Over the period of my ministry that I have spent in encouraging a Biblical view of men and women, I have had occasion to read, work on and live with many explanations of the very beautiful pattern that we find in the Scriptures of God's design for the marriage relationship. Here in Chapter 5, God’s Pattern for the Marriage Relationship, Ash gives the reader one of the most simple, sensitive but absolutely fearless explanations of that pattern: the loving, sacrificial headship of a husband and the joyful, voluntary submission of a wife. He moves carefully through each of the major ‘marriage’ passages (Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, 1 Peter 3), pointing to the shape of marriage given to us by God. Of particular help is his designation of the distortions of God’s pattern of marriage: the tyrannical husband; the bossy wife; the mousy wife; and the abdicator husband.
As I read this section, I remembered a particularly helpful table I had seen in Wayne Grudem's Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood. I have reproduced it here, because I think it helps us see at a glance what Ash takes 2 pages to explain.
Errors of passivity
Errors of aggressiveness
Loving, humble leadership
Joyful, intelligent submission
This is the chapter that will be most offensive to those who hold loose to what the Scriptures teach about the differences in responsibilities in marriage. But if our marriages are going to impact the world they have to be what God has designed no matter how tough. Ash finishes this chapter with a fabulous quote. He imagines a secular man or woman saying,"I have never seen God. Sometimes I wonder, when I look at the world, if God is good, or if there is a God. But if he can make a man and woman love one another like this; if he can make this husband show costly faithfulness through sickness as well as health; if he can give him resources to love when frankly there is nothing in it for him; well, then he must be a good God. And if he can give this wife grace to submit so beautifully, with such an attractive gentle spirit under terrible trials, then again he must be a good God."
I just wanted to say that I am really enjoying your posts on this book - they are succinct, clear, enjoyable, and to the point. Thank you!
P.S. And that's a wonderful summary from Grudem that I'll bookmark and remember!
Thanks, Jean. Posting has certainly been made easy for me because Ash has written such a great book. I really appreciate the way he has sustained his thesis/motto ('sex in the service of God') all the way through. It keeps challenging my me-centred view of marriage!
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