A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The Teaching that a Husband/Father is Priest to His Family is Unbiblical and Promotes Abuse (Part 2)

This post is part two in this series in which I am rejecting the common patriocentric teaching that the husband/father is the priest of his wife and children. This teaching is contrary to Scripture and promotes abuse. The only priesthood in the New Covenant is the High Priesthood of Christ and the priesthood of all who are in Christ by faith. [Part 1 of this series can be found here]

As mentioned in part one, Sam Waldron has written a book entitled A Man as Priest in His Home (Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2012). While I have very much appreciated other books by Waldron, this one is a book he should never have penned. It is careless in its handling of Scripture, it is not in agreement with the London Confession of Faith (which Waldron and RB Academic Press profess), and like most all of the basic tenets of patriocentric teaching, this book will certainly promote abuse in the church and in families. Here are the titles of chapters 4-8:

  • A Man as an Intercessor in Prayer
  • A Man as a Director of Religious Worship
  • A Man as a Mediator of Divine Blessing
  • A Man as an Instructor in Sacred Scripture
  • A Man as a Judge in Holy Things

As is so often the case when we deal with patriarchal theology, we are struck not only with what the author or speaker says, but also with what they do not say. These chapter titles illustrate that this is the case in Waldron’s book. A man, a man, a man…. But what about the wife of the man? It surely would be one thing to write a book about how fathers and mothers function in some ways toward their children as priests serve the people they minister to. But Waldron views the man, the husband/father as priest. Not the wife/mother.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Hebrews 7:26-27 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (27) He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

There are NO benefits of the New Covenant that are exclusive to men or to women. All are taught by the Spirit, all have the law written on their hearts, all are children of Abraham and thus heirs of the Promise, all are true Israelites, citizens in God’s household, and all are priests! As priests, Christians offer themselves as living sacrifices (abuse victims – did you hear that? LIVING sacrifices, not dead ones!), and they display Christ to a lost world:

Romans 15:15-16 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God (16) to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 2:4-5 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, (5) you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:4-6 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, (5) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (6) and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

It doesn’t take a Greek or New Testament scholar to sort this out. All you need to do is a computer Bible search of “priest” and related forms and read the verses for yourself. Every Christian is a priest. Christ is our High Priest. We make living sacrifices of ourselves as we serve Christ and display Him to this fallen world. Like Paul, we function as priests when we go into all the world and preach the gospel. And like all priests, we have a temple in which to serve. Only in this case WE are the temple, the foundation of which is Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, (21) in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (22) In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (17) If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

In his first chapter, Waldron acknowledges that all Christian ministry is priestly. He discusses five aspects of our priestly ministry which he derives from Hebrews 4:14-5:3. He says, “To support the ultimate conclusion of this book that a man serves as a priest in his his home, we must begin with the idea that all Christian ministry is priestly in character.”  But in his second chapter he leaps to this conclusion: “The idea that a man is a priest in his home follows naturally from the thesis that all Christian ministry is priestly in character.” He adds “…we’ll look at the scriptural warrant for the man as a priest in his home.” In part three of this blog series I will critique Waldron’s argument which he claims is derived from Scripture.

One final note at this point. I suppose it is possible that Waldron would say “I am not arguing for the husband/father forming a formal priesthood of its own in his home. I just want to encourage men to perform their spiritual duties in their home in regard to their wives and children. I am simply drawing similarities between a biblical priest and a husband/father.” But if that is Waldron’s purpose, he certainly did not state it plainly. Nor did he explain that it was not his purpose in this particular book to talk about the priestly role of the wife/mother and that is the reason he only speaks of the husband/father as priest. The conclusion the reader will draw is that the husband/father is the priest of his home, mediating Christ to his wife and children in a way that is unique to him alone, not to his wife. And besides, in chapter three Waldron steps up the clarity of what he means:

The whole sphere of Job’s priesthood as it is presented in Job 1 has to do with his family and children and nothing else. He was a priest because he was a father. If we have families and if we are fathers, we too are priests.

Boom! There it is. And all of us who know abuse and abusers will agree: abusers will rub their hands with glee at this conclusion. Power and control ordained by God Himself!

(Go to Part 3 of this series)
(Go to Part 1 of this series)

45 Comments

  1. Carmen

    There’s NOTHING in the New Covenant that supports the patriocentric teaching? Chapters 4-8 do not agree with substantial evidence from many written biographies of gody mothers, grandmothers and wives…plus, there’s Timothy. I’m thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ holds a very high view of women. Christian men are to be conformed into the image of Christ. I keep hearing that feminists ( women) are destroying marriage, the family, and culture itself. When I read the Old Testament there are a lot of men mentioned. Something just doesn’t add up. Looking forward to the review, Jeff.

  2. IamMyBeloved's

    The father as priest is just another counterfeit of satan’s, to twist the truth God gives us, that we are all priests. Just another way to also set aside Christ declaring women to be equal with men. Even if Waldron had clarified about the father, in the way you speak of Ps. Crippen, the idea would still be wrong, as it is still elevating the man to a position above the woman, and that still leaves the playing field spiritually uneven. While the man is the head, he is called as that head, to lay down his life for his wife. That does not mean to elevate himself and demand submission to it. Sorry, but that false teaching has gone on way too long.

    I have prayed for the past year, that God would allow all of this false teaching to crumble, from the leaders on down, and set His remnant that is within this movement, free. It is interesting to me, the time that this book is appearing. The men in this movement refer to themselves as “spiritual fathers” to the younger men. God forbids that we call anyone on earth our “father”, as we only have one Father. This business is only about one thing and that is the spreading of the father as priest, to the father as a “spiritual father” – ie priest, to all other men. No wonder they throw anyone out of their churches, that disagrees with the leaders! They are standing in the place of the OT priests and re-establishing the “old”, instead of embracing the “new”. We can see that in their reconstructionism, patriarch lifestyles, federal vision teaching, and the list goes on and on. Too bad Waldron has added his name to that list.

    • Jeff Crippen

      IamMy – I like the way you put that. “The man is called as head to lay down his life for his wife…not to elevate himself and demand submission.” We need a new reformation to sweep through the church.

  3. Otter

    People are incredibly naive about abusers until they have experienced it personally. At 38 years old, I remember getting a terrible feeling in my stomach when my ex-fiance said multiple times, “Let me be the man. Let me guide you!” He had been reading John Eldredge’s “Wild at Heart” and was latching on to his “masculinity.” I just kept thinking, “I’ve done very well on my own for 20 years, buddy.” I’ve always had the belief that the husband and wife are helpers to each other. If I’m doing something wrong, I’d want my significant other to lovingly help me see my faults. I’d hope that he’d want the same from me!

    Although my ex appeared incredibly sweet, he became very scary if I ever made what he felt were moral mistakes. Instead of calmly helping me deal with a fault, I remember him screaming, throwing demonic-level tantrums (complete with seizure-like drops to the floor), and demeaning me to tears. When I look back, I realize that he simply magnified my honest mistakes (and even things he perceived into mistakes) in the worst possible way so he could release his bizarre, self-righteous rage. Of course, if I ever found fault in him…and always in the spirit of wanting to help him avoid something painful or wrong…he would also go into ballistic rage.

    6 months later, I still bust out crying from how badly it feels to be treated this way by someone you love and someone whom you think loves you. It may be lonely this Thanksgiving, but I’m just so thankful in my heart that Christ alone is my true God and guide. It’s important for an abuse victim to remember that only GOD sees straight into the heart. The things that the abuser sees in our hearts is only a reflection of their darkness, sickness, and rage. I hope all victims come to the light of the way that Christ sees us…as precious treasures whom He is continuing to refine through His love, gentleness, patience, and hope! Thank you so much, Pastor Crippen, for your teaching on this!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Otter – you are welcome. Thinking these things through in this series is helping me too. Yes, it is very hard to come to see that a person you thought loved you, was a friend and so on, doesn’t and never was. You mentioned the demonic-level tantrums and the scariness of it all. While you may have been using “demonic” as a general description, I have been thinking of this for some time now – i.e., just how many “Christian” abusers are demon indwelt/empowered/motivated? That would mean, if it be the case, that many cases of abuse in which the victim is a Christian is nothing less than Satanic attack and oppression. And if that be the case, this also means that many churches and church leaders are completely duped by Satan (in some cases, they may even belong to him as the Pharisees were children of their father the devil, John 8) and are casting out the righteous and keeping the devil in their pewy pews. We try to explain the abuser psychologically, and properly so. Entitlement and so on. But should not the church of all people be also seriously considering that Satan is alive and well today and that we should expect him to show up in our churches? And that just maybe he will come as….well, just as Paul warned us…an angel of light?

      • Otter

        I remember reading Corrie Ten Boom’s take on demon possession several years ago. As someone who suffered incredible abuse at the hands of the Nazis, I think she witnessed Satan’s work first hand. How could Satan not have been involved in the stories of this horrific genocide?

        If you look at my abuser’s Facebook page today, you’ll see him as an “angel of light.” Running a vast animal rescue network, everyone glowingly posts things like, “If only the world had more people like you.” In his Thanksgiving post today, he even writes, “Thank you to (a friend) for teaching me about relationships, and life priorities, so I know each day to be most thankful for friends and family.” Go back several months, and this same man was hovering over me with a fist raised. When I tried to hold off the wedding for more counseling because I was afraid of his rages, he would tell me over and over that I was incapable of a relationship because I could not prioritize what was important. Now I realize that the important thing was HIM–abusers see themselves as God, and they want total and complete control of you and your thoughts. Interestingly, this is exactly what Satan wanted himself from the beginning. It all comes full circle, and it isn’t surprising when an abuser appears “possessed.” It’s the same evil, isn’t it?

      • As I See It Only

        Following this line of thought here (the abuser under satanic oppression), then the true church is the only place an abuser can be healed/freed/released. The most powerful witness Christians can have toward abusers is to speak prophetically into the abuse when the abuser is strutting around like a good person. I Cor 14:24-25 suggests that these prophetic pronouncements during public worship will expose the sin and bring him to his knees. Sounds good to me. Our job is to learn to speak prophetically together.

  4. A Man as an Intercessor in Prayer

    All Christians can do this, male or female.

    A Man as a Director of Religious Worship

    Tee hee. I know this isn’t what he’s talking about, but lots of the best church music/worship directors I’ve known personally have been women. 🙂

    A Man as a Mediator of Divine Blessing

    It’s gonna take a lot to convince me that this isn’t putting salvific or quasi-salvific mediators between women and Jesus, just under shinier and more complicated verbal wrapping paper. I look forward to the rest of this series where you explore this.

    If we have families and if we are fathers, we too are priests.

    I talked about this on my blog when I critiqued Boerne Christian Assembly’s communion practices. There’s no spiritual qualifications for this “priesthood” at all. All a man has to do is get married and/or father a child. (Actually at BCA it’s even worse, since 3yo boys can give their mothers communion, so there the only qualification really is being born male.) At least Catholic priests have to go through years of religious instruction and take rigorous vows. But in patriarchal theology, even a drug dealer who fathers an illegitimate child in a drunken one-night stand is now a “priest.” How this squares with the “holy nation” in 1 Peter is beyond me.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Hester- It is a plain out and out false gospel. Along with the false priesthood come all kinds of lists of do’s and don’ts that, for all their denials, these kinds of people lay on others as a required means of being accepted by God. The whole thing tramples under foot the Son of God and despises His once for all sacrifice. Thankyou.

  5. BeginHealing

    “I hope all victims come to the light of the way that Christ sees us…as precious treasures whom He is continuing to refine through His love, gentleness, patience, and hope!” I Love This. Thank You Otter!!!

    Holidays are going to be a little rough this year. I am sure that is the case for a lot of us on this site. Just a quick shout out and little bit of love ❤ What am I thankful for this year? I am so grateful for a loving, faithful, protective, graceful, and merciful Heavenly Father. I am also VERY thankful for the support and understanding I find on this site. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

    • Happy Thanksgiving, BeginHealing! And everyone! 😀

    • Otter

      Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for…that we are here, healing, and encouraging one another. 🙂

  6. “The idea that a man is a priest in his home follows naturally from the thesis that all Christian ministry is priestly in character.” He adds “…we’ll look at the scriptural warrant for the man as a priest in his home.”

    This is confusing. I guess I would need to see the whole paragraph, but he seems to contradict himself here. I would draw the conclusion from this that either when he says “all Christian ministry is priestly” he doesn’t really mean all since he only means male Christian ministry, or else what women do isn’t Christian ministry. But either way, where is the woman’s labor for Christ and what are we supposed to call it? And if he says well of course the woman’s ministry is priestly too, then what is the point of the book? Or, rather, what is the point of the theme? Is his next book going to be on priesthood from the female angle? I don’t see why he’s doing this.

    What I’m saying is, if all Christian ministry is priestly (and I would agree with him on that) then there is no clear point to this book that I can see because there is certainly no reason to aim it at men, giving the impression of excluding women from the status of priest. I don’t know. It seems he is dividing the body here into a priestly class vs. a non priestly class. How that is not Nicolaitan completely escapes me.

    • BIT, it’s great to see someone using the word “Nicolaitan” like I do. 🙂

  7. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. (Deut. 4:2)

    Every word of God proves true;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
    Do not add to his words,
    lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Prov 30:6)

    Sam Waldron seems to be guilty of adding words to the Bible by his doctrine of men as priests in their home.

  8. Estelle

    In my experience, it’s the mom who reads the bedtime bible story, who says night time prayers, who gets the children breakfast and dressed and into the car on a Sunday morning. And on the days I don’t, those things often don’t happen.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Estelle- Yes, that is so often the case, isn’t it?

    • Estelle, me too. And when I separated from my husband, the elders told me off for reading the bedtime bible story to my daughter in the living room, when H was watching TV — because it humiliated him, showed him up as the less spiritually responsible parent. Go figure.

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        When the ex-idiot was doing a contract overseas I felt prompted by God to start Family Worship every night. Not just Bible story and prayers that I was normally doing for each kid. So we would put on a CD and worship for a song or two, read a passage and have a short discussion then collectively pray. When the idiot got home and I asked him to join us I got the same rebuke that I was trying to show off how spiritual I was. How is walking in obedience to what GOD has directed you, showing off?!?! Am so thankful now that I listened to God, not man and continued the Family worship as it laid a closeness and solid foundation for my kids.

      • Brenda R

        Good for you, that was a wise decision.

      • IamMyBeloved's

        That’s right, Barb, because they believe that if the man doesn’t do it, then the woman should just blindly sit there and not teach the children about God. I guess they count children of lousy fathers, as not worthy to even be taught about Christ. Yes, go figure! This is idolatry – to say the least. Look what is happening with the VF thing! So many followed that man and now they are so broken. But, I don’t hear anyone saying that this is evil, or that the reason they are so broken, is because they were sinning against God too, by following someone other than Jesus. Even the people who are addressing the sin, seem to only be addressing it, because it has broken down their own lifestyle and put an end to their dreams and their expectations for their “leader”. Let’s just hope that Waldron isn’t going to be the run to pick the ball up and start it rolling all over again. This is exactly what has happened in this movement. I believe these teachings got a real surge of wind and power with Gothard.

    • So, being the good little explainer that I was, I told the elders that I only did it in the living room in winter, when her bedroom was too cold to sit in.

      And I felt on the back foot and foolish having to explain such a trifling point . . .

      • Brenda R

        From my viewpoint Barb, the elders were taking their status way too far by even having brought that up. Perhaps a better question would have been why dad didn’t turn down or off the TV for a long enough time to read the bedtime Bible story and perhaps be a part of the nighttime prayer and tucking in process. Why was it you being questioned at all? He showed himself as being the less spiritually responsible parent. You didn’t have to do a thing. It was up to him. He humiliated himself.

    • Brenda R

      That is the way it was in my home growing up and in my home as a mom. Nothing was done unless I did it. What were we to do? Tell the husband/priest (gag) that it was time to perform his duty. Then what? Wham! One across the face for being insubordinate of the high priest of the home.

  9. As I See It Only

    We are all priests as we minister. Yes. One job of the priests was to examine and name that which was unclean and to send it out of the community. Yes. This blog is a great training ground to do just that, but let’s not stop here. Let us examine and name abuse as unclean and send it out of our community. If our present community wishes to be a leper colony by turning a blind eye to the uncleanness, we are in the wrong community! The heart-wrenching truth is that we will not change that community by remaining in it, we will only defile ourselves.

  10. Carmen

    Barbara….How did the elders know he was humiliated? I agree with Brenda. The elders were taking their status too far. My first reaction: this man was being treated like a baby instead of a responsible adult.

    • I can’t speak for the elders, but I suspect they ‘knew’ he was humiliated because he’d spun that line to them. You know, the’poor me’ presentation that abusers are so good at.

  11. Some quotes from Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Mormon Church:
    There is not a man or boy in this vast congregation tonight who cannot improve his life. And that needs to happen. After all, we hold the priesthood of God. If we are boys who have received the Aaronic Priesthood, we are entitled to the ministering of angels to guide and direct, to bless and protect us. What a remarkable and wonderful thing that is. If we have had conferred upon us the Melchizedek Priesthood, we have been given the keys of the kingdom that carry with them eternal powers.

    Husbands and fathers are considered the “preisthood head” of the family. Here is a comment about women being overly educated: 🙂

    It is plainly evident from these statistics that young women are exceeding young men in pursuing educational programs. And so I say to you young men, rise up and discipline yourself to take advantage of educational opportunities. Do you wish to marry a girl whose education has been far superior to your own? We speak of being “equally yoked.” That applies, I think, to the matter of education

    The more these patriocentric Christians write, the more they sound like a sermon from Hinckley.

    • Actually the Doug Philips crowd is worse because they mirror the FLDS almost exactly, except without the polygamy.

      • I agree Katy. The closer the similarity of a heretical system to true Christian doctrine, the more dangerous it is because it’s harder to recognise it as heretical.

      • Brenda R

        I am sure that will be next, Katy. With the devaluing of one man/one woman marriage, polygamy becoming legal is next.

      • I was actually told by another blogger that she has homeschool leaders asking her what to do about the polygamists infiltrating their support groups…

      • Gasp!

        I have heard of Christian polygamy group in the USA — not Mormon, they were Christian but had taken on polygamy. I saw a video of a weekend Bible study conference they had organised. It was chilling. The women were lauding polygamy just as much as the men were.

      • Brenda R

        Yes! I have seen it too. The entire “family” gets on their knees in the living room for prayer time. I can’t believe that women actually want this. I didn’t handle X committing adultery, but doing it in my house while I’m their, sparks would fly. But they seem to be all for it. I’m not sure how truly Christian these folks are and their are polygamist groups that don’t claim any faith whatsoever. I wouldn’t really want my sister living with me, I surely do not want a sister wife.

      • Brenda R

        Hester, Are these polygamists all of the wives of one man, all being abused by that man. If so, I am curious as to why they don’t band together. It seems there would be strength in numbers.

      • Still Scared( but getting angry)

        the ex-idiot seriously wanted a second wife. He had me reading books about and praying. It was so hard. To think I actually prayed about it and felt guilty for telling him no. That is how manipulative he is!!

      • Brenda R

        I am so glad you are not under the thumb of that man any longer. It is amazing what evil they can convince us of.

      • @ Brenda:

        She didn’t give me any more details other than that there were people asking her for help. I don’t know the name of the specific group(s), and actually the people here seem to know more about this than I do. The blogger is in IL but who knows if that’s where the support groups in question were.

        This is the only group I could find when I did some cursory poking around. Seems to be run by a guy named Don Milton. They sell some reprinted 16th century Italian book called A Dialog on Polygamy and claim “the German Reformation ended” when the author was exiled, as well as one called Prince of Sumba, Husband to Many Wives with extremely corny, low-budget and hilarious cover art (seven women in harem pants literally hanging all over a missionary holding a Bible), which seems to be based on Isaiah 4:1 at the top of the page:

        And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.”

      • Thanks for that bit of research, Hester; it may be helpful in the future.

      • Brenda R

        Thank you Hester. You didn’t need to go through all that research. I thank you for it though. I do find the manipulative way these so-called Chritians are acquiring their harem, not legal in current culture, but well thought out. It seems many evil men can twist their way of thinking and poor knowledge of the Bible to bring about these evil ideas and try to spread them to others as God’s word. I don’t believe God ever intended for man to have more than one wife, but they seem to find ways to fulfill their carnal desires and make women think it is acceptable. It won’t be long and this group will start wanting legal government marriages to be acceptable. We are going down the mountain fast in this world.

    • Do Mormon men have to receive any training to be part of the “Aaronic priesthood” or do they just get it by virtue of being male Mormons? If so, then Hinckley’s actually ahead of Doug because there’s still some kind of spiritual qualification, as opposed to just being male. And how bad are you doing when the Mormons are ahead of you? 😦

      • No I think just by virtue of being male Mormons they get this special “Aaronic priesthood”. So they are like Doug in that — the more I learn about Doug the more he looks and sounds like a Mormon so I add these quotes for compare/contrast. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. The Teaching that a Husband/Father is Priest to his Family is Unbiblical and Promotes Abuse (Part 3) | A Cry For Justice
  2. Is a Father a Priest to His Family?
  3. The Teaching that a Husband/Father is Priest to his Family is Unbiblical and Promotes Abuse (Part 4) | A Cry For Justice

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