An open letter to Friends, Family, Church Family & Ministers
C. Russell Yates
I have known Russell Yates for several years as honest in business and morally upright—a man who loves truth. Since reading his book, and listening to his radio program for about a year, I am convinced that our Lord has called Russell to a prophetic ministry that is at once crucial, practical, scripturally accurate, and tragically unpopular(!). I have found him to be diligent in putting these teachings into action, and eager to discuss, explain, and accept correction regarding his scriptural interpretation.
My wife, Nancy and I are being mercifully dealt with, by our Lord in His conforming us to the marital roles He commands. In gratitude for this blessing, we pray you will take, with utmost seriousness, what the Lord has for you regarding the principles of biblical marriage that Russell presents.
With love, and for the glory of our Father,
Mark and Nancy Coppock
Jimmy Carter has left the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). His words follow: “Some of the group’s positions including the recent decisions barring women pastors and declaring that wives should `submit graciously’ to their husbands, violate the basic premises of my Christian faith . . . I personally feel the Bible says all people are equal in the eyes of God. I feel that women should play an absolutely equal role in the service of Christ in the church.” Carter’s words sound true to most people. So what’s the problem?
Today there is wholesale confusion on the meaning of “equality.” Yes, we are all equal, but we are not the same. Some people are tall. Others are short. Some are thin. Others are not so thin. Some are male. Others are female. Some have what it takes to be president, others don’t. (And I hasten to add some men make better presidents than do others.) The same God who made everyone equal also made everyone different. Hey! The Lord makes gillions [sic] of snowflakes and not one of them is the same. Yet they are all equal.
The differences between men and women radically impact our homes and society. And few of us even start to understand manhood and womanhood. I want to discuss these distinctions in the context of my own marriage and family. In many ways my stand is like that taken by Martin Luther—the issue is self-assertion as opposed to the sovereignty of God. The Bible gives the most intimate details in people’s lives, so it can’t be terribly wrong if I follow the biblical example. The marital picture I’m going to present is not a pretty one. “Like one from whom men hide their face” (Isaiah 53:3). But that’s reality. Like John the Baptist and Paul, I will boldly speak the truth in love.
As an act of obedience to the Lord, I recently separated from my wife. I’m persuaded that separation is now mandatory, and that to remain with her would be to dishonor the Lord. I want to explain from Scripture why I have done that. According to God’s design, everything depends on a relationship. Furthermore the relationship requires a hierarchy. Someone has to be in charge. The buck has to stop somewhere. You see the hierarchy everywhere—in heaven, in government, in the military, at work, and in homes. The pattern never changes.
The basic superior/subordinate model follows:
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).
In the church family and in the earthly family, the hierarchy is set up as follows: It is God, then Jesus, next comes the man, then the woman, and after that the children. God has authority over Jesus, and over every created being. The man has authority over his wife and children.
In light of 1 Corinthians 11:3 (above) I make the following statement: “When a woman has been deceived and is living in direct opposition to the revealed will of God, it is her husband’s duty to correct her.” I will now show how that plays out in Scripture. In Genesis 2:15, the Lord put Adam in charge. In Genesis 2:17, the Lord told him he was not to eat from a certain tree. In Genesis 3:6, Eve took the initiative to eat from the tree, and Adam followed her leadership. In Genesis 3:11, God called Adam on the carpet.
What did the Lord expect Adam to do? That’s right! Adam was expected to correct his wife. Today, Christian wives have bought into the notion they can share the headship role with their husband. They are living in direct opposition to the will of God, and it is our duty as men to correct them. This is where we’ve missed it—from Adam to now. Those who look to the Southern Baptists are still missing the mark. Elijah has the answer, and we’d be wise to look in the direction of Mount Carmel. I’ll explain at the end of this letter.
Now consider the flip side of the coin. A man is deceived and is living contrary to the will of God. What should his wife do? The answer is given in a single passage.
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives; (1 Peter 3:1, NAS).
Since a wife is not in authority, she is not required to correct her husband. All she has to do is submit. But. . .in today’s culture it is forbidden that a woman should obey her husband. Yet that is exactly what God requires. Every woman must decide whether she will accept God’s marital plan.
To refuse God-ordained authority is called rebellion. That’s what King Saul did, and it cost him the kingdom. He also lost his life.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Samuel 15:23).
Throughout Scripture rebellion is always dealt with severely. Lucifer rebelled and was cast down. Adam rebelled leading to the Fall. In Numbers 16, Korah rebelled. The earth opened and swallowed Korah along with his family and friends. The nation of Israel rebelled, and was scattered to the ends of the earth. When a person or nation rebels and refuses correction, the remedy is separation. It is the masculine prerogative . . .”Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly (2 Thessalonians 3:6a). That applies to wives as well as to brothers. Now let me give a little background information.
The following is from Dobson (tape CS741/8829): For every 100 marriages, 50 end in divorce, 15 separate, and 35 remain intact. Ten marriages are good ones, while 25 just stay together. These stats were said to apply to Christians and pagans alike. If you’ll add the numbers you’ll find 90 bad marriages for every 10 good ones. Also, for every ten good Christian marriages there are ten good secular ones. It looks like there’s room for improvement.
Now let’s make the application. The big deal with us Christians is the Great Commission. We are to go into all the world and make disciples of all people. We are to teach unbelievers to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Now let me ask, “If a Christian man and a Christian woman can’t build a relationship, how can they teach others to relate to Christ? HOW?”
Every Saturday morning I’m on KAGC. My program is called Family Foundation Ministry. One man said to the owner of the station, “What makes him [Yates] an authority on marriage?” I want to answer the man. He’s probably looking for some credentials—graduate of a seminary? Ordained minister? Licensed counselor? Something like that! The idea did not come from the Lord. Jesus, John the Baptist, and the apostles brought no earthly commendation—nor do I. Like them I have the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the calling. My call came on September 24, 1990. If both husband and wife will actually live according to these precepts, their marriage will prosper. Furthermore their union will model the relationship between Christ and the Church. If either of them rejects the biblical pattern, their marriage will renounce the Gospel they claim to believe.
There are two distinct models for marriage—the union and the partnership. Genesis Chapter 2 tells of God’s human creation: First He made a man, and then from the man made a woman. Then the Lord God instituted marriage:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
I have just referred to the marital union God intended. The Lord started with Adam and then made Eve. Then he united the two so they would become one flesh. (And by the way, the oneness is supposed to take place in bed.) Let me summarize: From the one He made two, and then from the two He makes one. The marital union is the biblical model that we know as traditional marriage. It is the only one approved by the Lord. In traditional marriage the man and the woman complement one another. Certain duties and responsibilities are given to the man while others are granted to the woman. Husband and wife unite to become one.
Now let me talk about the other model for marriage—the partnership. This one is endorsed by liberals, feminists, atheists, Jezebel, and men, like Jimmy Carter. The partnership idea is conventional wisdom in our day. So how did it find its way into the church? We followed the example of Israel—”that we also may be like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:20). For that reason, the “partnership” marriage is accepted by most Christians . . . If my mother said it once she said it a hundred times—”marriage is 50/50.” Sorry! I don’t care about the culture, the partnership idea is not acceptable to the Lord.
In a marital partnership, the two remain two—they never become one. The husband has no more authority than does the wife. The wife has no less responsibility than does the husband. Except for biological and cosmetic dissimilarities there is no difference between the man and the woman. Instead of complementing one another, they compete. But the woman often ends up dominating the man—she takes over. When that happens, the man is subjected to an emotional castration that makes it impossible for him to fulfill his God-given call. . . When a man is being castrated on a daily basis he can also be pretty hard to live with.
In The Abolition of Man, p.35, C.S. Lewis writes as follows:
We continue to clamor for the very qualities we are rendering impossible. . . we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
The two partners have sex, but it does not accomplish God’s intended purpose—that the two should become one. What happens in bed could best be described as “Dignified Adultery.” The marriage is recognized by the law, but it is not complete in the eyes of God. Because the two never become one, the partnership can easily be dissolved. And statistics show that two of every three Christian couples either separate or divorce . . . And by the way: In the late sixties, the church capitulated and changed the wedding ceremony. Since then, the bride no longer promises to obey her husband. By doing this, the church became party to millions of non-relationships, including my own. “The two remain two,” and apparently the church thinks it’s okay. (Are you listening, preacher?)
So what does it take to have a good marriage? I say it on the radio every week: A man should love his wife as Christ loved the Church. And a woman should obey her husband as the church obeys its Lord. Does that not sound like a tall order? Yes, the Lord sets some pretty high standards: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). You need to know something: Perfection is God’s standard. He wants us to be perfect, but He is patient. No man will ever love his wife exactly, and no woman will submit flawlessly—but that’s okay. God demands the commitment, and He requires that we put forth the effort.
I set for myself, for my employees, and the others around me the highest of standards, yet I am forgiving. I am not a hard taskmaster. I learned these things from my Father. My wife can mess up big time, but when she looks me straight in the eye, and says, “Listen buster, you have no more authority here than do I,” that’s rebellion. As the head of my house (Joshua 24:15) I am the Lord’s agent. I have the responsibility to deal with rebellion in my household—God won’t do it for me. And how do I deal with my wife’s rebellion? Just like my Father does, by separating. But even that did not come until I had spent over ten years trying to correct her.
In the marital body, the man is the head. God’s calling is always to the man . . . but he needs help. The woman was created to help the man. Husband and wife complement one another. Their one-flesh union models the relationship between Christ and the church. When the SBC issued their statement on wifely submission it caused one commentator to say the following: It’s not fair that the man should be the general and his wife should be the private. I agree, its not fair . . . Consider your own body. It’s not fair that your head gets to make all the decisions and your hands have to do all the work. Did God ever promise things would be fair?
People think “head of the house” means tyrant of the house, but I assure you the idea did not come from the Lord. Some people object that Jesus never spoke on male headship—and they’re right. Jesus left that to Peter and Paul. But the following passage addresses the issue by way of example.
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:13-15).
Please note two things from the above passage: Twice Jesus refers to himself as Master and Lord—that means boss. Jesus is the boss . . . but the boss washes feet. And what is the application for the example Jesus gave? It has to do with authority and service. First point: The husband is lord and master. Second point: The husband is to serve—just like Jesus. The man has final authority over his wife—just like Jesus has the final say in church. . . But the matter is never forced—it is always by permission. Jesus doesn’t force us to obey. He merely tells the consequences if we don’t. The following passage illustrates this:
Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me, emphasis added. (John 13:6,8).
Jesus didn’t tell Peter he had to obey. He just told him the consequences if he didn’t. Peter didn’t like the idea of separation so he obeyed.
When a couple splits, the problem is usually on the feminine side. (If I haven’t offended you by now, I probably just did, but hang in there for a moment—let me explain.) The Bible says a man is to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25) as Christ loved the church. A woman is to obey her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24) as the church obeys its Lord. That’s how thoroughly husbands and wives are to love and obey.
Now let me tell why the problem is usually on the feminine side. At this time in history it is entirely acceptable that a man should love his wife. But for a woman to obey her husband is an abomination. Just the other day a woman gave testimony to the success of their fifty-year marriage: She said, “I make him think he’s the boss.” That’s just a fancy way of not offending other women. Their marriage succeeded because they accepted God’s plan and rejected the world’s ideas.
But what about the man who is unstable, unfaithful, and refuses to honor his commitments? Again, the problem is on the feminine side. It was women who took the initiative, and demanded what they called equality. Many men took that as an opportunity to abandon their responsibilities. If a woman wants to be in charge, there’s no reason for the guy to hang around. Male/female relationships, for many, have become a hit-and-run proposition. You see it everywhere. One of my employees has lived with five different women.
I said the problem is on the feminine side—and it is—but the responsibility still lies with the man. It has to do with authority. Eve led Adam into sin, but he was held responsible. And why? The man was in charge. Eve invited Adam to step outside the will of God, and Adam accepted the invitation. Since Adam was in charge, God held him accountable. I don’t care what modern culture says, the man is still in charge because God said so. We don’t make the rules . . . Now let’s get back to my situation.
I have been married for thirty years. My wife has always espoused the partnership idea for marriage. And what is my wife doing wrong? Nothing! The problem is not in the doing, it’s in the believing. As I have said so many times, “The source of every human problem is the willingness to believe something that is not true.” Eve believed something that was not true, and then acted. My wife believes things that are not true, and continues to act on those false beliefs. Millions of Christian women believe untrue things about marriage, and live accordingly. And millions of Christian men are following the example of Adam—going along with their wives. Many of them, like Jimmy Carter, are simply confused.
Our pastor addressed the issue in private when he said, “50/50 doesn’t work.” I say that 50/50 marriage not only causes two out of three marriages to fail; it is also the driving force behind feminism and homosexuality. In his book Toward A Growing Marriage, (p.139-140) Gary Chapman writes the following:
Researchers who have studied the home life of homosexuals and lesbians have discovered that almost always the pattern is a dominant mother and a passive father.
It’s a perilous matter for Christian women to adopt the marital norms of the heathen. It is even more dangerous for Christian men to go along with their wives. If I were to go along with my wife I would be as guilty as Adam.
Eve invited Adam to step outside the will of God, and he accepted the invitation. My wife has made it clear: “If you’re going to have a relationship with me, you’re going to have to go outside the will of God.” I have declined her invitation, and instead separated. I see that as an act of obedience. Put another way, I believe the Lord will commend me for having left my wife. Is that not what Jesus meant in the following?
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26).
I am legally separating from my wife, but I am doing so in a most public way. Many people will interpret this as an unloving thing. I am only following the example set by my heavenly Father. Surely the Lord loved Lucifer, but he rebelled. God cast Satan down—prepared for him a place called hell—and then exposed him before the whole world as the eternal villain. Was that a loving thing to do? Truth and righteousness come before human sensibilities. If Satan had remained in heaven, he would have created chaos just as he has on earth. If a rebellious wife is allowed to continue, she will disrupt the home and contaminate the children. I’m telling you from experience—this is far more serious than people think.
I have been married for thirty miserable years. Finally, I’m leaving. So what took me so long? The answer is simple, I love my wife—love is a choice that I have made. Mostly I’m committed to honoring my Maker—that too is a choice. I have worked hard to persuade my wife and anyone who would listen. I wrote Restoring the Father to The Family. Then I went on the radio. But I never told my wife she had to submit—only the consequences if she didn’t. After all my effort she still boldly declares that 50/50 marriage is biblical. There’s nothing more I can do.
You’ve heard it said, “You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them,” but the first part is not necessarily true. After carefully reading Michelle Hammond’s book, The Power of Femininity, I have reached a surprising conclusion: A woman can be entirely objective as long as she fits into the order God designed. That means she puts herself under the authority of her father, her husband, or other appropriate male. Michelle has done that, and the results are glorious.
I endorse both the lady and her writing. Michelle is talented, elegant, energetic—yes brilliant. Most importantly, she is sold out to the Lord. She is a modern Proverbs 31 woman. At forty, the treasure is still unclaimed because no worthy man has stepped forward.
The Power of Femininity is powerful. Every woman should read it. Because she has the basics right, Miss Hammond is also correct when it comes to the details. Michelle agrees with Paul when it comes to Creation Order:
For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man (1 Corinthians 8-9).
The problem today is basic and foundational. Seldom does a woman see herself as having been made for her husband—even the man does not understand. That being the case, you can forget the endless counseling, Family Life Conferences, Men’s Leadership Conferences, etc.—they are worthless. We should face the problem—the concept of helpmate has been lost and must be re-discovered. Get that straight, and then go to the counselor or the conference. Otherwise there is no hope . . . “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalms 11:3).
If my wife were to repent of her wickedness, I’d forgive her in a heartbeat, but I don’t expect that to happen. I haven’t been gentle, but I have followed the example set by my Father. In Numbers 12, Miriam challenged the authority of Moses and was smitten with leprosy. Then God, himself, directed that she be separated—put out of the camp for seven days. Miriam repented, and was restored, but I really don’t expect that from my “better half.” There are too many rebellious women, and the men are silent. We are replicating the sin of a deceived woman and her complacent husband—Eve and Adam.
As I said earlier, the answer is to be found with Elijah. In 1 Kings 18:19, he took on Jezebel. The prophet didn’t know it, but he was invincible. Since Elijah never died (2 Kings 2:11), the Jews were looking for him to return. John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah (Matthew 17:12-13) and challenged Herodias (Matthew 14:3-4)—just like Elijah had confronted Jezebel. Still, Elijah has some unfinished business. The feminist daughters of Jezebel have poisoned the minds of 20th century women. Malachi 4:5-6 says “I’ll send Elijah the prophet to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children . . .” Elijah will be our example, our inspiration, and our teacher. In the home and in the church, wives will learn to submit, and men will learn to correct. But if you think it’s going to happen without conflict, you’d better think again—Herodias had John beheaded.
To face the wrath of rebellious women is infinitely worse than the displeasure of Jimmy Carter. It is to literally present your body as a living sacrifice. To do so is holy, acceptable unto God . . . and reasonable (Romans 12:1). Sooner or later Christian men will make the sacrifice.
My book is available from Scripture Haven—I have some copies myself. My program is on KAGC Sat. mornings at 11:05. Don’t hesitate to contact me—you won’t have to wait in line.
C. Russell Yates
PS: As Christians it is our privilege to exemplify the relationship between Christ and the Church. Those who do, experience a taste of heaven on earth. But most of us refuse. We reject the wisdom of God and embrace that of the humanist, the atheist, the feminist, and the homosexual. Our homes have become a place of non-relationship—our own private hell . . .but its not over yet. Surely there’s joy in heaven over one “Christian” that repents.