Your Body is not your own: A Political Theological Engagement with Gretha Wiid’s Patriarchal Interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-23

  • Dion Angus Forster Stellenbosch University
Keywords: Feminism, Gender, Sexuality, Patriarchy, Oppression, South Africa, Political Theology, Ephesians, Apartheid, Whiteness, Worthy Women of God


Why does Gretha Wiid call upon her predominately white Afrikaner female followers to submit themselves unquestioningly to the sexual will and social authority of their husbands? Why would some of these women willingly give over their bodies and their agency to be considered “Worthy Women of God”? This paper engages the founder of the “Worthy Women of God” movement, Gretha Wiid’s, interpretation of Ephesians 5:22–23. It aims to explicate the political theology that underpins and informs Wiid’s patriarchal hermeneutics by placing it within the cultural, political, racial, and gendered context of a changing South Africa. In order to do so we shall consider the ways in which Wiid has interpreted Ephesians 5:22–23 in her publications, public addresses, and DVD / Video materials. By understanding her tacit political convictions, one can gain a clearer understanding of her hermeneutic strategy, and the reception of her patriarchal theology among her predominantly white, middle class, Afrikaner, women followers. It will be argued that her political strategy is diametrically opposed to the ethical intent contained in Ephesians 5:21–33.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Dion Angus Forster, Stellenbosch University
Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Ethics with a focus on Public Theology. Researcher and program coordinator in the Beyers Naudé Center for Public Theology.