Beloved sisters of Yah'shua (Jesus) in the Patriarchal Christian Movement, I wish to share a few words with you today as you become exposed to the various interpretations of Christian Patriarchy which are now amongst us. These are early days, this movement being only a decade old, and men and women are learning more of Yahweh's ways as they mature. I speak as one who has been living this principle the longest in evangelical Christianity (since 1988), claiming as my authority not only the Word of Elohim (God) but also some considerable experience.
In my previous essay I warned of the counterfeit Patriarchy movement in very general terms, pointing out that the main victims of any sort of false religion tend to be the women because they are more trusting by nature. But it should also be pointed out that my warning goes out as strongly to the men because heavier responsibility and accountability falls upon them should they abuse their God-given positions of headship.
Compulsion vs. Attraction
There are a number of particular issues that I would now like to raise to spare needless suffering on the part of women caught up in the patriarchal counterfeit.
To begin with, there is a world of difference between Mosaic Patriarchy (the system under the Law of Moses) and Christian Patriarchy based on the difference between the Law of Moses (Old Covenant Torah) and the Gospel of Yah'shua (Jesus) (New Covenant Torah). Though the principles are essentially the same the moving force is not. The Mosaic Law was a law of righteous compulsion whereas the Law of Christ is based on righteous attraction. And it is precisely here that patriarchy has separated into two different movements, the one having its spirit locked in the Mosaic system and the other in the Christian.
What this means in practice is that those under a neo-Mosaic spirit find themselves living under a strong, oppressive compulsive force which seems to work fine when everyone is in agreement but which results in disasterous spiritual oppression for those who may disagree. Women feel oppressed and silenced and are forced to bury their problems, finding no outlook for true expression of what is on their hearts. Like the polygamous Mormon women of old, they are forced to suppress their feelings and bear a burden which gets heavier and heavier by the year. They are prisoners, but cannot escape because they have been falsely taught that righteous enquiry is rebellion against Yahweh and His Laws. They are trapped since they do not wish to offend Yahweh or challenge those 'set over' them.
Now in case you think I am attacking the Mosaic system, I am not, because it was holy, pure and righteous. Under that dispensation Yahweh's spirit justified those living under that set of Laws, but we are in a new dispensation, and Yahweh has placed His seal upon the New Covenant Torah in Yah'shua (Jesus). And though it is possible to still find a measure of happiness under the old system (for order is better than chaos, particularly if the system is rooted in holiness), it is impossible to find the liberation and freedom in Christ in any system except that of the New Covenant Torah.
As the writer to the Hebrews informs us, Yahweh has disposed of the old Aaronic system and replaced it with a new one, the Melchizedek. The old has gone (Yahweh is not in it) and the new has come (where His Ruach/Spirit resides).
One of the great errors of Mormonism was that it attempted to combine the spirit of the New Covenant with the Old Mosaic one. The result was repression. And this same heresy is finding root in the Patriarchal Christian movement today with disasterous consequences for both the men and women. Typically in such a system the real problems caused by the contradiction of these two spirits is covered by a thin (but increasingly thicker) veneer of 'happiness' because this is what is expected: "Patriarchal Christianity is true, we have understood and implemented it right, therefore you must be happy, and if you are not it is because you are sinning somewhere along the line". Yet this is a bitter illusion that all the cults live in - it contains some half truth (for much unhappiness is indeed caused by sin) but there is another type of unhappiness which is caused by FALSE THEOLOGY.
The Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is a liberating system because is makes everyone equal, men and women alike, who may then freely express themselves within the boundaries set by Yahweh. This does not, of course, give them the freedom to become anarchists - to do what ever they want to - but rather gives them the freedom of living and experiencing the Gospel from the inside outwards - not as theoretical truth but as INCARNATE TRUTH. This is, indeed, the whole message of the Incarnation.
Now this freedom which is granted to all men and women everywhere does not mean (as some have falsely taught) that the Torah or Law of Yahweh has been done away with - "nailed to the cross", as it were: it means simply that by the New Birth, by our personal submission to Christ, the Law becomes progressively written on our hearts, so that it becomes a living principle and not just a set of externally-enforced rules which we must obey 'or else'.
Another error of counterfeit Patriarchal Christianity is that the submission a woman is supposed to give her husband is also supposed to be given to leaders in the Church/Assembly in exactly the same way. This is, rather, a spirit of adultery, and it very harmful. I have seen local leaders exercising authority over single women much as a husband would, and this is fundamentally WRONG. See our ministry's article on the rôle of women in the Church/Messianic Community. Single women, if you find yourself in a Church/Assembly where an elder is exercising the kind of authority over you that is reserved only for a husband, get out of that church because you are permitting spiritual fornication and adultery to take place! (For more information on the rôle of women in the Church, please see our ministry's Women's Homepage).
Queens or Chattels?
For a true patriarchal husband his wives are his queens and he treats them as such. And all other men (including local leaders) should treat them as they would their mothers or sisters. The single women should be treated as princesses and not as "spiritual foster wives" by the elders or pastor. I see too much of the spirit of concubinage - of half-wives - in the counterfeit Patriarchal Movement which makes my stomach turn. When will these misguided patriarchs realise how special their women are - their very EQUALS in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) in EVERY WAY? In Christ there is no difference in importance between man and woman - NONE! They are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven but co-heirs. And once they see that they are treated in this way, and if they love the Lord Yah'shua (Jesus) with all their hearts and are true to His Word, the Bible, they will naturally and joyously become submissive to their husbands.
There is one other thing that these chauvanist patriarchs have forgotten, and that is that women are also mothers whose children - male and female - are supposed to be submitted to her. Why on earth did Yah'shua (Jesus) submit to His mother, Mary, if He wasn't supposed to? He did what she asked - always - for righteousness' sake (because that is Yahweh's Law) - UNLESS it conflicted with Yahweh's commandment. Thus He yielded (against His wishes) to His mother's request to provide wine at the Marriage Feast of Cana yet stood up to her and treated her like any other sister in the Gospel when she wanted to take Him away from His ministry of preaching (for an undisclosed reason).
Now you men, WAKE UP, because in the Church of God/Assembly of Yahweh) there are going to be women who are your spiritual mothers, who know more than you, and who have been annointed by Yahweh to give ministry to the Body. You should not oppose them but yield to them as Christ did to His mother, for they have been set over you until you have reached spiritual maturity! The only exception to this that Yahweh makes is if you are married to that woman in which case He has stated that she must not teach you in an official capacity because this would undermine the headship principle established by Yahweh.
Yes, women are worthy of the deepest respect, especially those who are submissive, loving and mature in the spirit. And if you're not convinced that women have a leadership rôle in the Church of God/Assembly of Yahweh then I highly recommend you take a look at the articles at Women in the New Covenant.