Why It Really Doesn't Matter If We Agree With Candace Bure On Biblical Submission

candace cameron buree, balancing it all, actress(photo credit: candacecameronbure.net)

It's not exactly new news that former Full House star and actress, Candace Cameron Bure' recently unintentionally stirred up a hornets nest of her own in her new book Balancing It all, in which in one chapter she writes of her beliefs and practices in regards to biblical submission in marriage.

 My husband is a natural-born leader. I quickly learned that I had to find a way of honoring his take-charge personality and not get frustrated about his desire to have the final decision on just about everything. I am not a passive person, but I chose to fall into a more submissive role in our relationship because I wanted to do everything in my power to make my marriage and family work. – (excerpted from “Balancing It All”)

Me? I'm a nobody. And maybe Candace already had a clue, but even I could have fore-warned her that those kinds of words wouldn't fly with almost any woman today. Oh no, we are far too busy waving our woman power flags, making our boisterous voices heard as we march our way right on up to the top of the ladder in Hollywood, the workplace, society - and most definitely at home.

{whispering voice} "Pssst, but we'll just keep it our dirty little secret about what kind of shape our dysfunctional marriages are in, how disconnected we are from our children and how much more over-whelmed, unhappy and depressed we women are than any other time in history."

First of all, can we just talk about how embarrassing it is that the American culture is foolish enough to take marriage advice and then help spread it all over the internet from a Hollywood star like Tom Cruise, who's been married three times!? And then berate, nit pick and poke fun at one of the only women in Hollywood who's managed to stay successfully married to one man for seventeen years!?

For the life of me I don't understand why the community of believers doesn't stand with Candice on this issue? This isn't about picking sides, it's about standing for truth.

Here's the thing. Last time I checked, Candace has never kept it a secret that she is a very devout, practicing Christian. So why does it shock anyone when she makes reference to a real issue in her own life that is written about in the very book that is the basis upon which her faith stands?

When interviewed by the Huffington Post, Candace further explained the meaning behind her words:

The definition I'm using with the word 'submissive' is the biblical definition of that. So, it is meekness, it is not weakness. It is strength under control, it is bridled strength.

As far as I can tell, she didn't make reference to anything more than what it states here when it says:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her..... Ephesians 5:22-25

I don't know, maybe I misunderstand the meaning to this passage. Despite the fact that I took the time to go back and read it in every text and version I could find, it could be that I'm just not educated enough to understand that this scripture doesn't actually mean what it says. Or that those were words written for that culture at that particular time but doesn't apply today. And the list of what's ifs could go on and on until no one knows what the heck to believe about anything.

Whether or not the media, feminists or liberals agree with Bure's views, is completely irrelevant to me. It would be a waste of good time and valuable air to have this discussion with the whole of the general population.

I don't see where she ever said that women are less than, beneath men or that she herself begrudgingly submits to a husband who lords over her. As far as I can tell, all she did was to state her belief in the Biblical view of submission. Which states these two things very clearly:

  1. Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as the church submits to Christ.
  2. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.

Last time I checked, there is no kind of love that tops the love that Christ had/has for the church, in that He loved it more than Himself and laid His life down for it. My question is, why would we need to fight submission to that kind of love?

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Over the past twelve years of marriage I can honestly say that I've passionately tried to do marriage both ways. I am by old nature, a fiercely independent, girl-power, "I ain't gonna let NO MAN tell me what to do", she-woman man-hatter. Truly I was. My grandma will vouch for me as I used to make her promises that I would never ruin my life and get married.

Because of my own hot-headed, prideful selfishness; along with my very unhealthy skewed view of the entire male population, for about the first nine years or so of our marriage, I resisted anyone leading me, even my husband most times. And wondered if maybe I should have spared us both and just stayed single.

I did not have a man who abused or ran around on me. Those things of course, would have changed the whole game.

Though he wasn't perfect, here I was with a man who literally could not have shown deep love and care for me any better. And I would not even rest in him because I was hell bent on not submitting. Ask me, and I could make hand you a list of a few horrible situations we walked through  in our marriage that I am positive could have been avoided if I had listened to my husband's guiding, trusted his leadership and not insisted that we do things my way.

Why wouldn't I submit?

Control & Insecurity.

I was afraid that submission equals losing control and becoming the weaker one.

But in fact, true submission requires an abundant amount of strength, and a healthy dose of confidence in who you are.

But me, I had been too emotionally and spiritually immature to understand what true submission means, much less how to live it.

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Truly, there are far too few men who even possess the capacity to love a women like that. Nonetheless, that is what Christ himself intended and designed for marriage, and Candace Bure' was referring to when she used the term "Biblical submission."

Although I greatly respect and admire much of her views and writings, I cannot agree with Sarah Bessey's argument that marriage should be a mutual submission to one another.

A man who is in his rightful place and loves the wife as he should (as Christ loved the church) will have no need mutually submit to his wife.

Imagine if you will, the husband saying to Christ, "I have decided I'm willing to submit to you because that is the natural order of things - you know, you created the Universe, died for mankind and rose again and all. But I think it would be best if you also submit to me and we have this little uh, mutual submission thing....Yeah, that would just work better for me."

Ludicrous.

You can't show me a successful marriage in which the woman leads, or one in which she expects her husband to submit to her. And if there was such a man, what woman in her right man would want him? There is nothing more attractive than a man who carries himself in tender, loving authority.

Passive, woman-whipped push-overs might make fun boyfriends to teen girls, but they make terrible husbands to grown women.

Obviously, there should be mutual respect given and times in which the man will (and should) give ear to his wife and always take her thoughts, opinions and feelings into consideration. A wise man would do this!

In reality, this conversation only applies to marriage between two believers. Because a man who does not have the love of Christ in Him, literally cannot love his wife as she should be loved. 

But when he does possess that capacity, marriage can and should be lived out in this way.

Just as we submit and surrender to Christ out of our response to His love towards us, the same is true with submission in marriage. Submission is our natural response coming from a heart for him, not because we need another rule to follow.

In a perfect world, maybe there would have been no such thing, or any need for submission. But what we sometimes fail to remember is this - The fall changed everything. 

Then he said to the woman, I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. - Genesis 3:16

And then there are the ones who don't believe in the actual literalcy of Scripture. I've wrestled with this for some time and the only conclusion I came to about that issue is this;

If only some of it is true, then none of it is true.

And then I realized that if I took that stance, I'd have to scrap the whole thing and admit that it was all one of the cruelest hoaxes humanity had ever propagated or endured.

"Marriage is an external expression of the Gospel. It is meant to be a picture of Christ and the church."

Those are the popular and true messages being preached, quoted, tweeted and facebooked everywhere by the hip, new, influential Christian leaders of our day and everyone who follows that message.

So either we really believe that - or the Gospel is about as distorted and fouled up as our current culture's beliefs, practices and track record on marriage.

When it comes right down to it, it really doesn't matter if you agree with Candace on Biblical submission or not.

The proof is in the pudding! Like it or not, her way just works.

It's awful sticky out there - be careful who you take advice from.

Rachel Rowell  @ saltedgrace.com

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