Seek The Old Paths

Gayle Napier's Assertions at Lipscomb

Garland M. Robinson

Found in this article are some of the assertions made by GAYLE NAPIER at the David Lipscomb Lectures on June 12, 1991.

Concerning the church he said:

"I think one of the biggest problems I see with the church of Christ is that we have so distorted the idea of headship and submission that we have created a pathological marriage model. I grew up under that kind of model. My dad one time said that if we want the room red and your mother wants it white, it's going to be red because I'm the head of this family. We have equated and we have preached the idea that headship means power and control. I'm in charge. I'm primary. I call the shots. I am the most important one in this family and that's my heritage as far as the family is concerned. Mother was to be submissive to dad and the relationship was that he is important and she is unimportant. Her submission role was second class. Her needs, feelings, emotions are not as important. She was treated as one of the kids. I hear this in therapy all the time. The relationship takes on eventually the mode of he's the big daddy and she's the daughter. It's a father-daughter relationship. He has all the power and control. He's primary and she's one of the kids. I hear women saying, `Gayle, he treats me like my dad. He sounds like my dad and I don't want to have sex with my dad.' I call that emotional incest. Folks, that's part of where it really is. That relationship of headship and submission that we have taught, I think, is pathological. ... In about 15 years, what happens in that relationship is 1) she quits making love or having sex with her husband because you don't make love to your daddy. 2) In about 20 years, what do 20 year old daughters do? They leave home. That's true. They walk away from the marriage. I have heard that hundreds of times. It is a pathological model and so I think Gary [Wilson] is absolutely right about the biblical teaching on headship and submission, in my experience, has been totally wrong."

Napier charges that what we have always taught regarding the husband and wife relationship is a "pathological marriage model." A pathological condition is an abnormal, sick condition. Are we teaching error (that which is abnormal or sick) when we teach "the husband is the head of the wife" and that the wife is subject to her husband? No. NO! That is what Ephesians 5:22-24 says. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husband, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."

Napier continues by saying that,

"Headship in New Testament times had nothing to do with power and control." He said that headship "...means the source of love. All good things come out of the headship. If a man loves his wife like Christ loves his church, he will never demand anything that is harmful any more than Christ demands things of us that are harmful."

Regarding "power and control" in the above quote, Napier says,

"I believe that is the most destructive thing I see in the church. And secondly, Gary deals with this much more than I do. If I am the power controlling head of the family, I call that addiction. The guy is a power controlling addict. Just like an alcoholic. When you get into drug and alcohol, you get into sexual dysfunctions. So, you get into power controlling relationships. You get into sexual dysfunctions and you get into a lot of incest. I don't know if this will blow your mind or not, but the more conservative churches are the more incest you have in families. I think we are there because we have preached the model of the husband the head of the wife. That's the power of control. We attract people that are addicts. Power control addicts and that creates a dysfunction. I see that as being the number one big issue that we have to change. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church." [all bold emphasis is mine, gmr]

There you have it! Here is a so-called "expert" saying that what we have always taught regarding the husband and wife relationship is a sick, abnormal condition. That's what the word "pathological" means. If we teach the husband is the head of the wife and that she is to be in submission to her husband, Napier says that is a "pathological" (abnormal) condition. Therefore, what the Bible teaches on headship and submission is pathological (abnormal), according to Napier!

Notice what the Bible says concerning the man/woman, husband/wife, relationship. "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" (I Cor. 11:3). Does the fact that God is the head of Christ mean Christ is "second-class?" Napier says concerning his mother, "her submission role was second-class." No, Christ's subordinate role to the Father does not mean he is second-class. Likewise, the fact that the man is the head of the woman does not make the woman "second-class," but it does mean she is in a submissive/subordinate role to the man. "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" (I Cor. 11:8-9). "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord" (Col. 3:18). "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Eph. 5:33). "The aged women likewise...that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5). "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands..." (I Peter 3:1).

As a result of reading, believing and following the above verses, will men be power controlling addicts that are more likely to commit incest with their daughters than men who do not believe and follow them? That is what is implied by Napier's statement that "the more conservative the church the more incest you have in families." I categorically deny that following what the New Testament teaches makes one more likely to be immoral! It is rather one's perversion of righteousness and his refusal to be bound by it that leads to every kind of debauchery, excess, indulgence, depravity and gratification of fleshly lust. The Bible says: ...The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. ...All his commandments are sure. ...Thy judgments are right.... All thy commandments are faithful.... Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. Thy law is the truth. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever'' (Psalm 19:9; 111:7; 119:75,86,138,142,160). "Every word of God is pure..." (Prov. 30:5). "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:16-17). "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ... Thy word is truth" (John 8:32; 17:17). "...Let God be true, but every man a liar..." (Rom. 3:4).

Brethren, do we desire to subject our husbands, wives and children to this sort of teaching done by Gayle Napier at the Lipscomb Lectures? I pray not!


Brother Wayne Coats has written a 41 page booklet concerning the things said by Gayle Napier at the Lipscomb Lectures that is well worth your reading. The booklet title is: Go To Lipscomb Lectures and Learn How To Promote Incest. Copies are 75 cents each plus postage. You can order them from: Wayne Coats, 705 Hillview Dr., Mt. Juliet, TN 37122, ph. (615) 758-5459.





Lindell Mitchell

I didn't think the pronouncements uttered by professors associated with Christian universities could be any more bizarre than what we have heard in the past decade. I would not have believed it possible to mount a more vicious attack on the Lord's people than the murderous assaults recently launched in the name of "scholarship," "New Hermeneutics," and being "relevant" to "Babyboomers." That was before I encountered the diatribe carried in the Houston Post on June 22, 1991, under the title "Experts Find Incest in Conservative Sects."

I am used to seeing the meandering of semi-literate "experts" given credibility by a hedonistic media. It is not unusual to hear them praise blathering stupidity as enlightened scholarship when it will advance their agenda or damage their adversaries. It is infuriating and sickening to see brethren lend support to such despicable drivel.

Gayle Napier and Gary Wilson have in my judgment done a terrible disservice to the cause of our Lord. The Houston Post quotes Napier as saying, "The more conservative the church, the more incest you have in families." According to the family life minister at the Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, speaking on a panel at David Lipscomb University, "We've so distorted the concept of headship and submission that we've produced a pathological family model. The wife is treated second class, treated like one of the kids."

As Napier continued his flight of fancy, he is quoted as saying that "power-controlling addict" husbands have wives who say, "He sounds like my dad, and I don't want to have sex with Daddy." Then, according to Napier, actual incest might follow when domineering fathers turn to their daughters if their wives withhold sex out of frustration. While he was pontificating, our enlightened brother said that such power addictions are also evident in the church. "There's one socially approved place for power addicts besides the home, and that's the pulpit," he asserted. "We attract people who love to beat us up."

Napier was not alone in making ridiculous unsubstantiated assertions about the Lord's church and Christian homes. The Post quotes psychologist Gary Wilson, who sat on the panel with Napier, as saying that we are vulnerable to sexual addictions because "we don't know grace and mercy." According to Wilson, "You would not believe the number of people who have sex addictions who are members of the church." The statements are at best the baseless babbling of deluded, ignorant men who are unwittingly serving to further feminist propaganda. At worst they could be scurrilous lies presented by men determined to advance a feminist agenda in the church. I am unable to foresee any circumstances in which such statements could be viewed less gravely.

If it is possible, I call on Napier and Wilson to explain to an insulted and degraded brotherhood what those circumstances are. I demand to know what authoritative studies support brother Napier's assertions. Who commissioned the study? Who did the study and under what circumstances? What sort of measuring instrument was employed and what sort of research model was used? How rigorous was the statistical analysis? Where were the findings published? Were they subjected to peer review? I pose the same questions to brother Wilson. Surely these men have more sense than to make such damning assertions based solely on their own limited perspective. They must have known that such arguments would be challenged.

If these men have facts, let them be forthcoming with them. I will be the first to accept them if they can be proven. I will then wholeheartedly try to help correct the problem. However, I do not believe these charges are true! It may be that there are an inordinate number of degenerate perverts in the churches served by Napier and Wilson. The church in Nashville may be filled with incestuous homosexuals who are addicted to pornography, but I haven't observed this as being a widespread problem in the churches I have served. I seriously doubt it is an accurate portrayal of the churches served by Napier and Wilson either. Even if the problem were as widespread as they contend, it would not prove that it exists because of a skewed concept of the Biblical doctrine of the headship of man. I don't think Napier and Wilson can substantiate their vulgar charges, and I seriously doubt that they well make any attempt to do so.

Napier recently spoke at a preachers' luncheon in Houston, Texas, where he made some of these wild charges. He asserted that some ninety-five percent of all gospel preachers molest their daughters. When brother Bob Nave challenged him by denying the charges and asking for proof, none was given. According to the report, his reply was basically that whoever disagreed was likely guilty of incest. No facts, just a juvenile attempt at intimidation.

If these men are attempting to serve churches, their elders should demand that they prove their charges or retract them immediately. The retraction should be followed by an apology to the entire church of Christ. Harold Hazelip, as President of David Lipscomb University, along with the trustees, should demand their immediate resignation unless a retraction and apology are immediately forthcoming.

At a time when the country is beginning to realize that men have been emotionally emasculated by the ungodly lies of feminism, we should be joyously proclaiming the Biblical truth regarding the headship of man (Ephesians 5:21-25).

If we had been faithful to our mission, men would not be going off on "Wild-Man" weekends seeking to find their masculinity through neo-pagan rituals. As for me and my house, we will continue to live by the book, regardless of what men like Napier and Wilson claim. We know that we shall be judged on the basis of the Lord's word (John 12:48).

P.O. Box 316
Livingston, TX 77351
Firm Foundation, Sept. 1991


Brother Wayne Coats has written a 41 page booklet concerning the things said by Gayle Napier at the Lipscomb Lectures that is well worth your reading. The booklet title is: Go To Lipscomb Lectures and Learn How To Promote Incest. Copies are 75 cents each plus postage. You can order them from: Wayne Coats, 705 Hillview Dr., Mt. Juliet, TN 37122, ph. (615) 758-5459.

lots of 5/19/97.