Even mushy evangelicals aren’t enamored of feminist harpies. You know, the wild hairs who march around with coat hangers. But I find “Christian egalitarians” far more offensive. They deny things that no one seriously denied for two thousand years. They speak in measured tones about “mutual submission” and “creating opportunities for women” while reading their TNIVs and denying the authority of Scripture. That’s really what the whole debate about feminism, just like the debate about homosexuality, comes down to: denying that the Holy Spirit has come along as intellectually and morally far as us moderns.
That said, Gene Veith notes that it’s easy, given necessary wars against egalitarian heresies, to see passages like Ephesians 5:22 solely as dealing with authority and yet missing the point that the whole purpose of vocation, including marriage, is to love and serve one’s neighbor, and the husband is to take the lead in establishing it:
If marriage mirrors the relationship between Christ and the church, with the husband in Christ’s role, then the husband ought first to give himself up for his wife, whereupon in response the wife, playing the part of the church, will respond by submitting to his good intentions for her. –God at Work, p. 81-82
When we went through marriage counseling last century, my pastor at the time pointedly remarked how ridiculous it was to see women driving men around town. He imitated a guy sitting like a lump in the front seat, with the lady doing the work and leading the way. I think that remark came on a day when my wife-to-be drove me to the church. Now I drive most of the time.
Another area where I have come to find a cheap and fresh joy is in seating my wife in the car before I get in. It seemed unnatural at first, but now I get such as pleasure from it that I can barely bear to not do it. It’s too enjoyable to miss. Similarly, it’s fun to let my wife off at the front door of a restaurant while I go park and trudge through the snow or rain. Does she appreciate it? You bet she does. My love and service is lacking in many other areas, but these minor victories are a small picture of Christ’s joyful service for us. As John Piper is fond of pointing out, Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).