Summary: The marriage covenant is to be a permanent bond that is created by God Himself. Jesus responds to the disciple’s surprise at His stringent view of divorce by stating that only those willing to abandon everything for the sake of kingdom can accept it.


SENTENCE: Many of you may not know the name Tim Keller but he is well known as a very successful pastor who built the largest church In New York City, an area considered very difficult to reach, and he did it without gimmicks or watering down the gospel.

INTRODUCTION: To honor his accomplishment Princeton Seminary, one of the oldest seminaries in the U.S., made him the recipient of the Kuyper Prize which is awarded each year to a scholar or community leader who has made an outstanding religious contribution. He certainly qualified for the prize. He is both a scholar and a brilliant communicator whose record reveals his acknowledgment.

We word got out he was receiving the award almost right away there was a huge outcry coming from many of the alumni and sponsors of the liberal seminary. Keller has taught and written in strong support of a biblical view of human sexuality and a complementarian view of women’s roles both in the church and home. Due to the outcry, he was denied the prize.

One of his antagonists was Carol Howard Merritt who wrote a scathing article in the liberal magazine, “The Christian Century”. In the article, she states, “Please understand this. Biblical womanhood, headship, and male authority teaches women that they have no right to choose… well… anything. A trip to the mall is up to their husband if he decides it’s his business. If he determines that she needs to stay at home and homeschool her kids instead of teaching grad school with her Ph.D., then there is no discussion. She gets no say in the matter… I know that people are angry that Tim Keller doesn’t believe in women in the pastorate. But, my friends, this goes much, much deeper than women not being able to be ordained as Pastors, Elders, and Deacons. Complementarianism means married women have no choice over their lives at all.” She later argues that his view sets the stage for abuse.

Wow! Certainly, if her claim is true then you might wonder why anyone, especially an intellect like Tim Keller, would espouse such a view. Why would anyone support denying women any choice over their lives at all? And yet, her position is reflective of how our modern culture perceives the biblical view of marriage. Like her, their picture of biblical marriages is one where women are inferior beings, controlled and manipulated without any rights or say over their lives. In contrast, the same people portray modern women as free to choose their own course in life with no obligation to anyone but themselves- even in marriage. In their view, the contrast is stark, either throw off the past archaic suppressive views of women’s or be doomed as degraded beings subject to abuse. History, they would argue, proves their case for them and all of them have stories that validate their claim.


SENTENCE: The problem is that it appears she has never read Keller’s view or his reason it for in that her response distorts the teaching and misses his point completely.

TRANSITION: No one, including myself, who holds a complementarian view would suggest that it leads to the abuse or the degrading treatment of women. No one is arguing that there have not been abuses in the past. But, the abuse is not a result of this doctrine but of the selfish sinful nature resulting from the fall cited in Genesis. The abuse of women happens whatever your view of their role in marriage and the evidence bears that out.

SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY: This morning I want us to look at this complementarian view and see that while it calls for submission when properly understood it gives honor and dignity to the woman that is not provided in the modern alternative. I want to look at three responses to the question, “How is the women’s role of submission to be understood in both scripture and culture?”

TEXT: Ephesians 5:18-24, Philippians 2:1-11

THEME: The one-flesh union of a man and woman requires mutual submission with the woman specifically called to that role.

How is the women’s role of submission to be understood in both scripture and culture?

I. Spirit-empowered submission is something all are called to. (18-21) Before we look at the verses that speak to the contrasting roles of the man and a woman in a marriage relationship we should first look at the context that we find them in.

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

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