A new look at an old view on marriage is stirring up controversy at a church in the UK.
A curate at St Nicholas Church in Sevenoaks, Kent told parishioners that modern women are to be blamed for today’s divorce rates and failed marriages.
Curate Mark Oden, who is from Scotland, told church members that wives need to submit to their husbands in order to fix the problem with divorce.
The vicar of this particular church is a man named Angus MacLeay who has spoken out publically against women clergy and women having any position of power in the church. He is a leader of a group called Reform, which seeks old-fashioned change in the church.
Both Oden and MacLeay says that their views do not mean that they believe that women are not equal to men but that the Bible says that women should be silent and submit.
Several women in the congregation were very upset by Mark Oden’s sermon and say they will not come back to that church. They believe that the church should recognize women as leaders in faith and at home.
Angus MacLeay says simply that sometimes the Bible is in opposition to modern society. He believes that the role of women is one of those issues. He also adds that husbands should love their wives.
The Southern Baptist church in the United States has had trouble with the same issue. Several years ago leaders of the Southern Baptist church wrote that one of the church’s beliefs is that wives be submissive to their husbands.
The Catholic church still does not allow women to be priests, but most churches now have women clergy and allow women to have leadership roles within the church.
In the meantime, conservative women can get a degree in homemaking at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Most of the women enrolled in the program are wives of men who are studying to be pastors. The wives learn how to cook, sew and raise children while their husbands study theology. The wives are also educated in their role within the family.
The divide between churches widens as some churches move toward equality in the genders and others promote the wife as submissive in a Christian marriage.