Monday, December 15, 2014

Are Women Naturally Good?

Focus on the Family recently posted this meme on their page.

At first glance, many people might be tempted to agree with it. But the statement in the poster is actually false.

The truth is that there are plenty of loving, gentle men who are worthy of respect but whose wives are not responding properly to their love and gentleness. Plenty of women have fallen for the feminist ideas that they should never submit or let a man lead them and will be difficult to live with, no matter how wonderful their man is. Even among women who are not feminists, it's difficult for many women to follow a husband's leadership because our sinful nature is in rebellion against God's plan.

Submission and following our husbands is something that must be learned, not something we're born with or develop naturally. Women aren't naturally good and kind any more than men are. We're all fallen. We have to work to develop good habits and learn to do what God wants of us.

It certainly is easier for women to follow a loving, gentle man, but the poster is wrong in assuming that the only barriers to a woman following her man are his flaws. That simply isn't true. Women also have to overcome their own flaws that stand in the way of the proper relationship they were meant to have.

Unfortunately, this attitude that women are naturally good and that men are the flawed ones that need to change is very prevalent, even among Christians. Imagine the outrage people would have if the scenario was reversed and the poster said something like this:
"Men are usually comfortable being kind and loving to their wives if their wives are submissive, keep up their appearance, and respect them."
People would be up in arms over such a statement that assumes that men are always wonderful if women will just behave as they should. Why is it any different if the assumption is that women are always wonderful if men are behaving properly? Both are wrong. Both sexes are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what the other person in the marriage does.


  1. Sorry, but where in Scripture does it say that men are supposed to be leaders? Can you show me the exact verse?

    I know the submission passages, but I often submit to my friends' requests and they are not my leaders.

    I am trying to find Scripture to encourage my husband to be a leader, but he says such Scripture does not exist. Is he right?

    1. The idea of men as leaders of their households and women as followers and obedient to their husbands is found throughout Scripture. In many places it is implied to be the normal, orderly way for households to be run. In several places, it is expressly stated. You can look to I Timothy 2:12, which implies the authority to lead is the husband's, I Timothy 3:4-5 and 3:12 which say that leaders in the church must rule over their own houses well in order to be eligible to lead the church, and Titus 2:5 which says that women are to be obedient to their own husbands, for example. Ephesians 5:21-25 is very clear that men are to be the head of the home in the same way that Christ is the head of the church - i.e. being in charge and leading in direction. These are just some of the more plain ones. The leadership of men is assumed and implied in many other passages.

    2. I put some prooftexts together for this in an article on defining marriage. See here:

    3. In addition to the passages Lindsay gave: Col 3:18-21 (if she submits, he has to be giving direction for her to which to submit).
      Gen 3:14-19 shows God giving several statements about how the world will be. The serpent will crawl on his belly -- true. Adam will have to work to get food -- true. And the wife will be ruled over by Adam. Yes, these commands are given in response to the sin. But that does not mean God's commands are sinful, or that we should try to get out of them.

  2. My husband reads the Bible litterally. He thinks it is wrong to assume or imply things. I guess he is right, then, there is no place that commands men to be leaders.

    I think we should be careful to exhort men in this direction if it is not in Scripture!

    1. There's a difference between making things up and the text implying something. If I say "It is good to eat breakfast," I am implying (though not explicitly saying) that it is bad to skip breakfast. The idea that skipping breakfast is not good is a logical conclusion from my statement, even if I used different words.

      In much the same way, when the Bible says that women are to be in submission to their husbands, the logical conclusion from that statement is that men are to be the leaders. You can't have one in submission without the other one being in charge. You can't have a wife that obeys unless you have a husband who makes directives. So if the husband isn't the leader, then the wife isn't submitting.

      Of course, the passages about women submitting, while they do imply that men must lead, are not the only passages on the subject. I also pointed out several passages that specifically and clearly say that men are to be the head of the home. Did you not read those?

    2. There is a common error, especially in our age, that God's commands only come in the form of explicit, "thou shalt" language. But this is not the case. Anywhere we find God's will revealed in Scripture, it is necessary (read: commanded) for us to act in accordance with His will, lest we sin. Church history has a term for this, "good and necessary consequence". If a father commands his child to mow the lawn, it follows that all of the in between steps, anything that is necessary to complete that task, is also commanded. Since fathers are commanded (Ephesians 6, 1 Timothy 3, etc.) to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, it follows that they are the ones primarily responsible to do all of the necessary work to train and discipline them.

  3. Thank you for the kind, considerate article!

  4. Good article. Good responses in the comment thread!

  5. Very good article Lindsay. We must all be obedient to the roles God gives us. Using another's disobedience to excuse my own is foolish. 1 Pet 3:1-7 touches on the idea of responding to another who is failing to fulfill his duties to God (wife is still to submit to the husband who is an unbeliever).
    I just realized that 1 Pet 3:1-7 would be a good passage for "Anonymous" on Dec 16. The wife is to submit to her husband, and even be like Sarah who called her husband, "master". For the feminists: no, this does not equate to her being worthless or a doormat.