Headship in the family

Series Five – Structure
Theme = God’s way for family, church, and society

‘Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.’ Ephesians 5:22-23[/su_note]

When they are in public, one of my closest friends relates to his wife as though he is a king and she a humble serving wench. He snaps out instructions and she scurries over with a second portion of food or a glass of refreshment. Hang it, she practically walks two steps behind him when he enters or exits a gathering. Now this is definitely not a glorious display of male headship, but just a cultural convention they adopted from early childhood… so relax all you female readers, I am not advocating this practice. Actually, I wouldn’t dare because my wife sometimes reads these blog posts 🙂
Headship in a family has to do with structure, function and unity. God has ordained that the husband assume the role of head of the home. This is not because men are more intelligent than women, or more capable of making decisions, or superior in any way. In any equal partnership one of the two must have a casting vote and one must be responsible to a higher authority for the wellbeing of the partnership. If both partners have exactly the same authority and accountability, then any major difference of opinion has the potential of bringing the partnership to a standstill and of damaging relationships.
Why did God decide to allocate headship to the husband and not the wife? In other words, why is it gender specific? I don’t really know, but the Bible is pretty clear on this issue. We know that there are physical, emotional and psychological differences between the genders, so why should there not be spiritual differences as well?
Being the head of the home does not mean that the man is superior to the woman. It simply means that he has a different functionality and responsibility within the marriage partnership. Verse 25 of the Ephesians text goes on to say, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…’ So a husband is responsible for placing his wife’s wellbeing above his own self-interest. The essence of headship is sacrificial service. This is a far cry from the male chauvinism that so many people associate with family headship. 
If you are a married man, do you accept the responsibility of headship? How do you display this role of sacrificial service?

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Christopher Peppler

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1 thought on “Headship in the family”

  1. Thanks for this Chris. Colin did mention this in the marriage course. I will remove the shackles from my wife right away.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.