June 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
by Tony Reinke
“In our egalitarian culture, the debate over a wife’s submission to her husband is not going away anytime soon. Of course we start with Scripture, and the Bible is clear in calling the first-century Greco-Roman wife to submit to her own husband (Ephesians 5:22, 24,Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1). But is this command now applicable to 21st-century Christian wives?
Many say no, and one opposing argument goes something like this:
Paul commanded Greco-Roman slaves to submit themselves to their masters (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Peter 2:18). It is in those same contexts that Paul commands a woman to submit herself to her husband (Ephesians 5:22, 24, Colossians 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1). Therefore, since these words to slaves and wives comprise one unified Greco-Roman household structure, and since a slave’s submission has obviously passed away, therefore the call for a wife to submit has likewise ended.
To respond requires that we take a careful look at both the theology of slavery and the theology of marriage — which is what Everett Berry does in a 2008 journal article critiquing the egalitarian views of Gordon Fee. Berry writes the following:
When Paul addresses slavery, he instructs believers on how to emulate a Christ-like spirit. We see this in his admonishment to Philemon as a slave owner to forgive and receive his former servant Onesimus back as a brother (Philemon 16). Obviously this makes perfect sense because this is a virtue that is indicative of all believers regardless of whether they are slaves or masters. Likewise, in another setting Paul claims believing slaves have permission to obtain their freedom if the opportunity presents itself (1 Corinthians 7:21–22). For Paul then, choosing to become or remain a slave is optional for believers, but the proper conduct as a Christian slave is not.
This means Fee is right to assert that Paul did not endorse slavery as a practice. He instructed believers on how to live in relation to it. What Fee refuses to acknowledge, however, is that Paul never claims that Greco-Roman slavery has its institutional roots in the theological fibers of creation or eschatological expectation. Only the family and the church are described as such (e.g., 1 Corinthians 11:7–9; Ephesians 5:31; 1 Timothy 2:12–15) because marital and ecclesiological concerns have theological strings attached to them that slavery does not.
When it comes to marriage, for example, Paul does not speak to husbands and wives in the same way he does to slaves or masters. He does not endorse a husband seeking freedom from his wife or vice versa in the same way that he advises Christian slaves to possibly obtain release (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:21, 27). Nor does he call a master the head of his slave as Christ is the head of the church, or command slaves to obey their masters as the church obeys Christ.
But he clearly interprets the marriage relationship with such constructs. Husbands typify Christ by sacrificially loving their wives, and wives typify the church by following their husbands. And as they do so, the balance between leadership and trust not only highlights the original reciprocation that Adam and Eve forfeited, but it also points to the unending submission that the church will experience under Christ’s headship (Ephesians 5:24–25). The eternal relationship that Christ will always have with his people is to be exemplified currently through the temporal relationship between husbands and wives.*
In other words, Paul does not root Greco-Roman slavery in creation or in eschatology. But the marriage pattern is clearly rooted in both. Thus, the Christian complementary relationship between husband and wife is established by God in a way that the Greco-Roman hierarchical relationship between slaves and masters is not. Therefore, Paul’s message to Christian husbands and wives remains timeless and valid. Paul treats marriage and slavery differently.
Meanwhile, some Christian men and women may believe submission is intuitively correct because it is a practice rooted in traditional American culture (rather than in Scripture). That would be a wrong basis. And submission may emerge out of a chauvinism or kind of patriarchalism that believes men are superior to women. And that most certainly contradicts the equality of men and women in God’s eyes. Worse, submission may be abused by men who use it as permission to abuse their wives. Such men are acting from cowardice, and not from the Christ-like sacrifice and love the gospel calls for.
But in the end, a wise wife will not take her cues about submission from ancient Greco-Roman cultural history. She will find her conviction rooted in something that stretches back to the beginning of time and that stretches into a future beyond her. And that is where a conviction about submission is to be found. In Scripture submission is embedded in the marriage pattern established in the pre-fall marriage of Adam and Eve, and remains to this day a bold and counter-cultural drama to our watching world of the Church’s submission to Christ.
For more on the beauty and joy of a gospel-reflecting marriage see John Piper’s, Desiring God (Multnomah, 2011), 205–221. See also John Piper’s sermons, “The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission” (2007), and “Lionhearted and Lamblike: The Christian Husband as Head” (2007).
* Everett Berry, “Complementarianism and Eschatology: Engaging Gordon Fee’s ‘New Creation’ Egalitarianism [PDF],” Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 13.2 (Fall 2008), 64–65.”
June 2, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Dannah Gresh explains why to avoid Fifty Shades of Gray like the plague.
“I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
I wasn’t planning to announce this, but I can’t help myself. I told my husband, Bob, that I didn’t really want to get involved. But then, I found out my girlfriend’s seventy-year-old mom has her name on a long waiting list at the library to borrow Fifty Shades of Grey. And then my mom told me that a relative I love and respect for her strong faith had already devoured the book. She regretfully “can’t get the images out of her head.” So, here I am. In an attempt to keep the images out of yours, I’d like to explain to you why I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Reason #1: Let’s start with the facts. Fifty Shades of Grey is classified as erotic fiction. According to one online dictionary, this genre of literature is defined as that which has “no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.” I’ve been studying what God says about sexuality for fifteen years. According to Him, there is only one who should stimulate sexual desire in me: my husband. Since that’s God’s plan for my sexual desire, anything other than my husband creating arousal in me would be missing the mark of God’s intention. (Translation: It is sin.) Jesus said it this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The same is true of a woman looking at or reading about a man. Reason #1? I believe reading erotica is sinful.
I guess I could stop there, but it won’t be enough for some of you. So let’s go to reason number two.
Reason #2: The Bible has said for thousands of years that lust is hurtful and harmful. Guess what? Biopsychologists and others are studying the effects of lust, pornography, and erotica on the brain and the body. They are finding that the Bible was, in fact, right. Over time, your body becomes conditioned to self-stimulation and gratification. It’s not just a preference. It’s physiological. The lust cuts a literal pathway in your brain tissue that’s kinda like a rut. A rut you better be prepared to get stuck in. While at first a little bit of erotica might give you a taste for your spouse, over time that rut reminds you how great you are at self-stimulation and how powerful your imagination can be. You’ll become less interested in real sex with your husband. (Both SELF magazine and The New Yorker ran articles on this phenomenon in recent years. They both suggested that if you want to have a great sex life, you better push pause on porn!) The fact is, erotica robs you of real sex. It’s not good for your marriage or future marriage.
Reason #3: Okay, we’re girls. And, sadly, a few of our guys have looked at porn. How’d that work for ya? How’d it make you feel? Did it cross your mind that you could never compare to the perfection created by lights, camera, and Photoshop? Well, he can’t compare to a plasticized, vanilla interpretation of manhood either.
Reason #4: Do you know what BDSM is? Bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism. If you don’t know what those words mean, be glad. If you do know, you should understand that the most damaging part of Fifty Shades of Grey is that God created sex to be a partnership that’s fueled by love and self-giving, not pain and humiliation. It’s not just that this book misuses sex, it redefines it into something evil as the lead character dominates in a hurtful manner. How woman can enjoy that, I can’t understand! But I do have a theory. It seems to me that in our emasculating culture there is a hunger so great for strong men that women will stoop to bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism for just a taste. Do yourself a favor, don’t!
You might be wondering if I’ve read the book. I haven’t. I don’t need to. There are many things in this world I need not partake in to discern that they are going to be harmful to me. God has given me more than fifty shades of truth in His Word and when just one of them is in conflict with my entertainment choices, I choose to pass! To be clear: I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.
If your heart resonates with mine, please take a moment today to post these words on Facebook or Twitter: “I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Grey.” If you have friends who need help understanding why, send them to this blog. I’d be happy to explain!”
-Dannah Gresh, http://www.truewoman.com/?id=2095
May 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
“Surprisingly, attempting to define man in simple terms is not an easy task. There are many things that could be included in the definition and a line has to be drawn somewhere. I’ve chosen to define man according the very first use of the term in the Bible.
In Genesis 1 we find at least four defining characteristics that teach us whatman is:
1) As most English Bibles make clear in their footnotes, the term man in Hebrew (adam) is very closely related to the Hebrew word for earth or ground (adama). This is an intentional and ongoing reminder that God formed man “from the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7), which teaches us that man is an integrated, natural member of God’s created world.
2) Man is created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27); which means that, along with being a natural member of God’s creation, he is also a supernatural being. Having been made in the image of God, he carries the imprint of the supernatural Creator, the God who exists and operates in ways that exceed the natural order he has created. James 3:9 affirms that this divine image has not been removed even after man’s fall from his original state of sinlessness.
3) Man has dominion over creation. God makes this clear in his original mandate to man: “let them have dominion over [everything else I’ve created]” (Genesis 1:26). One of the main implications of being created in God’s image is that we share in his dominion over other created things. But note how our first point affects this: since we are also a member of creation, we serve ourselves best when we steward the rest of creation well.
4) Man is male and female. “In the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). This verse teaches us that a central component of what God intended when he made man is that we would exist as two intentionally distinct sexes.
In summary, then, Genesis 1 teaches us that man is the one creature made male and female, from the earth, in the image of God, with dominion over the rest of creation.”
-Tim Challies, http://www.challies.com/resources/the-essential-man
May 19, 2012 § 3 Comments
“God has a plan and a design for women. So does Satan. God desires women to be grounded in the gospel and content in their role; as the one who created them, he knows the way he has created and the way that they are to be fulfilled. Satan wants to create the illusion of satisfaction and fulfillment in anything and everything other than God and his design.
Satan Desires Discontentment
Satan’s desire for mothers is the same as his desire for all women. He desires to create discontent in the roles that God has assigned. That is what Satan did in Eden, by approaching Eve first. And according to Paul (1 Tim 2.11-15), that is what Satan was doing in the early church in Ephesus. And you can rest assured that’s what he’s doing today.
God has designed women to be wives and mothers in order that they might reflect God himself, in whose image they are created. But Satan wants to create discontent with all of it so that the image of God is marred and belittled.
There are many ways Satan still works to create discontent in women — even Christian women — today. Here are two:
1. He says you’re too good for mothering
He tells women that the ideal is to get a degree, be a professional, and shatter the glass ceiling. The idea of being a wife and a mother is good for some or perhaps for a time, but the idea of being forever identified as a wife & mother is clearly not for you. The idea of letting a husband ‘lead you’ is so far beneath you it’s inconceivable, and having your identity be something bound up with your husband and your children is degrading.
When he creates this kind discontent, he has won. Just like in Eden, this rising up will result first in frustration, and ultimately in being brought low.
2. He says mothering is too good for you
Satan’s lie: mothering should be one continuous string of ‘mommy & me’ moments
In recent days it seems that our culture has shifted somewhat. Gone are the days (seemingly) when mothering is bad and career is good. Now we have entered the days of ‘Super-Moms’, where mothering is not for the faint-of-heart.
Simply feeding your children is not enough. You have to make your own food, according to all latest health crazes, and you have to prepare them as ‘dishes’ like the chefs on TV. Just clothing your kids appropriate to the weather is not enough. You have to clothe your children just right so that they can be the appropriate fashion accessory for you.
Making sure your children are educated is not enough. You must choose carefully between classical education options, homeschool options and private school options; but you must find something that will make your child excel beyond the others.
Reacting to a generation of moms who were perhaps not involved enough, the pressure now is to engage your children in all manner of special activities from the time they are birthed. Yoga, painting, music, exercise, and who knows what else(!) all become ‘essential’ for good moms. Though previous generations knew nothing about these things, they are apparently now essential for a child’s brain development or emotional and relational health.
And whatever you do, if you are a good mom, you must make sure you get it all on camera so you can post the pictures on Facebook and the ideas on Pinterest to let everyone know you’re keeping up. Plus, you should probably earn some income (at the very least, open an Etsy shop) to prove you’re not inferior to the women around you who hold down jobs.
And on top of that you must make sure that your body looks the exact same as it did before having children so you can be a ‘yummy mummy’ like the real housewives of wherever.
Subtly, but powerfully, Satan communicates to women that all these are essential to good mothering. And when you can’t keep up, you get discouraged and discontent. And in that moment, Satan wins.
God’s Desire Is the Answer
So what is the answer to all these lies and temptations from Satan? That’s what I think Paul is getting at in 1 Tim 2.15; a way to be ‘saved’ through the temptations of Satan. (He argues similarly in 1 Tim 5.14-15 with regard to widows avoiding the temptations of Satan.)
1. Mothers must cling to the gospel too
Paul says, ‘she will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.’ The continuing in ‘faith and love’ is expressive of Paul’s own testimony (1 Tim 1.13-14). In other words, if mothers are to be content, they must do the same thing that the apostle Paul did: believe the gospel of love which has overflowed to them in the grace and mercy of God. Even more than being a mother, their foundational identity is ‘Christian,’ beloved of God in the gospel.
They must cling to this to be firmly grounded, immovable when Satan tempts them to discontentment.
2. Mothers must be content with their God-assigned role
When Paul says ‘childbearing’ in this verse he is using short-hand to refer to the whole role of ‘marrying, bearing children, managing the household’ (1 Tim 5.14). This role is to be the main occupation of the wife & mother; it is what she was created for. The one who created her desires her to be grounded in the gospel and content in this role in order to be delivered safely through Satan’s temptations.
Being content in this role is where the ‘holiness’ of 1 Tim 2.15 is found, through persistent ‘self-control.’”
-Julian Freeman, http://julianfreeman.ca/christian-life/satans-desire-mothers
February 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Jesus was worshipped.
I had a great childhood.
Dad was crazy about mom.
My dad was the same at home as he was at church.
I can’t believe how patient my parents were.
The Gospel was preached.
My parents did not assume I understood the Gospel. Ever.
We prayed often… even when meals weren’t involved.
We laughed… a lot.
My parents loved Jesus.
My parents treated me with respect.
My parents’ love was unconditional.
My parents were servants.
There was wisdom.
My dad asked for my forgiveness… more than once.
I know I was… but I can’t remember being spanked.
My parents loved the church.
My dad preferred me over his ministry.
My parents weren’t perfect, but they were broken.
I was prepared for life.
The standard was sincerity and not behavior.
I was encouraged to be myself.
I learned what it meant to love my spouse by watching mom and dad.
Grace, not law was the means of correction.
My parents listened.
I was free to make mistakes.
There was unending forgiveness.
My parents were my friends.
My parents insisted I know they love me.
-Byron Yawn, 01-31-12
July 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“A magnificent marriage begins not with knowing one another but with knowing God.”
“Think of the impact if the first thing radical feminists thought of when the conversation turned to evangelical men was that they had the best reputation for keeping their marriage vows and serving their wives in the costly fashion of Jesus at the cross.”
-Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
July 11, 2011 § Leave a Comment
“Does God ever ask His children to do that which is impossible for them? Then if He asks me-no, tells me-to love my wife, then, if I am really “saved,” really a child of God, I can, with all the resources of what it means to be saved. Or if He tells me, as a wife, to submit myself to my own husband, then I can-or I am not a Christian. And this goes-God help me-for everything He has outlined for His children.”
-Tom Carson, May 7, 1988, at the age of 76 after spending the day doing housework and caring for his Alzheimer ridden wife, as recorded in D. A. Carson, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: the Life and Reflections of Tom Carson, 130
June 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
Titus 2 -Vodie Baucham
“Titus 2 Influencers are married women and men.” Someone who isn’t married and doesn’t have children doesn’t fit the Titus 2 model.”
I. Reverent behavior –She ought to conduct herself in such a way as to bring honor to God and not to draw attention to herself. Both how you present yourself and in your speech.
On the difficulty of finding modest clothes for his twelve-year-old daughter: “You go in the stores and it is hoochie mama central.”
Women should ask: “To what aspect of my person am I drawing attention? And is that honoring to Christ.”
Men should ask: “If you are around a woman and you find yourself doing the male neck exercise…in order to exaggerate so that you do not find yourself [seeing what should not be on display], either there is some more discipleship that needs to happen or she has just told you what she thinks is the most important thing about her…because that’s the thing to which she is trying to immediately draw your attention.”
II. Teaching what is good.
To his son: “look for a partner in raising my grandchildren” A woman who is not giving herself as a helpmeet to another man in a career, but giving herself as a helpmeet to her husband to raise their children.
“Women are these intuitive and emotional creatures, why should we need to teach women to love their husbands and their children? [This] gives away that we do not understand what Biblical love is, we’ve bought into the Greco-Roman myth…that love is a random, overwhelming, uncontrollable sensual force.” The world says “we do not choose who we fall in love with. …That is not the way the Bible defines love, it’s not random, it’s not overwhelming and uncontrollable, it’s not just sensual.”
“A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women, because they yearn for attention from younger women, and God gave them a daughter who could give them that. Why? We don’t what love is.”
Biblical love is “An act of the will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object” Matthew 22
“Greco-Roman is too fickle for family life.” This is why women need to be taught how to love Biblically, not just culturally and emotionally. Because contrary to popular belief, they don’t know how to do it intuitively. [It] is a work of sanctification. [Intuitive, emotional love] is not enough to sustain what God intends to be sustained on the part of Biblical womanhood in the context of [a] marriage relationship. Biblical womanhood does not rely on this…version of love, [it] pushes past that to Biblical love. It is first and foremost an act of the will, it is a choice. It is accompanied by emotion. Love lead by emotion is a roller-coaster. It is not void of emotion either.” An example of this kind of love: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
III. Self-Controlled -not volatile
IV. Pure -This does not mean, don’t have sex until you get married. Purity is an act to be done now. Married women are to teach younger women to be pure, something that they, as older women, are to still put into practice.
Dig deep in laying a foundation for purity, like the foundation for a skyscraper, so that when the building is built, purity remains. Don’t build a bungalow marriage, but a skyscraper. Dig deep.
V. Working at home. “There is no priority that supersedes the priority of a woman’s role in her home.” There are tremendous distinctions between men and women. Praise God! If men and women were the same, one would not be necessary. “Most women today are raised to be men who are biologically women.” “You cannot have it all, but that’s okay because you do not need it all. I want Christ, and I want His blessing in generations of my family. The more my wife and I have come to understand what it takes to raise children Biblically, the more we realized it wouldn’t even be possible for us if she was out [not focused on her home]. It takes so much we couldn’t do it.” The Bible tells us children are arrows in a man’s quiver, his wife is helping to create inter-continental ballistic missiles for the kingdom of God. “[We] exist to be poured out for the cause of Christ, to be thoroughly used when it is all said and done and to raise, train, disciple and launch from our home as many warheads as is humanly possible, not as few as we can. No warrior goes into battle saying, hey man, just give me as little ammunition as you can. Because my wife is committed to our home, that is the attitude we can have.”
VI. Kind and Submissive to their own husbands. Why does this need to be taught?
A. Women war against submission by nature as a result of the fall. Genesis 3:16. “As a result of the fall, women, you will desire his headship, his role …you are naturally disinclined to submit to a husband.”
B. We have decades of feminist teaching, even from within the church. These teach egalitarianism and that submission is mutual or conditional. Ephesians 5:21 is used to teach egalitarianism.
The problem is, Ephesian 5:5-21 is a paragraph and Ephesians 5:22-24 is a new paragraph; you cannot add verses from other paragraphs to the context of a different paragraph. Submission in 5:21 speaks of submission as we ought, wives to husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters, none of these is mutual. 1 Peter 3, Colossians 3, 1 Corinthians 11:3 have no statement of mutual submission.
It is not conditional, Ephesians 4:22 …in everything, as the church submits to Christ. The only exception is that she submits as he is obedient to Christ, 1 Peter 3:1-2, and sets an example of godliness even when he is not. The Likewise in 3:1 refers back to the previous paragraph in 2:18ff.
“Because you have been lied to, you believe that working for some man you don’t know…has more value than laying down your life beside a man who would lay his down for you. This is biblical womanhood, it is not what we’re accustomed to, it is not even what we’re comfortable with, but it is what is required if we are to see the kind of reformation and revolution [which glorifies Christ].”