In step … Andrew and Stephanie Judd at their Wahroonga home.BRIDES will be promising to submit to their husbands under a new marriage vow the Anglican diocese of Sydney is expected to approve at its synod in October.
It requires the minister to ask of the bride: ”Will you honour and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ?” and for her to pledge ”to love and submit” to her husband.
The service is already being used in some Sydney parishes, under a diocese that opposes the full ordination of women and supports an exclusively male leadership doctrine.
The vows were written by the diocese’s liturgical panel, which has the imprimatur of the Archbishop, Peter Jensen. The panel chairman, the Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, said ”submit” was a deeply biblical word.
”The Bible never said women must obey their husbands but Paul and Peter did say submit, which I think is a much more responsive, nuanced word.”
The bishop said no one would be forced to use the new version, and an alternative would remain available to couples who did not want the woman to obey (which has been optional since 1928) or submit.
Kevin Giles, a New Testament scholar in Melbourne, said the subordination of women was exclusively related to ”the fall” in the Bible and in 2012 made for bad theology.
”Jesus not once mentions the subordination of woman and says much in contradiction to this. Paul’s comments over the subordination of women fit into the patriarchal culture of the day and are not the biblical ideal. The truth is that happy marriages today are fully equal, and unhappy marriages are ones where one or the other party is controlling.”
Muriel Porter, a Melbourne academic and laywoman who writes on Anglican Church issues, said submit was a more derogatory word than obey and had connotations of slavery. ”Frankly I’m horrified,” she said. ”It is a very dangerous concept, especially in terms of society’s propensity for domestic violence.”
But Stephanie and Andrew Judd from Sydney, who used part of the new service when they wed in January, said those who were offended by the word were not placing it in the right context.
”The husband’s love is one of sacrificial love, and to submit to that kind of love is not oppressive, but is actually a joy and a great freedom,” said Mrs Judd, 26, who teaches Christian studies at a private girls’ school.
Mr Judd, 27, who is studying to be a minister, said a Christian marriage was akin to dancing: ”The male always leads, even if he’s not necessarily the best dancer … as long as you take the definition of male leadership that we’re operating on, which is giving yourself up and putting others’ interests ahead of yourself.”
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, declined to comment.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.