Husband's leadership when he has "minority" theological views

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Tim, Apr 10, 2009.

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  1. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry I was thinking I was replying to Tim in the last one

    So Tim is this totally hypothetical or are you using us here to help you get prepared??

    Anyone in mind?
  2. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    Agreed. I might have done better in 1646, but nowadays it's different. That is why I made this thread.

    Absolutely. How do I do this?

    Of course, there are other issues that must be first considered. But because these three issues necessarily result in a real practice (or a change of practice), I thought it important to consider them. As such, they really aren't that far behind.

    There is no woman. Hypothetical.

    Well, you have basically told me what you think of my views. Surely you know that there are a number of people on this board who take such positions. I am a real person who is trying to follow the Bible the best I can and to lead my future family as best I can. I made this thread so I could better learn how to deal with responses such as yours; and to know when not to pursue a relationship that obviously would never work. Please tell me I have misunderstood your post.

    At this point, it is hypothetical. I have another two years or so in South Africa, and I don't believe there are any churches in South Africa that teach these positions. Therefore, I can't expect that anyone would hold such distinctives. Perhaps Afrikaans churches do, but I am not a part of that culture at all.

    What is not hypothetical is that because I am involved in the Christian community here in Cape Town, I meet people. And one of these days, I might meet a young lady who, although she might not hold to such distinctives, might otherwise have good Christian character and a good heart. I am trying to prepare myself to know how to deal with such a situation.
  3. Ruby

    Ruby Puritan Board Junior

    Be encouraged Tim!
    I was a lapsed Roman Catholic and had NEVER heard of any of these things before I met my husband. (We did cover our heads in worship as children but that seemed to die out) There are women out there who believe as you do and also tender hearted ones who will be prepared to study these things and follow your lead. But for sure, these can be major grievences so they need to be discussed before any relationship developes. As a new christian I embraced many new beliefs (and maybe even some hubby didn't!)
    May the Lord bless you with a Godly wife in his time!
  4. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Tim, one thing that might be helpful if things get definite is something like an "Engagement Encounter" ("Marriage Encounter") weekend. One can even be done before one is engaged, I think by their rules.

    While I don't want to spoil the surprise of their format, a lot involves discussion between yourselves of all sorts of issues that potentially could divide.

    There is a section on "What are we going to do on holidays?" You'll want to think through how you will deal with both your friends and relatives (hers and yours) who will be celebrating holidays like Christmas and Easter. What are each of your expectations?

    To say merely "we don't do holidays" is not the whole story because friends and relatives will have their own expectations. You may be of conviction that doesn't matter (what they think) but, in reality, your potential wife needs to understand the implications. Her mother may be expecting you to visit (and participate) in Christmas every couple years at least so the two of you need to talk through and agree on how you will deal with this. (And let me tell you this... one thing you will need to find a way to 'celebrate' is your wedding anniversary and her birthday:)).

    While many different denominations sponsor these, here is one link to information from the United Methodist Church about Engagement Encounter weekends (link at the bottom):

    Video List

    Here's one for a "Reformed Engagement Encounter"
  5. Anton Bruckner

    Anton Bruckner Puritan Board Professor

    Tim if the woman is not hardened but merely ignorant of these beliefs, then this is an opportunity to teach her and strengthen her in the faith.

    -----Added 4/13/2009 at 10:40:08 EST-----

    :lol: :D :D
  6. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    I think we would all agree that this would usually be the case today. It's more likely that people on this board would have taken a good hard look at EP or headcoverings or holy-days, but I would think that most people in reformed churches have not.
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner


    It is good you are considering such things because you understand that beliefs will have practical effects.

    Take, for example, two basic parts of the Christian life that will regularly affect the way you live together as a family:

    1) Sabbath
    2) Tithing (offering)

    The first will affect 1/7 of "your" life, might even affect whether you keep a job, and how you prepare Saturday night.

    The second will affect 1/10 of "your" money initially (and then grow as a percent from there). Ordinarily, you will both need to agree and restrain yourselves to live on say 90% of what you earn. This cannot be done unilaterally.

    The man is responsible to set the tone for these in the household.

    While it means setting some practical guidelines to obey and, by God's grace, keeping them, it also means being loving and listening in the details to others at home who don't necessarily agree with the detail application. I think the latter part is as important as the former and something a husband, as leader, cannot even begin to imperfectly obey without God's grace.

    God is looking for obedience and He is also looking for loving your neighbor. That certainly begins with those closest to you. Being 'right' about the precept is often easier than being the suffering servant God calls a man to be as a husband. Somehow, there has to be both.:):):)
  8. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    And Tim if you are not into birthdays you don't need to celebrate them.

    I have been married over 30 years and don't celebrate birthdays simply because it seems a bit prideful and self centered and the little written on it shows only bad things happened in scripture on BD celebrations like Herod chopping J t B head off.

    So we make no big deal of them. Maybe on some years a special dinner request was offered or I take her out to dinner where she would like to go.

    We gave gifts to kids out of love all around the year but we did give them a few at once at Thanksgiving. A time we chose to focus on thanks to God at home and discuss what we were thankful for and give gifts like others do at XMas.
    This was a little hard on my folks and more so on my grandparents who weren't Christians and considered it winter holidays.

    Her parents didn't seem to care and respected our wishes and sent presents at thanksgiving to our kids.

    We choose not to be much involved in the world and don't find a need to.
    But I mainly believe these are wrong to be celebrated in church but if people choose to learn the way of the heathen and do those practices at home and confuse their kids with Santa, East star, etc. that is up to them.

    We have Pizza parties and game nights etc for the kids where they can have their friends over or overnight all during the year so they do not feel deprived. Other kids think they are lucky they get presents at Thanksgiving and all year. Mom did give the kids one or 2 gifts on their birthdays but no party. They had parties for other reasons.

    But you certainly want to make sure she is on board with this and willing to suffer for Christ and even from some who are called brothers that would attack people for these beliefs.

    The kids we work with in orphanages in Mexico and Africa don't have birthday parties or get gifts and we are way better off than they.
    We could be them, we should be prepared to go live with them and give up anything in the world for their sakes.

    And pray a lot and consistently for what you want and believe God will provide, He is able.
    Mk 11:22-24
  9. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Holidays, headcoverings and EP are issues that are minor, but as has been said, they are a matter of practice, but they do affect who a husband and wife live and raise children together. If these issues are that important to you, then I would not get involved with a woman who does not agree with you already, and I wouldn't spend a lot of time trying to persuade her to think like you do.

    Getting someone to change their beliefs for your sake is a recipe for disaster. I'd look for someone who already agrees with you.
  10. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    If these are all minor issues then any Godly woman who knows the clear important teaching of a wife being submissive to the husbands headship would have no problem submitting to them.
  11. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    I definitely agree that attempting to change someone's belief "for your sake" is a disaster. I've seen it attempted and its never been pretty!

    I disagree that holidays, headcoverings, and ep are minor issues though. Certainly some people may see them as "minor," but I think you'd find a lot of people who find them very important (myself included). Even if the issues themselves might seem small, often the underlying thought and reasoning for holding to those practices is a big issue. For me, for instance, even though I disagree with the practice of headcovering, the bigger issue is the line of thought that gets a person to practice headcovering. That, I think, is where I would have the bigger problem. - I hope that makes sense... I'm having trouble verbalizing it...
  12. Anton Bruckner

    Anton Bruckner Puritan Board Professor

    You're correct. But I think we have to be careful to not measure our spouses or future potential spouses by "our standard", that is Me-ism. No one can be you but yourself. Sure they are non negotiables i.e Calvinism/Doctrines of Grace etc. I would say that if a girl is solidly Reformed and willing to submit to the headship of a Christian man, things such as EP and Head coverings can be worked out. And usually when push comes to good Christian folks are willing to drop the frivolous traditions of Christmas, Easter etc.
  13. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Wise words.

    A few years ago I was active in the leadership of a youth group in a PCA church. A couple of the girls (sisters) asked me (& my wife) what we thought of a guy that they met at various reformed functions in the region.

    They called him "Mr. Trinity Hymnal". It seems his opening line was "Do you prefer the Blue or Red Trinity Hymnal?" This was his way of deciding if the girl he was speaking to was on the same page as him on some very strange minor points. BTW he had a lot more strange & odd minor views (OK, some were not odd, but they were all very minor).

    MY wife gave tham some good advice (in my opinion) she asked them if they wanted to spend the rest of their life learning to "grin and bear it" as they practiced submission to a ongoing series of ever stranger "convictions" about the "clear teaching of scripture". :2cents:
  14. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    I hope none of us are implying it is odd or very unimportant to believe in:

    1) exclusive psalmody
    2) women headcoverings
    3) non-marking of holy-days

    While some of these seem new to us in this generation, they all have, at least arguably, a biblical foundation and were practiced by at least some of the Puritans.

    Blessings and charity to all, especially those of the household of faith:)
  15. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I appreciate your clarification, and I do understand what you mean. Perhaps a better way to express it would be that they are not matters of salvation. If a person does not hold to head coverings or EP or celebrating Christmas and Easter, they will not go to hell. And you are right, they are major issues in the lives of those who hold them.
  16. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, this is exactly what I meant. You put it much more clearly than I could - thanks!
  17. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Umm, yes. That is, more-or-less, what I was trying to convey.

    Not one of these views has anywhere near a 10% minority within conservative reformed & presbyterian denominations. Now they may be the correct view. Not my point to argue that here, but by any meaningfull standard they are "odd" & "minor". QED.
  18. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    Are you saying the Confession is ODD? Or all the church fathers who held to these were ODD.

    You may want to study some church doctrine and history that goes back more than 150 years.

    The current practices of modern christianity are novel and not what the church has dominantly practiced for centuries.
    These were the predominant until the more recent years and the decline of the church, watered down theology, liberalism. the fall of our original seminaries, easy believism gospels and seeker friendly and emotional services.

    The number of people on the narrow way compared to the wide way never determines truth.

    That is the herd mentality of the blind leading the blind off cliffs. I hope you do not really consider that as a reason for what you believe. Be Berean.

    Also to the thread here it doesn't matter how few hold to it, he is asking for advice since he does, how one would handle initiating this in a relationship with one who may or may not.

    We aren't debating how many do, or if you think it is right.
  19. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    When I was courting my wife, Many pots of coffee were sacrificed getting to know each other well. I was looking for a female Rush Limbaugh. She fit that very well. (When I get home from work, I get the days political news from her!!) Was also Dutch Reformed. Mega-Dittos!!.

    Then we came to the nitty gritty. We both like butter, no evil margarine for us. Also whole milk. No skim. And Dawn dishwashing detergent. But when I found out she didn't like Peter Frampton too, well, we got married a few months later!!
  20. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    :agree: And again I state that if the man is that determined to hold these beliefs, he is best off finding a wife who agrees with them.
  21. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    I agree as well. A man holding to these views would be wise to attend a church that teaches this so he could meet women there who already have those beliefs. I'll have to say that I've never met anyone who held to these beliefs in the three PCA and ARP churches we've attended. I thought churches that used the red Trinity Hymnal were the most conservative around here because many use contemporary music!:lol:
  22. DonP

    DonP Puritan Board Junior

    So if you had met your husband and he held to any of these things would that have been a deal breaker and you would have dropped him, rather than submit to it until he could explain it to you so it made sense?

    You wouldn't have married anyone if you were born 2 00 years ago when almost all held this?
    Jus hypotheticing here
  23. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Before marriage I think it is not a matter of being willing to submit on this or that matter. Even if practically speaking these three items may not require a huge life change, they still reveal a different way of reading and interpreting the bible. As such, they can reveal a large difference between two parties, which may make a future marriage difficult.

    I would agree that these matters should (must?) be settled before marriage...
  24. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor


    I don't mean to be argumentative, but 200 years ago (1809) almost no one held to head covering or EP, and most Christians celebrated religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Its true Puritans did not celebrate Christmas/Easter, but that would have been 1600s and early 1700s. By about the mid-1700s most Americans were celebrating religious holidays (although to some extent it depended on region). Some Moravians might have practiced head covering at the turn of the 18th century, but even that is iffy. I don't know as much about EP practices, but I've actually never run across any historic EP congregations in my study of American church history (which, has been fairly extensive). So to say that a woman 200 years ago wouldn't have been able to marry if she didn't hold to these three practices is...incorrect.

    And with that, we should probably leave people to discuss the original post. (Sorry to semi-hijack your thread, Tim)
  25. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  26. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    In an attempt to get us all on the same page, let me provide the reminder that all of us on this board are the minority as far as beliefs go. Most people aren't Calvinists. Most people don't know what the RPW is. Most people don't know what the Five Solas are. For those seeking a mate, there are always lines to be drawn as to what is an "acceptable" view held by the potential partner.

    If you live in an area without a reformed church, this will be a likely scenario. Even if there is a consciously reformed church in your area, we all know that there are varying views that are important TO SOMEONE.

    My aim is to investigate how do deal with this so that the following things don't happen:

    1. One becomes so restrictive that they are alone forever;
    2. One becomes so open that they become yoked with someone who is not "equal";
    3. The wife resents the husband for his views.

    Here's what we want:

    1. A husband who is sensible and knows what he believes;
    2. A wife who is willing to submit;
    3. The wife will probably have to move toward the husband, rather than the husband toward the wife, since it is the husband who must lead;*KEY FOR THIS DISCUSSION
    4. It is acknowledged that God will change both during the marriage;
    5. Some of these changes will occur for the couple together; some will occur in just the individual.

    -----Added 4/14/2009 at 09:33:17 EST-----

    I would be interested hearing from wives who have followed their husbands to adopt EP, headcoverings, or rejecting holy-days, even if they didn't believe in these things when they first were married.

    Again, the reason why I am using these examples is because:

    1. They necessarily have definite practical outworkings;
    2. They can be sensitive for the following reasons:

    a) Hymns in church can be sentimental;
    b) A woman could think a headcovering makes her look like she is from "Little House on the Prairie"
    c) Christmas is especially sentimental - family gatherings, traditions, etc.

    You can't choose to postpone a decision regarding these things - you either "do" or "don't". This is not the case with accepting limited atonement, for example - you aren't "forced" to choose a practice immediately.
  27. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    A quick correction - I double-checked the celebration of Christmas, and although it was widely celebrated among the Moravians and in regions settled by the Germans (and the Dutch too, I think) it fell out a bit out of favor among Ango-Americans after the Revolution (it was considered too "English") By the 1820s, it looks like it was being celebrated pretty widely. So, I was a bit off there, apologies. I was operating from memory and probably should have checked a book before I posted.

    Also, I didn't mean to imply that headcovering has never been practiced - just that it wasn't being practiced 200 years ago. You're absolutely right that many early reformers promoted the practice. I believe Knox and Calvin both promoted head covering. But in 19th century America, not many non-Catholics were covering their heads.

    I'm stepping out - for real now.
  28. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I don't know if I agree.

    To use one of the examples - whether or not EP is scriptural is a matter of fact that has been set by God. Hence, a wife's submission has nothing to do with her beliefs. Her beliefs should be determined by what God has revealed in the bible. She cannot, and should not, change what she believes in -whatever that position maybe- to accommodate her husband.

    Now, if she does not believe in EP, she can physically submit to the practice of her husband, after all even if you are not EP, to practice EP is not sin (of course if she is already married she must submit). However, this to me is still far from an ideal situation.

    As I tried to explain in my first post, these issues reflect how a person interprets the bible. Even if physical compliance is a small thing for a wife, there will be a distance between them because they read the bible - the basis of all truth - differently. A wife only knows she has to submit to her husband in the first place because of the bible. How can two walk together unless they are agreed?

    I am not saying it cannot work, and I am sure it people have made it work. But I still believe the solution is to be upfront about such differences and work them out prior to marriage, or even courtship. I don't believe that the wife's submission is the answer to this dilemma.
  29. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Yes, and you are getting at something important here.

    The heartfelt beliefs are one thing, but how we lead when they are different between two persons is another issue.

    There may be two married people who agree on every doctrine and every practical application flowing from them out there- but I have never seen it. And let me add, I don't think God intended it (remember whatsoever comes to pass, He ordains).

    Being married and leading as a husband is about both- it's about believing and applying "right" but it is also about leading when two imperfect sinners do not agree. God uses close relationships to sanctify us.

    Two can (and must) "walk" together when they don't both agree on some points. We cannot be unrealistic about this. In fact, God uses disagreements to demonstrate His power in our lives- and He does so regularly. So, if it's not "EP" it will be something else.:)

    If these points specifically are convictions that will require practice submission:

    1) abstaining from non psalm singing
    2) requiring her to wear head covering
    3) disallowing celebration of holidays, at home or with others

    The spouse needs to know about it and be willing to submit, somehow, by God's grace to it for her whole life. (And there you have one mature Christian wife right off the bat, and praise God every day for that for indeed you have found something special).

    The second item requires her alone to do the practical application. One also needs to consider they are asking her family and your family (to the extent they celebrate holidays) to submit as well. That's something that cannot be considered in a vacuum.

    It seems to me it is as important for the husband to learn to lead as a loving, suffering servant, despite her sin as it is to get every doctrine and every practice right. God is looking for both, and will not give us a life free of the effects of sin.:)
  30. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't think we are that far apart, Mark.

    I agree that the first step is to to be clear up front about positions that are held. You are right that a woman cannot betray her beliefs. But I would say that if a woman has a clear position about something, she would probably prefer to just say no to the relationship and no further discussion would be needed.

    However, it may also be the case that a woman not be perfectly firm in her convictions, that is, she has not really given every issue a thorough investigation. It is rather this scenario that I wish to discuss.

    To me, the onus is on the potential husband to know where he stands on the issues, since he will be the spiritual leader of the family (of course all Christians have a responsibility to know their Bible, but I think you will agree on the leadership dynamic that God has ordained).

    So, now, we have a man who is clear on what he believes and a woman who may not be sure. She may be nervous about what she is getting into because she has not heard of these issues before. And this is the point I want to discuss. A husband who says he believes in Biblical inerrancy is not going to seem weird. But someone who says Christians should not celebrate Christmas will seem strange.

    How can a man gently explain his position?
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