In the quest to restrain perceived nagging, manipulation, and gossip among women in the church, we forgot for a while to encourage and receive their voice of wisdom. To value their voice. I think the tide is changing among conservatives on this issue. As Mark Driscoll’s voice and influence has died in reformed evangelical circles, I find that his disastrous suspicions of women are falling away as well.
Women as Junior Holy Spirits is a provocative title for this post. But I had a bit of a revelation today as I thought through the role of women as ezers in the image of God and how closely the language used around ezer in the Old Testament reflects the language around paraclete in the New.
Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
John 14 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times that wives should not try to play a junior Holy Spirit role in the lives of their husbands. The implication is that the wife is trying to nag and manipulate her husband when she doesn’t like what he’s doing. Leave it to the Holy Spirit to convict your husband, the conservative counselor tells her. And the counselor then cites I Peter 3.
1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
All three of these Scriptures are true and helpful. The woman was created in perfection to be a strong helper to the man in the image of God. The Holy Spirit was given after Jesus’ return as an even stronger Helper to both men and women, one who reminds them of Jesus’ teaching and empowers them to fill Jesus’ great commission. And wives of disobedient husbands best influence through their lives, not their words.
But have you ever noticed how few emphasize the words of wives as helper in the lives of husbands who are not disobedient? If it’s unhelpful to your sinning husband to use words, is the implication that it is unhelpful to obedient ones as well?
I don’t think so.
Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
In the quest to restrain perceived nagging, manipulation, and gossip among women in the church, we forgot for a while to encourage and receive their voice of wisdom.