A Lack of Balance -- By: Heath Lambert
JBMW 15:1 (Spring 2010) p. 51
A Lack of Balance
A Review of Steven R. Tracy, “What Does ‘Submit in Everything’ Really Mean?
The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission,” Trinity Journal 29, no. 2 (2008): 285-312.
Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
I was a senior in college when I met my wife. I was in the middle of a very intense game of Catch Phrase when I looked up and saw a beautiful brunette with blue eyes whom I had never seen before. She was wearing a red sweater, drinking a Diet Coke, and as I stared at her agape she ended the awkwardness by saying, “Hi. I’m Lauren.” Within two months of that greeting I knew I wanted to take care of her for the rest of my life. Not long after that, we were married, and two years after that we had our first child. At this point, the Lord has blessed our home with two sons and a precious daughter. All of that time I have been serving various churches in some pastoral capacity.
I mention that because, as a husband, father, and pastor, I resonate with much of what Steven Tracy says in “What Does ‘Submit in Everything’ Really Mean? The Nature and Scope of Marital Submission.”1 In his article, Tracy seeks to encourage Christians (especially complementarian ones) to think critically about the issue of abuse against women, the limits of a husband’s authority in marriage, and the issue of practical guidance for a woman who is being mistreated by her husband or else being asked to submit in an area where she feels uncomfortable.
I resonate with Tracy’s concerns because as a husband I have never harmed my wife, and the thought of hurting her—or of anyone else hurting her—is sickening to me. Likewise I have never abused my children and am committed to rearing my boys in a way that teaches them to care for and protect women. We are also working to rear our daughter so that, by God’s grace, she will be drawn to a godly man who will love her and care for her the way I do. As a pastor, I have spent many hours sitting in rooms with abused women (and men!) trying to minister the gospel of grace to people who are spiritually and physically broken by the sinful aggression of violent persons.
I hate abuse. I can feel my heart breaking whenever I read the kind of information presented by Tracy that, “One-fourth to one-third of North American women will be assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime” (287). Those aren’t just statistics. Those numbers stand for real people with real lives experiencing real pain and danger from people with whom they are closest (...
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