CBMW (Christian Gender Complementarian Group) Teaching That There Will Be Marriage in the Afterlife And/or All (or Just Married?) Women Will Have to Submit to Men in the Afterlife
In the past, I’ve told anyone reading this blog they should visit Julie Anne’s (Link): Spiritual Sounding Board; it’s a blog that discusses spiritual abuse, as well as some of the topics I cover here, such as how Christians teach about marriage, dating, and gender roles.
Recently, Julie Anne found an odd page by CBMW (Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood), whose author seems to be arguing that not only will there be marriage in the afterlife for Christians, but that women must submit to their husbands. Here is the link:
The sub heading of that post is:
- Will there be Complementarian or Egalitarian marriages in heaven? What about Biblical gender roles in heaven? What in the world is Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) talking about?
I don’t want to steal Julie Anne’s thunder, so I’ll not copy in much of her post but just a smidge and encourage you to drop by to read the rest – you should also visit her blog page to read the comments her readers leave. She often gets some very educated or just wise people who leave comments that you can learn from.
Here is just a brief snippet:
- Here’s the article: (Link): Relationships and Roles in the New Creation The author is Mark David Walton, a senior pastor in Tennessee who went to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
From the CBMW page “Relationships and Roles in the New Creation,” Walton writes,
- Considerably more controversial, however, than the question of “what we shall be” in the new creation is the question of “what we shall do.”
Given that gender identity will remain, is there evidence that functional distinctions will likewise remain in the new creation? Will resurrected saints as male and female have gender-specific roles? How will we relate to one another?
Will male headship apply?
Initial responses will likely depend on whether such questions are approached from a complementarian or egalitarian perspective. Complementarians, who view male headship and gender-specific roles as part of God’s original plan for creation (and for the present age as well) are more likely to answer these questions in the affirmative
Other than the Bible saying that saints shall throw crowns at the feet of Christ and worship God, not a lot is said about people’s roles in the afterlife or in the millennial reign of Christ on earth, or in the “New Jerusalem”.
The Bible is pretty silent on what exactly men and women will do in the afterlife and when the present age ends. It’s foolish to build an entire view of gender and gender roles based on silence.
Later in the piece, Walton even concedes,
- Although Scripture does not speak directly to the question of the effect gender will have on the lives of resurrected believers in the new creation…
Walton admits the Bible is silent on the matter and yet feels just fine using his own preferences to assert a bunch of nonsense about marriage and gender.
Walton, sir, your opinion is just your opinion, your preferences are your preferences: they are not binding on Christians, who are to follow only God’s word.
It’s laughable that a gender complmenetarian is attempting to carry over gender role concerns into the afterlife. As has been mentioned on Julie Anne’s blog by some of her readers, that is more reminiscent of Islamic or Mormon religion, not Christianity.
Mormons have an entire system of belief that hinges on a man marrying a woman in this lifetime and having a lot of kids, and their marriage and reproducing here and now has something to do with how many planets their Science Fiction God will bestow upon them later, or some such. (I read about their theology years ago and my memory is shaky.)
I really question the motives of Christian gender comps, I really do, and I do not mean that in a good way.
I think in part Christian gender comps are motivated out of a fear or loathing of secular feminism and homosexuality (they, I suspect, figure strict gender roles will keep people from acting out in a homosexual manner, or that they will keep women at home making babies), and a lust for power and control.
It’s not enough for these complementarians to want men to control women in a fallen world, they want this to hold over after death, in Heaven and the New Earth.
Jesus specifically told His followers not to lord authority over one another, but that is precisely what gender complementarians do, seek after male power over women.
In the Bible, Christ says there will be no marriage in Heaven.
Never mind that, gender complementarian teaching never really addresses never married adult women. It’s just assumed all women over the age of 20 or 25 will marry and have children.
- Which view is correct? Does it matter? It does indeed. Though few if any would presume to suggest that their eschatology might actually influence the manner of our Lord’s return, or somehow alter “the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7 NASB), 3 our concept of life in the new creation is profoundly important for several reasons.
It is important, first, because our view of the life to come in the new creation is a vision of the ideal that shapes our worldview. To an extent probably unrealized by most of us, our attitudes, actions, and decisions in this life are profoundly influenced by our concept of life-or lack thereof-after death.
This is just weird. Weird, weird, weird.
In all my years as a conservative Christian, my views of the afterlife (and/or new earth) were never colored by gender roles or marriage.
I envisioned myself doing whatever God asked of me, pursing my hobbies un-interrupted, and other such things, and none of this hinged upon my gender… me having to serve males for all eternity never entered my mind.
This Walton guy’s idea of Heaven sounds like Hell to me. No thank you.
- It matters, second, because how one understands life in the new creation guides our present-day preparations for the life to come.
My idea of the afterlife with Jesus Christ never, ever factored in gender, and still does not. Gender roles is just pointless and irrelevant to me.
- But, if Lewis is correct, we would do well to begin now ordering our lives in such a way as to acquire a “taste” for things to come.
So I am to believe in female submission because supposedly, you think it is going to be in place in the afterlife? I disagree.
I don’t believe God intended it for the “here and now” nor do I see the Bible teaching the concept to be applicable in the after life either.
These gender comps are really stretching things to make their heretical doctrine apply to everyone, everywhere.
How can even anyone who classifes themselves as a gender comp not re-examine the entire movement and teaching when such bizarre, weird, unbiblical things are being taught by some of its adherents, as this garbage by Walton?
Let me explain: I used to BE a gender complementarian myself. I was raised by a gender comp mother. I was taught that the man is the head of household and all that other sexist swill. I did not abandon gender comp doctrines until around my mid or late 30s.
Even had you shared this 2014-penned page by Walton with me back when I was 20 years old, I would have known it was unbiblical and sheer lunacy.
The Bible does not teach submission of females after this present age, nor does it teach that there will be marriage later, it does not teach that single females (the unmarried) are to submit to other men, etc.
- Feminists, both secular and evangelical, define equality in terms of functionality rather than ontologically-on the basis of being. They err by effectively reducing equality to “sameness,
Actually, no; evangelical feminists usually argue that men and women are equal in worth and being and on that basis should not be limited in roles, if they are qualified to hold whatever role we are discussion.
It is the gender comps who argue that men and women are equal in being but not in role… which does not make any sense.
Where Walton writes, “They err by effectively reducing equality to “sameness,” I’m not sure what Walton means.
If he means to say that egalitarian Christians say that men and women are identical, that is a false misrepresentation of their beliefs. Christian feminists do not argue that males and females are identical.
- The End of Marriage Means the End of Headship
When Jesus informed the Sadducees that in the resurrection, “they neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matt 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:35), there is rather broad agreement that in so doing he declared earthly marriage to be temporal-a blessing and necessity for the present age, but one that will be needed no longer in the new creation.14
Many feminists, evangelical and otherwise, share in this consensus.
However, in a rather bold extrapolation from the text, they find in Jesus’ words here an end to male headship
Walton then spends several more paragraphs arguing that marriage continues into the afterlife, despite the fact that the Bible teaches no such thing.
But notice, no mention is made of women who never marry. They are never considered.
What about Christian asexuals, who have little to no interest in marriage, so they remain single their entire lives?
What of Christians with S.S.A. (Same Sex Attraction) who remain celibate and single over their entire lives? (They do exist, see for instance (Link): The New Homophiles: A Closer Look (article) Re: Christian SSA / Homosexual Celibates and Christian Homosexual Virgins)
- Rather, the problem is that the feminist view confuses loving male headship with abusive male dominance
Both concepts are identical: so-called “loving male headship” is the same thing as “abusive male dominance.” The “loving male headship” he speaks of is still sexism, but sexism and control that is said to benefit women in some fashion, and it is said to be God-sanctioned sexism.
I do not want to be forced to live under either “loving” (benevolent) male dictatorship nor the abusive variety. Both rob me of my dignity and freedom.
After having skimmed the rest of Walton’s page, I see no mention made of men and women who never marry on earth. I don’t think gender complementarians wrestle with the idea that their peculiar ideas about gender are meaningless to those adult Christians who never marry. It seems gender complementarians disregard biblical passages such as,
- For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others–and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Matthew 19: 12)
- 8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. …
25 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife.
28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.
33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided.
An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.
But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.
35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7)
If Paul is advising that single life is in some ways preferable to marriage (and he is in fact saying that very thing), and Jesus Christ is saying some may freely choose to remain celibate and single, where do gender complementarians factor these views into all this “marriage in the afterlife” talk?
Gender comps cannot even deal with these passages (Matthew 19: 12, 1 Corinthians 7) regarding life in the ‘here and now,’ which is why I wrote this post:
(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings
- Some undoubtedly will object to the idea of continuity of relations among resurrected saints on the grounds that the focus of their attention will be upon the Lord alone. However, the divine declaration that it was “not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18) is sufficient to dispel this well-intentioned misapprehension. …The Lord taught Adam that he, like the animals God had made, was formed to enjoy a relationship with others of his kind.
His understanding of this verse is incorrect: God was talking about human relations in general, not marriage specifically.
For the widowed, never-married, the orphaned, or divorced Christian, the body of Christ is supposed to serve as family so that the widow, never-married, orphans, or divorced will not be alone. As Christ taught,
- 46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12)
To put it more directly, will husbandly headship and wifely submission still obtain in the new creation?
… Finally, consider that in the new creation, those who were husbands in the former dispensation will, at last, be unencumbered by the flesh. They will be able, as never before, to genuinely love “as Christ also loved the church” (Eph 5:25).
I am not currently married, and I am over 40. I may die single. How does any of this headship crud apply to me? It does not.
Walton remarks (emphasis added by me),
- Consider, moreover, that in the new creation those who were wives in the former dispensation,….
Hmm, and what of women like myself who are not “wives in this dispensation?”
As a reader at SSB (Spiritual Sounding Board) blog mentioned, some Christians have been married multiple times in their lives, not just the divorced, but some wives have outlived two or more spouses (their spouses had died): to whom will such Christians be married in the afterlife, or in the New Heaven and New Earth? I don’t believe Walton ever addresses that situation.
I skimmed over the rest of Walton’s nauseating CBMW editorial and do not see never-married adults addressed at all, and not asexuals, or women and men who had multiple spouses while on earth.
If your view cannot and does not equally apply to the never-married and other groups, it cannot and does not apply to married people.
—-MARCH 14 2014 / UPDATE—-
(Link): Gender Complementarian Christians Who Teach Gender Inequality Even in Afterlife – an UPDATE
Related posts this blog:
(Link): C.B.M.W. Tells Christian Singles Not To Talk To Each Other – aka, How Christian (specifically gender complementarian / biblical womanhood and manhood) Teaching on Dating and the Genders Contributes to Protracted, Unwanted Singleness Among Christians