A modern application of the Socratic Method

by Max Maxwell

All Rights Reserved.




     <     Home     Next >    

   Page 1

This Socratic dialogue is based on conversations I had with conservative Christian men. In those conversations, I used the Socratic Method to explore an issue of authority. This dialogue demonstrates how to deconstruct a controversial theological issue by moving a theological perspective into a non-theological framework in a way that is easy going, natural and virtually irresistible. The Kyrios Dialogue has three characters. John and Paul are two conservative Christian men who believe the bible teaches that men have total God-given authority, and total control, over their wives. The Socrates character is the Socratic questioner. This Socratic dialogue will focus, in the style of the early dialogues of Plato, on seeking a definition of the authority that John and Paul believe they have over their wives. As the dialogue progresses, John and Paul realize that the theological position they value cannot be articulated in a way that makes sense in light of these simple questions.

Paul: The preacherís sermon was excellent today. It was an inspiring message right out of the word of God.

Socrates: A message from God? What was the message?

Paul: He talked about an issue that is very important to the health of families. The sermon was about the proper role of men in the home. The preacher said that husbands have a God given authority over their families and that wives should be submissive to their husbandís authority. He encouraged husbands to start exercising this authority over their wives. In this way Godís divine order and purpose for the family can be fulfilled.

Socrates: Having order and purpose in life is a fine thing, if they also come with understanding.

John: I donít think my wife liked the sermon very much. I do not believe she will let me exercise my authority, even if it is from God.

Paul: A lot of families are like this and it is a cause of great spiritual harm. In my home, I am in charge. I can testify that when a man exercises his God given authority, things are much better in the home. The Bible tells us, as Christ is over man, so man is over woman. John, you should just start walking in that spirit. God wants you to be the head of your family, it is His will. He will guide you and be with you. Just take the first steps of faith and be obedient to Him.

John: I understand and believe. Itís just hard to convince my wife. I do believe that a husbandís headship is vital not only to the health and well being of families, but to the whole nation. What you said, Paul, is true. The Bible does teach that the head of man is Christ and the head of woman is man. A husband has a God-given role of leadership over his wife. It is the husband who is the head of the home. The wife has a role of submission to the husband's authority.

Socrates: Are you going to try to implement this principle in your familyís life?

John: If I am going to be obedient to God, I should try.

Socrates: If this really is an important truth we should embrace it. But I do not know what this authority is or how it is to be employed.

John: It is a very clear Biblical teaching.

Socrates: Then I'm lucky today. Before you, I have never talked to anyone who could explain the nature of a manís authority over his wife. May I ask a few questions? I would like to understand it. And you seem to be the person to teach it to me.

John: Of course, go ahead.

Socrates: You believe that men should express leadership over their wives. Correct?

John: Yes.

Socrates: And this leadership carries some kind of authority?

John: Absolutely. The Bible says that wives should submit to their husbands. This most clearly shows that men have authority; and God gives this authority. It has also been the view of the Christian church for millennia.

Socrates: For the moment I will be content just to know your view. In regard to authority, is it not true that all authority carries the power to make decisions? For example, a ship's captain has authority. But if the first mate had the final say in all decisions pertaining to the ship, what would become of the captain's authority?


     <     Home     Next >    

   Page 1

© Copyright 2008 Kenneth J. Maxwell Jr.