According to a recent article at christianpost.com, child actor turned preacher, Kirk Cameron, recently stated that the Bible teaches wives to honor their husbands and “follow their husband’s lead (Source).” Kirk has traveled to over 200 churches in the last seven years with a “biblical” marriage message he calls, “Love Worth Fighting For.”
Kirk teaches that husbands should love their wives and not directly tell them to submit, yet telling wives to submit is literally part of Kirk’s nationwide message.
He states to the Christian Post:
“Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband…When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.”
As a female minister who has studied the Bible at a seminary level (in a conservative evangelical university), I can tell you that there is not one scripture in the Bible that calls for husbands to lead their wives. I assume that Kirk is referring to Ephesians 5:23 because his sister, Candace Cameron Bure, has made similar unbiblical and unhealthy statements (see video below):
I am not sure of Kirk and Candace’s biblical academic qualifications to make such strong statements, but obviously the two have studied the ancient Greek word “head” (kephale) very little. Since these two are “celebrity” Christians, who hold great influence globally, it is imperative that they understand how to read the Bible before making remarks that could easily lead to women being treated as “less than” in their marriages, and even to domestic abuse in some cases.
One does not have to go to seminary to be responsible with the theology they preach, but word studies are crucial in interpreting the Bible. It is unrealistic and naive to believe that ancient Greeks would use the word “head” in the same way modern Americans do.
It is evident that the Camerons subscribe to complementarian theology, but complementarian theology openly discriminates against women in both the home and the church, and many Christians (even conservative evangelical Christians) are working hard to dismantle such devastating and wrong biblical teaching.
We want to make sure that the world knows that Kirk and Candance Cameron’s so-called “biblical” views do not reflect our views. We believe their marriage approach to be unbiblical and unhealthy, as well as a poor witness to the world. In the video above, Candace leads us to believe that the only way Christians can have a godly, healthy, and long-lasting marriage is if the husband is the leader of the home. She states that a marriage does not work well with two leaders, which is simply not true. Many Christian and non-Christian couples have egalitarian marriages, and their marriages work quite well.
Candace also states in the video that she would allow her husband to make the final call for their family even if she knew that call would hurt her family. A woman handing over her will to her husband, even if his decisions will devastate their family, is completely unwise and unbiblical.
A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).
When a wise woman sees danger up ahead, she will rescue her husband and babies, no matter the cost. We see profound imagery of God as a protective and fierce “mother” in the Old Testament:
“Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…” -Hosea 13:8
“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.” -Deuteronomy 32:11-12
A husband who demands to make all the final decisions is not a Christian leader; he is a self-centered, spoiled child. Ephesians 5:21 calls husbands and wives to “submit to one another.” I have made a biblical case for the beauty of mutual submission in the post below.
In an interview with Yahoo Parenting, Candace stated,
“I used the word ‘submissive’ [to describe my role in the marriage] because it’s from the Bible but people who don’t understand that see that as offensive…”
I have to say, as a woman who has a master’s degree in biblical studies and understands the Holy Scriptures quite well, I find Candace’s remarks offensive because they come from a privileged American way of thinking.
First world complementarians do not consider the girls overseas who are forced to submit to their husbands as child brides. They don’t bother to think about the millions of girls who are selectively aborted because of their gender, the ones who are not permitted to go to school while their brothers are, and the millions of women who are forced to submit to men within the sex-slave industry and within abusive marriages.
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