by Al Maxey

Issue #368 ------- October 10, 2008
Only he who is sufficiently a man
will redeem the woman in woman.

Friedrich Nietzsche {1844-1900}

Reflections Objections
Addressing Reader Concerns On My
Views Regarding Wifely Obedience

Every now and then I write a Reflections article that rattles a cage or two (although some might argue they all do). Generally, if enough challenges are generated from those whom I consider responsible readers (and not the "nuts" who write almost daily to tell me that I'm the spawn of Satan and bound straight for hell), I'll try to do a follow-up article addressing the various questions and concerns of these men and women who took the time to share with me the various reasons for their uneasiness with what I had written. Such is the case with my last issue of these weekly Reflections -- Reporting for Marriage, Sir [Issue #367].

As I expected, there were indeed some from the "factional fringe" who wrote to denounce me. One such individual from the state of Indiana (who has been obsessed with me for close to 15 years now, and rarely misses a chance to try and destroy both me and my ministry) queried, "Did the Mrs. order you to write that one?! I expect she DOES rule YOUR roost." He then informed me (for the umpteenth time) that my biblical teachings are "false doctrine" and "blasphemy." Normally, I just ignore such people, but I felt his remark about the "Mrs." should be addressed, since my wife, Shelly, did indeed ask (not order) if I would address this subject in a future article. She did so because of a discussion that was taking place on a Christian women's Internet group of which she is a member -- a discussion in which a couple of the members were stating that wives should render absolute, unquestioning obedience to their husbands no matter what he might command them to do (even to the point of eating food off the floor like a dog). A number of the group members felt this to be tantamount to spousal abuse, and thus quite a dialogue ensued over the biblical parameters of "wifely obedience" to one's husband. I felt this would make an interesting, and certainly a timely, article, so I agreed to do one.

There are two readers specifically to whom I have chosen to make a public response through the medium of this current issue of Reflections, and I informed them both that I would do so, as I truly felt (given the overall context and tone of their emails) that their questions and challenges came from a genuine confusion over and concern for my teaching (as they understood it). A beloved professor of mine in graduate school once told me that if even one student within the class voiced some concern or confusion over one of his teachings, then it was very likely that ten others were probably silently thinking the same thing. Therefore, when I get several responses from readers on a particular article, and they each voice similar concerns, it is certainly not unreasonable to believe that a good many others are probably thinking the same.

One of these two readers seemed to believe that my article, in some way or another, reflected some deep inner trauma in my own life, and that I was lashing out in anger, via my words, at some past heartless abuser. He wrote, "It sounds like you are holding a lot of bitterness toward men with certain personalities who have and may still be hurting you. Forgive them, brother, just as Christ forgave you." I am forced to admit, this assertion from this reader floored me! I went back and looked once again at my previous Reflections to see if I could locate what it was I might have written that would leave such an impression. The following statement was the only thing I could find that I felt might have possibly triggered this conclusion in this person's mind -- "I have known, and known of, women who sincerely believed it was their duty as wives, as 'ordained by deity,' to be little more than puppets on a string in the hands of their puppet-masters (husbands). They would willingly 'dance to his dictates,' content to dwell under his constant control. Such misguided wives are operating under a devilish delusion, and the husbands who perpetuate such sick servitude, in my view, ought to be taken out behind the nearest barn and horse-whipped." Yes, it is very true that I have absolutely no use whatsoever for, and zero tolerance for, those who abuse either a spouse or a child. Such persons are beneath contempt, in my view. However, the intensity of this feeling is not due to any abuse that I myself ever experienced at the hands of another.

In point of fact, I had about as perfect an upbringing as one could ever hope for, and our God has richly blessed me in my almost 60 years on this earth far beyond anything I ever expected, and certainly beyond anything I ever deserved. My parents were, and still are, some of the finest Christians I've ever known. My dad (Al Maxey, Sr.) still serves as one of the elders in Cortez, Colorado. My wife is precious beyond words, and we celebrated 35 years of marriage this past July 21. We have super kids and grandkids. I have been preaching now for almost 33 years, and have never been fired or asked to leave a congregation. God is good ... that is all I can say!! Have there been some difficult times in my life? Absolutely. I served two tours in Vietnam (1969-1971), where I was in combat on many occasions (not knowing if I would live through the night), had a roof blown off over my head by an incoming rocket, and watched the tracers coming up from the ground at my helicopter during night operations. I converted a man who had raped, murdered and dismembered a 9-year-old girl, and I stood at his side in the death chamber as he was executed seven years ago next month. These events certainly have a bearing on who I am today, but I don't consider any of them "abuse." My experiences were not that different from countless others who have also served during time of war or who have looked into the face of evil as they sought to preach the gospel. God saw me through it, and for that I thank Him.

I have, however, witnessed man's inhumanity to man firsthand and up close ... and it has affected me deeply and dramatically. I saw cruelties in Vietnam of which, to this very day, I rarely, if ever, speak. It is almost beyond human comprehension what one man can do to another when all moral restraints have been abandoned. Some time later I served 4 years as Executive Director of a 26 acre, state funded facility here in New Mexico that housed and provided 24-hour care for abused, abandoned and neglected children who had been removed from the family home by the courts. We also did extensive counseling with families in crisis. Thus, I had daily interaction with a good many wives, as well as children, who had been victimized by men who were little more than brute beasts. I still remember the night a woman and her young son knocked on our door and asked for help. She had been beaten badly by her husband. Shelly and I worked with them as best we could. A few days later she returned to her husband. I still remember the horror I felt a few days later when we saw on the news that both their bullet-riddled bodies had been found. I have counseled with children who were literally covered with bite marks from where the parents had allowed the dogs to maul their child "for sport." Yes, I can readily declare that I have nothing but utter loathing for any person who would do something like that to another. Thus, I do indeed speak out against such abusiveness, and when I see a woman or child victimized ... and, even worse, when I see them willingly submitting to such, because they believe it's "God's will" ... I take a stand against it. And I do so without apology.

The above mentioned reader further wrote, within his email to me, "Sounds like you are encouraging divorce." He went on to say that if a wife, who claims to be a Christian, is being mistreated by her husband, she must still submit unconditionally. "It's an honor to stand up under unjust suffering." Is it also an honor for a wife to sit there submissively and respectfully while her husband repeatedly rapes their 8-year-old daughter, and then turns on the wife and blows her brains out?! Wake up, brother!! There's a real world out there, and it gets ugly!! Those who genuinely believe our God intended for women to submit to such abusive treatment from men clearly have no understanding of the Word of God!! Frankly, it is such thinking that is helping to perpetuate such godless behavior of these sick, self-centered sadists masquerading as "husbands" and "fathers." Should these women divorce these men? In a heartbeat! Should they be quiet and submissive in the face of such tyranny? Never! For those interested readers who would like to examine in much greater depth the entirety of the OT and NT evidence for our Creator's Ideal for the marriage partnership, may I suggest a very careful, prayerful reading of my book Down, But Not Out. The Lord never designed the covenant of marriage to be a master/slave or parent/child relationship. Husbands don't give their wives an allowance, or send them to their rooms, or stand them in a corner whenever they "misbehave." They do not snap their fingers at them and order them about. Such an arrangement is not a marriage; instead, it is nothing more than a pathological pairing. Such people need psychiatric intervention.

The second reader was rather concerned over the fact that I had indicated in my previous article that I believed submission (of one human to another, regardless of the relationship) was conditional in nature, rather than absolute. The only submission, in my view, that is truly absolute and unconditional is that of man to God. In all lesser relationships, however, my obligation to be submissive is conditional upon the godliness and rightness of the dictates handed down. This reader, however, stated that "if every command is subjected to that kind of analysis before we obey, the result" will be the destruction of every segment of society (military, church, family, etc.). One could make the same argument for blind loyalty and unquestioning obedience to mere men. Look where it got the people of Germany back in the 1930's and 40's. Most didn't dare question those above them, so they blindly "followed orders" ... and millions perished. I'm not suggesting anarchy. I'm not saying that we should rise up against every law in the land and stubbornly resist all authority. I'm simply stating that if we are determined to place God first in all things, then our lives must reflect that commitment, and when men (regardless of their place in this world or in our lives) seek to compel us to act in a way that we believe to be blatantly opposed to God's will, then we should refuse to comply.

For example: King Darius signed a document declaring that if any man in the kingdom "makes a petition to any god or man" other than himself, "he shall be cast into the lions' den" [Daniel 6:7-9]. This was the law of the land. Did Daniel obey it? Was he submissive to King Darius? Notice what Scripture says: "Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house ... and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously" [vs. 10]. Didn't Daniel realize that his "lack of submission" would be the "destruction" of society?! No. What Daniel did realize is that his first obligation was to GOD, not any man ... regardless of that man's position in society. Here's yet another example: Vashti was commanded by her husband, the king, to come and "display her beauty" before his assembled guests. "But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command" [Esther 1:12]. Here we see a double lack of submissiveness: wife disobeying husband, and subject disobeying king. Sure enough this worried "the men" of the land, for these brutes feared their wives might be emboldened to shed their shackles! "This day the ladies of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen's conduct will speak in the same way to all the king's princes, and there will be no end of disrespect and discord" [vs. 18]. Can't have that! We've got to keep them "in their place." Thus, make an example of Vashti, "then all the women will respect their husbands" [vs. 20]. I suppose that was the only way such "men" would ever get respect -- impose it.

In the book of Acts we find the apostles of our Lord summoned before the Jewish Sanhedrin, "and they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus" [Acts 4:18]. Were these devoted followers of Jesus submissive? Did they obey? No. Peter summed it up well when he said, "We must obey God rather than men" [Acts 5:29; cf. 4:19-20]. Again, we are not talking about general laws designed to maintain order in society (such as speed limits, watering restrictions during times of drought, and the like). If laws are reasonable and designed for the ultimate good of society, church, military, family, etc., then there is no just cause for men to refuse obedience. However, when those entrusted with leadership seek to impose their own selfish whims on others (whether that be in society, military, church or home), to passively submit to such, and to render blind obedience, is equally destructive to those institutions, in the long run, as opposition to legitimate laws. In point of fact, one's righteous resistance to such ungodly, unreasonable dictates may actually prove, in the long run, to be the salvation of such institutions, although such resistance may well require the courage of a Vashti or a Daniel.

This second reader further wrote, "I can see how your conclusions could spread a spirit of rebellion." Yes, they could ... as per the examples of Daniel, Vashti and the apostles. Did they rebel against authority? Yes, they most certainly did. Were they wrong for doing so? No, they were not. My "conclusions" are not designed to promote rebellion and anarchy in all areas of society, but rather to promote the primacy of man's submission to GOD in all areas of society. When any aspect of society, or any institution or individual therein, seeks to steer us away from obedience and devotion to our Creator, then, frankly, a bit of "rebellion" is in order!! If this makes me a "radical" and a "subversive," then I suppose I have to plead guilty as charged. I tend to think, however, that it merely makes me submissive to the will of my Lord God, who takes a backseat to no man. I pray that these thoughts have helped to clarify some of my statements in my previous issue of Reflections. I thank these two readers for writing, and I hope that I have adequately addressed their concerns.

Down, But Not Out
A Study of Divorce and Remarriage
in Light of God's Healing Grace

A 200 page book by Al Maxey
Publisher: (301) 695-1707
Reflections on the Holy Spirit
A Published Tract by Al Maxey
Order From: J. Elbert Peters:
The Maxey-Broking Debate
on the Doctrine of Patternism

{This debate is now in progress}
Readers' Reflections

From a PhD in Texas:

Dear Brother Al, I really appreciated your Reflections article -- Putting On Jesus Christ: An Examination of Romans 13:14 [Issue #362]. For a long time I have tried, in articles and teaching, to emphasize the Living Christ. I think the enclosed materials I have written will reveal that (please give me your "pro or con" on these writings). I have found that most people simply talk about their baptism, but not their growth in Jesus (this change in character to be more like Christ). It is a tremendous challenge, and I confess that I fall short too often. We must live by the Spirit in a material, flesh-oriented world. We must do all we can to stir people to focus on the spiritual. Tradition brought death to the Jews in Jesus' time. Therefore, let us cast off the chains, and speak out for and live for JESUS before a lost world. May God continue to bless and use you!

From Darrell Broking in Tennessee:

Al, You might be interested in the sermons at -- You are mentioned in many of them, especially the sermon on "The Day of Judgment." I agree with everything that was said in this series.

From a Minister in California:

Bro. Al, I was reading the Readers' Response section of your last Reflections, and your response to the minister in Florida struck a chord with me. You mentioned that there were those who wanted to kill the apostle Paul. That fact really got me to thinking -- just what was Paul doing to stir up this type of anger? He was simply preaching Jesus -- that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Wow!! This is still happening today -- there are those who still want to destroy those with whom they differ, only now they use character assassination, firing preachers, and seeking to financially destroy a man and his family. Brother Al, thank you for your courage, wisdom, knowledge and work in the face of such people!!

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Brother Al, Since Darrell Broking concludes (from CENI?) that one who has an allergic reaction to the elements of the Lord's Supper is therefore not bound to its observance, and since he concludes that one without vocal cords is not required to sing, then Darrell must also conclude (if he truly believes he infers the above correctly) that the quadriplegic in the hospital who can't get anyone to immerse her also gets a "pass." Darrell's own logic, if carried to its ultimate conclusion, must further conclude that one is not required by God to obey the good news if they have never been exposed to it, and such persons are therefore not accountable in the same way as those who have heard. Darrell's inferences are taking him down a road he probably does not wish to travel. How will he ever get out of this one?! It looks like he has hung himself with his own rope!

From an Elder in Pennsylvania:

Bro. Al, I think that you are doing great in your debate with Bro. Darrell Broking (and I cringe a bit when using the term "brother" in referring to him, as I believe brothers should be behaving in a brotherly fashion). We all need to be able as brothers to openly discuss our differences and how our inferences have led us to our differing positions. Maybe with the right attitude, one brother might convince the other, or both might change, or maybe they will just agree to disagree. In any case, we should not look down on a brother. I really like your Reflections, as they are a great aid that helps show us where our thinking and our inferences just may have been faulty. Keep up the good work.

From a New Reader in Hawaii:

Aloha Bro. Al, I was raised in the Church of Christ, and I was taught many things which I now find to be inaccurate and probably false. I believe that the Church of Christ is closest in its teachings to that of the Bible, but like any other "religion," it has its faults. I really enjoy reading your thoughts because they make me think and study to see if what you say is true. This has been very helpful in my growth as a Christian. My only focus in my study is to learn to please God and do what He wants. It is so obvious to me that way too many people are only interested in pleasing others, and not always in pleasing God. It seems to me that you are focused on Truth in what you write, and I respect this very much. Thank you for your efforts. Please add my name to your mailing list for Reflections.

From a Minister in New Jersey:

Brother Al, One of my friends recently affirmed that he was the head of his house!! He went on to say that his wife even got down on her hands and knees before him. Just recently, in fact, she had gotten down on her knees and told him, "Come out from under that bed!" So, he showed her who was boss in that house -- he didn't budge!! Have a blessed week, brother.

From a Reader in [Unknown]:

Dear Bro. Al, I have to say that my heart gets so heavy when I get on a Church of Christ Internet forum and find them discussing the fact that Sarah Palin should not be running for office because she is a woman and would thus be "usurping the authority of men." These people also say that women shouldn't be writing articles that do not specifically declare "for women only," because if a man accidentally reads them (God forbid that he should accidentally learn something from a woman), then the woman would be guilty of usurping the man's authority. I am so sick of all this nonsense!! Sorry, I just needed to vent. Thank you so much, Al, for your Reflections articles!

From a Reader in California:

Dear Brother Al, Last Sunday my mom was at church and noticed that one of the deacon's daughters had her hair cut (which had never been cut in her whole life). She asked this deacon why he had allowed her to cut it, and he told my mom that after studying 1 Cor. 11 they had finally come to realize that it was not a sin for women to cut their hair. My mom didn't know what to make of this, so she asked me about it. I sent her home with a printed out copy of your article "Trim Not Thy Tresses: The Snipped Hair Hairesy" [Reflections #276]. I am shocked that she even took it, because it's not from someone in the legalistic Church of Christ. I am really hoping that this may be the first step for her to come out of legalism. Please pray that it is. I pray for you every day, Al ... please know that!

From a Reader in Texas:

Bro. Al, I am really not sure who to vote for in the upcoming election, although I always had it beat into my head that if you're a Christian you will vote Republican. I simply don't know enough about either party. I watch the news and read the paper, but I'm still undecided. Then the thought came to me --- see if Al Maxey will run for President. Then you'll know who to vote for!! As you can tell ... I'm a fan!!

SPECIAL NOTE --- It has been brought to my attention that a person by the name of Robert Waters, who lives in Arkansas, if memory serves me correctly, has written a booklet (about 35 pages long) in which he has sought to expose me as one of the greatest threats to the Lord's church today. It is titled: "Al Maxey, Friend or Foe of 'The Cross of Christ?' (Philippians 3:18) -- A Review of Some of the Teachings of a Change Agent and Agitator." Robert Waters stated in his Introduction, "His inconsistent teachings and irresponsible actions ... provoked me to expose these things in this short booklet that is being published on my web site and sent to many influential brethren across the country and world." He added, "I will be refuting some of his false and dangerous teachings." At the end of his booklet, he clearly states, "Al is not one of us. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing." He refers to me as a "spiritual terrorist, posing as a preacher of the gospel in the church of the Lord." He concludes by saying, "In view of the facts that have been presented, many of which are supported by clear statements from Al, it has become apparent that he is an enemy of Jesus." For those readers who might want to wade through his many distortions and misrepresentations, this booklet may be found at --

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