You’ve Got to be Kidding Me
Toward the end of the 12th century Roman Catholic nuns began to wear wedding bands to symbolize a couple of things. One being their fidelity to “The Church” and the other, their roles as Christ’s brides. While I do take exception to several Roman Catholic theological positions, this one practice may be the single most infuriating to me. Let me explain why. Jesus is a lot of things. Redeemer. Savior. Messiah. The Christ. The Holy one of Israel. Seed of Abraham. Jesus is the Root of Jesse and the Prince of Peace. Jesus is Wonderful Counselor and Jesus is GOD. BUT, Jesus is not your husband.
In recent years it has become the fad for single women, young and old alike, to refer to Jesus as their husband. I have actually interacted with widows who tell me that now that their husband is gone Jesus has replaced him. Even worse, I have interacted with young career-minded evangelical women who believe that Jesus fulfills the role of husband for them as they pursue their life goals. You’ve got to be kidding me; right? There is no way I believe that sound Christians can believe this.
Christ is the Bridegroom but Jesus is not YOUR Husband
Because of the Scriptures we must wrestle with the language that God uses to describe Jesus. He certainly is described as the Bridegroom. Moreover, there is a beautiful image painted of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. In this picture we see the heavenly celebration of the fulfillment of the Bride (the church) being given to the Bridegroom. And as obvious as this may seem to us, that unity isn’t meant to be understood in the light of earthly marriage. Instead, earthly marriage is meant to be understood in light of this heavenly marriage imagery. Marriage is meant to teach us about how Christ loves the Church.
Jesus is the Bridegroom and as such He has one Bride. That Bride is God’s called out or chosen ones. The Ekklesia. Jesus is not wedded to each individual in the Church. Instead, Jesus is wed to the Church, solely.
When we erroneously allow women to refer to Jesus as their husband, we are allowing a form of mysticism to circumvent proper doctrinal understanding. This perspective is actually gynocentric and excludes men from the picture. If we were to replace women with men in the above-mentioned scenarios the imagery would take on a disgusting tone. Imagine a group of men sitting around lilting on about how Jesus is their husband. We would be outraged. So, we should be equally outraged when we hear people demean Christ by twisting His role as the Bridegroom and applying it individually, to women.
Jesus is not Coming Back for Women
Furthermore, Jesus is not coming back for men either. Jesus is coming back for His people. You were ready to jump on me for being a misogynist, weren’t you? That is fine, you can admit it. I wrote that sub-heading out like that on purpose.
The beautiful thing about the Gospel is that it isn’t about men and women and their individual worth. The Gospel is about the message of redemption for all people no matter their gender or place in society. While there are certainly specific roles given to men and women in the context of the Church, Jesus is not interested in saving one over the other.
When Jesus comes back at the end of the age, He is coming for His Bride. It will not matter who they are or where they are from. He will not pay mind to whether they were Old Testament Saints or New Testament Saints. He will simply call them to Himself.
The Sickening Sweetness of Jesus as Husband
Current Christian culture is littered with music and teaching that shows Jesus in almost romantic or erotic relationship with believers. All you need do is listen to what passes for CCM. Often it is hard to tell if we are hearing worship songs or sanitized love songs between partners.
Many modern theologians over-indulge the eroticism of the society that they live in and speak of God in such terms. Worse still is the emphasis on The Song of Solomon as a way to understand Jesus as He relates to the Church. There is certainly something to be learned from the Song of Songs. But should we apply the overtly sensual language of husband and wife to Thee Bridegroom and Thee Bride? No!
There is a cloying sickening sweetness in how Western Church approaches our Lord and Savior. This overtly emotional approach has its roots in many degradations on the view of Christ and His deity. Jesus certainly does sit at the right hand of the Father now as both God and Man, but He is not like us in any way. Authors like William Young (The Shack) have lowered Christ to a buddy-like position. Movements like the Shakers (thoroughly a-Christian) have made Jesus an emotional experience instead of the God-Man.
All of this lends itself to the Jesus as husband/boyfriend approach we see today. Sadly, due to the view that Western Culture has of marriage today, we see thousands of women divorcing Jesus when He no longer meets their felt needs.
Consider for a moment the implications of a doctrine that teaches that Jesus is the groom of the unmarried or widowed women of the Church. Does a young lady need to divorce Jesus to get married when an acceptable suitor comes along? Does Jesus practice polygamy?
Jesus is Your Lord
Jesus is your Lord! Is there anything more I need to say?
Let’s be honest with one another here. It is easier to stomach Jesus as husband in the current egalitarian feminist culture of the Church than embrace Him as Lord. The role and description of husbands today is built firmly on a worldview that treats husbands as the servant and magic genie for the family, especially the wife. Thus, women today approach Jesus the same way.
No one will shy away from a soft and tender Jesus who is calling sweetly to them to walk in the garden with Him. But a biblically understood Jesus who is Lord and rightfully commands the Bride He purchased with His own blood makes us uncomfortable. He seems overbearing and kinda bossy when we compare the two.
Consequently, we have to understand Jesus according to the context and culture of the Bible and not according to our modern presuppositions. When we do this, we will obey Him and recognize our role as individuals making up the One Bride.
Soli Deo Gloria!