What is masculinity? What is Christian hierarchy?

Masculinity is dominance. It is about power, control and will. That is the essence of masculinity.

So how can this be reconciled with the Christian duty to submit to others? The Bible shows us that our Christian duty is to submit to each other:

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Ephesians 5:21

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do 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 Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

As can be seen, men ought to submit to each other as women submit to their husbands. Christian men have a clear duty to submit to each other, so is there no such thing as hierarchy in the Christian universe? If all men submit to each other, then no one ought to have authority over their Christian brother. This is blatantly false, for the Apostle Paul prescribes hierarchies between masters and slaves and rulers and ruled:

Romans 13:1-3

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.

Ephesians 6:5

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

Rather than admitting that this is a case of Paul contradicting himself, it is more reasonable to reconcile the Christian duties to submit and benevolently rule by parsing the meanings of his terms more carefully.

By submitting to one another, Paul is exhorting us to consider the needs of our neighbor over our own. Needs are different from desires. Just because I want to jump off a bridge doesn’t mean that a fellow Christian must submit to my will and allow me to do so. By submitting himself to my needs, a fellow Christian goes through the inconvenience of stopping me in spite of my own desires.

We must submit to each other, and this means that we must consider the needs of others over ourselves. Rulers are fit to rule, because they consider the needs of the population over their own. Slaves are meant to serve, because they are inclined to consider their own needs first and foremost.

Christians can be masculine by submitting their wills to considering the needs of their brethren. Needs are not desires, and so a position of masculine dominance can be maintained on the basis that one is acting morally in favor of the group’s needs.

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