“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Cor 11:3 NASB).
Headship does not imply superiority and Submission does not demand inferiority. “There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future – that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder – most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure – that is not only to be expected: it is very near to inevitable.” (Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in Family and Nation, 1965, Wikiquote). “There is great need in assemblies and in society for men to take strong, loving leadership. The unisex movement is contrary to Scripture and to nature. The United States and other western nations are reaping the tragic consequences in the destruction of marriages and homes. It is time to get back to the Scriptural teaching about family and marriage. God’s principles produce a happy, strong family and society” (Donald Norbie).
Unfortunately since the fall, our culture has rebelled against God and tends to look at all relationships between all members of creation as horizontal; hence the chant “all are equal in God’s sight”. Yes, both Men and Women are equal in God’s sight, in the sense that we are both made in the image of God and both receive God’s saving grace equally and without any preference. But, when it comes to establishing order in His creation, God has provided clear-cut roles for each gender according to His eternal plan.
The Bible clearly describes authority as a vertical relationship and not horizontal. In the verse above, God is clearly at the helm, right at the top of the vertical structure. For there is no authority except that which God [Himself] has established (Rom 13:1 RSV). His Holiness Pope Leo XIII expounding Romans 13:1, stated: “For God alone is the true and supreme Lord of the world… “There is no power but from God.”” (IMMORTALE DEI, para 3)
Next, all the authority that God possessed He gave to His Son Jesus. “And Jesus came and said to them, all authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me” (Mt. 28:18 RSV). “For God has put all things in subjection under His (Jesus’) feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection under him,” it is plain that He (God) is excepted who put all things under him (Jesus).” (1 Cor 15:27).
So paraphrasing our main text above (1 Cor 11:3) we have: God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of every Man and Man is the head of Woman. God has instituted different authority structures in all of creation for the sake of order. So also God has established authority structures in the home. Men are to provide loving leadership, laying down their lives for their wives. Wives are to receive and follow the leadership of their husbands (Eph 5:22–33), for it never was His plan to have both spouses behind the wheel. Why is this so? Because He made each of them unique: He created man to lead and woman to be led. When women take the wheel, men typically take a hike.
All the authority structures described above are part of the orderly and magnificent way in which God has arranged the world for His glory and our good. God’s blessings are on those who live obediently under them. There is a dire need for men to be men and take up their God-given role of headship and leadership. Coupled with this is the need for men to have an undying love for their wives, to be willing to lay it down for them, if need be, just as Christ laid down His life for the Church (Eph 5:25). Both headship & leadership go hand in hand with sacrificial love. That was the total example that Christ set before the Man. “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s differing relationships.” (John Piper – Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)
Application: As Mark Chanski in Manly Dominion would say: “There is a sickness that is plaguing too many men in the church today”. He says there are essentially two types of Christian men: those who, like the purple number four ball, in life’s circumstances get passively knocked around the table by all the other pool balls, and then there are those who are like the cue stick; they do the knocking around. He calls Christian men who are prone to pusillanimity to reclaim the biblical roles to which God has called them in the home, the church, the workplace and all of creation. His central point to men, then, is clear: don’t get knocked around by life, as if something were happening to you. Instead, Chanski urges, take dominion over your life, actively pursuing your God-given tasks to God’s glory.