Word choice matters  

Posted by Denis Haack in , ,

In a world where our neighbors, friends and co-workers may have world views very different from our own, how we speak about what we believe matters. (Actually, it matters even if we live in a world which is not so diverse, but that’s a different issue—it becomes especially important within a pluralistic culture if we desire to be understood properly.)

I was reflecting on that when I read this brief quote by John Stott. What he says is worth thinking about:

Submission and obedience
In my view the 1662 Prayer Book marriage service was wrong to include the word 'obey' in the bride's vows. The concept of a husband who issues commands and of a wife who gives him obedience is simply not found in the New Testament. The nearest approximation to it is the cited example of Sarah who “obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” But even in that passage the apostle Peter’s actual instructions to wives is the same as Paul’s, namely, “Be submissive to your husbands” (1 Pet. 3:1-6). And ... a wife’s submission is something quite different from obedience. It is a voluntary self-giving to a lover whose responsibility is defined in terms of constructive care; it is love’s response to love.

[excerpted from The Message of Ephesians (The Bible Speaks Today series: London: IVP, 1979), p. 238.]

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This entry was posted at Monday, January 25, 2010 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Hi Denis- very interesting quote. Want you to know that I really enjoy reading your and Margie's blogs. I was wondering if you have any articles on Haiti that would be appropriate for sharing at our IV meeting Wednesday? We're breaking up into stations this Wednesday and one will be a place to pray for Haiti. I'm helping lead it and wanted to have some articles 1) giving information and 2) discussing some of the spiritual issues that are brought up in disasters like these, or about the status of the church in Haiti. I feel like you tend to post interesting and thought-provoking articles here, so thought I would see if you'd run across anything about Haiti. Thanks!
(wow- this is a long comment! would have written an email, but couldn't find your address)

January 25, 2010 at 8:49 PM

I'll keep my ears to the ground but so far I've just caught the stories (mainly) in the NY Times--I've been teaching an all-day class at Covenant Seminary all last week so haven't had time for more than that.
Glad you wrote, even a long comment!

January 25, 2010 at 10:05 PM

Thanks, Denis. The NY Times had some good articles I was able to use. Hope you get a chance to catch your breath after teaching so much!
Looking forward to continue reading your blog,

January 27, 2010 at 10:37 PM

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