Paul told Timothy, and since his letter to Timothy is in the canon of Scripture, by implication told us all, that
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”
and I have never had any reason to doubt the veracity of Paul’s statement.
In 21st Century Britain, we live in an age where all sorts of equalities are presented to us as being required in law, and everyone has rights to this that or the other.
In the Old Testament there were numerous offences which were considered deserving of the death penalty. But we do not have a death penalty in the Britain because such a penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment. We were promised by the politicians who legislated into being the end of the death penalty that life would mean life, but now that is not possible, except in the most extreme cases because that is an inhumane punishment too.
So where does this situation leave those of us who are Christian? Most of our laws were based on the laws of the Old Testament and the Sermon on the Mount. Can we rely on our laws to be just as God is just?
And what of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and especially Chapter 5, from verse 22 on.
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church– 30 for we are members of his body.
Our laws require that we treat men and women as equals yet Scripture requires that wives should submit to their husbands. Our divorce laws are such that the wife could leave and claim irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and be divorced in fairly short order. No doubt the husband would be verbally pilloried in the columns of the Guardian or the tabloids for being a dinosaur.
What would the churches say or do? Would the wife be welcomed as a poor downtrodden victim of a relic from a bygone era or would she face a call to repent of her sin of rebellion against her husband? Would the husband be welcomed as the victim of a wilful and untruthful wife who had promised him a Christian marriage or would he be treated as a sinner in need of repenting of his sin of living in the past?
We have already seen a polarisation of the views over the ordination of sexually active homosexual clergy, which is clearly contrary to the teaching in Titus 1:6 where we are told
“An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.”
Are we about to see a clash between the churches and the state over whether the churches follow god’s direction of Caesar’s.