Josiah Audette

"Aware of the past, curious about the future, ready to argue the present." Tocqueville

Tag: Marriage

Feminist Patriarchs

Feminist Patriarchs

EPHESIANS 5

Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the wife’s head, even as Christ is the head of the Church, and the same is the Saviour of his body. Therefore as the Church is in subjection to Christ, even so let the wives be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify it, and cleanse it by the washing of water through the word. That he might make it unto himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blame. 

SIX MILES & SIX VERSES

On July 28, 1883 outside of Calgary an unsurpassed distance of track for the Canadian Pacific Railway had been finished. All 6 miles. All in a day’s work. This championing was the work of champions, namely, the Ryan brothers, both world class spikers. Big Jack, a gargantuan Swede could pound a spike with just two blows, half the amount of any other spiker. He could also handle the entire 560 pounds of an iron rail track and lift it onto a flat rail car. Pierre Berton records a crew of 130 men in fourteen hours laid the 604 tons of rail on sixteen thousand wooden ties bound by 565 bolts and 63,000 spikes. Eight would unload the wooden ties, four would space them, two would distance them, and two more arranged them precisely in front of the spikers. Twelve men then unloaded the rails, twelve more hauled them to the front, and ten men would then swing the rails onto the ties. Fifteen men would then fasten the bolts, followed by thirty-two spikers and four spike peddlers. Berton records, “The lead and gauge spiker each drove 2,120 spikes, averaging four blows to a spike, which meant that in fourteen hours they each delivered an average of eighty-four hundred blows with a sledge hammer.”

It was 6 mile undertakings like Big Jack’s which led the CPR to “Span the World” with its parallel tracks. The rail line would later be heralded as the iron thread which held the nation together. Parallels are a powerful thing, both for trains of rail and trains of thought. The Apostle Paul laid down a parallel track over 6 verses in Ephesians which would span the entirety of human experience and hold the family, church, and state together. Like a railway track, a grammatical parallel involves two lines. Being in parallel, one naturally and logically, relates to the other. What can be observed of the one can consequential be observed of the other. In this famous parallel we see on the one line Christ’s headship over his bride the church corresponding with the line of a husband’s headship over his wife. This line of a husband’s headship has been claimed back and championed forward by many family oriented Christians today. Like Big Jack, us patriarchal, hierarchical families have laboured hard in building this iron thread of headship for our households and culture. But in the process have we forgotten the other track in this parallel, and are we in danger of derailment?

REALIGNMENT OR DERAILMENT

As heads of our households we can read Ephesians 5 and what is says with regards to our wives’ submission, but miss what it commands for our own. We see ourselves so clearly in the one parallel of Ephesians as the head of our brides, but do we miss that in the other side of the parallel we are the bride? How can we claim our own headship if we do not recognize the other Head from which we derive our position? How can we consistently call wives to submit to their head when we do not submit to our own? Are we patriarchs in the home but feminists at church? We must examine to see if how we have rebuilt Paul’s track in Ephesians 5 is due for realignment lest we are due for derailment.

COVENANTAL HEADSHIP

The first reality to come to terms with is that of headship. If by “headship” you imagine “boss” you are far, far off. Paul does not say that Christ is boss of His church or master of His bride. Such a picture is foreign thinking to the attributes of Christ. Rather, He is called the “Head.” The term “Head” is a covenantal term. In Scripture we see two covenantal heads, Adam and Christ. You are in covenant with either one or the other. By conception, as his posterity, we are in a covenant relation with our earthly father Adam.  He is our federal head as we are in league with him. When he sinned in the garden, he did so covenantally. That is, representing all mankind, and representing them accurately. We cannot plead his sin as being misrepresentative of us. So the entirety of the human race sinned in our accurate contract, party, league, and covenant representative head, Adam. Yet there is another and better head, namely Christ. As the sin of the first Adam condemned us, so the obedience of the second Adam redeemed us. Christ is the federal representative of those who are in party, league and covenant with him by sovereign grace. This means that headship in a marriage is covenantal headship. As we were one with Adam, as we are now one with Christ, the wife is one with her husband. This covenantal representation is so real, so accurate, so living, and so organic that Paul analogizes it with the human body. There is a sense in that both the head and the body are so vitally, organically, and essentially connected as one that you cannot tell where the body ends and the head begins. This is why any individualistic notion when it comes to the covenant relation with Adam and Christ is untenable. Equally so in marriage. The two shall become one. One federally. One covenantally. One representationally. One organically. One legally.

MARRIAGE COVENANT

This concept was historically reflected in society with the English Common Law doctrine of Coverture. Coverture was where “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing… and her condition during marriage is called her coverture.” This is an accurate legal picture of what headship entails. Our personal existence is suspended, incorporated, and consolidated into Adam as his earthly prodigy or into Christ as his redeemed bride. We are under their wing, protection, cover, and headship. There is no room for the individualistic notion that we are independent of such protection or cover of wing. As we are all familiar with, in Common Law Coverture a woman could not hold property or assets. Blackstone explains, “For this reason, a man cannot grant any thing to his wife, or enter into covenant with her: for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself.” What a beautiful picture of headship and the organic union of a covenant. A wife’s personal status is suspended, incorporated and consolidated into her husband. So too the believer’s personal status is suspended, incorporated, and consolidated into the bride of Christ. In marriage, this reality eliminates the blame game as Adam attempted to do after the fall. The moment the husband starts to blame the wife he begins to think of them as two, separate individuals whereas they are one flesh. A husband blaming the wife should be just as impossible an image as a head seeking to bite off its own body. So when we regard this organic union of head and body as one individual holding “bosship” over another it is sheer foolishness because such a view necessitates the notion of two individual, separate persons. Whereas there is only one. We must get clear of all such individualistic thinking with regards to headship and coverture in the marriage covenant.

CHURCH COVERTURE

But when we do hold such an individualistic view as we tend with regards to the marriage relationship it is no wonder we can think in such individualistic terms when it comes to the church relationship. Again, these things are in parallel one to the other. As we have seen, there is no room in covenantal headship and covenantal coverture for individualistic thinking patterns. Christ is not your head if you are not in coverture as and with His bride.  How can we uphold a woman’s coverture in the home when we deny our own in the church? What are our wives to think when we refuse to suspend our personal existence and incorporate and consolidate ourselves into the marriage union of the church with Christ? It would be fallacious for a bride to refuse to suspend her status and incorporate herself into the marriage union as the body. How is it any less ludicrous (Or feminist for that matter) when a Christian family refuses being incorporated into the marriage union of Christ, in which they are the body? Christ is the federal head of the Church. The church is the universal body of believers. The universal body of believers is made up of many local bodies of believers. Consequentially, Christ is not your head if you are not incorporated into a local body of believers. You are not part of the church universal if you are not part of the church local. Again, there is no room in this covenant relation for individualistic tendency. There is no room for it in the marriage relationship or the church relationship. The two must be aligned in parallel or derailment is impending.

SUBMISSION

Having established our personal status being necessarily suspended and incorporated into the marriage union of Christ, in which we are the body, we may proceed to examine our duties in such relation. The first duty is submission. We submit as we recognize ourselves in the body of Christ, just as wives submit when they recognize themselves in Coverture. In Ephesians 5 “submission” is synonymous with “subject”. It could read, “Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, subject yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord.” We are definitionally, subjects of Christ, subjects of the Church. So Church coverture is practically realized when we submit ourselves as subjects to the local body of Christ. In such a sense, the Church is the congregation of Christ’s subjects. Such subjection is in itself both a rejection of our independence and recognition of our covenant incorporation into the body. You cannot recognize the head if you do not first recognize the body. Though we be patriarchs at home, anything less in the church is a sheer declaration of covenantal feminism.
SUBJECTION OF REVERENCE

Puritan William Gauge identifies the proper submission of inferiors to their superiors as being a subjection of reverence. The sufficient means of which is entailed in testifying by speech, gesture, obeisance, action, or ready obeying of their commandment the eminence and superiority in them whom they revere. Wives submit to their husbands when they recognize themselves as inferiors and voluntarily testify the eminence in their superiors in such a manner. Patriarch’s likewise model this submission in parallel when they recognize their households as inferiors and voluntarily testify the eminence in the superior household of God. “Remember them which have the oversight of you, which have declared unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering what hath been the end of their conversation.” Hebrews 13:7. “Obey them that have the oversight of you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give accounts, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17. The suitable manner of this submission of reverence is in meekness. “To necessary subjection, must voluntary subjection be added.” The effectual cause of this submission’s means and manner is to be the filial fear of the Lord. Wives are not to submit to their husband with ultimately their own self-gratification in view, nor their husband’s praise, but in a careful endeavour to please God. Likewise, we subject ourselves to the body of Christ with no view to ourselves or others, but because it pleases our Father and we fear him. A wife or church body’s subjection of reverence to their respective superiors is not conditioned upon anything other than this. We would call a women who refused to subject herself to her coverture a feminist. Though we be patriarchs in the home what are we then if we refuse our Church coverture? We make the bride of Christ a feminist. As William Gouge puts it, “Let this duty of submission be first well learned, and then all other duties will be better performed.”

COVENANTAL LOVE

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it.” Outside of covenantal thinking we may regard this passage to mean that Christ loved the Church “lots” and husbands ought do the same. Wilson observes, “What it means is that husbands should love their wives federally, the way Christ loved the Church.” How did Christ love the Church? By giving himself for it. By covering it. By offering to her His “wing, protection, and cover.”  A federal love free of all individualism. Indeed headship and coverture are inescapable realities despite any of our individualistic misconceptions. The choice is between being a good federal head or a poor one. The tenant is not that all federal headships are good, but that all federal headships are necessary. As husbands we can model Adam’s blame game headship or Christ’s loving headship. Christ sacrificed for things He didn’t do, so husbands should be willing to do the same for their wives. As federal head the husband takes responsibility for the state of his marriage as Christ presumes responsibility for the state of his. Just as the husband assumes responsibility so therefore the wife can assume the privileges of marriage. That she receives his provident care for her name, soul, goods, and body. This is embodied in the subjection of service common to all Christians, even superiors to inferiors. Gauge defines, “Subjection of service is that whereby one in his place is ready to do what good he can to another.” The manner is also in meekness and motive is the filial fear of God. This subjection of service is to be paralleled in Church leadership to the body. “The Elders which are among you, I beseech which am also an Elder… Feed the flock of God, which dependeth upon you, caring for it not by constraint, but willingly: not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: Not as though ye were Lords over God’s heritage, but that ye may be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive an incorruptible corn of glory.” Again we see that “headship” is not “bosship” “as though ye were Lords over God’s heritage”.  Our subjection of service as husbands or church leadership is not conditioned by the subjection of reverence we receive from our wives or church body. It is conditioned by the constant fear of God. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” If Christ conditioned his submission of service based upon what he received from us there would be no bride, no church.

SANCTIFY & CLEANSE

Subjection of reverence from inferiors engenders subjection of service from superiors and likewise subjection of service from superiors engenders subjection of reverence from inferiors. Although neither party conditions their respective subjection upon what they do or do not receive from the other. Again, such a reaction would be highly individualistic, the hand attempting to decapitate the head or the head trying to snap at the hand. “For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourished and cherisheth it, even as the Lord doth the Church.” The process of this unconditional subjection is purely sanctifying. Consequently, the Church is the dominant place where Christ’s sanctification and cleaning occur. Do not mistake me to mean exclusively within the confines of the building or limitations of the worship service duration. But rather to indicate the intimate, organic, life lived out in the body of believers as the powerhouse of purification. The Church is Christ’s institution for sanctification.  We ought therefore to subject ourselves to its coverture. So too marriage parallels this reality. One of the greatest helps of sanctification is the institution of marriage where two sinners are made one flesh. One sinner in headship and the other in coverture. Both within the Church body and marriage union a due measure of pain will come with this sanctification. But when done in the fear of God it will be effectuated without strain.

COMMANDED TO OUR WEAKNESS

Scripture always commands to our weaknesses. When Scripture commands husbands to love their wives, it is because they are by tendency  weak in doing so. Likewise, when Scripture commands wives to submit reverence to their husbands it is because they are generally weak in doing so.

COVENENTAL NOT CONDITIONAL

Because husbands tend to be harsh to their wives love is pressed upon them to prevent abusing their authority. Such authority without being tempered by love would become a tyranny. Paul goes out of his way to qualify a covenantal love rules out such harshness. We read in Colossians 3 “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter unto them.” This love is neither harsh or inconsiderate. Peter in chorus with Paul exhorts, “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them as men of knowledge, giving honour unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, even as they which are heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not interrupted.” The Lord will not hear their prayers because He holds husbands responsible.  Husbands carry the principle charge, they shall give an account for that which is amiss, the blame lies upon them. Such is the nature of federal headship and a wife’s coverture. The Lord will not hear our prayers, but if we are in such a state of harshness it is more than likely we are not praying much in the first place. Rather than taking the state of their union to God they pour it on their wives who may have reason to say with the poet.

“Oft did I well, and that hear I never:

Once did I ill, and that hear I ever.”

Furthermore, love according to knowledge is both inward, with regards to his opinion of her, and outward, with regards to his affection toward her. Again, love from the head to the body is a covenantal love, not a conditional love. As Gauge observes, “No duty on the husband’s part can rightly be performed except it be seasoned with love.” So Paul in the first place commends and commands a husband’s love just as Christ first manifested his love. Husband’s initiate as Christ initiated. Nothing will engender and quicken the spirit of a wife to think her reverence be not in vain than this. Notwithstanding, heads are not to do so with a primary view to their self gratification, but to their body’s ultimate glorification. This is the Gospel in marriage. This is also why any failure in undertaking marriage is a failure in understanding the Gospel. Our covenant union is modelled after the union in the Gospel. The same parallel can be seen in the church where love is exhorted to prevent the abuse of church authority. A love too that is covenantal and not conditional. Just as the Lord will not hear our prayers if there is discord in the home, so He will not hear our prayers when their is discord amongst the brethren. Mark 11. It is motivated by the Gospel in the glory of Christ being fully realized in us. It is mannered according to the Gospel in meekness. It’s means is the Gospel in the covenant love of Christ. Both the undertaking of the institutions of church and marriage stand and fall on our understanding of the Gospel.

PSEUDO-SUBMISSION

The wife is called to be a help-meet to their husbands, not a help-meet to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit requires no aid in convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Whereas God is the holy comforter who reproves us, wives can be unholy confronters who reproach us. Hence Paul commands wives to their weakness of disrespect. They tend to desire a reception of unconditional love while they owe their respect conditionally. This is pseudo-submission. Submitting to their husbands in areas they deem subjection fit to their husbands. But it can hardly be called submission when no subjection is ever involved. Just as a husbands love is to be in inward opinion and outward affection so the submission of a wife is to be harmoniously both inward and outward. If there be no inward respect in the first place any outward reverence which proceeds is very unfounded. Her inward reverence consists in the respect she has for her husband. Her outward reverence consists in her gesture and speech towards him. I find an inverse reality that the bigger the patriarch’s beard, the less submission in the Church. Likewise, the bigger a woman’s head covering, the less submission in the home. Along with this pseudo-submission  comes a hurtfulness when unconditional respect and a disposition of benevolence is called upon from them. Wilson also notes, “While men tend to harsh bitterness, women tend to hurt bitterness. In the emotional realm, women bruise easily. Some have concluded from this, falsely, that women have a right to any offence… [But] It is as much a sin to be offended as it is to offend.” Again there is a parallel here for the church body. The bride of Christ tends to the same weaknesses as our earthy brides. We expect unconditional service from the church but condition our respect to it. We are easily offended. We do not respect it. We do not subject ourselves to it. But the failure of the bride and bride of Christ to submit spawns from a failure to understand the Gospel rightly. Brides are to subject themselves because of God’s ordained creation order. Submission starts with this declaration and recognition of this creative order.  The the saintliness or sinfulness of a husband do not deprive him of the order God has placed him in as superior. “Though an husband in regard of evil qualities may carry the image of the devil, yet in regards his place and office he beareth the Image of God.” William Gauge. Likewise, the state of her husband as saint or sinner does not move her from her position as inferior by God’s creation order. “Likewise let the wives be subject to their husbands, that even they which obey not the word, may without the word be won by the conversation of their wives. While they behold your pure conversation which is with fear… For even after this manner in time past did the holy women, which trusted in God, tire themselves, and were subject to their husbands.”What is the motive of such tiresome subjection? The Gospel. If you lack motive, you lack the Gospel. Again, marriage is the primary institution for sanctification. If you have an easy marriage, praise God, he has given it for your best sanctification. Have you a difficult marriage? Praise God, he has given it for your best sanctification. He has given it to purify your conversation. He has given it that he may perfect the fear of God in you to surpass any other regard you may have. Similarly, the Church is the primary institution of sanctification. We are necessarily subjects of it in God’s creation order. If you have been placed in a easy church, praise God, as it is best for your sanctification. If you have been placed in a difficult church, praise God, as it too is best for your sanctification. “Finally, be ye all of one mind: one suffer with another: love as brethren: be pitiful, be courteous.” “Notwithstanding blessed are ye, if ye suffer for righteousness; sake. Yea, fear not their fear, neither be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” Submission for the subjects of Christ to the local body is not optional. Any notion of such is feministic. We must purge all individualistic ideals and feministic tendencies from our respect for the local church.

CONCLUSION

So have we rebuilt the track of these six verses in perfect parallel to each other or is there some realignment needed? Is the track in direct following of the Gospel or does it bend to our self-gratification and conditions? Wives do we recognize ourselves as inferiors to our husbands? Households do we recognize ourselves as inferiors to the Household of God? Husbands do we initiate and model Christ’s covenantal love, his federal coverture? Church leaders, is your authority tempered by this love? Husbands and wives are you so intimately and organically one as head and body? Brethren is Christ your head? Is the Church your body? Do we all this in view of living out the Gospel or living out our selfish desires? Let us not be patriarchs to the home but feminists to the church.

The Covenant of Life

Dominion ManQ. 20 (Q. 12 in the Shorter Catechism): What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created? 

A.: The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the Sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. 

INTRODUCTION

It is my impossible task today to give complete justice to and glorification of God’s providence. Despite my utter inability to fulfill such demands, I hope give at least some inspiration today with the Words of God on his most holy, wise, and powerful special acts of providence towards us. Providence, as I concluded with my last message, should imbue us with an awareness of our independent worth in the eyes of God. True understanding of Providence, an understanding which bridges the gap of the acknowledgments of our mind with the affections of our heart, will demystify and clarify the purposes God has summoned us toward. Providence will both encourage and edify the disposition of our mind and the deportment of our actions in the Christian life. The Christian therefore ought to always recall God’s providential acts, that they might preserve themselves from the grumbling and murmuring spirit we read of in Exodus of the forgetful nation of Israel. Providence gives us mastery over that melancholic angst which, if not fought, would otherwise keep us laid up in the slough of despond. So today we review the first and a foremost special act of God’s providence, The Covenant of Life. God gloriously revealed this gracious act with our first father and representative, Adam in Genesis 2. Within this first covenant, God establishes five institutions which are central to the development of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

INSTITUTION OF PROPERTY

The first institution established by God was that of private-property. “Placing him in paradise… putting the creatures under his domain.” Christians today, influenced by neoplatonic dualism, have often mistakenly disowned the material as a “fleshly” form of bondage to the spiritual man. This is far from the original intent of God who by his exclusive and active role in creating all things physical imbued within them His signature of worth, beauty, and significance. Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that therein is; the world and they that dwell therein.” God’s first special act of providence was to establish physical property, together with its commodities, provisions and fruits, flora and fauna, as the instrument man would utilize to fulfill the Covenant of Life. Property was given as the infrastructure of Christendom, the implement of dominion, and the milieu for the accomplishment of the Covenant. “Then the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, that he might dress it, and keep it.” “Let us make man in our image according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the heaven, and over the beasts, and over all the earth, and over everything that crept and moveth on the earth.” We read also “The heavens, even the heavens are the Lord’s: but he hath given the earth to the sons of men.” Ps. 115:16.

INSTITUTION OF WORK

The second institution of God by his decree and example in the Covenant of Life was work.   “Appointing him to dress it.” Work in a much neglected sense, is God-like. Because God directed this precedent by His own working in the acts of creation and providence. Furthermore distinguished by his subsequent rest from work. In addition to being instituted by way of precedent, it is also established by way of command to, “dress it, and keep it.” In this sense we must be earthly minded to be of any heavenly good. We were created as stewards of creation, trustee’s of God’s property, representative servants of our master. Contrary to popular opinion, work, specifically physical labour, is a blessing instituted in the pre-fall garden and not a curse of the post-fall. We deceive ourselves when we consider the mundane, physical labor of a “blue-collar” job to be far beneath the grand and glorious enterprise of the dominion mandate. Contrarily, the dominion mandate, the garden of Eden, and the Covenant of Life, ascribe nobility and dignity to the accomplishments of the manual labourer, the blue-collar worker, and the average layman. There is no greater substantiation to the principle of the dignity of manual work than in God’s own selection for Adam’s vocation, namely, agriculture. Of all the vocations, callings, tasks, and accomplishments which God could easily ask of Adam, the prevailing, pertinent, and positive venture He required was that which is the most elementary, laborious, and average to our human experience. Consider just for a moment the unbelievable precedent the Creator of the Universe established in appointing the representative of humanity to the position of field labourer. Consider for a moment the incalculable worth and preeminence that manual labor has been endowed with by such a decree. Then rejoice and look at your own callous hands, and reconsider just how much pride and joy you have every right to claim in your glorious vocation. The whole tenor of Scripture, with its examples, its hero’s, and its exhortations are not given to the aristocratic, the fortuned, the noble, the mighty, but given to the lunchpail worker. God has and does build economies, nations, Christ’s own family line, Christ’s own vocation, and societies from that same manly labor, that intelligent labor, and that independent labor of our forefather Adam. Manual work is dominion work. E.C. Wines notes the effect of the centrality of manual, agricultural labour in Hebrew society, “It is the nurse of the human rase… It is the nurse of health, industry, temperance, cheerfulness and frugality; of simple manners and pure morals; of patriotism and domestic virtues; and, above all, of that sturdy independence, without which a man is not a man, but a mere slave… In a word, this great business, the cultivation of the earth, lies, so far as any branch of human industry can be said to lie, at the foundation of all that is important and valuable in civil society.” Thus it is by work, productivity, procreativity, and dominion that the totality of a man’s life reflects the likeness of God’s ultimate work, creation, and sovereignty.

INSTITUTION OF PATRIARCHY

“Then the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, that he might dress it, and keep it.” The institution of dominion work was inherited by the institution of the godly patriarch to which all the men here today are a part of, and at some point us sons as well. We have received, or will receive, a noble and high calling. By nature we all have this dominion passion, this dominion orientation. But if you are as myself, you wonder how being just an average layman in the church and a lunchpail worker in society can amount to anything in the scope of the dominion mandate. This doubt is only reinforced when we hear of great, historic men in the church and in nations who changed the course of history for the glory of God and are are only left with a profound sense of smallness, maybe emptiness or even futility in our own lives. Unfortunately, men have been confused about the inherent worth of their calling in life by the Roman Catholic influence of dualism. Where the sacred and the secular are placed in opposition one to another and you are left either with selecting a sacred vocation in life or a secular vocation in life. Furthermore we are wrongly informed that in order to be a part of the dominion work our professions have to be validated by the appropriate authorities. We have to be validated by the church bishopric if we are to pursue a sacred vocation. Or we have to be validated by the government bureaucracy of schooling institutions to rightly pursue a secular calling. This marginalizes a vast majority of Christian men with neither church or state validation and who know not whether to pursue a secular or sacred calling. Who are now discouraged from labouring in the church and in the nation due to this artificial distinction. The great doctrine from the Reformation of the priesthood of all believers shattered these myths. We can now boldly declare because of the priesthood of all believers that all men, noble or peasantry, are peers in Christ. All men can join the dominion work and serve God and serve him honourably in their professions. The success of the institution of patriarchal manhood pivots upon the right understanding of the institution of dominion work. Dominion men conduct dominion work in primarily four areas as Geoffrey Botkin acutely observes. Firstly, dominion men are family men. They are managers either their inherited or personally pioneered family estates of physical and spiritual capital for their future multi-generational succession to enlarge upon. Dominion men are also churchmen of militant, Kingdom oriented local churches. None are devoid of responsibility within the church as they are either to be officers in it or bold supporters of her officers through prayer and active service. Dominion men are thirdly statesmen who start in their community. They are nation builders who reconstruct godly order in their communities starting in the home, to the church, to the community, to the community of nations. Dominion men, lastly, are businessmen. Stewarding and enlarging every physical and spiritual asset which makes the dominion work possible. They are business resource developers and service providers to a free economy. The average man who seeks first the Kingdom simultaneously in these four areas will advance the dominion of Christ. These spheres are small and limited but they are monumental in transforming nations. Greatness does not constitute a dominion man, rather a dominion man is what constitutes true greatness.

INSTITUTION OF THE MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY

The centrality of the patriarchal, multi-generational family within the dominion work is a theological fact with an eschatological framework. “Be fruitful and multiply.” In God’s Kingdom the first shall be last and the last shall be first. First in God’s dream-job list, and last in human consideration, is manual labour. Similarly, first in God’s government authority, and last in human tendency, is the family unit. Church, state, and self-government are indeed additional establishments in Scripture, but none so central as the basic family unit. God bestowed the high calling of the dominion mandate and bequeathed property with its social power and material provision to Adam and his family. By way of precedent, God has thus established the family and its future succeeding generations, not the church or state, as the primary institution responsible for the work of dominion. This established the family in two areas. Firstly it established the family, not individuals or social classes, as the basic unit of social government. As dominion labouring families our first and foremost mandate is a family government of holiness. Without holiness we cannot accomplish our covenant job. Similarly, without pursuing our covenant job, holiness cannot be fulfilled in our families. Dominion thus means holiness, and holiness in return means dominion. The dominion family is a holy family, you cannot have one without the other. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be ministered unto you.”  Secondly, the family was also not only established as the centre of government, but as the centre of industry, the basic economic unit. Family estate provided the family with power to govern society in holiness and provided the family with material provisions to invest in dominion. Wealth and gain were to be cultivated from the land and retained in the family estate and improved upon by succeeding family generations. This God designed centralization of power and property in the family is the highest safeguard to tyranny and the greatest asset to the dominion work. The average family who is seeking first the Kingdom in the areas of family holiness and family estate and family enterprise can and will extend the crown rights of King Jesus. Godly families command the future as they command the children, estate, enterprises, inheritance, welfare, and education in their homes. Our families may be little things but they are colossal in transforming nations. It was not to aristocratic associations, nor to political societies, nor to corporate boards, nor even to church elders that was given the trusteeship of God’s earthly property or the responsibility of building a godly society on earth, it was the family. We will lead empty houses and abandoned estates and dwindling generations if we fail to recapture this responsibility. It will require us critically rethinking all areas of life and thought from this perspective. Geoffrey Botkin so beautifully stated, “The home is the incubator of Christendom, the engine of renewal and reformation, the centre of dominion and warfare, a powerhouse of discipleship, ministry, and evangelism.”  When parents are shortsighted in this, and forget the centrality of the family in God’s society, the duties of the family in godly work and generational fruitfulness, and the future of the family in rebuilding culture we rob our children of purpose, our communities from blessing, ourselves from joy, and God from glory.

INSTITUTION OF FEMININITY & MARRIAGE

“And ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself.” Another institution of God’s special providence is the marriage between the patriarch and his help-meet. “It is not good that the man should be himself alone: I will make him an help meet for him.” The very reason for the establishment of this institution and the foremost quality of it has been forgotten in the main. Marriage and femininity were founded upon the exact same objective as patriarchy and that is namely, work. Marriage was created for work. Femininity was designed for work. As much as Adam, our representative patriarch, received the noble calling of dominion labor, so too was Eve’s high calling to help assist him to this very end. Contrary to our Jane-Austen-like perception of femininity, Eve was not created just as a decorative ornament of beauty in the garden, nor as an idle accessory to Adam’s lifestyle, nor as an adornment of life accomplishment for Adam. In our day where the greatness of femininity is evaluated based upon how greatly removed a woman is from manual labour it is difficult to recognize that God’s design for femininity was the very manual labour which it so despises today. Inour culture, depictions of the great-age-of-femininity during the Victorian period in shows such as Road to Avonlea, Pride & Prejudice,  Mr. Selfridge, or Dowton Abbey present to us a state of womanhood that was characterized by being objects of delicacy, household ornaments of daintiness, practically useless, economically burdensome, and humorously unhelpful to a man’s work. Sure, we celebrate the notion that they were stay-at-home mothers and daughters but we are completely oblivious to their absolutely deplorable way of living, or better stated lack of living, in the home. Historian Frank Dawes writes of femininity in the Victorian era, “Women of the Victorian and Edwardian middle classes regarded a life of complete idleness as being essential to maintaining their position in life. If they put a piece of coal on the fire, lifted a duster or answered a doorbell, they were ‘letting their husbands down.’ Or worse, depriving a needy person of employment. So, during the Great Age of Servants, a whole class of women was reared that was incapable of performing even the simplest domestic services for itself. These gentle mistresses never had to make a pot of tea, wash a cup, darn a sock, post a letter, or even brush their own hair.” Obviously we do not live to such a extreme degree, but nonetheless we can have a misguided tendency to be attracted and even aspire to such an idealized feminine deportment. We may even begin to despise or devalue our own manual work in the family, home, and estate. We may begin to instead hold our past-times as more woman-like than our times of productivity. In the Biblical Hebrew society where femininity was defined by its industriousness and gain, fathers received monetary payment for their daughter’s hands in marriage from the suitor. This was a fair and understandable recognition of a daughter’s economic profitability in the family unit and just compensation for taking her away. This Biblical principle was foisted on its petard during the Victorian era where fathers now had to pay suitors to take their daughter’s hands in marriage. The moral of the story is this, when women are of no economic value because they do not participate in the dominion work of the family you can’t even give them away, literally. In Biblical femininity there is no distinction between stay-at-home and work or between the home and the workplace. Because in the family economy work and the workplace is within the home. By home I mean more than the walls of a residence, I mean within the family enterprise whenever that work may be conducted geographically. As you may begin to see, all of these institutions created as a special act of God’s providence are homogeneously tied together. The institution of marriage and femininity was created as an integral advantage to the institution of patriarchy, the fruit of which is the institution of the multi-generational family to whom was given the institution of property that the institution of dominion work could be fulfilled. If femininity is segregated or isolated from the institution of work or the institution of the family or any of the other institutions, or vice versa, the covenant falls apart and these institutions are destroyed.

PRESENT STATUS OF THE COVENANT OF LIFE

While a covenant by nature is eternal, there are elements obviously of this covenant which have changed as we are all well aware of. Firstly, the human race is no longer on probation. Our  first father and representative Adam broke the “Condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge” by   eating “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death.” However there are elements an institutions of this covenant which remain and our binding upon us today. Obviously marriage, patriarchy, property, family, and dominion work were not abrogated by the fall. Furthermore that intimate communion with God which our forefather Adam experienced still remains for those who live in terms of the Covenant of Life. As a matter of fact the terms of the Covenant of Life are still in existence to this day of “personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience.” The pledge of this covenant, the tree of life, also still exists awaiting the covenant keepers. But as we are all painfully aware, we broke the covenant and destroyed the institutions in Adam. While the pledge, the blessings, and the benefits of the covenant remain we cannot attain to them for our transgressions and the transgressions of our First Adam. However, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by that obedience of that one, shall many also be made righteous.” God executed yet another special act of providence in the representative, mediator of Jesus Christ to restore us from the position of covenant-breakers to covenant-keepers. Once again we are re-established in the work of godly dominion. Once again we have the responsibility to resume the mandate given to Adam to subdue the earth to the glory of God. At the Lord’s Table today let us remember our restoration to covenant keeping, our receiving the benefits of the covenant, our duty to restore the institutions of the covenant, and how Christ has won this for us to His glory.