World-renowned Nigerian Pastor Chris Oyakhilome has gained the ire of feminist Christians for his stance on the role of women in marriage. Oyakhilome has stated that, according to the Bible, a husband is the natural “master” of his wife. A true Christian marriage is not one where men and women are equal partners but one where the woman must submit to the man.
As justification for his controversial views on marriage Oyakhilome states that God made women to essentially be the servants of men. He cites the creation story in Genesis. The creation of women was not part of God’s original plan, but rather an afterthought. God created Adam before he created Eve. God was pleased with Adam but then realized perhaps Adam could use a companion. Oyakhilome points out that the Bible states God made woman because it was not good for man to be “alone.” He notes the word “alone” is not the same as the word “lonely.” This word choice indicates Adam was self-sufficient in his needs, and did not require an equal partner or advisor. Women were thus created to be the “help meets” or servants of men. Oyakhilome believes only if a woman embraces the role as subservient to her husband, can a marriage be successful. He credits the dissolution of modern marriage often to rebellious and unruly wives.
Oyakhilome goes on to assert that no man wants another woman who acts like a mother as a wife. He also does not want a wife who behaves like an older sister and bosses him around. He advises women that they must listen to their husbands and do all the things they can to please them. A man will love a woman who serves him. He will fight with a woman who endeavors to act as his equal.
Oyakhilome’s biblical interpretation certainly does not stray from scripture. In fact, even in the New Testament the Bible continues to denigrate women. In 1 Timothy 2:11-14, women are commanded to remain quiet in church and blamed for the expulsion from Eden, and man’s fall from grace. The Bible also states in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 that women were made for the benefit of men “For a man is the image and glory of God, but a woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman but woman for man.”
It is clear that Oyakhilome is not mistaken that in some instances biblical scripture backs up his claims of women’s subservient role in marriage. However a number of people have questioned whether his reliance on literal scripture is truly a prescription for marital bliss. His detractors point out that the Bible was written in a different time and by superstitious men and thus not the full word of a just God. Oyakhilome’s detractors argue a truly just God would not have made one half of the human race subjugate to the other. They also point to a dangerous precedent when the Bible is used to undermine women’s full equal rights under civil law.