“the husband is responsible for all the problems”

Neglect of this truth is pervasive in the modern church. One of the most difficult things for modern men to understand is how they are responsible for their wives. Men come into a marriage pastoral counseling session with the assumption that “She has her problems,” and “I have mine,” and the counselor is here to help us split the difference. But the husband is responsible for all the problems. This is the case for no other reason than that he is the husband.

This does not mean that the wife has no personal responsibilities as an individual before God. She certainly does, just as her husband has individual responsibility. They are both private persons who stand before God. But he remains the head, and just as Christ as the head assumed all the responsibility for all the sins of all His people, so the husband is to assume covenant responsibility for the state of his marriage. If a husband says that he objects to this because it is not fair for him to be held responsible for the failings of another, he is really saying that he objects to the gospel. It was not “fair” for Christ to assume responsibility for our sins either. But while it may not have been fair as we define it, it was nevertheless just and merciful.
Douglas Wilson

Ulysses | Thursday, · 4:57 PM | Quotes


  1. While there are other reason why I reject penal substitution atonement theory, this one is close to the top of the list. PSA has been used for the justification of misogyny from time immemorial.

  2. Hmm…there are many ways to parse this out, but I want to stick to a macro-view. How then does Wilson justify letters such as Mike Lawyer sent to an abused woman within the Kirk, disciplining (i.e., ex-communicating) her for mortal sins such as causing her husband to help with household duties and putting their kids in childcare? According to Wilsonian logic*, as stated above, it is the husband’s fault that he serves at home and his kids are in daycare. He should be ex-communicated, not his wife.

    *I know that there is a double-secret logic that is not stated but trumps the above statement, which is that women are always wrong, no matter what.

    1. Saw this same thing. Mike Lawyer said one thing, Doug Wilson said the opposite. Basically they adjust their beliefs to fit the circumstance.

      1. @Kristin — Thank you for catching this and welcome to the site.

        “In summary, we are disciplining you for the sin of refusing to take responsibility for your share in creating a toxic home.” —Mike Lawyer

        “But the husband is responsible for all the problems. This is the case for no other reason than that he is the husband.” —Doug Wilson

        @CJ — Exactamundo.

  3. And as the Pastor/Overseer of “The Kirk”, Mr. Wilson is responsible for ALL the problems of Christ Church.

  4. Patriarchy sees the husband as daddy to his wife and the wife as servant to her master/husband.

    It is a great sadness that Mike Lawyer doesn’t even understand the disgusting absurdity of his letter making the rounds on social media to a wife. In it, he tells the wife she is banned from partaking of holy communion because the husband has been doing the dishes and cleaning the house. Oh and the kids go to daycare (!!??) That sounds sane to him in his bat shit crazy patriarchal world — “I damn you to hell because, dirty dishes.”

    Mike Lawyer is just being a good pup though; he learned from his master, Douglas Wilson. Wilson received enough backlash that he attempted to erase forever his infamous post about, “the church should be brought in if a wife doesn’t listen to her husband’s gentle rebuke to get the dishes done.” But he still holds to it.

    And now we have Toby Sumpter being taken under his master’s wings, being brought into the Christ Church nest for being a good little boy and bravely spouting off about the evils of women who don’t comply with his Pharisaical dress code, hair color, etc.

    And they always end with some absurdity about how if you don’t agree with their lunacy, that you are “really saying that (you) objects to the gospel.” (see above quote). It always goes like that — they say damn foolish crap and if you don’t agree, you’re not a Christian. Ta da.

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