Paul would be appalled if he knew that men used his letters to undermine the words of Jesus and the Kingdom of God on earth. Paul knew the cultures he wrote to and did his best to say what was needed to help people transfer their understanding from the darkness of the world into the Light of God's Kingdom. Never, in his wildest dreams, would he have thought that men would use his letters to lord it over women
Yet this is what some men do because, like the Pharisees of old, they love places of honor and authority. These men look for any excuse, any scripture that might support their doctrines of men and ignore the scriptures that disprove their doctrine. These modern day Pharisees descend on Ephesians 5 where Paul talks about men being the head and assume, out right, without looking at the whole, or any of Paul's other words, that Paul was establishing men as authorities of their homes.
But funny, they are quick to look upon Ephesians 5 as commands carved in stone by the finger of God yet ignore the heart of the writer of those words.
Here is the heart of Paul. Read it carefully and honestly, and see if this is a man hung up on rigid authority structures.
Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
Whereas the men who use Paul's words in Ephesians to set themselves up as little kings and priests in their home, Paul, himself, counts such things as position, birth, even his circumcised manhood, as rubbish. He says plainly that he is willing to lose it all, for the sake of Christ.
The heart of Paul is so directly opposite the hearts of those who use his words for setting up structures and authorities, it is amazing.
So one wonders.
If what Jesus, Isaiah, Luke, Mary, and Paul in Philippians 3 are saying is the opposite of what men say Ephesians 5 says, are these men defining Ephesians 5 getting it right?
Or have they taken the words of Paul and turned them into Commandmentzilla that sucks the life out of people and destroys the message of the good news of Jesus Christ?
Well. We'll look at Ephesians 5 next and see if it really can be used as something that establishes 'authority' in the home.
Alois Haba: String Quartet No. 3
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