Vol.IX No.VII Pg.4
September 1972

Mutual Submission

Robert F. Turner

Ephesians 5:21 (ARV) reads, Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. Subject (submit K.J.) is from hupotasso, meaning to arrange under. It is used in the N.T. of Jesus to his parents, demons to the disciples, every soul to higher powers, woman to man, all things (now) to Christ, (finally) all to God, church to Christ, wives to their husbands, servants to masters, younger to older, etc. A casual study of such uses should convince us that God recognizes the need for certain order including some being head over others. Subject to one - another therefore, does not remove the rule of bishops in a local church, properly functioning. But by the same token, this passage must be accepted and applied.

Every one can not be actually arranged under each—other, but that is the very strength of the admonition. It is like Phil. 2:3-4, —let each esteem other better than themselves. This is done in lowliness of mind, and establishes the attitude necessary for the proper functioning of saints in all walks of life.

Among Christians, ONE is our Master, even Christ (Matt. 23:10), and even Christ rules (constrains) by virtue of our love for Him, (2 Cor. 5:14) The idea of whip-cracking, arbitrary rule in His kingdom is contrary to the nature of the system. (See Matt, 20:25-28 2 Cor. 10:1-f.) In final judgement we will see His sovereignty vindicated, but there is neither precept nor example of our Lord to justify the high-handed ruling attitude sometimes seen in husbands, parents, bosses, elders, and teachers among todays saints. There is surely a great need for better understanding and practice of the admonition of Eph. 5:21— Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (K.J.)

A great percentage of local church troubles can be traced to a lack of mutual submission. Some must maintain their official position, regardless of the cost to the Lords cause; or others refuse to be led or overseen, regardless of the qualifications and tact of the elders, It is obvious that many do not know the meaning of love that seeketh not her own.

Congregational activity (collective action, or team work) can not exist without either forced rule or mutual submission. Most brethren will rightly deny the first, but seem not to understand that some individual identity loss is inherent in the very idea of team work. Someone must decide and call the play. Members of a successful team then drop individual preferences, and function for the good of the whole.

In our service of Christ, we must fill our several roles as unto the Lord. It is with respect to Christ, conscious that He is Master of us all, that we learn a new respect and honor for one-another. The church is subject to Christ-- and the wife to the husband— and the servant to the master— and the child to the parents—as unto the Lord. But, in turn, the husband in like manner dwells with the wife— the master is just and equal— etc., (Col. 3:13-f. 1 Pet. 217-3:8) because Christ would have it so.