In my own marriage of twenty-five years, I see these principles at work regularly. My wife and I are both believers. We are both seeking God's glory. We desire to see our children come to saving faith in Christ. Over the years, we have grown up together as adults. We have grown closer as mates. We are growing old together as friends.

In the context of this union, I am the leader. My wife trusts my lead. She follows my lead. She does so not just because she has to but because she wants to. She trusts me implicitly. Because of our common bond, as I lead, she does not merely follow. She walks alongside because we share one God and one life.

Does this biblical paradigm always work out perfectly in our world? Of course not. Even Christians struggle with sin. Our selfishness all too often outweighs our selflessness. However, the present reality of sin does not negate or undermine the biblical injunctions concerning gender roles in the home. Instead, we are to submit joyfully to God's will, pursue God's ideal, and obey God's commands. The issue is spiritual not just practical. Husbands are to lead lovingly. Wives are to submit respectfully (Eph 5:33). Because Christians are to obey willingly (John 14:1

December 8, 2009

Peter Beck serves as assistant professor of religion at Charleston Southern University where he teaches church history and theology. While serving as senior pastor in Louisville, Ky., he completed his PhD in historic theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation, The Voice of Faith: Jonathan Edwards's Theology of Prayer, is soon to be published. He, his wife Melanie, and their two kids, Alex (12) and Karis (7), live near Charleston, SC. Peter's goal for his teaching and writing ministries is "love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5).