Here is my third installment in my review of the book Marriage God's Way: A Biblical Recipe for Healthy, Joyful, Christ-Centered Relationships by Scott LaPierre. You can read part one here and part two here, which you should probably do before proceeding with this to give yourself some context.
My title for this part of the review is “Who Speaks For God?” which flows from this statement I made in Part One:
In several places, the author asserts that God speaks to us through other people, such as people in our small group Bible studies, our pastors and to husbands through their wives. I know of no biblical support for this principle. In fact, I can think of several places in the Bible where we are warned against this and where we are informed that the only authority through which God speaks is His Word.
So the question I am asking is, does God really speak to us through other people, and, in particular, does He speak to husbands through their wives? Should men be seeking the will of God in the words of their wives? Is that reliable? Is that wise? Or does it fly in the face of what the Bible actually teaches about authority, leadership, and revelation?
On page 124 of the book, Pastor LaPierre begins a section entitled “Submission Does Not Mean That Husbands Do Not Listen To Their Wives.” In the following paragraphs he gives his opinion that “God can use His Holy Spirit to speak to husbands through their wives.” I have no doubt that God can do this, but there is no evidence that God actually does this, and there are no examples or commands in Scripture for a man to listen to his wife unless God, Himself, separately confirmed the prophecy or, the case of Abraham and Sara, in which God specifically told a man to do the bidding of his wife. In addition, the whole idea contradicts the principle of the man as the leader and head of his home.
Because the author is unable to provide any Scripture to support his assertion that a husband should listen to (obey?) his wife, he gives, instead, examples from his own life where his wife's advice turned out to be correct. Can you see why this is problematic? We cannot test whether something is the voice of God based on whether it turns out well. Our assessment of whether the outcome is “good” may not be the same as God's will. God may want us to go through hard times or to suffer. Outcomes are a terrible way to determine God's will or whether God has spoken.
Even unbelievers, who do not have the Holy Spirit, can give good advice. A wife is no different. Some of her advice may be good, other times, it may be bad. The simple fact that she is a wife does not mean her husband should value her advice and there is no reason at all to assume that God is speaking through her. Why would God speak to her when he could speak directly to the head, by means of His Word? God's Word is the ONLY test for authority. Before the Reformation, there were false teachers saying the Pope or the Church could speak for God. That was a doctrine of demons, as we know the Bible itself is the only authority and is sufficient for all our faith and life. A wife NEVER enters into the revelatory chain from God to man.
The author gives, as an example from Scripture, the story of the wife of Pilate telling her husband that she was warned in a dream that Pilate should have nothing to do with Jesus (pgs. 124-125). LaPierre claims that her dream was from God, even though the Bible does not say this. It could have been based on her feelings that Jesus was simply not guilty of any crime. Being correct does not make her a prophet. During the times of Jeremiah, there were other prophets advising the king, claiming that God was speaking through them. Was there a way for the king to have known that Jeremiah was the true prophet? Yes. By the written Word of God. Jeremiah was proclaiming the Law of God to the king, and exposing the violations and punishments that God was sending. The false prophets were speaking pleasant words without regard to the Word. The Word is always the test of whether a “word” is from God.
God could speak to a husband through the grocery store clerk or through the dog. But He doesn't. God has chosen to speak to us through His Word. The Holy Spirit guides us to understand and apply the Word, but the Holy Spirit does not give special revelation, outside of the Word of God, to wives or any other advisers. To make such a claim is unbiblical. It goes against the entire counsel of God and the history of the Church's understanding of how God speaks to His people.
If your wife gives good counsel, great! That does NOT equate her words with the words of God. Some wives give rotten counsel and no husband is required to seek his wife's advice, just because she is his wife.
In the book, Pastor LaPierre shares that his wife wanted him to take the job (his current pastoring job in Washington) and it has turned out to be a good move. He claims this proves it was from God. What if a man takes counsel from his wife and it turns out to be horrible? Does that prove men should never listen to their wives? Of course not. I once told my husband to turn at the wrong place. Does that prove something? Does the outcome determine whether the choice was or was not based upon the voice of God? It is from God if it comes from and agrees with his Word. PERIOD. That is the only test for whether it comes from God.
God's Word has authority and must be obeyed. The words of wives do not carry such authority, regardless of whether they are “confirmed” by the Senior Pastor (see pg. 125), or any other person. It would seem, from Pastor LaPierre's own comments about the move to Washington, that even he is not settled about whether it was his choice or hers.
On page 125 he says the following:
I would like to share about a time I believe God really used Katie to direct me, and it's when I was an associate pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Lemoore, California. Although it was a wonderful season of life for me, Katie found it difficult because she thought God had gifted me to shepherd my own church. The senior pastor shared Katie's thoughts, so she had confirmation from him as well....
Looking back, Katie's encouragement is one of the only (emphasis added) reasons I was able to make the move.... I invite you to recognize that it was trusting that God was using Katie that allowed me to become the senior pastor of Woodland Christian Church.
From his description, she is the one leading here, she is the one guiding and directing him to move to Washington. He didn't want to go. He didn't feel that God was leading him away from a good thing. Instead of just telling him, the leader of the family to move, God instead spoke to his subordinate, his wife, and to another man, the senior pastor. But a few pages later, he back tracks a bit on this by trying to say that his wife expressed her opinion, but he made the decision for himself; that he was leading, and she was following. Here is what he wrote on page 129:
Though Katie encouraged me to take the position, she could see I was very hesitant. I remember her clearly saying, “If this moves ends up being a mistake and we went there because of me, I couldn't live with that. The only way I can feel good about this decision is if you (emphasis in original) make it. I respect your leadership, and I believe God will direct you. Whatever you decide, I will support you.
Very noble on her part, to let him know that she wants to move, that the senior pastor agrees with her, even though she KNOWS her husband doesn't want to do it, but if he actually takes her advice, she doesn't want to be responsible for the outcome. She respects his leadership? Really? She knows he was not leading them to move to Washington, that his leadership is keeping them in California. She does not respect his leadership. She is leading from the rear. Pastor LaPierre has said in previous pages that one of the only reasons he made the move was because of her encouragement. He cites no other reasons at all. So she gets what she alone wanted, but she announces in advance that if it doesn't work, she is not to be blamed. This is what LaPierre calls "putting your husband in a position to lead." Apparently it means telling him what you want him to do, then saying, "But it's your decision, and if you blow it, I'm not responsible." This is disturbing. Deeply disturbing. To advance this type of behavior in a book aimed at wives is beyond irresponsible.
The closest the author comes to a proof text for his assertion that husbands should listen to their wives and that God speaks to husbands through their wives is the reference on page 124 to Genesis 2:18 which says:
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Did God intend for this meet help to communicate God's will to the man? What if Eve had said to Adam, “I know you like working in the garden here, but I really feel that your full potential would be better reached outside of this garden.”? Does anyone believe that God would choose the woman over the man as the recipient of His instructions? Wouldn't it make more sense for God to tell Adam directly if he wanted him to exercise dominion in another location? It sounds ridiculous to me to consider such a thing.
And then, making sure we understand that God DOESN'T intend to work around the husband and give secret instructions or wisdom to the wife, God says this to the man after he eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:
And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, (emphasis added) and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for they sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Gen 3:17
God directly rebuked Adam for listening to and following the desires of his wife. Why didn't God just say, “Because you ate of the tree...”? The pattern we see being established in Genesis is God leading a family through the husband. There is no time in history, since the Garden of Eden, where God has changed this pattern of dealing directly with men, rather than using wives as a conduit. In the New Testament, Paul explains that the head of every man is Christ and the head of every woman is the man, confirming the order established by God in the beginning. (1 Cor. 11: 3) To suggest, endorse, imply, or teach that God sometimes speaks to the wife instead is to turn this entire order upside down.
To suggest to wives that God speaks through them is unbiblical. It opposes the very design of God for marriage, where the husband is the head, the Christ type, and the wife is under him, the Church type. I'm not saying, nor does the Bible say that a man is forbidden from seeking the opinion or counsel of a wife. But the Bible does not command it, and her advice to him is no more the "voice of God" than any other advice. He can give her opinions whatever weight and value that he believes is appropriate. And if he chooses to never consult her, he does not sin.
How did churchianity change the role of a wife from that of a help, meet for her husband, to one of trusted adviser and prophet of God? It frightens me to see how feminism has infiltrated the elect.