Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sermons from the 1930's

I was asked to write something about the principle of submission. I don't think I have actually written about this, since I felt there was already so much good material about it available in books and on the web. When we were growing up, we didn't really see it as a problem, as it was such a way of life for Christian women. Even those who did not embrace any religion, saw the power in submission and used it for good.

Personally, I have a lot more fun, and it is a lot more relaxing, to leave the theology and preaching up to the men and just blog about the solutions I have been finding to the many aspects of home life. However, this will be a theme article that will be placed on the side, so that I won't have to write any more about it.

So little conflict was there over this subject, that we never knew it as an "issue" that it has been made into, today. However, feminists will make an issue out of everything that they can, in order to keep conflict stirring; keep life unsettled, keep people nervous, and destablize the culture. To us, it just meant being kind and loving, being nice, not arguing about every little thing, not constantly contradicting your husband or ruling over him. It meant not nagging him or criticising him. It meant discussing things at length with him but leaving the responsiblity on his shoulders. It meant being a good advisor but not insisting on having things your way all the time, unless he left it up to you. It was a peaceful way of having a good marriage and cooperative children. Today there is so much heated debate over it that even preachers do not want to approach the subject.

This is a sermon copied from a sermon book that was published in 1947, a year before Peter Marshall preached his sermon, "Keepers of the Springs." There were similar sermons by other preachers, and in the 1960's, when the immodest fashions appeared and many women left their posts and went to work, some of these preachers were still alive and preaching. They fought the prevailing culture, valiantly. Many of them were ostracised by society for their sermons and some of them were forced out of the pulpit by change agents in the church.

This sermon was written 60 years before the popular books on womanhood were written. This is how people thought "in the olden times," and they did not apologize for it.

I was thinking back about how preaching used to sound and what preachers used to be like. They were strong and manly and bravely stood up to the impudence that was entering the church. The preachers sounded fierce, it is true, but the people were generally calm. Today, the preachers all sound like calm, soothing counsellors, and the people are uneasy.

from "Sermons on First Corinthians,"by George W. DeHoff, Murfreesboro, Tennessee , published in 1947 (preached in earlier years)

"Many women resent the idea of being subject to man. They think it is a great thing if they can act like men. In this, they are wrong. Nothing can be sweeter than a womanly woman. Nothing is more repulsive than a manly woman. A woman who tries to be like a man is a disgrace to God and man.

Today,, many women think it is wonderful to smoke like men, curse like the men, drink liquor like the men, wear clothing like the men, and cut their hair like the men. Woman is sweeter and more precious than man. She is superior in a great number of ways. In attempting to be like men, she issimply coming down from the lofty pedestal of a queenly woman and becoming a second-rate, bareheaded, bobheaded, cussing, smoking, beer guzzling imitation of what God would have her be. It does not take a preacher to say these things. I hear unsaved men from one end of this nation to the other saying the same thing. Even worldly men are alarmed at the place to which women have fallen.

The Bible teaches that a man cannot do as he pleases. He is subject to Christ. He cannot live as he would like. Christ is ever uppermost in his heart and life. He puts Him first in everything.

The Bible also teaches that woman is subject to her husband. She loves him, puts him first, her whole life is bound up with his, and she is ever anxious to honor and respect him. The Bible teaches that man was created first and the woman was taken out of him (Genesis 2:23). The husband is to rule over his wife (Genesis 3:16). The idea of inferiority being taught here is just plain nonsense. The man is to protect and defend his wife. It is his responsibility to care for and "give honor unto the wife as the weaker vessel" (I Peter 3:7). (This is a great sacrifice on the part of the man)

The woman who marries a man, takes his name. Young lady, do not marry a man unless you are proud to wear his name and accept him as your head. Otherwise, it is far better to remain single where you can run things to suit yourself!

Lest someone rebel at the idea of subjection, Paul reminds us that Christ is subject to God. He humbled Himself. He became for all eternity subject to God. It is His glory to fill that place of subjection. Just so, it is a man's glory to be subject to to Christ, and a woman's glory to be subject to her own husband. Those women who would have it otherwise may do so, but they will not have happiness, nor will they have the respect of right thinking people."


Lydia said...

To the resident critic: I didn't write the sermon. I didn't write the Bible, either. The Bible was the authority in the sermon he wrote. He did not say anything bad about women at all. He did not say they were to be shoved aside. He did not say all the things you insinuate. I didn't publish your comment because it had too much hatred and anger in it. You'll have to try again and see if you can pass muster. Maybe you should take a course in communications or negotiations or something and see if you can approach me in a reasonable enough way to get printed. Try posting on some of the men's forums just for practice: Patriarch Verlch, Rob Fedders, and Vox Popoli do not moderate the posts and they can appear right away.

Anonymous said...

This was really a cruel sermon; cruel to women. Men are not better than women, so why should women submit? This man was not kind to women at all, in fact, he was very hateful.

Lydia said...

There is no cruely here at all. He told how important and how special women are. He didn't even say men were special, did he?

He didn't say men were better than women,or women better than men.

He didn't say women should submit to men. He said the Bible teaches women to submit to their own husbands. That is one man, not all men. Even you can see the wisdom, and the freedom and protection in that.

The preacher of this sermon died a long time ago, so I guess you can't sue him or start a blog to vilify his name, unless you really think his teachings are still so very offensive to you.

He did make a good point though: don't marry anyone you don't love enough to submit to.

Anonymous said...

That sermon reminds me of an old saying- if a man is the head of a family, then a woman is the neck... She can turn him which ever way she wants.

I can understand how someone would read that sermon and see it as hateful- I belong to matriarchal family. It's very hard for me to imagine the society being preached in this sermon, because if my family adhered to it, we would not be as fortunate and content as we are today.

In my experience men also submit, not only to show their wives respect, but because I think they enjoy feeling the contrast of femine strength and protection. A man's strength is like meeting a wall. A woman's strength you push against and she'll continue to match to force with which you push, it seems never ending. I think a lot of men find that comforting. I think with any healthy relationship both individuals ultimately submit themselves to one another.

Jenny said...

Anon, what an awesome comment! My thoughts exactly, and you expressed them better and more politely than I did, previously. What an awesome expression of the partnership between men and women as God designed it!

Thank you for allowing her post, Lydia. This shows your open-mindedness, a good example to all.

Mrs. Webfoot said...

Lydia, this is an old, old post, but it blessed me.

I especially liked the preacher's comment to the effect that when women rebel against God's design for us - he didn't say it exactly that way, but that's how I understood it - we don't become happier.

I think that we see great unhappiness and even anger in the comments left by other women right here at your blog. Do they sound joyful about who they are as women? They seem angry and resentful. That is how it comes across - negative.

They don't offer me anything that I want for myself. I like to be happy. I love my husband.

I don't want to swallow any teaching that would cause me unhappiness, rob me of my joy in Christ, or cause me to think of my husband as an oppressor. I don't want to look at men as oppressors and women as their innocent victims. I know myself too well and other women too well to believe that!

Thank you for your courage in posting the excerpt from this sermon.

God bless,
Mrs. Webfoot

Mrs. White said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
This is a beautiful sermon. I love it. I am honestly shocked at the negative comments. I thought the sermon was precious and I am grateful to read about the way to a joyful home-life. I just wish more people could really understand the peace of living in our God-ordained roles. It is a beautiful thing.
I would love it if you posted more sermons like this.
Mrs. White

Anonymous said...

Briefly, this is a fine sermon...just think, I was only 3 years old at that time.

My own dear mother had probably already become non-submissive, eventually divorcing my fathter in '56. He did have a temper, but I now feel it was generated by a 'smart mouth' and sometimes highly irritated responses to my father's actions/words...which she did not 'respect'. Respect is NOT something to be earned in a marriage, but something to be APPLIED WITH WILL, as taught in the Bible. We are not to wait til the mate is 'worthy of respect' is our Scriptural mandate TO respect the will heal all wounds and 'move' the 'offender' to better behaviour.
Mrs. M.

Jenn said...

Sadly, because of being raised in 70's in a single parent household, as a latch key kid, with no healthily married role models, it took me 7 years of miserable married life to learn what seems to me now so simple and common sense. Since the time of my eyes being opened, and faith steps in God's ways my husband and I have enjoyed 5 glorious years of marriage that far outweigh all the heartache of the first 7. I never knew marriage could be this beautiful. I have learned so much about God just from my marriage and by being a parent. His ways are so much higher than our ways, His wisdom is so deep and wide, just grasping a tiny fleck of it is the most marvelous treasure I could imagine. Thank you for your post.