Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman
Stolen Bride of
by Janice R Swinton
by Janice R Swinton
Women are twice imprisoned - in their marriages and in the church. Jesus came to set the captives FREE - and wants to rescue the other half of His bride (women) from the bondage of male domination and oppression.
The Bride of Christ (Spiritual Body of Christ)
The Bride of Christ or Body of Christ is made up of single unmarried men and women; married men and women; children and the elderly; divorced and widowed; in other words people from all stations of life collectively make up His Bride, male and female. As Scriptures say,"a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united as one. This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So, again, I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (Ephesians 5:31-33). The church or the Body of Christ must submit to Christ Jesus in everything, and we must respect and reverence Christ as the Head of His Body, the Bride. The Bride is not all married people, it has single women and men, therefore, Jesus is saying that as His Bride we are all ONE with Him, regardless of married or not; individual parts all making one whole body. He uses the illustration of marriage to demonstrate how marriage should be like Christ and the Church.
We are all the Bride of Christ. And further we are told to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. “The members of the Body of Christ as submitted to Christ the Head of the Body are also told to submit to each other as spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ” (Ephesians 5:1).
The Bride in Ephesians 5:22 we read “For wives, this means submit to your husband as to the Lord". “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the Head of the church. He is the Savior of the Body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husband in everything.”
(In everything means the husband is acting Godly and imitating Jesus to His Bride.)
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s Word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. Men who do not love themselves cannot love their wives and children; these wives and children are usually abused and mistreated.
1. The Church Submits to Christ. Christ is the head of church – His body. His bride has been hijacked by male dominating leadership that refuses to acknowledge God’s Word that declares believing men, women and children are all equally members of the Body of Christ; and collectively we are His Bride. It is spiritual adultery because they have no right to rule over what belongs to Christ Jesus - His bride.
2. Christ died for us [men and women] not just fleshly men. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile us back to the Father. We are his offering up to the Father a glorious church without spot or blemish; just as in the physical realm husbands are to sacrifice and love their wives and children.
3. The Body is the Bride which includes all believers, male or female, Jew or G reek, slave or free (Galatians 3:28). This Body the Bride includes husbands and wives, Jews and Greeks, blacks or whites, poor and wealthy, all who are also spiritual brother and sister in Christ; each have been given by Christ for the use in equipping and building of the Body.
a. In the temporal natural realm we are husband and wives for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying and reconciling people to Christ.
b. In the eternal spiritual realm we are here to build the Body of Christ and to disciple and win souls to Christ thus building up the Body of Christ, until me measure up to His standard of unity, without spot, wrinkle or blemish.
Statement of Belief: Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is the Bride – Christ heads the Church His Body, but mankind has taken the rule from Him declaring that men are the head of the church – when indeed Christ declares He is the Head of His body the Bride. Married men are the head of their wives, not all women, but only their own wives. We believe God is removing women from under the power of men and bringing them again under the Headship of Christ Jesus; we can no longer allow ourselves to become enslaved in the dogma of religion and doctrines but come under Christ headship.
THE MYSTERY OF MARRIAGE: THE BRIDE AND THE BRIDEGROOM
Marriage God’s way - not the world’s pattern is insurance for building strong foundations for families thus building a strong Church. The divorce rate among Christians is higher than that of unchristian. Why is that? Could it be because we are doing it the same way the world does it – male dominated, without natural affection for wives and children.
Christ is the head of the church and gave His life to redeem her. The Bride which is the Body of Christ is under Christ’s headship. He rules the Bride but men have tried to rule over Jesus’ Bride – His Body. It is clear that Jesus’ Bride is One Body. In earthly marriage both the wife and husband’s bodies not only become united as one sexually but the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 7:2-3, Paul states, “But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.” The true state of marriage is that this type of intimacy is expected and no one else gets to share this intimacy except the husband and his wife. Likewise, Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are His Spiritual Bride and He doesn’t share us spiritually with human men – we are One with Christ Jesus.
“Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ and join it to a prostitute? Never! And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures says, 'The two are united into one' But the person who is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT with him. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body”
(1 Corinthians 6:1-20).
After giving the church instructions on how to live and behave as the Body of Christ, he adds “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Then Paul goes on to write about Christ as the Head of the Church and husbands are the head of their wives and the mystery of the two.
The mystery is that as believers we cannot separate one from the other; the spiritual Bride from the Physical Bride; our natural marriage from our spiritual marriage with Christ; the oneness and intimacy with our mates cannot be separate from the oneness and intimacy with being One with Christ Jesus; sexual intimacy is not shameful but represents our intimacy with Christ in His Body; just as with our mates we become one with them in sexual intimacy but we do not step outside of our physical bodies for this spiritual connection; nor do we step outside of our spiritual souls for this God connection. It is a seamless union of both the Body of Christ which includes our physical bodies housing our spiritual souls, and they both are One in Him; and each of us, male and female, husband and wife are One in union and likewise One in Him as married brother and sister in Christ.
In Genesis women were cursed with “your husband will rule over you” but that curse has been reversed by the coming of Jesus and His sacrifice for our sin, beginning with the sin of disobedience that caused the entire human race to fall from grace. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law and from the fall. It is under His Blood sacrifice and paid fully by His death and resurrection. He declares that He will remember our sin no more and that they are all paid for and forgiven – not to be remembered anymore. But the church continues to hold this “men rule over women” law as if it has not been likewise paid for in all the sin of the world. Women are forgiven and the curse removed therefore we come under the rule of Christ as members of the Body of Christ. All women are not wives and do not need to be ruled over by men; just as believing women are now under the Headship of Christ. Paul gives us a different view of marriage in Ephesians by clearly defining Christ’s death and resurrection and His sacrifice to redeem us as the new pattern of marriage. Under this new covenant pattern for marriage men are called to love, die, and sacrifice their lives for their wives and families. This is contrary to what we see today and the dominating and oppressive pattern adapted by traditions of men.
Your homes should reflect the principle in Ephesians 5 husbands, like Christ, who are called to give up their lives and sacrifice all for their wives and children; in order that their bride might be offered up in glorious fashion to the Lord; loving her like his own body; not abusing, misusing and destroying a soul and spirit created by the Creator God. Our homes should represent the love described by Christ for His Bride the church. The Priesthood is one of service and devotion; the man as the Priest in his home serves and devotes himself to bringing Christ in the home by representing Christ to his family – it is a position of unselfish sacrifice for others – Jesus Christ. Husbands are not in a position of power but that of humility and servant hood. Christ demonstrated this in that even though He was God He did not use his power or authority to subjugate and oppress but rather to serve and to die for His Bride – all believers.
1. The Bride in Ephesians 5: 22 we read, “For wives, this means submit to your husband as to the Lord”. Please note that there is no other Scripture directing women to submit to anyone except her husband and to God; it doesn’t say to “submit” to all men. And, this submission has parameters – it doesn’t simply say just to submit to abuse and misuse; but the directive to husbands is to treat his wife just like Jesus Christ treats His wife, the Church – His Bride. The other place for submission in Ephesians 5:21, just as Paul is instructing the Body on how to live in the light of Christ, he also states, ending with – as believers we should “submit to one another out of reverence to Christ”. A husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the Head of the church. He is the Savior of the Body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husband in everything, likewise out of reverence to Christ. Everything means the husband is acting Godly and imitating Jesus to his bride. Ephesians 5:22
2. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
3. Husbands have to be told to love their wives and not be selfish and concerned about themselves only. It does not come natural for men to die for their families and wives, and to love them to the point of death. Men are called to the higher role of self sacrificing and death to their own desires in order that their wives can be offered up as gift to the Lord; because all the job promotions and money and all earthly possessions or worldly accolades are wood, hay and stubble in God’s economy. The only thing men can offer to God is a wife that is glorious, nourished, carefully protected and cherished – just like the Bride of Christ will be offered to God.
4. The purpose of human families is to raise up Godly offspring - children with a God - view not a world view. Christian families who allow their children to be educated by the world shouldn't expect Godly fruit because all they have been receiving has come from the world. The purpose of family is to show the world God’s way, to point other families to HIM, not to self. To raise children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord; not void of any fear of God.
5. “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker (physically) than you are, but she is (spiritually) your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
Statement of Belief: Our homes and marriages should represent the Body of Christ; they are to be physical sanctuaries that come into the larger spiritual sanctuary of the Body of Christ. Your wife is also part of the Body of Christ and His Bride, therefore, she, like you have dual purposes, the temporary natural one and the eternal spiritual one. In serving her earthly role she should not be hindered or limited from likewise fulfilling her spiritual part in the Body of Christ by exercising her spiritual gifts and using her natural talents and skills.
CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Nevertheless in the Lord Jesus, there is neither male nor female. Neither is excluded; neither is preferred before the other in his kingdom. (Source: Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)
The book of First Corinthians is filled with Paul’s response to the schisms, divisions and questionable doctrines at Corinth; many of these doctrinal issues concerned male dominated churches desiring to keep women under the law and oppressed. In First Corinthians 11 Paul addresses the issue of head coverings during public worship. The church leader’s argument was based on law and an arrogant presumption of male superiority.
1. They began laying the case stating that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthian 11:3). Scripture declares that Christ is the Head of both men and women – all the members of His Body. He is the Head of the human race not man. Man is not the head of woman but God is. Man is only the head of his wife, if he is married.
2. It continues, a man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory (1 Corinthians 11:7). (Scriptures declares in Genesis that male and females were created in the Image of God. Both reflect God’s glory – not man, because man does not have any glory – all glory belongs to God).
3. Women, apparently, because Eve came from Adam’s rib were supposed to reflect man’s glory. It continues in 1 Corinthians 11:8, for the first man didn’t come from woman but the first woman was made of man. For this reason, and because the angels (submitting women under angels?); she should wear a head covering to show she is under authority.
4. But Paul addresses the error of this premise in 1 Corinthians 11: 11, “But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman and everything comes from God.” Additionally, Jesus was also born of a woman, Mary.
5. Paul nails this premise of male superiority and authority, claiming power over women and wanting the glory for it; another proof of male domination taking positions of authority over the Bride of Christ and women, that they were not given. Christ is the Head of His Church, and He covers all of us. In 1 Corinthians 11:13-14 Paul simply refutes their argument with common sense reasoning: “Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering.” In other words, “No”, she doesn’t have to wear a head rag or covering, to come under the presumptive authority of men and angels. She belongs to God and was created in His image just like the man. Women likewise reflect God’s glory because man has no glory. All glory belongs to God and everything comes from God.
6. A woman’s hair has been given to her as a covering; she doesn’t have to wear a head covering. It was given to her before dress codes by the living God. It was considered and still is a shame for a man to wear long hair because that was the glory of women.
Statements of Belief: But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman and everything comes from God. Additionally, Jesus was also born of a woman, Mary. The Apostle Paul and John Wesley gave the same interpretation of the Spirit of God, and that is, when it comes to the Body of Christ, the church, we are all in this together. “Nevertheless in the Lord Jesus, there is neither male nor female. Neither is excluded; neither is preferred before the other in his kingdom.” (Source: Wesley’s Explanatory Notes):
WOMEN CAN SPEAK IN CHURCH
1 Corinthians 14:26-39
Again the leaders in Corinth wrote Paul concerning women speaking in church services. They wanted to silence women, silence their voice and keep them from participating in speaking in tongues and prophesying – both spiritual gifts requiring using their voices as moved by the Holy Spirit. Paul addresses the chaos and confusion of disorderly worship services with everyone speaking in tongues and outsiders thinking them crazy. He sets out clear instructions for orderly conduct so that each person can speak in tongues or prophesy in an orderly manner. In 1 Corinthians 14: 33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy People.” Then there is a quote from Corinth that he addresses because it is error:
"Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak” (1 Corinthians 14: 34). This is exclusion and controls the spiritual gifts of God based on gender only. Paul continues quoting, “They should be submissive, just as the law says.” Women are no longer under the law because the law was fulfilled in Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are no longer under the law as we could never keep it and this is bondage. In Galatians 3:10, “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s book of the Law. So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the Law.’”
In verse 36 at the end Paul again refutes and corrects this attempt to oppress and silence women based on gender not based on the distribution of gifts by the Holy Spirit alone. “What! Did the word of the Lord originate with you, or has it reached only you?” (1 Corinthians 14:36 Amplified) “Or do you think God’s word originated with you Corinthians? Are you the only ones to whom it was given? If you claim to be a prophet or think you are spiritual, you should recognize that what I am saying is a command from the Lord himself. But if you do not recognize this you yourself will not be recognized” (1 Corinthians 14: 36-38 NLT). Finally, he again nails this falsehood and states emphatically “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues. But be sure that everything is done properly and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:39 NLT).
Statement of Belief: Order was what Paul wanted to address, not an inhibition of women to use their spiritual gifts of prophesying and speaking in tongues during worship services. How can women be members of the Body of Christ, given spiritual gifts and offices but are not be allowed to use these gifts because they cannot speak? As Paul stated, and Breaking Free Ministries believes, “do not forbid women to speak.”
Women Co-Members in the Body of Christ: The Body of Christ: We Are All ONE in Christ
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
The Body of Christ is a spiritual body temporarily contained in natural bodies but not limited by these bodies. The Body of Christ collectively is everyone who has received Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior and has been sealed with the guarantee of the Holy Spirit. This Body is universal, not limited to geographic location, race, gender or nationality. Women are Co-members of the Body of Christ and are also part of the Bride of Christ. Jesus declares that we are all members of His Body, united by One Spirit and One Baptism in One God the Father, making us His Bride. The many parts of the body united with the head, makes the whole Body work and function. “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker (physically) than you are, but she is (spiritually) your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered” (First Peter 3:7).
1. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
2. The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit and we all share the same Spirit. (First Corinthians 12:12-13)
3. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. (Ephesians 4:4-5)
4. “As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband’” (Ephesians 5:31-33).
5. But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where He wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” (First Corinthians 12:18-21).
Statement of Belief: How would your home function if your wife, a vital part of the partnership and family, suddenly decides to stop working and participating in the health of the family; your family would soon fall apart because a vital part of your family has failed. Likewise in the Body of Christ, the parts that are female have been held back from full participation in the Body. God wants them to become active and vital again, so that the Bride can be preparing to receive the Bridegroom. Right now the Body of Christ is crippled because women are subjugated and oppressed. Half the Body is not functioning thus making it ineffective to do the work of the ministry.
Statement of Belief: Women are co-members of the Body of Christ, and should not been subjugated and oppressed from full and equal participation in the building and equipping of the Body of Christ. As we have read the gifts of God have no gender they are spiritual and given only by the Holy Spirit, not men, and given to help build the Body of Christ. Men have for centuries squashed the gifts of God that He gave to His daughters in order to help build His kingdom. Breaking Free Ministries believe Jesus desires to elevate women back to their rightful position in His Body and as His Bride.
GOD'S TEMPLE AND BODY IS GENDERLESS
If we are building a spiritual church then gender does not play a part. If gender were important to God, both male and female would not have been made in His image and would not be His Bride. In the natural realm a Bride traditionally speaks of a female but in God’s spiritual realm His Bride is without gender, neither male nor female, rather immaterial, invisible souls. Jesus came to save souls.