This continues a series I’ve called “Blogging Dobson” – (1) – (2) – (3) – on some comments in the Dobson book “Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives”. I pull out some “interesting statements” which illustrate the fallacy that these kinds of ministries perpetrate of being “godly” or “family-affirming”.
In writing before, it’s been described that the pattern with feminist commentators in Churchianity such as those of Focus On The Family (and most all others) is to continually push and place a call for men to “step up and lead their families”. As mentioned there, this call is coupled with efforts to undermine and ultimately eliminate any authority the man has over his family. This is intentional as the feminist goal of Marriage 2.0 is to have an arrangement where the wife is head of the family and the husband submits to her as god, placing himself under her as her personal slave.
This moves us to Dobson. For this quote, we need to keep in mind that the book was written in 1980, when the toleration of wickedness in marriage was much lesser. Several things were considered self-evident and it was required to wedge different thoughts into people’s minds to give them the freedom to choose against God’s ways and push them further down the path to seeing evil as good and good as evil. We see this much in the so-called “ministry” of Sheila Gregoire, who aims to further Marriage 2.0. Her pattern is to take a situation that is so obvious to most (at least from an emotional appeal) and then uses appeals to man’s wisdom and the flesh in order to garner acceptance of the non-Godly path (point #3 in my list here). Dobson writes in a chapter which has sample “questions” (emphasis added by me, 1):
1. I agree with your belief that the father should be the spiritual leader in the family, but it just doesn’t happen that way at our house. If the kids go to church on Sunday, its’ because I wake them up and see that they get ready. If we have family devotions, it’s done at my insistence, and I’m the one who prays with the children at bedtime. If I didn’t do these things, our kids would have no spiritual training. Nevertheless, people keep saying that I should wait for my husband to accept spiritual leadership in our family. What do you advise in my situation?
That’s an extremely important question, and a subject of controversy right now. As you indicated, some Christian leaders instruct women to wait passively for their husbands to assume spiritual responsibility. Until that leadership is accepted, they recommend that wives stay out of the way and let God put pressure on the husband to assume the role that He’s given to men. I strongly disagree with that view when small children are involved. If the issue focused only on the spiritual welfare of a husband and wife, then a woman could afford to bide her time. However, the presence of boys and girls changes the picture dramatically. Every day that goes by without spiritual training for them is a day that can never be recaptured.
Therefore, if your husband is not going to accept the role of spiritual leadership that God has given him, then I believe you must do it. You have no time to lose. You should continue taking the family to church on Sunday. You should pray with the children and teach them to read the Bible. Furthermore, you must continue your private devotions and maintain your own relationship with God. In short, I feel that the spiritual life of children (and adults) is simply too important for a woman to postpone for two or four or six years, hoping her husband will eventually awaken. Jesus made it clear that members of our own family can erect the greatest barriers to our faith, but must not be permitted to do so. He says, (quoting Matthew 10:34-38 RSV).
This is Dobson’s pattern as well. He presented a scenario that most people will find reasonable and even can find a few examples in Scripture to uphold themselves on. The scenario itself isn’t important, but what Dobson is giving wives license to do is important. He can’t be as non-subtle as Gregoire is at times, but he has a bigger mission, which has represented his entire organization, that requires it. He must disenfranchise the authority of men in marriage, and then establish a new authority in the marriage. He can not establish the wife directly (no one ever can, since it’s SO fundamental that most still *say* that husbands are to be the head) as the head of the marriage. So what does it take? As 1 Corinthians 11:3 states:
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (1 Corinthians 11:3)
So he uses the recent established idea (in 1980, though I’ve heard old preachings as far back as the late 1960′s against it) of a “personal relationship with Jesus” (also of feminist background) and gets the woman to buy in that if the husband isn’t living up to his proper role of “leadership” in Christ, that she gets to step in and lead the family. But who is making the judgment? Not Christ, not the husband, HER! It’s by her standards and her thoughts and her ways. By virtue of the personal Jesus, she gets to lead the marriage, irrespective of the Scriptural standards of Christ. So it is not her talking, but Christ talking through her. But it’s not really Christ, it’s her personal Jesus.
We have the advantage of time and the expansion of this doctrine for ever wider things to be evident. This doctrine has been so insidious and so accepted that it’s taken some pretty outrageous things (as well as the advent of the manosphere) for any people to wake up and see it. I’ve chronicled these things before as well as many others such as Dalrock and empathologism (whose description of dressing up in robes and doing paper cutouts of Jesus or some such thing to please the wife’s personal Jesus on spiritual leadership still cracks me up). As I wrote here regarding Albert Mohler’s twisting of Scripture to carve out a right of the wife to condition her sexual access (and submission) on how well her husband pleases her personal Jesus (i.e. her):
So we are taught by Mohler, if the man pleases her by following her direction, making her feel good, saying the right things to her, spending enough money on her desires, and generally doing everything she says, imagines, or desires (giving the perfect personal Jesus to her here on earth), then he is rewarded by sexual access from her.
The reason I fastened onto the comment here is that it describes the fully ripened fruit of the doctrine of the personal Jesus perfectly that we see today. While I could have commented on it there, this post happened to turn into a perfect commentary of it. The personal Jesus is self over God. The personal Jesus is the rebellion against God. The personal Jesus is the vehicle that has been used to accomplish the feminist goals within church in a way that sounds religious. Dobson finally writes (2):
Returning to the question, I would like to caution women not to become “self-righteous” and critical of their husbands. Let everything be done in a spirit of love.
This is almost laughable if what has been done hasn’t been accomplished. In other words, Dobson says “I’ve now given you ownership over your husbands, ladies. You rule now. Use your rule benevolently.”
(1) “Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives” by Dr. James C. Dobson p 70-72. (2) ibid page 73.