatsoever. It is only a problem for men. There are some women who are truly exceptional teachers, but should they teach men? Here is the central question. Does the problem of being deceived remain an Achilles heel more so for women than men? What do you think?

    As for verse 15, I left that out to keep the discussion narrow. I think it follows the context beautifully. In my interpretation, Paul is saying that women are indeed vulnerable – to deception. When women fulfill the privilege of child-bearing, they are kept away from pitfalls that face women who are unattached or unoccupied. (Consider the danger for young widows, 1 Tim 5:11-12). Please do not take offense. What is more pleasing to God? What surpasses rearing Godly children?

    If women go about with all the adornments in public (styled hair, gorgeously decked out with gold, jewels, hot short skirts), they are going to attract men with a vengeance. Mens’ eyes catch everything. That has not changed in thousands of years. In my opinion, once a lady is married, she needs to cover up to avoid that attention. Let her go all out with her husband in private.
    Since young ladies want to be found, they will often use the adornments. I don’t blame them, but they don’t understand the intentions of men. Unfortunately, they become adept at attracting flys, that is, the worst of the guys.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      Well, JH, Priscilla taught Apollos. In fact, she was the main teacher. If you look at all the times the pair Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned in Scripture, Aquila is mentioned first in the three times it refers to his family, and Priscilla is mentioned first all the times it applies to ministry. In Greek writing, the predominant person is always mentioned first (hence it was Barnabas and Saul until Paul preached his first sermon; from then on it was always Paul and Barnabas).

      So Priscilla taught Apollos. There you go.

      Also, Adam sinned not because of Eve, but because Adam chose to sin. God does not view women as weaker. In Christ there is no male and female. Misogyny is a result of the fall and a curse; please don’t try to paint it as of God, because it is not.

  26. JH

    Sheila, you are correct. Yes, there are exceptions of women who teach men. Yes, Adam chose to sin. But misogyny? Who hates women? You are badly misreading your guest. We are not Muslims here.

    God is not interested in forcing women to go about in tasteless uniforms. He is not trying to keep them voiceless. Women are equal to men, women are beautiful, women are brilliant, women are savvy, but they live among powerfully deceptive forces – temporal and spiritual. Do you think that women are less susceptible to deception today than at the corruption of Eve?

    Let me state an assertion before I am lambasted. I believe women are vulnerable and they need to be protected. The concept of women being submissive may seem distasteful. It seems to lock them into a place of inferiority. (And yes, there are men who want to manipulate to that purpose.) But on the contrary, God has given women an advantage that more that compensates for their disadvantage. God is the great Equalizer. Women don’t seem to realize their advantage.

    • Sheila Gregoire

      JH, you are saying that women are more prone to sin and deception than men. That is extremely offensive, to say the least, and that is not what the passage in Timothy is referring to. It was referring to a specific heresy that was going around the Ephesian church that was based in Eve worship.

      No, God does not consider that women are more inherently able to be deceived. He really doesn’t. And I really am grieved that people still believe this.

      • Sheila Gregoire

        Or, to put it another way, if women are more easily deceived, and less in tune with the Spirit, then why are the majority of the world’s Christians female?

  27. JH

    More females are Christians? I agree. Now you catching on. There is a reason for that, and it is not superior intellect. What should we conclude about the state of Christian men? Men who think they control everything do not run to God. I think it is a blessing, to never hesitate to run to God.

    Please stop being offended. The Bible does not evolve. The truth does not evolve. It is not a slap to be “weaker” (1Corinthians 12:22-24).
    1 Peter 3:7 “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

    BTW, God bless you

    • Sheila Gregoire

      JH, thank you for your graciousness, but this actually does matter. The teaching that women are more easily deceived and are weaker is very detrimental to healthy marriages and healthy churches, and is simply not biblical.

      Yes, women are physically weaker. But we are not spiritually weaker.

      Think about it this way: Jesus went out of His way to elevate women. The first person told that Messiah was coming? A woman (Mary). The first person that Jesus confirmed He was the Messiah to? A woman (at the well). The first people who saw Jesus risen from the dead? Women. The first true missionary? A woman.

      Jesus lived in a patriarchal culture, and yet He talked alone with women, elevated them, and even reprimanded men when they did not take women’s faith seriously (Mary as she anointed His feet with oil). Paul called women his fellow workers in Christ; when he first went to Europe, and sought out people to tell about Jesus, he deliberately went to the place where women prayed along the river. He sought out women first. And so the first European convert was a woman (Lydia!).

      There were female apostles (Junia among them). There were women missionaries and teachers. And in a totally patriarchal culture, that was extraordinary! God didn’t use them because there were no men; He used them because He loved them and He had gifted them!

      So let’s make sure that we don’t start telling men that women are more easily deceived, and thus they need to make sure that women don’t explore faith on their own or think for themselves. There were men in Jesus’ time that had that attitude. And they were not named Peter or Paul. They were called Pharisees!

  28. JH

    Also, I am not defending Stoudt’s article. I think it goes to far.


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