Monday, January 27, 2020

New Testament Household Code, Divorce, & Custody of Children

There are three main passages in the New Testament which outline the order of a household that are considered the New Testament Household Codes (Hausfafein) in Theologian circles. These instructions comply with Roman Family Law (Patria Potesas). There are three main passages of interest, Ephesians 5:22-6:9, Colossians 3:18-4:1 and 1 Peter 2:18-3:7.

More information can be found here: as well.

On Patria Potestas:

I will assume you are familiar with all the links I posted above.

What is interesting in the passages written by Apostle Paul is that in the structure of the household, he commands "servants" and "bond servants" to obey their masters. He also commands wives to obey their husbands. Paul even uses the word "likewise" just after instructing servants to "be subject to your masters with all respect" in 1 Peter 2:
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
The hierarchy in the family looks to be as such:

Father/husband --> Wife/mother --> Children

In the case of divorce, Roman Family Law dictated that the ex-wife would return to her father with a dowry and the children would remain with their father. The father, after all, had powers of life and death over the members of his family. The father would remain head of the household with only the ex-wife leaving to submit under the headship of her father.

Protestant tradition, including Martin Luther (who coined the term Hausfafein), and Puritans, take a literal, normative approach in interpreting these passages in how families should be structured. They most likely operated divorce in a similar manner as the Romans because the first, modern no-fault divorce laws were created in Russia, 1917.

Are we to conclude then that this is the structure that God designs in a family that goes all the way back to Genesis with the creation of Adam and Eve?

If so, what do we make it of those who seek to undermine, pervert and destroy this structure (both Christian and non-Christians)?

Evil. Sin. Abomination.


In American Family Law, when a wife divorces her husband, she destroys the household (as lead by the husband), splitting it into two and taking it for herself. If there are kids involved, she also may take the children, at best with a 50% custody arrangement, or at worst, complete legal authority with a couple days a month for the father to see his children.

There are many laws that exist in America that are immoral. They include abortion. They include the legality of watching porn, and having sex with prostitutes. The mere existence of a law does not equate morality. As I have pointed out specifically with the Duluth Model, the domestic abuse laws exist with the intentional purpose to destroy Christian Household Codes. It is not a bug in the system, but a feature.

When a Christian woman destroys the household that has been structured by God, she is sinning against God (and the others in the household). The woman seeks to revolt against the God-given authority of the father over the children, and create her own household where she becomes the head of household. She becomes head of a household created by pillaging the household of her former husband. In many cases, the matriarch will steal the children from the father's household to be placed under her dominion in her household. This is an abomination.

The only way this happens is because the father is threatened by death or imprisonment if he attempts to stop the sinful pillaging from the evil, Christian woman. Also, the modern church has been woefully inadequate in confronting, and calling out this public & persistent sin.

One of the other things to consider is that the Christian woman would had most likely stayed in the marriage if under a Roman Family Law system. Being able to be the head of her own household by pillaging the resources and children from the husband's is an incentive. Having to return to living in submission from one man (her husband), to another man (her father), without her children would be a worse situation.


If there is sin, it needs to be called out. If the pillaging and theft of children from the Husband's household is a sin, then the sin needs to be confronted and called out by the church. Assuming the husband is Christian, no Christian woman should be stealing wealth and the children from a household that she is leaving for sinful reasons.

Pastors should be weeded out who enable, encourage, or tacitly approving through their unwillingness to confront such a public, persistent, and damaging sin.

Let the Christian woman have returned to her the money she directly contributed to the household, leave the children to their father, and return back to her own father's household. Don't attempt to destroy or damage the household lead by the father.

I could probably even make the case that Apostle Paul would apply this same concept to a Christian woman divorcing a pagan husband.

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