August 30, 2010 by Stacy McDonald

What is the Opposite of Submit?

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“Wives, SUBMIT to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is HEAD of the wife, as also Christ is HEAD of the church; and He is the savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is SUBJECT to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, LOVE your wives, just as Christ also LOVED the church and GAVE Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:22-25, NKJV)

“But I want you to know that the HEAD of every man is Christ, the HEAD of woman is man, and the HEAD of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3, NKJV), emphasis mine

  • What is the opposite of submit?
  • What is the opposite of head?
  • What is the opposite of subject?
  • What is the opposite of love?
  • What is the opposite of give?

A growing number of Christians have the concept of biblical headship upside down. Too often:

1. Rebellious women want to be loved and cherished, but, do not recognize their obligation to respect and submit to their husbands. Submission is considered a weakness…rebellion, well, who is there to rebel against?

2. Rebellious men who think they are the ultimate authority, and are accountable to no one besides God, want their wives to submit and their daughters to obey, but demonstrate no obedience or accountability themselves. And sacrifice…what is that? How do you sacrifice for someone who is clearly supposed to be serving you?

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”” (Mark 10:42-45, NKJV)

Patriarchy – Father-rule (lead, love, sacrifice, provide, disciple, cherish, faithful, tender)

“For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body… Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” (Ephesians 5:23; 25-29, NKJV)

Patriocentric – Father-centric (selfish, demanding, egocentric, self-serving, rebellious, arrogant, lazy, harsh, tyrant)

The very fact that Jesus is given as a husband’s example of godly leadership exposes the error of true “patriocentricity.” However, while I don’t deny that this type of father/husband exists, I don’t agree that he is as prevalent as some would have us believe. Too often, I’ve seen those who adhere to biblical patriarchy (as described in Eph. 5) lumped together with egocentric tyrants.

As soon as we all get honest about what we believe regarding Ephesians 5 I think we’ll be able to rationally discuss biblical headship like…well, like Christians.



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16 Responses to “What is the Opposite of Submit?”

  1. Raine says:

    Thank you for your explanation of patriarchy vs. patriocentry. I was recently on a web forum where a woman was promoting matriarchy, and I was trying to explain why patriarchy was ideal for society, but a mistaken, modern, and selfish form of it had made it distasteful to most and opened the doors to feminism. This post is exactly what I was trying to explain, but did not have the words to.

  2. Elaine Smith says:

    Sadly, I have met far to many of the second kind of leaders.
    My father was a leader in the church, at home he went back and forth from being a loving father and being a tyrant. He could be gentle and loving and later, blow up and be harsh and cruel. I grew up never being able to think of God being our Father as to me that meant something to fear. He was himself, rebellious against rules and authority. I struggle with submitting, as to me it was the only way to survive growing up. My sister was beaten for her unsubmission and I just stayed low and listened, but wondered if I should have done more. When I got married, my husband was raised in a domineering household, where the men threatening their wives was okay. I was threatened with being killed with a knife, had my hair pulled, was subjected to a near car wreck and my baby being harmed and emotionally degraded before I realized that I had to say “no” sometimes and it was okay.
    I am still married to my husband. Saying “no” saved our marriage. He realized he was doing something wrong, and he did not know as it was normal life for him.
    I think it would be great to do a series on women that truly want to be submissive and how to be a submissive wife, obeying the Lord, and yet protect yourself and your children.

  3. Anne says:

    So what would your counsel be to a woman who was married to a patrio-centric husband? What are your thoughts? Should a biblically-submitted wife refuse to submit until her husband begins to serve?

  4. Diane says:

    Too often, I’ve seen those who adhere to biblical patriarchy (as described in Eph. 5) lumped together with egocentric tyrants.

    Absolutely Stacy! Of course there are men who will abuse and misuse their God-given authority… just as there are men (and women!) who abuse the authority of parenthood. The sometime abuse of authority or headship in any given type of relationship does not mean that the concept of the headship is wrong. It’s the abusers who are wrong. It’s no surprise that our sinful nature sometimes plays itself out in abuse of authority… the problem in these situations is not the concept of headship. It’s sin. God is not wrong when He sets up these rules and boundaries for relationships. God’s rules don’t need to change. We do. It seems it always comes back to our sin. Thankfully, He has provided a way for us to deal with our sin.~?~

  5. Kamilla says:

    Thank you for this, Stacy. I have always chuckled at the new term, “patriocentricity”. Your explanation shows that it really is just an attempt to slam patriarchy by lumping faithful husbands and fathers in with abusive ones. It’s a practice religious feminists have long used to deny God’s word.

  6. Cherry says:

    Yahoo for you Stacy! Nothing like the truth to throw a little water on the fire of the group that thinks all Patriarchy is patriocentric.

  7. Stacy McDonald says:

    Me too, Kamilla. Especially since technically, “patricentric” would be a more accurate (and already existing) word. Not sure why the addition of the “o.”

    We’re in the middle of watching The Truth Project at church and it is excellent. Del Tacket pointed out in yesterday’s lesson what a wonderful word “submit” is. Jesus submits to the father. The Church submits to Christ. And the wife is to submit to her husband. Yet, the world has made “submit” a negative word. (Not surprising since the opposite of submit is to rebel.)

  8. Mum says:

    Well explained… I know that I can always come here in the morning for a dose of truth! Thanks!

  9. Jennifer says:

    I’m sure, Stacy, that fundamentally we agree on the same thing regarding the subject of this post: false accusations are wrong and so is abuse. I just want it to be clear what it is I’m protesting and that it is truly harmful.

    “While some may fail to help their daughters develop and use their gifts, it is not automatically the case”

    Of course it’s not always the case, not in a Godly patriarchal family. In such families, members flourish; I know your daughters do! But in an abusive family, it’s not a matter of parents failing to help their daughters use their gifts; it’s almost always a matter of expecting them to use those gifts ONLY to serve their parents, as though earthly parents are on the level of God.

  10. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Anne,

    Should a godly servant-leader husband refuse to love his wife until his wife submits to him? Obviously not. We expect him to love her because that is what he’s called to do.

    We aren’t responsible for the sins of others, we can only do what we are called to do. And sometimes that means responding to frustrating, sinful people in a loving way. She may certainly need to (respectfully) confront him, but her behavior will go further than her words.

    A wife in the situation you describe should be able to go to her elders for help, but if he is an unbeliever, or if he is in rebellion, God gives the following instructions to wives:

    “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” (1 Peter 3:1-2, NKJV) (emphasis mine)

    I’m not trying to minimize her very frustrating situation, but life isn’t quite that simple. Sometimes it’s very messy, but we’re still called to honor God with our own behavior.

    Obviously, if a husband asks his wife to sin, or if he is truly abusive, she must not submit TO such a thing. She still must be respectful, but she should go to her elders or to the civil authorities for help.

  11. Ginger says:

    This is awesome! I used to think that I couldn’t submit b/c my man wouldn’t lead. But when I started submitting, he started leading. We want our men to choose to love us, even when we’re in our robes, nagging, and irritable, but we somehow think our men have to earn our respect. What a double standard!
    We are called to respect our husbands whether they deserve it or not, just as our husbands are called to love us as Christ loved the church, although we don’t deserve it. All to God’s glory!

  12. CourtneyK says:

    “We want our men to choose to love us, even when we’re in our robes, nagging, and irritable, but we somehow think our men have to earn our respect. What a double standard!”
    Ginger- That is so true!
    I started to do the 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge for Wives by Nancy Leigh DeMoss a little over a week ago and was able to see God move in our marriage in the first few days! I knew in my head that my husband needed my submission and encouragement, but this has helped me to realize in my heart exactly how important it is in our marriage. Such a convicting post full of truth, Stacy. Thank you!

  13. Lewis says:

    If that’s true of “abuse”, is it also true of “rebellion”, “biblical patriarchy”, “submit”, and “calling”? I mean, those are words that stop well-meaning, but heavily indoctrinated, Christians in their tracks, usually producing a level of fear. Misused and over-used. It would seem to me they’re very spiritually manipulative and coercive words which aren’t a major part (barely even a minor part) of the bible’s vernacular.

  14. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Lewis! How are you?

    Words can be very powerful. While rebellion is mentioned 23 times in the Bible, I might remind you that the word “Trinity” is not mentioned at all. Sometimes a word is used to describes what the Bible actually teaches.

    Abuse and patriocentric aren’t in the Bible either. ;-)

  15. Georgia says:

    Good Morning Stacy
    Your explanation of patriarchy vs. patriocentry was helpful. Lets talk about passivity. My father whom I love dearly passed away five years ago. He was a wonderful, caring and gentle man. He was very passive. He often did not protect and defend his daughters enough. My mother was dominant and very disrespectful toward him and got away with it. That can cause as much damage to the family and patriocentry. Maybe if you can discuss with your husband how to overcome passivity in your next post.
    Thank you

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