Bishop T.D. Jakes said at an event in Namibia earlier this week that women are not to be submissive to men outside of the family, but rather only to their husbands.
Speaking at the two-day MTC leadership conference in Windhoek, Jakes spoke about women needing to strike a balance between work life and family life, according to Selma Ikela of New Era news.
"The Bible talks about women being submissive, not to men, but to her own husband. … God is setting up an organizational structure for family, it has nothing to do with anything outside the family," said Jakes, senior pastor of the 30,000-member Potter's House Church in Dallas, Texas.
"The challenge is to when, and to what. You may be CEO in the boardroom but maybe not so in the bedroom. You must have experience to flip from one role to another, you can do more. If you don't have the ability, you must give up one role for another, depending on what is most important to you."
Jakes went on to commend the progress women were making in the African nation, stating that when "any society evolves it ceases to abuse its women."
"We went through changes in America where we had a huge revolution; women were considered property — it's not unique to Africa, India and Asian culture," continued Jakes, as reported by New Era.
"I applaud your success. To me a smart woman is a sexy woman. I love a woman who is articulate and intelligent … carry your own weight. I want you to be an asset not a liability."
In the New Testament, there are multiple verses that speak of wives submitting to their husbands. One example is Ephesians 5:21-25.
"Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church," reads the passage.
The terminology has garnered controversy in some circles. Actress Candace Cameron Bure once commented that she prefers a more submissive role in her marriage.
In an interview with Yahoo Parenting, Bure explained when she referred to being submissive, she did mean that she was inferior to her spouse.
"My husband is not a dictator. We work together, but I don't want to dig my heels in and I have no aspirations to be the ruler of my family. We are two equal people but I love my husband and I want him to lead," explained Bure.
"With big picture issues such as where we live or what schools the kids attend, if he feels strongly about something and I think our family would benefit from it, I am going to share my thoughts. … I trust that my husband has our family's best interests at heart, so I wouldn't fight him on that. And when I feel strongly about something, he agrees with me."