Giving By Grace

Having looked at one of the typical ways that giving is taught in churches, it is time to look at the other. As it is well noted, there is no Jewish Temple and no sacrifices. There are no Levites and no festivals. The majority of the reason people gave in Malachi was abolished by the Cross of Jesus Christ, just as the burnt offering (the shadow) was abrogated by the real thing. We are given several verses that apply to the New Covenant pointing out priorities to give, but 2 Corinthians 8-9 point best to the motivations as to why we should give. I begin by noting that Paul and others were taking up a collection for the Christians in Jerusalem and dealing with the Corinthians and motivating them to finish their goals of giving. Most will talk of 2 Cor 9:6-9, but we go back a chapter to find the proper context behind a statement.

The Macedonian Example

Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. (2 Corinthians 8:1-6)

The Corinthians are told of the Macedonians. As the Scripture relates (underlined for emphasis), they were in poverty, but were generous to the point of pleading to be able to give. Note they weren’t pushed into giving (for this would make it into a “work”), but did it freely. And they did first by giving themselves to the Lord, trusting Him to provide for all their needs.

Abound In This Grace, Also

But even as you abound in everything, in faith, and in word, and in knowledge, and in all earnestness, and in your love in us, that you also should abound in this grace. I do not speak according to command, but through the earnestness of others and testing the trueness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich, He became poor for your sake, so that you might become rich by the poverty of that One.
(2 Corinthians 8:7-9)

Paul then encourages the Corinthians to try to excel in extending this grace from God, the same as they know the other things. Extending grace requires faith and love. Giving is often a very real test of both of these things. They are presented with the example of Christ. Grace is much different than works, simply because grace is a predicated response from what we receive from the Lord. We are given richly from Christ. We can not outgive Him, but we are to give in response to what we receive.

Be Eager To Finish

And I give judgment in this, for this is profitable for you, who began before not only to do, but also to be willing from last year. But now also finish the doing of it, so that even as there was the eagerness in the willing, so also the finishing, giving out of what you have. For if the eagerness is present, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:10-12)

It’s good to purpose things and pledge to start them, but we should always be as eager to finish them. This is illustrated here. If we are eager, it’s acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one doesn’t have. Note how the preachers of giving as a work will drill that “tithe” is a 10% thing and you should be giving that no matter what, whether you have it or not (hence, the tithe is bad news for the poor). A lot of families are in debt at the moment. It’s a better priority to take care of that so you might be able to give than to find reasons to give money away and put yourself deeper in servicing of debt by giving away to others. The Lord will want you to be rid of the debt anyway.

Equality of Need

For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

Giving is not meant solely for the other man, but for ourselves when we are in need. We think the day may never come, but the day will come when we need to be receivers of the gift of giving. We may not recognize it as those who are blind to the nature of grace or the Church, but we are in life together. It’s arrogance to think that we should not be in line to ever need from others one day, and definitely drives people away from the Church and Christ when there is a disdain of those that need. This is largely due to the burdens of the building and the clergy salaries, but of poor Christian attitude.

You Reap What You Sow
(skipping 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5 because it talks about Titus and his plans to come visit)

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

This is the generic rule that is often quoted of grace giving. Those that give will get back (spiritually or otherwise) according to what they put out. Ironically, this fits the tail end of the Malachi passage (3:10-12). With grace injected into giving there’s such a difference, as opposed to giving out of works. The tithe is often given grudingly or is felt that is needed. God loves a cheerful giver, as it could be said giving is another act of worship. Love is never forced. By giving out of grace, it’s a recognition of love given by the Father upon us by the things we have.

Conclusion
It’s human nature to be stuck into a mindset where works are required. This is the difference of the Christian faith compared to others. A dead religion and dead faith says there’s a checklist of things that one must do to be acceptable before God. This follows human nature, as if someone gets something there’s always an expectation of payment. This is far from the truth, as noted several times (Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:8-9). Men that should know better are encouraged by the burden of keeping their empires together into forcing giving into a work, denying the grace given by Jesus Christ on the cross and pushing people into the same situation as the Galatians. After all, there’s such overhead for operating church organizations, coupled with the idolatry these organizations are given, that the Lord will bring them into account for the use of the money on these organizations in the first place.

As for what giving should look like in our lives, it should be a response (planned or otherwise through the movement of the Holy Spirit) to the riches of grace we are given. Giving as a Christian is not limited to the growth of the land. A Christian should recognize that everything (including ourselves!) belongs to the Lord and we are only stewards of it. Our time, talent, and treasure is all subject to giving by the grace we are given in the Lord. As for money, this could be a small amount or nothing due to getting out of debt or building an emergency fund or whatever is that is truly needful. But as we give in faith and find that ends still are meeting, this might cause us to grow to desire to give more. Coupled with (what should be) a desire to remove one’s self from the world, other changes in expenses might open up more and more money ($5 a work day at Starbucks = $100 a month at least). There is no rule that 10% should be a cap or a norm. Some might have the faith to give 5%, some might have the faith to give 30 or 40%. Giving simply depends on the heart of the believer in terms of how much and where they are led to give to give God glory by their worship.

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The Tithe: Robbing The People of God

Last time, I mentioned preachers that produce errant doctrines using the ideas of “exegesis” and “hermaneutics”, warping the plain reading of the text. While many doctrines are produced this way, nothing is more plainly warped and so violently and wrongly defended as the tithe. Unfortunately I’m sure this is familiar to most readers who have had anything to do with church, since it involves bringing in money for these same men to satisfy their own appetites (Romans 16:17-18) for building of their own empires. I mentioned one example in the course of reviewing this book. I heard another example of a pastor recently that warped the correct teaching of giving in the New Testament and then promptly brushed over the Old Testament Scripture as correct, misinterpreting both texts, and came off rather violently in doing so. Preachers have taken advantage of the average lack of knowledge or willingness to question (Acts 17:11) of the average Christian in order to force Christians to give to them out of fear.

The Prototypically Preached Tithing Verses
This post aims to discuss the proper interpretation of the texts involving tithing. It’s good to start with the exact text in question, which most of us have heard:

Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:7-10)

Most preachers brush over exactly what this is saying and rain down the threat that you are “robbing God” by not coughing up 10% of your salary. But we won’t today. Most good teaching on Biblical interpretation will use the rule “context before content”. This establishes the audience and time. Or even simpler, we let Scripture define Scripture where possible and don’t try to make it into an allegoric passage as most preachers do. I’ll cover the sticking points of Malachi in understanding it as the original readers would have.

Tithes
If we look into the Old Testament for original Scriptures where God mandates the tithe, we’ll actually find that God mandated three tithes upon the Israelites.

I won’t go into each of these passages explicitly (please read them). The point to make here is that there is a divergence from what we typically hear about this passage. The tithes were the taxation system for the nation of Israel and ultimately called for 23.3% of what people got from the land. This requires special notice. We’ll see from reading Leviticus 27:30 & 32:

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. (Lev 27:30)
And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. (Lev 27:32)

Note that if they didn’t get it from the growth of the land or something that fed on the land they weren’t to tithe it at all!

Offerings
Offerings again present another term which is warped out of what the original readers of Malachi would have understood. References are abound in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 12:11 illustrates this as well as reading Numbers 18:21-31:

Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:
(Deut 12:11)

Offerings relate to the burnt offerings, heave offerings, and wave offerings that were required of the people outside of the tithe.

Storehouse
“Storehouse” is probably the idea that is worst mangled in Malachi, as preachers make this into an allegory of their church. But Scripture offers a concrete definition in 2 Chronicles 31:11-12; Nehemiah 10:37-39; Nehemiah 13:10-13. Quoting one below:

Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them, And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next. (2Ch 31:11-12)

This makes it pretty clear that there would have been rooms in the Temple to keep plants (grain) and livestock that have been given, like the grain silos we see around many farms.

Back to Malachi
Now given this Scriptural understanding, it’s pretty clear that Malachi was addressed to the Israelite people regarding the tithes and offerings required them. It requires no allegory or twisting to gather the plain meaning of this passage. The people were neglecting the tithes and offerings that were dedicated to the LORD, hence were robbing Him and robbing His interests. What were those? The Levites didn’t receive an allotment upon entering Israel and had no inheritance (and hence was “poor”). The Lord was to be honored by the festivals He called for in conjunction with the temple. And “the poor” included all those in lesser circumstances (the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow).

The message of Malachi we should take is that by neglecting their tithes and offerings, they were dishonoring God and robbing from the poor. These things at this time were meant to be good news to the poor. It’s ironic that in the imposition of the tithe in churches today that the lesson of the widow’s mites (Luke 21:1-4) is completely forgotten! The tithe in the modern church is definitely very grievous news to the poor!

Then we should apply another rule: For the Christian, things that have to do with ceremonial law or laws of the nation that God laid down are null and void! We don’t have to pay tithes and offerings as Christians any more than we have to offer burnt offerings of unblemished lambs for the remission of our sins or be circumcised. To any preacher or believer of the tithe, I ask where they bring their lambs for their sins.

Christ rid us of the need for justification by the Law, yet those that advocate for the tithe bring Christians back into the Law. Scripture points this out repeatedly (Galatians 5:3; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 7:5). A litany of Galatians with “tithe” replacing “circumcision” is definitely warranted for anyone claiming Christ that believes in the tithe!

But what about Jesus? Didn’t he affirm the tithe?
Usually in opposition to their interpretation of Malachi, preachers will bring up what Jesus had to say to the scribes and Pharisees:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Mat 23:23)

Note again if sound rules of Scriptural interpretation are applied, this again points to Old Testament requirements. Jesus was not addressing His disciples and did not affirm the tithe for them!

History of the Tithe
Having established the idea that the tithe is a strange teaching to the First Century Church, it’s worthy to look at how the tradition came to be:

Charting the history of Christian tithing is a fascinating exercise. Tithing spread from the state to the church. Here’s the story. In the seventh and eighth centuries, leasing land was a familiar characteristic of the European economy. The use of the tithe, or the tenth, was commonly used to calculate payments to landlords. As the church increased its ownership of land across Europe, the 10 percent rent charge shifted from secular landlords to the church. Ecclesiastical leaders became the landlords. And the tithe became the ecclesiastical tax. This gave the 10 percent rent charge new meaning. It was creatively applied to Old Testament law and came to be identified with the Levitical tithe! Consequently, the Christian tithe as an institution was based on a fusion of Old Testament practice and a common system of land-leasing in medieval Europe.

By the eighth century, the tithe became required by law in many areas of Western Europe. But by the end of the tenth century, the tithe as a rent charge for leasing land had all but faded. The tithe, however, remained and it came to be viewed as a moral requirement supported by the Old Testament. The tithe had evolved into a legally mandatory religious practice throughout Christian Europe. (1)

Conclusion
It’s easy when your eyes are opened to tradition to see these things for what they are. I know I’ve seen the power of tradition in believing what was said instead of digging into these things myself. It’s a hard journey to get past “what we’ve always done” to see the plain teaching of Scripture and what is required. In the way are men who have grown to benefit from two other traditions that go against Scripture (constructing buildings and clergy pay) who vigorously defend their own interests instead of justifying God in all things. In the next post, I’ll describe the teaching that the disciples of Christ were given.

(1) Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna. p177.

Book Review: How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth

How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth: A Guide To Understanding the Bible. Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart. Zondervan Publishing House, 1993.

Given the number of Christians out there and the push to read Scripture, there’s an interest from both readers and pastors for men to step in and describe exactly how Scripture should be read. How to Read The Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart aims to step in and accomplish this.

The authors begin by describing their view of interpretation, their views on selecting a translation, thinking contextually, and then describe their views on the various kinds of literature found in the Bible: epistles, Old Testament narratives, Acts, Gospels, parables, the Law, the Prophets, Psalms, wisdom literature, and the book of Revelation. Finally, the authors describe their views on evaluating commentaries.

Proper interpretation (exegesis and hermaneutics) is definitely a concern for those reading Scripture and a decent skill to deal with. This book attempts to offer numerous rules and guidance in doing so. A lot of this guidance can be welcome, especially since proper discipleship is heavily lacking in the modern churches. Things that benefit from an overview of Scripture like trying to understand the context of a particular passage and the audience is particularly welcome.

However, this book has a lot at fault. First, the views on translations are heavily at fault due to the bias of the authors. Gordon Fee operates as a member of the board that handles the feminist New International Version translation. As a result, the chapter on translations reads as an advertisement of the NIV rather than a rational discussion. This bias also keeps the issue of copyright and how it affects the Scriptures silent. Issues like translations and other principles are often dealt with in this book with a unilateral “this is how it is” kind of stance, which is far from accurate on many of the topics the authors deal with. Dealing with these issues in an objective manner would have greatly benefited this book.

This book illustrates a rather big problem in Churchianity – the desire of men to step in before God and “control the narrative”, blaspheming the Spirit as unable to teach (John 14:26). This can be the people reading the Scripture themselves or the people that aim to step in between men and God (preachers) and tell people what Scripture means. The problem is a universal one of men not submitting themselves to the Lord. They choose to conform Scripture to their lives rather than conform their lives to Scripture, putting themselves as Lord over their lives. Sadly, this is more common in the churches today with both groups casting themselves before the Personal Jesus and seeking out their own way instead of seeking to obey God in all things.

Unfortunately, with men stepping before God, the ideas of “exegesis” and “hermaneutics” have produced so many errant doctrines that have been baked into tradition. There are so many preachers that defend these traditions of men (as violently as that monkey example) throwing these two words out and using Scripture to justify their own ways. Then there are so many blatantly ridiculous interpretations of Scripture out there that go against a plain reading of Scripture, as the illustrations in this book prove. While the authors sought to aim this book at the “layman”, the text is unsuitable for such reasons. Sadly, men floating these ideas are often a stumbling block to the faith of many, putting human tools and deception over the Holy Spirit and common sense.

Overall, the authors of How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth have found a good market since true discipleship is lacking in the Churchian environment. While some of what they offer is decent, a lot of it is so biased and steeped in the wisdom of men that the average reader has much to beware of in following any of the advice in this book.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

Society of Phineas is Live

Consistent with my other announcement, I have restored all the old posts from the old Society of Phineas blog. While my views have changed and shifted some since 2012, much of what is there should be useful.

Some notes:
1. Most of the text in the posts seem to appear right.
2. All the intra-site links point to the old blog. I have no intention in trying to fix these. You should be able to put the current site’s link instead of the old one and get another link if you find something you’re interested in. (As far as I can tell, this has been fixed.)
3. None of the images have been restored at this point. I will attempt to do that at a later date. (As far as I can tell, most of the relevant images to posts should be up now.)
4. While I’m not interested in editing and proofreading, I’ll probably be doing some other cleaning tasks in the course of checking over the older posts. (This is still in process, but I won’t worry about being too quick about it.)
5. A lot of it isn’t too organized aside my very generic category tags. One of the long needed tasks that I’ve needed to do is try to organize it a whole lot better.

For most part the blog is restored correctly now. Anyhow, hope all the effort is appreciated!

Entitled Goddesses & Worthless Worshipers

Previously, the conditioning of men and women into goddess and worshipper roles and the rationalization of that model into Biblical marriage were discussed in terms of the book The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The model of the wife as a goddess that makes demands offerings from the husband and bestows acceptance, approval, and affection to a husband as chattel that sets out to please his wife by fulfilling those demands was delineated.

This post will quote Schlessinger’s observations from dealing with the problems she’s noted in her radio shows. While she notes these things as “problems”, she misses that the things she notes reflect the very features of the traditional marriage that she espouses which creates the toxic femininity that is so pervasive in this world today.

The Goddess Will Be Done.
Schlessinger notes again and again the entitlement that women have that they are entitled to the fulfillment of all their whims and desires. For instance:

On my radio program, I hear from too many women who believe that they are somehow entitled to have all their needs, wants, desires, and whims met by life in general, and by their men in particular, no matter what choices they’ve made and no matter how poorly they treat their men. (1)

The result is women get married thinking largely about what their marriage and their man can do for them, and not what they can do for their men. And when there is so little emphasis on the giving, the nitpicking and pettiness chews up and spits out what could have been a good marriage. (2)

Notably this dynamic of female supremacism is the very essence of feminism of all kinds. No matter what it may be, the woman must be satisfied in all things, as her value is far beyond that of men, especially the ones in their lives.

The Goddess Rules And Reigns Over Her Man.
The existence and fostering of male mother need, coupled with societal expectations and sanctions upon men for not fulfilling his wife’s will, it’s a natural expectation that the woman would rule the man and dictate the conditions of his life. In essence, marriage is an arrangement where a husband submits to his wife by fulfilling her demands with the expectation of approval or punishment depending on his actions. The man is simple chattel, worth no more than the scum on the bottom of the wife’s shoes. His wishes and desires are unimportant in the marriage, and at worst a threat to the wife. Schlessinger repeats these ideas in her book:

No, I probably will not be writing about the care and feeding of wives. Why? Because the truth is that when it comes to home and relationships, women rule. This is a book about how to rule wisely and lovingly. If a woman does not marry a sociopath or narcissist, then she’s got her basic “male package.” And your basic male is a decent creature with simple desires: to be his wife’s hero, to be his wife’s dream lover, to be the protector and provider for his family, to be respected, admired, and appreciated. Men live to make their women happy. (3)

Whether it’s whims or tastes should not be the important issue—being fair and loving is. Think about the typical home; it is largely decorated by the choices and tastes and whims of the woman of the house. Real estate agents have told me that they really need to sell a house to the wife because it is generally her reaction that motivates the man. Husbands defer to their wives because they love them and want to please them, and because (girls, we have to be honest) we make life hell for them when they don’t. Since men live for our approval and acceptance, they are too easy to manipulate inappropriately, insensitively, inhumanely, and unlovingly. (4)

It didn’t escape me that Keith used the words “allows” and “lets me” when referring to his own opportunities for downtime or guy time. I don’t believe these references necessarily suggest that he is hen-pecked, I think they point out a universal truth that I have mentioned numerous times in this book: that men are raised by women as children and are embraced by women as adults and look to women for those three A’s. This gives women tremendous power over men, power that ought not to be abused or overused; it is just too easy for a grown man to turn into a rebellious child. (5)

It should be clear between this book and many other media that the wife is considered as a paramount one to always be worshiped and served unquestioningly. She is the one who unilaterally defines the terms of interaction – even what is masculine. Meanwhile the husband’s sole function is to serve the wishes of his wife and bend his view of manhood to the terms that his wife has set. He can not have his own will or do anything without the approval of his wife – the act of marriage has subjugated him to his chosen goddess.

Amazingly, this dynamic is often played off as comedy with people completely missing the kernel of truth that is behind it. There have been numerous comedy sketches where the couple is in a location and the husband is played off as “the man” in public until they get in private and then she sets her will in place by berating him into her will. Schlessinger even notes this:

Wives do tend to be controlling—in ways we perhaps don’t even recognize as such. Just before I went to bed last night, I turned on the television for a last-minute news update, and in going past channels to my usual news station, I paused at a sitcom. I don’t know the characters or the plot, or even the name of the show, but I saw what appeared to be a father talking to his grown son in his son’s fiancee’s presence. The father said something like, “Son, you are a man and you can make any decision you believe in and feel is right . . . until you’re married—then your wife will be making all your decisions for you.”

While the laugh track did its thing, I immediately realized that the controlling of men by their wives is so taken for granted that a sitcom could use it as a source of humor with no one imagining it was a true slap against women. (6)

Sadly, she does not see that this whole dynamic of traditional marriage and traditional gender roles, including her own book, is a slap against the value God has placed in man as a creation of God in His own image. Man has gone from the image of God to something worse than life. The only difference between traditional and modern feminists is the level to which they believe that men are of “lesser life” than they are.

Conclusion
To look at this book in total, while I already knew of the dynamic that represents traditional marriage, the way the book reveals the true dynamics of marriage, coupled with some of Schlessinger’s honesty about the status of women in marriage made it interesting to give a closer look. Women and men have been conditioned into this goddess/worshiper dynamic for several generations now, to the point that the roles are simply thought of as innate features of men and women. It has laid women into prideful arrogance and men into a demeaning existence of slavery to women whose life’s value is dictated to him by the women in his life. Schlessinger illustrates this, as a good sum of how traditional gender roles have broken men:

A wife can tear down a husband’s necessary sense of strength and importance more easily with a look or a comment than can torture in a prison camp. Surviving the latter is a demonstration of a man’s strength. Men don’t easily survive the former: Their wives’ approval is as important as oxygen; surviving their wives’ lack of approval is emasculation. (7)

Schlessinger espouses this model, where the only solid advice in her book to women to reform themselves from their pride is to bask in it and be the benevolent goddess who rains approval down upon her man when he brings a pleasing oblation to her. Rather than both honor the God who created both man and woman along with marriage, woman honors herself and man honors woman. Sadly, too many are stuck in this godless rut of tradition to see marriage as God-honoring in any way.

(1) The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. p163. (2) ibid. p3. (3) ibid. p64. (4) ibid. p146-147. (5) ibid. p179. (6) ibid. p157. (7) ibid. p74.

Religious and Other Rationalization In Marriage

Previously, I wrote of the model of traditional marriage and how it’s developed into a model of a female goddess of high value and a male worshiper of low value. If this were my last blog presence, both of these posts would have large link-trees since I’ve developed these concepts in many ways over dozens of posts quoting people indicating these kinds of things, so I apologize in advance if anything looks strange at first glance.

Book Review - The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

Man Rationalizes His Own Behavior
It’s good to start out by noting the constructs of tradition and how they are developed. Men start out by doing things, and then the reasons behind them get lost and no one knows the “why” of anything. Jesus deals with the effects of these things in Matthew 15:1-9. Traditional marriage and gender roles is definitely a case where the commandments of men have transgressed God’s design on things.

Often, men (and women) have a way of also taking their own expectations and then Scripture-shopping or redefining Scripture to meet those expectations. I’ve mentioned this often in terms of the false gospel of the Personal Jesus, where man’s own expectation becomes God’s commandment.

Reconciling Traditional Marriage With Scripture
Often these manipulations of men require a number of deceptions for them to take hold. I’ve encountered and had to eliminate many of them by reading Scripture and allowing the Spirit to change my mind. Traditional and modern marriage has an exceedingly large number of deceptions that I’ve cataloged over dozens of posts.

Schlessinger took occasion to quote one of them in dealing with responses to the predictable uproar that women would do anything to “submit” to men:

The Reverend Shane Cornutt, from Alabama, was one of many in and out of the clergy who wrote me to clarify this issue:

“Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed that some of your lady callers have had questions on a wife’s submission to her husband and how it deals with their Christian faith when faced with a moral problem.

Nowhere in the Bible is a woman told to blindly submit to the will of her husband. In fact, the first act of submission is on the husband’s part! The husband is to submit himself to Christ and the will of God. When he does this he is not setting himself up as master, but rather as servant of the Lord. Only then is the wife to submit to the will of her husband—because the will of her husband will be obedience to the Lord. So the wife is not submitting to the husband, but to God.

As soon as the husband steps outside this and acts contrary to scripture, the woman is under no moral obligation whatsoever to her husband to transgress the moral law! Women are not, and were never meant to be, set up as servants to men in the kingdom of God.

A man is supposed to love his wife as Christ loves the church. That means that a husband is required to love, care for, nurture, protect, comfort and even be willing to die for his wife. That is love.”

The reverend ended his letter with an admonition to men, suggesting that if any man is upset because he feels his wife is not in “proper submission” to him, the problem is with the man! (1)

Now those who have read my blogging in the past (among many others), will recognize this argument as it’s been dealt with many times as espoused by many figures. Cornutt is carving out an exception to the Biblical dictates that wives submit to their husbands in everything. When some “moral problem” comes up, he is giving the wives carte blanche to not follow their husbands.

Now the question is this: Who is the authority that determines whether something presents a “moral problem”? The answer that many other commentators have come up with is that it’s the wife! So anything that goes against her whim and will becomes a “moral problem”. Again another question presents itself: Who is the one that determines whether the husband “submits himself to Christ and the will of God”? Again it’s the wife! So she has the complete freedom to pay heed to her husband. Or not. Whatever she wants.

Note how Cormutt casts the problem as one of the husband’s – blame is always cast towards him and never to the wife in religious situations. And if he doesn’t go for her will, she can marshal all the force of the church, and ultimately put the threat of divorce (and his devastation as a man in both the church and wider society) over his head in order to ensure his compliance to his wife.

Reconciling the Language With The Deception
So ultimately, marriage is rearranged into an arrangement where the wife is the one that is the moral arbiter and the husband is the one that submits to his wife. This fits the previous arrangement, and throws the marriage into a situation where the husband is continually chasing after her desires and wishes and if there’s a problem he just isn’t listening to her heart well enough. Her heart is holy and pure (she is a Vicar of Christ), and therefore must be followed at all costs! After all, a goddess always needs to be served! An illustration of this process is presented in this graphic:

(2013-01-06) marriage-diagram4

However, we must remember that the concepts must be fit into the language of Scripture. Again this requires a rationalization of an untruth. I’ve often used the analogy of “Driving Miss Daisy” submission or a horse buggy to illustrate how this is done. The husband is driving the limo and the wife rides in back. The husband is the horse and the wife is the driver. But “Daisy” directs the limo where it is to go. The driver determines where the buggy goes.

In enforcing such a model, the church officials often do not call upon the wives to submit to their own husbands, but calls the husband to “step up and lead his family” (existing nowhere in Scripture). Again this puts the burden upon the husband to perform to his wife’s expectations. He is buffaloed into this model by his conditioning to male mother need, and ultimately is seen as the one leading (with the willing participation of the wife in the deception) – by seeking out his wife’s will on everything and then following it.  If he does not do this, then he is “not loving his wife as Christ loves the church”, and becomes a failure.

But what of submission as it is brought up in relationship to wives? The nearest meaning I can take out of Schlessinger’s book is a submission to the traditional gender roles as opposed to her husband. As quoted earlier, as long as she provides the 3 A’s and her demands upon her husband, all will be well.

In the end, all this deception, all this force of man against the God-ordained plan of marriage makes this transformation from Scripturally-defined marriage to traditional marriage:

marriage_transformation

Conclusion
In the end, all of this contributes together to make a marriage where the man continually falls into the pattern of Adam where he “hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife” (Genesis 3:17) instead of God. For those that choose to not see, marriage has turned from God-honoring to woman-honoring (violating Commandments I and II) and man’s tradition has been baked into people’s minds allowing them to not see anything different.

In the next post, I will address some of Schlessinger’s quotes that reveal some of the programming that has been given to both men and women that fits this model of goddess-worship that has replaced God-honoring marriage.

(1) The Proper Care & Feeding of Animals Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger p149-150.

Embracing Male Mother Need In Marriage

In finally getting around to specific comments on Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”, I noted in the review that Schlessinger upholds the traditional view of marriage.

As I’ve explained in many prior posts, this is reflected in a marriage consisting of a female goddess of great value and a male slave of little to no value (see the book title) to the point that man being created in the image of God is a radical concept to most. His function is to bring offerings to his goddess to gain her acceptance, approval, and affection — his total value as a human being being represented in his service and the approval that he garners from her.

The surprising part that makes Schlessinger’s book an opportunity of traditional feminist instruction is how plain spoken she is about the effects of this dynamic, although she does not bring what she observes to the proper conclusions. Why should she as a supporter of such a apostate and wicked model of subjugation? These posts will cover the basics of the dynamic of traditional marriage through quotes from Schlessinger, pointing out that many of the “problems” in marriages are designed features of traditional marriage. These posts will also illustrate the advice that women should just embrace the model that has been instilled in them.

Women: Embrace Male Mother Need
Effects of this dynamic, along with Schlessinger’s cheer-leading to women to utilize it permeate the book. For instance:

I have never gotten a complaint from a male listener in twenty-five years on the radio over my assertion that men are simple creatures. They agree. I have explained time and again on my radio program that men are borne of women and spend the rest of their lives yearning for a woman’s acceptance and approval. Unless you’ve got a man with a frank mental or personality disorder (the exception, not the rule), men admittedly are putty in the hands of a woman they love. Give him direct communication, respect, appreciation, food, and good lovin’, and he’ll do just about anything you wish– foolish or not. (1)

Note that she impugns men that do not revere women as goddesses, in other words follow Adam into his sin, as ones with “a frank mental or personality disorder”. She continues to make numerous statements to this effect throughout the rest of the book:

Ouch. That problem is a frequent one, especially with women overmarinated in the most negative beliefs of the women’s movement—that is, society and men will oppress; they are the enemy; do not submit; terminate or dominate. And men are easily dominated with negativity from their woman. As I pointed out earlier, since men are simple creatures who come from a woman, are nutured and brought up by a woman, it makes them vulnerable to their woman’s moods, desires, tantrums, criticisms, disappointments, dissatisfactions, angers, and rejections. (2)

Its worth repeating that men yearn for, first, their mothers’ acceptance, approval, and appreciation, and then their wives’, and when they get those three A’s, they’ll just do about anything to please their wives. (3)

I believe most women don’t appreciate how much they are responsible for the tone of the home and the entire family. This statement is not about placing fault or blame, it is about acknowledging the incredible power women have in impacting those around them. Both children and husbands are inexorably dependent on the approval, appreciation, and acceptance of Mom. Without that, they are desolate—and they behave badly. (4)

Needless to say, Schlessinger definitely acknowledges that male mother need exists – that most men are conditioned into gaining the approval of the predominant female in their lives, first their mothers and then their wives. Ultimately, women get to rule all the things that their men do, and ultimately society as a result. This has been the case for the last 500 years in Western Civilization.

Nailing Down The Dynamic Of Traditional Marriage
At this point, it would be appropriate to further nail down the dynamic of idolatrous worship that happens in all typical marriages. In the dozens of previous posts on the topic, I’ve quoted Esther Vilar regarding male mother need. It will serve here to further the definition of traditional marriage:

The majority of men prefer to subjugate themselves to an exclusive deity, woman (they call this subjection love). This sort of personal deity has excellent qualifications for the satisfaction of religious needs. Woman is ever-present, and, given her own lack of religious need [aka the personal Jesus], she is divine. As she continually makes demands, man never feels forsaken. She frees him from collective gods, for whose favors he would have to compete with others. He trusts in her because she resembles his mother, the deity of his childhood. His empty life is given an artificial meaning, for his every action is dedicated to her comfort and, later, to the comfort of her children. As a goddess, she can not only punish (by taking away his sense of belonging) but she can reward as well (through the bestowal of sexual pleasure). (5)

For young girls, they are taught from a young age that their needs, desires, and whims are paramount over others, especially over those that are different than her (boys). Girls are taught that they are the most important thing in life is them, that they should have preference over all else, and should not be responsible to anyone, especially to a man. Most of all, she only need simply follows the example of her mother.

Thoughts of chivalry are often used to reinforce these dynamics, placing boys and girls into those roles. Titles of “Princess”, “Queen”, “Daughter of the King” and others are often used of girls and women to reinforce these traditional gender roles.

Innate Behavior Versus Societal Conditioning
One of the canards that traditional feminists bring out against the modern feminists is that they bring notions of “unisexuality” or that men and women are mostly the same. Schlessinger talks about this here:

What does it actually mean, in concrete terms, to treat one’s husband with respect? To start with, a man likes and needs to be treated like he is “the man.” That seems to be difficult for a lot of women to do, partly because they have been brought up with notions of “unisexuality,” the sadly mistaken and destructive belief that men and women have no differences—and whatever men want or do that women don’t appreciate is stupid, wasteful, and self-indulgent. Well, the fact is, men and women are different physically, psychologically, motivationally, and temperamentally. Anyone who has had exposure to babies and children can tell you that boys and girls respond differently to the world right from the start. Give both a doll and the girl will cuddle it, while the boy will more likely use it as a projectile or weapon. Give them two dolls and the girl will have the dolls talking to each other, while the boy will have them engage in combat. (6)

What ultimately happens, is that much like evolutionists do, traditional feminists have a way of ascribing moral agency of men and women to innate factors as opposed to teaching and instruction. This is what the modern feminists point out often in their arguments of men and women. Gender (or psychological mindsets and behaviors) is very much decided by how parents deal with their children young in life, as opposed to something inborn as sexuality is (how else do they get the ideas of what to do with those toys?). The deception that these instructions come from an innate place must be continued (i.e. The Narrative must be preserved), or the whole mechanism of control of men falls apart.

Conclusion
The model as set out from the early beginnings of childhood is one where a man adopts a woman as “goddess” who he lives every waking moment to please, while she takes her role as that “goddess”, dictating her “truth” and continually demanding things from her charge that he is meant to provide in order to gain her approval. Having explained this, the next post on this matter will cover the Christian religious (and other) rationalizations that are necessary for this system of control to survive.

(1) The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger pxvi-xvii. (2) ibid. p10. (3) ibid p174. (4) ibid p162. (5) The Manipulated Man by Esther Vilar page 50. (6) The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger p160-161.