Last week was Father’s Day and we can be sure that in many churches, men were told that God had designed them to be the spiritual leaders in the family. I am sure “role” was mentioned a few times.
So let’s break it down. If your pastor said, “We all know fathers are the spiritual leaders of their families,” then we have juggling of the scriptures to do to make that fit.
- If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must have scripture to back it up. Where is the scripture that backs that statement up? Not what they used to do 2,000 years ago (where they got many things wrong), but what we are supposed to do in 2015 that advances the kingdom of God.
- If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must discount the words and actions of Jesus who didn’t seem to care a whit about husbands’ spiritual leadership. Examples are:
(a) Mary of Bethany had no husband to spiritually lead her after Jesus welcomed her into the circle of learning with men;
(b) the Gentile woman – who was told by Jesus that he would be the Savior of the Gentiles – had no husband mentioned;
(c) the woman at the well had no husband when Jesus told her that the Messiah for the Samaritans had come;
(d) Mary at the tomb who was the first to see and speak to the resurrected Christ. No husband is mentioned.
- If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must discount 1 Peter 3: 1 where women are instruments in winning over husbands – without even words or behavior – just their presence!
- If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must discount 1 Corinthians 7:15-16. Instead of giving the leadership role to husbands, the scriptures actually say that it is both men and women who can be the spiritual leaders and who can lead the other one to Christ by example. These passages teach that both husbands and wives can lead, and make no case for male leadership.
On Sunday morning, we all look out at families where the women brought the kids to church and there is no husband in sight. Perhaps he is at home. Perhaps she has no husband. But we can never discount her spiritual leadership as being second place, or taking the place of the husband. Both husbands and wives share in spiritual development of children. However, most often it is the wife.
Stand up to your pastor! If he makes the claim that husbands have been given the “role” of spiritual leader over the family, ask him to explain those scriptures above. You have the right to speak up to your pastor. Maybe he misspoke, but he should be aware of the words he is saying and their meaning to the listener.
Will you stand up and speak up for what is right?