Are Gender Roles a Distraction From the Gospel?

Should we stop teaching Biblical commandments regarding gender roles? Is the teaching of Biblical gender roles a distraction to spreading the Gospel and bringing people to Christ?

This is what a lot of Christians today believe.  In fact I personally know many preachers today who say they stand on the Word of God yet they take this approach that “teaching what the Bible says on gender roles distracts from reaching people for Christ”.

Some of these men are firm believers in Biblical inerrancy.  They would even be considered “conservative” in many aspects of their life and ministry.  They will preach on many subjects including the church, giving and general holy living topics. They don’t believe that preaching “thou shalt not bear false witness” or “thou shalt not covet” are distractions to the Gospel. But to them teaching women that God says Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing is a distraction from the Gospel.

Recently I received an email from a man calling himself Mike.  I believe his email is a very good representation of what I have actually heard from Christian ministers today even if he is not a minister. This issue needs to be addressed as we challenge our culture (sadly even our Christian culture) with the truth of God’s Word.

With that said below is Mike’s email.

“We have so many people that we Christians need to help simply cross the line into believing in God first and foremost that this is where our number one priority should be. Your site and others like it simply muddies the waters.

If you can’t even understand “Judge not lest ye be judged”, how in the world do you come to the conclusion that your interpretations are correct and everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong?

Are you not seeing just how flawed as a human you are when you make statements concerning interpretations? I certainly know the sinner I am and would never presume to make the statements you do about scripture. Knowing the mind of God is beyond all our capabilities. When we get people to believe, HE will take care of the rest. People must make up their own minds WITH the gifts God gives them. That is between HIM and them. No one on this planet has the right to judge them on those beliefs except God.

I’m actually curious if you really believe that those who don’t share your interpretations are not going to be saved?

My above statement about helping people to make that commitment to believe becomes so much more important when I see these types of arguments on your site being batted back and forth. They become terrible distractions to the main mission! “Faith alone”, not works or anything else for that matter. We MUST focus on that. I have a brother I can’t even help understand Gods existence. Believe me when I say I understand my flaws. You should be helping your readers to understand yours.

Gender roles are simply not an important subject as long as men and women treat each other with respect. We can’t even get that done right! It just becomes another pointless distraction in the bigger picture of faith. Time passing alone changes things as they become more fully understood. I certainly don’t follow food instructions from the Bible, do you? This is precisely why we must get people believing FIRST, then LET God do his work within them. Remember that the “Judge not” statement literally covers all of scripture. I’m curious as to how or even if you will respond. I won’t hold my breath, but MY belief in God told me this needed to be said.

Respectfully Yours. Mike”

 

What follows is my response to several key statements Mike makes on this issue.  I think this will truly help to clarify these assertions that are so commonly made today by many Christians in our culture regarding the teaching of Biblical gender roles.

Shouldn’t the Gospel Be Our Number One Priority?

Mike’s Statement:

“We have so many people that we Christians need to help simply cross the line into believing in God first and foremost that this is where our number one priority should be.”

I very much believe that as believers in Christ our first priority should be reaching people with the Gospel of Christ.

Christ said this before his ascension:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” – Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

If I teach someone about Biblical gender roles and they implement that in their marriage but they have not placed their faith and trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior their following of Biblical gender roles won’t benefit them in the eternal sense.  They will die and go to hell as all those who do not take Christ as their savior will do.

It is only when they place their faith and trust in Christ that their following of Biblical gender roles will have value not only in this world, but also in the world to come when they receive their reward for the race they have run in this life.

Do you have to believe in Biblical gender roles to be saved?

Mike’s Statement:

“I’m actually curious if you really believe that those who don’t share your interpretations are not going to be saved?”

Being baptized does not save us. Being part of a particular Christian denomination like Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran or Methodist does not save us and believing in and practicing Biblical gender roles does not save us.

This is what the Bible says saves us:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” – John 1:11 (KJV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

“9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

“1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)

It is believing in our heart that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, that he died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day for our redemption that saves us.  If we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior we become children of God and have passed from death to life.

Isn’t it wrong to judge others for not following Biblical gender roles?

Mike’s Statement:

“If you can’t even understand “Judge not lest ye be judged“, how in the world do you come to the conclusion that your interpretations are correct and everyone who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong?”

Mike is displaying the common misinterpretation of the principle of not judging people.  Let’s see what Christ actually said about judging.

“1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)

When Christ made his famous statement of “Judge not, that ye be not judged” he explained in the verses that follow the type of judging he was talking about.  He was talking about hypocritical judging.  That means if you are doing the same thing or worse you have no business telling someone they are wrong.  Fix your own house before your try to fix other’s houses.

Christ later actually COMMANDS us to judge in the passage below.

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24 (KJV)

Paul later tells us not judge one another on disputable matters:

“1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” – Romans 14:1-4 (KJV)

The Apostle Paul says we as Christians should not judge one another when it comes to disputable matters.  This has to do with personal applications of the Scriptures to our daily lives. For instance one person may feel they have the freedom to drink alcohol and another person may not because they were raised by alcoholics or have a fear they may succumb to alcoholism.  The one who drinks should not judge the one who does not believe they can drink and the one who does not drink should not judge the person who takes advantage of his freedom to drink.

There may even be some differences with how one husband applies the Biblical principles of male headship with his wife and how another applies it with his.  For instance one man may allow his wife to writing out the checks for the bills and another man may never allow his wife to see the bank account or check book. This is an example of a personal application the principle of male headship in marriage.

The point is on the subject of judging – we are actually commanded to judge by Jesus Christ himself.  We are simply commanded to do it in a righteous way.  It is not hypocritical judging or even judging on disputable matters to preach what God clearly says in his word about the distinct roles for which he made men and women and what he says about marriage.  If we compare God’s Word to what Christians and non-Christians alike say that directly contradicts with clear statements of the Scriptures that is not wrong judging, that is in fact righteous judging.

How can we as flawed humans presume to interpret the Bible for others?

Mike’s Statement:

Are you not seeing just how flawed as a human you are when you make statements concerning interpretations? I certainly know the sinner I am and would never presume to make the statements you do about scripture. Knowing the mind of God is beyond all our capabilities.”

I am well aware of my own person flaws and my sin nature. I encourage people here regularly to follow the psalmist’s words:

“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)

And yes we as human beings can never fully understand the mind of God as the Scriptures say:

“15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” – I Corinthians 2:15-16 (KJV)

We can never fully understand God’s mind or his thoughts.  However we can understand through Christ and the Holy Spirit what God has revealed about himself through his Word.  And we are not responsible for what God has not revealed but only what he has shown us in his Word.

Christ called on us as flawed human beings to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) as I pointed out to you earlier. God calls on us to submit to flawed human beings in government (I Peter 2:13-14). And God even calls on women to submit to flawed husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24, I Peter 3:1-6).

The men who gave us God’s word were flawed as well as the men who preached it after them. The difference was that Paul and the other Apostles and Prophets who gave us the Scriptures while being flawed sinners received perfect revelation from God.  He was one of the few men in the history of the world that God chose for this great privilege.   This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)

But  God actually has given the gifts and offices of Pastor and Teacher to help people interpret the Word of God:

“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”- Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)

What we see here is God talking about gifts he has given for the edifying of the body of Christ. God has personally given me the gift of being a teacher and I have tried in my own imperfect way as he has given me grace to exercise that gift over the years. Whether it was when I taught Sunday school classes or other groups I was exercising my spiritual gift “for the edifying of the body of Christ”.

In fact Paul warns the young Pastor Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gift:

“14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” – 1 Timothy 4:14 (KJV)

God does not want me to stop preaching his Word or teaching the interpretation of the Scriptures.  He placed this gift in me for the edification of the body of Christ as he has done with many imperfect and sinful men for thousands of years.  Do I claim that all my interpretations and applications of the Scriptures are infallible? Of course not.  Only Christ and his Prophets and Apostles were infallible as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

But God wants me in my own imperfect way to exercise the gift he has given me and other men with similar gifts to do the same until we all reach heaven where we will be perfectly unified in our understanding as we are in the presence of God himself.

Does Anyone Have the Right to Correct or Rebuke Other’s Bible Interpretations?

Mike’s Statement:

“When we get people to believe, HE will take care of the rest. People must make up their own minds WITH the gifts God gives them. That is between HIM and them. No one on this planet has the right to judge them on those beliefs except God.”

Did Paul say this to a young Pastor named Timothy – “Timothy you are a flawed and sinful man and unlike me you have not received the authority and inspiration from God to write his Scriptures. Therefore, you cannot preach any interpretation of the Bible or correct or rebuke anyone else’s interpretations of the Bible.  Let everyone decide for themselves what God’s Word teaches.”

The answer is NO.  The Apostle Paul told this young Pastor just the opposite!

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV)

Does “Faith Alone” Mean We Must Only Preach the Gospel and Nothing Else?

Mike’s Statement:

“My above statement about helping people to make that commitment to believe becomes so much more important when I see these types of arguments on your site being batted back and forth. They become terrible distractions to the main mission! “Faith alone”, not works or anything else for that matter.”

It is absolutely true that faith alone saves as the Scriptures state:

“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

But as Martin Luther famously said “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”  The Scriptures tell us this regarding the life changing power of true faith:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

So as we can see Martin Luther’s statement that the faith that saves is never alone perfectly aligns with the Scriptural view of salvation.

But what you are contending when you said “Faith alone” is that the only doctrine we should teach is that of the Gospel.  This is false.  Let me take you back to the great commission Christ gave and this time I will add his follow up statement:

“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)

Christ told us to preach the Gospel as well as well as  teach people everything he commanded.

And what was one of his commands?

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

Every word of the Bible sir comes from the mouth of God. We are to live by every word – not just those words concerning the Gospel and God gives us preachers and teachers of the Word to help us to understand all of God’s Word, not just the Gospel.

If God Canceled Some of His Laws Does That Mean He Canceled All of Them?

Mike’s Statement:
“Time passing alone changes things as they become more fully understood. I certainly don’t follow food instructions from the Bible, do you?

This is a classic argument that liberal Christians and even non-Christians make to write off parts of or even the entire Bible.  Sadly I have even seen some Christians who claim to believe in Biblical inerrancy write off the entire Old Testament based on this false argument.

No I don’t follow the food instructions that God gave to Israel as a theocracy.  Here are the reasons why:

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” – Acts 10:9-15 (KJV)

“1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary… 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” – Hebrews 9:1 & 10 (KJV)

The Old Testament contains three types of laws – Moral, Ceremonial and Civil.  The Ceremonial laws were for Israel as theocracy to worship God and make sacrifices – it also included dietary  and other cleanliness laws.  The Civil laws dealt with the punishment or restitution that was to be made for breaking God’s moral law under the theocracy of Israel.

When Christ ushered in the New Covenant with his death, burial and resurrection he did away with the first covenant including the ceremonial and civil laws of Israel. Now only the moral law of the Old Testament and all of the laws in the New Testament are binding on us as Christians.  Therefore as a Christian living under the New Covenant, I do not have to follow the dietary laws anymore.

But Biblical gender roles WERE part of the moral law of God in the Old Testament and they were even strengthen and further explained in the New Testament as I will show in the final section of this article.  So yes it is completely consistent for me to preach and teach that Christians must follow God’s gender rules and design for man and woman yet we no longer have to follow the dietary rules or other ceremonial rules and we are no longer under the civil penalties and restitutions mandated in the Old Testament.

Are Biblical Gender Roles an Unimportant Distraction From Gospel?

Mike’s Statement:
“Gender roles are simply not an important subject as long as men and women treat each other with respect. We can’t even get that done right! It just becomes another pointless distraction in the bigger picture of faith.”

Contrary to your assertion the teaching of Biblical gender roles is even MORE important when men and women are not treating each other as God has commanded them treat one another.  The Biblical doctrines of gender roles are critical to us living the lives God has called us to live.

Christ did not just die to save us from hell but rather he died so that we would live for him:

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 (KJV)

While we are not saved by works, Christ calls us to live for him.  How can we say we are trying to live for him when refuse to follow the purpose for which he designed each gender?

God says he made man to image him and doing so bring him glory and he made woman for man to help him in his duty to image God:

“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:7-9 (KJV)

God says that he made marriage to be a model of the relationship between God and his people:

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV)

Conclusion

To Mike and all those Christian teachers and preachers that refuse to teach the doctrines of Biblical gender roles to your people – you are in direct disobedience to the Word of God. You are not preaching the whole counsel of God when you preach only the Gospel.

I have never said here or elsewhere that if people reject the doctrines of Biblical gender roles that they are unsaved or not going to heaven.  We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone apart from works and not by following Biblical gender roles. But Christ did not save us so we could just live for ourselves anyway we want – he saved us so we could live for him in this life.

While we will not lose our salvation for refusing to follow the doctrines of Biblical gender roles and other doctrines concerning holy living we will in fact lose our reward for doing so.  If we do not run the race of this Christian life lawfully we will lose our reward in heaven as the Scriptures tell us:

“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” – 2 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)

“24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (KJV)

“11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (KJV)

Finally, even besides the consequences in the next life(loss of rewards) we will and are seeing the consequences of not following Biblical gender roles both as individuals and as a society in general in this life.  Since Second Wave Feminism arose in the 1960’s divorce rates have skyrocketed in our country.  While they leveled off at around 50% which is still a horrible number, the only reason they did so was because more couples just decided to live together outside a covenant of marriage.

The point is the idea of a man and woman living together for life in the covenant of marriage is becoming less and less common in our society since we as a culture left the practice of Biblical gender roles.   Marriages today are now “feelings centered” and specifically “woman centered”.  “Happy Wife Happy Life” is just another way of saying “Your wife is the boss just do whatever she says”.  And what has been the result of men allowing their wives to take over for decades – the destruction of the family unit.

How the Church Made Sex “Dirty”

For centuries, many Church leaders and scholars have seen sex as dirty and a necessary evil.  When it was encouraged it was encouraged only for its procreative value and not for the purposes of pleasure.  Once a man’s wife was pregnant there would be no procreative value to sex so the couple should not engage in sex simply for pleasure.  Also, once a woman passed her child bearing years there would be no need for sexual relations to continue because again it had no procreative value.

When it came to women the Church and society at large discouraged women’s enjoyment of sex even more so than men until the rise of modern feminism. If a woman enjoyed sex, she would have to keep that to herself otherwise she may be considered whorish – even by her own husband sometimes.

Anyone who reads this site will know I have no love for feminism.  I believe it has done far more harm to society than good. The free sex movement was also born out of feminism and again that movement did far more harm to society than good.

However, in history sometimes good does come out of evil events. The holocaust was one of the most wicked events in human history yet this created the catalyst to finally bring Israel back as a nation.  Like some other wicked events – the wicked feminist and then free sex movements did cause Christians to have to question their generally negative views of sexuality that had been held for so many centuries.

This lead to the rediscovery of the fact that the Bible has an entire book, the Song of Solomon, dedicated to celebration of erotic love in marriage.

“7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. 8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; 9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.”

Song of Solomon 7:7-9 (KJV)

The previous passage from the Song of Solomon literally alludes to a man wanting to take hold of his wife’s breasts as he mounts her for sex and at the same time french kisses her while they are having sex.

The Song of Solomon even alludes to the desire for and the pleasure from oral sex within marriage:

Here the wife alludes to her desire to perform oral sex(fellatio) on her husband:

“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Song of Solomon 2:3 (KJV)

The apple tree was a symbol of a man’s genitals in ancient times and her sitting in his shadow displays the idea of her kneeling before him performing oral sex on him.  It even shows that his fruit (his semen) was sweet to her taste.

In the following passage, the husband describes his desire to perform oral sex(cunnilingus) on his wife:

“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.”

Song of Solomon 4:6 (KJV)

The “the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense” is symbolic of a woman’s pubic mound.  So literally the husband was saying to his wife – “I want to go down on you all night long”.

Later in the same chapter the wife expresses her desire for her husband to perform oral sex(cunnilingus) on her:

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

Song of Solomon 4:16 (KJV)

The “north wind” is speaking of the man’s head and specifically him using his mouth.  She implores him to go “south” to her “garden” referring to her genital area. She asks him to “blow upon my garden” – meaning to perform oral sex so that “the spices thereof may flow out” referring to him causing her natural vaginal lubricants to flow. When she encourages him to “eat his pleasant fruits” this is directly equivalent to another phrase we use today to describe when a man performs oral sex on his wife.

There are many other sexual allusions in the Song of Solomon but you get my point.

The rediscovery of the Bible’s positive view of erotic love in marriage helped to spawn many Christian books encouraging Christian couples to no longer look at sex as a necessary evil only for procreation – but rather as gift from God to be enjoyed for its many other benefits.

In the last several decades scientific research has confirmed that regular sexual relations often bond couples together closer on a chemical level. They also found that regular sexual relations had a very positive effect on mental health and chemical balances in the body.

How sex became “dirty”

About 50 years after the last Apostle(John) died, a man who would later be regarded as an early father of the Church known as Clement of Alexandria stated this about sex:

“Our general argument concerning marriage, food, and other matters, may proceed to show that we should do nothing ‘- from desire. Our will is to be directed only towards that which is necessary. For we are children not of desire but of will.  A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that he may beget children with a chaste and controlled will. For we have learnt not to “have thought for the flesh to fulfil its desires.” We are to “walk honourably as in the way”, that is in Christ and in the enlightened conduct of the Lord’s way, “not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and lasciviousness, not in strife and envy.”

Clement of Alexandria, “On Marriage”, Chapter VII

So Clement is saying when a married couple come together as an act of the will for the sake of having a child and not because of their sexual desire for one another their is no sin.  But sex, even in marriage, simply for the sake of pleasure is a fleshly indulgence in Clement’s view.

Justin Martyr writing around 150 AD stated the same belief as Clement:

“But whether we marry, it is only that we may bring up children”

Justin Martyr, The First Apology of Justin (150-160 A.D), CHAPTER XXIX — CONTINENCE OF CHRISTIANS

Augustine of Hippo wrote this in his treatise “On the Good of Marriage” around 400 AD:

“Further, in the very case of the more immoderate requirement of the due of the flesh, which the Apostle enjoins not on them by way of command, but allows to them by way of leave, that they have intercourse also beside the cause of begetting children; although evil habits impel them to such intercourse, yet marriage guards them from adultery or fornication. For neither is that committed because of marriage, but is pardoned because of marriage…

For intercourse of marriage for the sake of begetting has not fault; but for the satisfying of lust, but yet with husband or wife, by reason of the faith of the bed, it has venial fault: but adultery or fornication has deadly fault, and, through this, continence from all intercourse is indeed better even than the intercourse of marriage itself, which takes place for the sake of begetting.”

Augustine of Hippo, Of the Good of Marriage(401 AD), Section 6

Augustine saw the desire for sex outside of “begetting children” as a venial sin that was better than the mortal sins of adultery and fornication. In his other writings he acknowledged that God made them “male and female” and intended on sexual reproduction but like Clement of Alexandria he believed it would have been an act of the will and not an act of passion or pleasure in God’s original design.

The 8th Century theologian John of Damascus wrote:

“Carnal men abuse virginity, and the pleasure-loving bring forward the following verse in proof, cursed be every one that raiseth not up seed in Israel. But we, made confident by God the Word that was made flesh of the Virgin, answer that virginity was implanted in man’s nature from above and in the beginning. For man was formed of virgin soil.  From Adam alone was Eve created. In Paradise virginity held sway. Indeed, Divine Scripture tells that both Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed. But after their transgression they knew that they were naked, and in their shame they sewed aprons for themselves. And when, after the transgression, Adam heard, dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return, when death entered into the world by reason of the transgression, then Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare seed. So that to prevent the wearing out and destruction of the race by death, marriage was devised that the race of men may be preserved through the procreation of children.

But they will perhaps ask, what then is the meaning of “male and female,” and “Be fruitful and multiply?” In answer we shall say that “Be fruitful and multiply” does not altogether refer to the multiplying by the marriage connection. For God had power to multiply the race also in different ways, if they kept the precept unbroken to the end.  But God, Who knoweth all things before they have existence, knowing in His foreknowledge that they would fall into transgression in the future and be condemned to death, anticipated this and made “male and female,” and bade them “be fruitful and multiply.” Let us, then, proceed on our way and see the glories of virginity: and this also includes chastity.”

John of Damascus (8th century) Chapter XXIV.–Concerning Virginity

John of Damascus went further than Augustine believing that God’s design of “male and female” was not his perfect will but instead a concession based on his foreknowledge that Adam and Eve would eventually sin and need to create children through marriage and sex. In other words sex was never part of God’s perfect design but rather a concession he made because he knew sin would occur.

This just demonstrates the crazy lengths that Church theologians would go to in an effort to explain away the fact that God made them “male and female” from the very beginning.

What the Church fathers and their later followers taught regarding the condemnation of all earthly desires for anything that is pleasurable was part of a false ideology we now call Christian Asceticism.

The Apostle Paul confronted asceticism in the Church

The Apostle Paul saw asceticism on the rise within the churches and fought against it as is seen in this passage of the Scriptures:

“20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Colossians 2:20-23 (NASB)

But almost immediately after the Apostles died the Apostles war against asceticism was lost and it spread through the church like a disease. While we would agree with the Church fathers that things like homosexuality, bestiality and orgies are “dirty” or fleshly forms of sex the church fathers went further in even calling normal heterosexual desires dirty and saw sex in marriage only as a necessary evil for reproduction.  They also strongly encouraged celibacy even in marriage and called on husbands and wives to suppress their “fleshly” desires for sexual pleasure with one another.

So, in summary – if you condemn yourself as “dirty”, or other men and women as “dirty” for having pleasurable thoughts about sex or for thinking of sex as more that a procreative exercise you can thank many of the early church fathers for that false belief – but not the Apostles who opposed such thinking.

In stark contrast to the negative view of sex of the Church fathers the New Testament book of Hebrews tells us this:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

The Apostle tells us that “the bed” is “undefiled”.  Literally sex which happens in marriage is both honorable and pure in God’s eyes.  Neither Christ nor his Apostles ever restricted sex in marriage to be for procreative purposes only.

If we look in the Old Testament we find that a man is actually encouraged to be satisfied by his wife’s body and ravished with her sexual love:

“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)

Proverbs chapter five makes it abundantly clear that sex in marriage is not simply for procreation. It was also given to mankind for pleasure.

Clement of Alexandria’s writings on this subject of sex in marriage puts on full display the fatal flaw of the church fathers who falsely attributed the Bible’s warnings against “fulfilling the desires of the flesh” (Ephesians 1:3) as the Bible condemning the enjoyment of any earthly pleasures.  They completely missed the spiritual application of the word “flesh” which applied to the sin nature in man and the fact that neither Christ nor his Apostles ever unilaterally condemned all human desires nor did they want Christians to live lives devoid of any pleasure.

Christ and his Apostles taught two important points. We as Christians should not live for earthly pleasure where the pursuit of earthly pleasure is the center of our life to the neglect of our service to God and our families. We also should not follow the desires of our sinful and corrupted nature (which is spiritually referred to as our “flesh”).  But it is not a “fleshly desire” for one to desire certain foods and take pleasure from eating them.  It is also not a “fleshly desire” for a man or woman to take pleasure from sexual thoughts or fantasies or to desire sexual relations with their spouse.  These human desires are pure and part of our original nature as given to mankind in the Garden of Eden by God himself.

Conclusion

The church fathers were not perfect men. They were not inspired by God in the way the Apostles were who wrote the Bible. They were imperfect men writing imperfect commentaries on the perfect Word of God.  But some of their misinterpretations and theological errors still plague the Church and Christians to this day.

I hope that if you view sex as “dirty” or even sexual desire and sexual fantasy as dirty you will reevaluate those kinds of thoughts.  Our human sexual natures, especially our distinct male and female sexual natures, are a gift from God.  They were given to mankind in the Garden of Eden as part of mankind’s original design.  We as Christians should never feel any shame for these desires or for exercising our sexual nature within the bounds of Gods law.

Does the Bible forbid Christian woman bloggers from teaching other women the Bible?

Does God allow women to teach other women the Word of God or does he only allow men to expound on the Word of God? Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time will know that I believe that God has given different roles to men and women and he has given men headship over women in the home, the church and society.

Man’s headship over women in the Home

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

Man’s headship over women in the Church

“11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

I Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV)

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

I Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

“2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;”

I Timothy 3:2-4 (KJV)

Man’s headship over women in the Society

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

But what about women teaching other women the Word of God?

The Scriptures are clear that women are not to take authority over or teach men in the church. They are also clear that women are to ask their husband’s about spiritual things and to follow his spiritual guidance.

But while the Bible commands that women are to follow their husbands spiritual leadership, ask him questions about the Scriptures and they are not to teach men in the Church what about women teaching women? The Bible answers this question.

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

The Bible is clear that women may teach other women what it means to be holy, truthful, not drunkards and what it means to love their husbands, how to be discreet, pure, how to keep their home and how to be obedient to their husbands.  And what should be the source of what they teach? Christ told us what the source is:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

So when women are exhorted to teach other women how to live godly lives – they are exhorted to teach them the Word of God.

Some Christians teach against women teaching women

I have just shown from Titus 2:3-5 conclusive proof that women may and should teach other women how to be good, holy wives and mothers and they could only do this by expounding upon the Word of God on these subjects.  Yet surprisingly there are some Christians that use Scripture passages on male headship (which I deeply believe in) to attempt to deny the truths taught in Titus 2:3-5.  If they don’t completely deny it they try and limit it literally by women’s age groups.

I am often an ally of some of these fellow Christian bloggers in our fight against feminism and it’s poisoning of the home, the church and society. We often stand together in our defense of male headship.  So it saddens me when I have to sometimes take my fellow Biblical male headship brothers to task but if the Apostles who were inspired of God had disagreements(Galatians 2:11) then it would follow that those of us who do not write by direct inspiration of God would probably have many more disagreements.

It is somewhat ironic that I find myself in the position of defending Christian women’s rights when I am so often accused of teaching women have no rights and must silently tend to the needs of their husbands, their children and their homes and do nothing else.

But the truth is when it comes to intelligent women who are well read in the Scriptures and spiritually mature I have consistently taught on this blog that they should be encouraged to use their spiritual gifts by their fathers and husbands in ways that compliment rather than contradict God’s roles for men and women.

With that being said here are some areas where I stand against these men on this subject of women teaching women.

Disagreements with Deep Strength over his post “Women teaching women in Church”

In a post entitled “Women teaching women in Church” Deep Strength writes:

“Dalrock rightly points out that exegesis of the preaching and of the Scripture is delegated to husbands in the 1 Corinthians 14 passage. When you combine this with the wording of the passage in Titus 2, it’s obvious that older women are to encourage wifely submission to their husbands. Therefore, it is the case that older women should not be “teaching” what the Scriptures mean to wives but rather encouraging wives to ask their husbands about how they would interpret it.”

Both Darlock and Deep Strength are wrong on this.  I constantly teach on this blog that we must take the Scriptures as a whole. We cannot take those passages that don’t fit what we think God was saying and simply dismiss them and this is exactly what Darlock and Deep Strength are doing.

Here is Darlock and Deep Strength’s logic in a nutshell:

Since women are to be silent in the church and ask their husbands at home about spiritual matters women are therefore forbidden from EVER expounding on the Word of God in any situation.  God only allows men to teach and expound upon his Word in Darlock and Deep Strength’s view.

Darlock and Deep Strength have errored because they have gone beyond “that which is written” (I Corinthians 4:6).

When the Scriptures tell us that women should follow their husband’s headship and ask their husband about spiritual matters at home it does not mean that the only source of spiritual teaching a woman can ever have is her husband.  It does not automatically mean women are forbidden from reading various books or blogs on line about the Bible or even marriage.  And it certainly does not mean women are forbidden from expounding on the Scriptures to other women especially as it relates to about to be good godly wives and mothers.  Titus 2:3-5 proves this to be the case beyond any doubt.

There are two references to women teaching in this passage from Titus.  The first is found in Titus 2:3.

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

Titus 2:3 (KJV)

The phrase “teachers of good things” is a translation of the Greek word “Kalodidaskalos” which means:

“teaching that which is good, a teacher of goodness”

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/kalodidaskalos.html

The NASB translates this phrase as “teaching what is good” and the NIV also translates this phrase as “to teach what is good”.  The consensus among commentator and translators is that this word literally means “to teach what is good”.  But the key concept is that women are in fact to be teachers.  This cannot be denied.

The second instance teaching is found in Titus 2:4:

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”

Titus 2:4 (KJV)

The word that the KJV translates as “teach” in Titus 2:4 where it says “That they may teach the young women” is a translation of the Greek word “Sophronizo” which means:

“restore one to his senses

to moderate, control, curb, disciple

to hold one to his duty

to admonish, to exhort earnestly”

http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/sophronizo.html

This word is only used in this particular passage of Scripture.

The NASB translates this word as “encourage” but puts in the foot notes that another word for it could be “train”.  The NIV translates this word as “urge”.

Even if this word means encourage we still have the first instance of women being commanded teach in verse 3.  And this is all part of one thought by the Apostle Paul and women teaching other women.  So even if it means “encourage” Paul is telling women “Be teachers of good things by encouraging women to do these things…”

How can women both teach and encourage other women to be good, to be holy, to be discreet, to love their husbands, their children and be obedient to their husbands without teaching them the standard for all these things which is the Word of God?

So while Darlock and Deep Strength want to deny the meaning of this passage because the Greek word  Sophronizo could mean encourage they cannot deny that the Greek word “Kalodidaskalos” found in verse 3 of Titus chapter 2 clearly involves teaching, not just encouraging.

And even if Sophronizo was the only word used in this passage it would be absurd to think that women could exhort other women to Godly living, to be good wives and mothers without ever referencing the Scriptures.

What about proper authority to teach?

We have proven that God’s Word does command women to teach other women how to be good wives and mothers from the Word of God from Titus 2:3-5. But what about the authority to teach the Word of God?

Deep Strength writes:

“All of this stems from as couple of things. Generally, In the Scriptures “teaching” and “preaching” are validated by “authority.” Authority is given in the Scriptures to specific roles such as husbands, pastors and elders, governments, and the like in order to love, shepherd, or maintain order and law.”

I agree that God has established various spheres of authority such as the family (which is headed by the husband) churches that are headed by Pastors and elders and of course civil government.

There are two types of authorities in the Bible – worldly authorities and spiritual authorities.

Worldly authorities would include Presidents, Governors, mayors, employers and school and college teachers and any other authority outside the home or the church.

Spiritual authorities would include people like our pastors or elders of our local churches and then husbands and fathers.

The uniqueness of the father/husband authority role

The father/husband is the only human role to which God has given both worldly and spiritual authority.  The husband and father roles are actually very similar to one another but the husband role is the most powerful human authority because a husband has authority to have sex with his wife but he does not have authority to have sex with his children.

The husband and father have responsibility for both the worldly affairs and spiritual affairs of their family. This is why husbands and fathers must teach their wives and children as well as discipline both their wives and children.

Each sphere of authority has its responsibilities, rights and limits. So for instance while civil government has some authority over family it does not have complete authority over the family.  For instance my local police department has the right to enter my home if they get a 911 call from my wife stating that I am trying to kill her.  But my civil governments (whether they be local, state or Federal) have no business telling me how to operate my marriage or what I teach my wife and children.

The authority of the Church also has it responsibilities, rights and limits.  All of the ministries of my church fall under the authority of my Pastor.  So if I were to teach in my church I must teach things in accordance with my Pastor’s interpretation of the Scriptures while participating in any official church activity.   However in my home I have the full right to teach my children Scriptural interpretations that are contrary to those taught in our church.

Let me illustrate with some examples.

A mother teaching her children

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;” – Proverbs 1:8 (NASB)

If a mother teaches her children the Word of God, she does so under the authority of her husband and their father.  This means that whatever his interpretations and applications are of the Scriptures this is what she must teach the children.  It does not necessarily mean that she agrees with all of them herself, but she must submit to his Spiritual views in how she conducts her life and how she teaches her children.

A woman teaching a woman’s Sunday school class

In the case of a woman teaching a woman’s Sunday school class she would first be doing so under the authority of her husband (if she is married) or else her father if she were unmarried.  But since she is teaching within an official ministry of the church she also falls under the authority of the church. So when she teaches she must teach in accordance with her husband or father’s interpretations as well as her church’s interpretations.  If the church would require her to teach something that conflicts with her husband’s teaching then she would have to resign that position in deference to her husband’s authority.

A woman has a Christian blog

When a woman has a Christian blog she is operating that blog under the spiritual authority of her husband or father. This means even if she disagrees with her husband or father on some interpretations and applications she is to teach what is in accordance with her husband’s interpretations and applications of the Scriptures.

Deep Strength is wrong that the teaching women is ONLY under the jurisdiction of their fathers or husbands

Deep Strength writes:

“Thus, in no situation is a woman “free unto herself” and thus given a voice within the Church in a position of authority whether over men or over other women. Daughters and wives are under their fathers or husbands authority. Likewise, older women are encouraged to teach younger women to obey the authority they are under and act in a godly manner.

Women teaching other women

As of now it should be quite clear that [older] women do not have the authority to teach or preach the meaning(s) of Scriptures to [younger] women because it is under the jurisdiction of their fathers or husbands. The Bible does not contradict itself on this front.”

Again let me reiterate from his statement the absurdity of what he is saying. He is saying older women should teach younger women to obey authority but why? Just because? Or is it because God’s Word says so? Do we live by our opinions or by the Word of God? So she can say “Ladies obey your husbands but I can’t quote the Scriptures that tell you to do that – only your husband can.”  Do you not see the absurdity of such a view?

I proved from the Scriptures that women do in fact have the authority to teach both their children (Proverbs 1:8) as well as other women(Titus 2:3-5).  The authority they have to do this comes from their husband or fathers first and secondarily from their church authorities if their husband or father allows them to do so.

Does God only allow older women to teach younger women?

Let’s look at Titus 2:3-5 again with the emphasis on ages of the women in question:

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that a Biblical literalist. I believe in interpreting the Bible as literally as possible unless it something like symbolism in prophecy or poetry.

But there are times when the Bible places an age restriction on something, and other times when it simply mentions age as an assumption.

We see an example of age restrictions when it comes to the church taking in widows that it would support and they would serve the church:

“A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man”

I Timothy 5:9 (NASB)

So a widow could not be brought in to be supported by the church and to serve the church full time until she was at least 60 years of age.  So here the age mentioned is not just an assumption, but a specific command.

But it is an error to connect this verse from I Timothy 5:9 with Titus 2:3.  They are talking about two different subjects.  One is talking about widows serving in the church and the other is talking about older woman teaching younger women how to be good wives and mothers.  Might some of these widows who were supported by the church does this very thing? Yes.  But Titus 2:3 does not restrict the ministry of women teaching other women to this group of women.

Paul’s command about aged women teaching younger women does NOT restrict teaching only to older women to younger women.  It was only an assumption that in most cases older women would be teaching younger women. The point of his statement was to allow women to teach other women how to be good wives and mothers according to the Word of God.

Yes God does restrict the exercise of the office of Pastor or elder to men who are not novices:

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.”

I Timothy 3:6 (KJV)

This is talking about the position of Pastor or elder – official positions in the church.  Also being a novice has nothing to do with age but rather spiritual maturity.  In either case this would not stop a young teenager whether they be a young man or young woman from sharing the Word of God with their friends.  In fact they ought to and we should encourage our young people to do so.

But God does not restrict his gifts or his callings by age as Paul states:

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

I Timothy 4:12 (KJV)

Are we to believe that while we are not allowed to despise the exercise of spiritual gifts by young men that we are allowed to despise the exercise of spiritual gifts by young women? I think not.

My 14 year old daughter expounds upon the Scriptures all the time at school to her fellow teenage girls.  She teaches them about the Gospel and how God wants women to live their lives. I would never dream of despising her for exercising her spiritual gifts.

Now as I have stated here and elsewhere throughout my blog men and women need to exercise their spiritual gifts within the bounds of God’s commands for each gender.  So that means women cannot teach or take authority positions over men in the church.  Women must exercise their spiritual gifts under the authority of their father or husband.

What about conflicts of authority?

The Bible never says we can only learn about the Bible from one source whether be men or women.  The Catholic Church taught this doctrine for centuries there was only once source for understanding the Bible and that was the Church.  They forbid anyone but the clergy from reading and interpreting the Bible for themselves.

I thank God every day for the brave men of the Protestant reformation that stood against the spiritual tyranny of the Catholic Church. If they had not we might not be having these discussions about the Bible – we would not even have Bibles unless we were clergy.

But what about when spiritual authorities conflict? Really it is very simple. If you are a wife or daughter and your father does not want you listening to a certain blogger, author, or Pastor  on a certain subject or if they do not want you listening to them or reading things from that all you obey your spiritual authority.

But what Darlock and Deep Strength are essentially arguing for is a spiritual “lock down” approach to how husbands and fathers teach their wives and children.

They are teaching that a father or husband must not just teach their wives and children the meaning the Word of God – but they are the ONLY people that can teach their wives and children the Word of God.  I have shown here in this article that their position is contrary to the Scriptures.

Think about it in practical terms and let’s take gender out of the equation. If my wife is sitting in a church service at my church and my Pastor teaches something that is contrary to what I teach her from the Bible (and he does from time to time) – should my wife and children have to stick their fingers in their ears or leave the room? Of course not. To do so would be utterly absurd.

Instead after the service when we get home I will take the Scriptures and explain to my wife and children where I disagree with the Pastor on the subject and why I do.  This is an exercise in maturity for my wife and children in learning that good Bible believing Christians will have disagreements on interpretations and this is the right way to handle it.

Is International Women’s Day a time for Christians to celebrate or a time to mourn?

Have divorce rates risen or decreased as a result of women being given social equality with men? Have children been better taken care of by their mothers as a result of women being given social equality with men? The answers to these two questions are unequivocal NO.

The ugly truth is that the woman’s rights movement has decimated God’s institution of marriage and the family.

Is this something we should be proud of? A society in which women mock and ridicule the role for which God designed them?

In the book of I Corinthians we read about a situation of immorality in the Church.  A man took his father’s wife (his step mother) as a wife and they were proud of this immorality.  The Apostle Paul said this to them:

“you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning”

I Corinthians 5:2 (NIV)

Are we not doing the same thing as a Christian people today in regards to feminism? Are we proud of what feminism has done to marriage and the family when we should be in mourning?

This is why for us as Christian’s International Women’s Day should not be a time for us to rejoice, but rather a time for us to mourn for our nation and our culture.  It should be a time to confront this sin in our homes and in our churches.

But doesn’t the Bible honor women?

Absolutely! The Bible honors women and encourages us as men to honor women. Children are to praise their mothers and husbands are commanded to praise and honor and their wives.

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” – Exodus 20:12 (KJV)

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” – Proverbs 31:28 (KJV)

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

Holidays like Mother’s Day and our wedding anniversaries call us to honor our women for the position of wife and mother – the roles for which God designed woman.  Christians should be honoring the women in their lives on these days for these roles that they play.

But honoring women for their roles as wives and mothers is NOT what International Women’s Day is about.

International Women’s Day is about women celebrating their rebellion against God and his design for them.

But hasn’t some good come from giving women equal rights with men?

I will not deny that some good has come from giving women equal rights with men.  In the areas of protecting women and their children from real domestic abuse it has helped. It has also helped in making sure that if women were wrongly tossed aside by their husbands that they could still see their children and get some financial support. It has also helped in allowing women to be able to be educated which is something the Bible never forbids.

But the good that has come from granting women social equality has been far outweighed by the damage that it has caused.

Instead of women just being able to divorce their husbands for real physical abuse and also being able to protect their children we have seen these new rights used for evil purposes more often than righteous purposes. We see women divorcing their husbands because their husbands refuse to bow down and worship them.  In fact the vast majority of divorces today occur not because of physical abuse but because of emotional reasons on the part of the woman.  Nearly 70% of all divorces today are filed by women.

Instead of women using their new found right to be able to be educated in the service of teaching their children and other women they now use it for their own selfish ambitions. They walk out of their responsibilities to their husband, their children and their home and they do it with PRIDE!

Instead of women regarding their bodies as belong to God and their husbands they see their bodies as belonging only to themselves. They go out and have promiscuous sex and then if they get pregnant they just go and have an abortion. Does this sound like something we ought to be celebrating or mourning as Christians?

The woman’s equality movement has warped marriage into something that would be unrecognizable to people just a few generations ago.

God’s original design of marriage as a duty based Patriarchy and a model of Christ’s relationship with his Church has been tossed aside for a feelings based equal partnership relationship which bears little resemblance to what God intended.

Opposing feminism and women’s equality is not equivalent to misogyny

“You Bible believing Christians are just a bunch of misogynists”

“You just want to control women and make them the slaves of men”

Let me tell you something in all honesty and sincerity and I know I speak for many of my Bible believing Christian friends. If God had stated in the Scriptures that men and women were to be social equals and equal partners in marriage that is what I would strive for. It is not about what I want or you want – it is about what God says he wants in his Word.

Christians who love the Word of God and practice the patriarchal form of marriage which models the relationship of Christ and his Church do not do so because of our hatred for women.  We do so because of our love for God.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – I John 5:3 (KJV)

“You don’t view women as equal human beings”

This is another false accusation hurled at Bible believing Christians who embrace the Biblical patriarchal form of marriage. This is because our American and Western culture teaches us that all human beings (adult human beings that are not incarcerated) should have equal rights. If one set of human beings has any less rights than another it said the human beings with less rights are being treated as “less than human”.

But this thinking does not line up with the Scriptures. The Bible shows us God commanding that women have less rights than men:

“2 If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth;

4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand.

5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.

6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul;

7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand.

8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.” – Numbers 30:1-8 (KJV)

“1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives…

5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – I Peter 3:1 & 5-7 (KJV)

The Bible clearly shows us that a daughter is under the authority of her father and a wife is under the authority of her husband. Women did not have equal social rights to men under God’s design. Yet men were called to honor their mothers and wives.  Women were not considered less than human in God’s view, but rather they were humans that occupied a different social status.

Conclusion

International Women’s Day should not be a cause for celebration for Bible believing Christians. Rather it should be a day for mourning and reflection on the sinfulness of our society. It should cause us to compel our nation and our culture to repent.  It should give us renewed reasons to preach what God’s word says even though it is extremely unpopular in our sinful culture.  We would do well to heed the words of the Apostle Paul to a young pastor named Timothy:

“2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – I Timothy 4:2-4 (KJV)

What does it mean for a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church?

God tells us as Christian husbands that we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. This is both a beautiful picture and at the same an intimidating proposition for any Christian husband. God tells us that our relationship with our wife is much more than just any human relationship. Marriage is a symbol, of the relationship between God and his people, and as such, we as men have the awesome and solemn responsibility of modeling God’s attributes toward his people in our relationship with our wife.

The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God states:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” – Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)

Not only does Paul tell us as husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the Church, but he follows that statement with the greatest example of Christ’s love for his church, that he “gave himself up for it”.

I would venture to guess that most Christians and even many non-Christians would wholeheartedly embrace this statement of the Apostle Paul. Feminists and egalitarians love this teaching (although they hate the previous statements about submission).

How to did Christ give himself up for his Church?

A lot of people think the only way Christ “gave himself up” for the Church was in dying on the cross for our sins and while I would agree that was the greatest way he “gave himself up”, it was certainly not the only way he did.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Philippians 2:5-8(KJV)

Christ as part of his sacrifice for us confined himself to an earthly body. While he was still fully God and at the same time fully man, he chose not to use all his powers. Christ not only sacrificed himself on the cross, but he also sacrificed himself every day for 33 years by confining himself to mortal human form. Jesus Christ, being the very God who created the universe, humbled himself to the point that he washed his Apostles feet.

Why did Christ give himself up for his Church?

This is a question that many Christians fail to ask, or they will give it a simple answer. Many might answer “He died to pay for our sins” and leave it at that. While it is true that Christ gave himself up for our sins that is not the ONLY reason he gave himself up.

Paul tells us not only that Christ gave himself up for the Church, but he tells us why he did it:

“that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesian 5:26-27(KJV)

Christ did not sacrifice himself only to give us eternal life in heaven when we die. He did this also to sanctify his Church, or to make her holy. He washes her and cleanses her through his word.

When Christ died on the cross he gave us positional sanctification – this makes it as though we never sinned when we die and face judgement – God will only see Christ’s righteousness when he looks at us. But that does not mean he wants us to keep sinning in the here and now because he has purchased our salvation. Instead he wants us to fight against our sin nature and live holy and righteous lives even in these sin cursed bodies, something we can only do through submission to his word and his will, and only with the help of his Holy Spirit – this is called progressive sanctification.

How a Christian husband can love his wife the way Christ loves his Church

So now that we understand how Christ loved the Church – by giving himself up for her, and also why he loved the Church – to make her holy we can practically apply these truths to how a husband can “give himself up” for his wife.

A man sacrifices himself when he marries a woman

I had a friend from high school who dated many women but always ended up breaking up with them. Years later when we were in our thirties, I asked him why he had stopped dating, and he said he realized the reason he kept breaking up with all those women was because he did not want to make the sacrifices that marriage demanded.  He had many hobbies and he was on bowling leagues, baseball leagues and enjoyed his job and being with his friends and family. He felt that he would have to give up a lot of that if he were to get married and would have to sacrifice the things he wanted to do for his wife and kids.

While I might not agree with his selfish reasons for not getting married, I appreciated my friend’s honesty. Many men think they can get married and nothing will change, they can continue with all the same activities they did before they were married, but marriage takes time, sacrifice and work.

With marriage we gain companionship but with these blessings comes responsibility and obligation to sacrifice ourselves for our wives.

Five examples of a husband sacrificing or “giving himself up” for his wife

Here are some real life scenarios where you may be called to sacrifice yourself as a husband:

  1. Your wife has been caring for a sick child all day and the house is a wreck and no dinner is made when you get home from work. You would need to sacrifice yourself for her by making dinner and taking care of the other kids.
  2. Your wife is sick – you will need to sacrifice yourself for her by taking care of the kids, dinner, laundry and all the other things she does, in addition to caring for her physical needs. In addition to these other sacrifices, you will also need to sacrifice you sexual needs for her greater physical needs at this time.
  3. Your wife experiences the death of a close friend or loved one, and this causes a great deal of emotional stress on her. You may need to help out more around the house while she is experiencing this emotional pain, and you will need to sacrifice your sexual needs for her greater emotional needs during this time.
  4. You’re getting ready to plan your hunting trip, taking the calendar and talking with your wife about the week you are thinking of going. She tells you that a church in the area is having a woman’s conference and she really would like to go. You sacrifice yourself by either canceling or rescheduling your hunting trip so that your wife can have her greater spiritual needs met.
  5. You are shopping for new furniture and you have given your wife the budget she has to spend. You see a set you would like, she compares it with a set she would like (and you really don’t like her set), but you sacrifice you preference for furniture for hers, knowing that she as the manager of your home needs to feel comfortable the type of furniture that goes in your home.

Conclusion

In this post we discussed the Biblical principle that God wants us as husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. He gave himself up not only to pay for the sins of his Church, but also to make her holy and blameless. As husbands, God expects us to emulate Christ’s sacrificial love for his Church in how we love our wives. God expects us as husbands to sacrifice our own needs for the needs of our wife.

Now that we have discussed the Biblical foundation for a husband loving his wife sacrificially as Christ loves his Church, in my next post we will look at principles for Christian husbands to know whether they are sacrificing themselves or their faith for their wife in any given situation.

Lawlessness, God’s Law and Tradition – Which one do you and your Church serve?

historic white church on the hill, bodega, california

In many Christian Churches today, we see one of two extremes. We see churches preaching against traditionalism (or legalism as it often referred to today) but not preaching against lawlessness. We also see churches preaching against lawlessness, but many of these same churches fail to preach against traditionalism (legalism). It is becoming less and less common in our culture to see Churches that neither go to the left nor the right of God’s law.

Do not turn to the right or to the left

This subject of not going to the right or left of God’s law seems to be a very important theme in the Scriptures.

“Be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you are not to turn aside to the right or the left.”

Deuteronomy 5:32 HCSB

This phrase of not turning to “the right or the left” of God’s commands is repeated 7 more times in the Scriptures(Deuteronomy 17:20, Deuteronomy 28:14, Joshua 1:7, Joshua 23:6, 2 Kings 22:2,2 Chronicles 34:2,Proverbs 4:27).

God also uses another phrase to express this same sentiment:

“You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 HCSB

This same phrase of “not adding or taking anything” away from God’s law is repeated in Deuteronomy 12:32.

So in total, 10 times, count them – 10 times God says he does not want us to go the left of his law, or to the right of his law, he does not want us to add to his law, or take away from his law.

When we go to the left of God’s law, and we take away from God’s law, we get lawlessness. When we go to the right of God’s law, we add to God’s law and we get tradition.

LawlessnessGodsLawManslaw

Jesus Christ himself reserved some of his most vehement scolding for Jewish teachers of the Law who added to God’s laws and taught their traditions as being equal to God’s law when he quoted from Isaiah:

“In this way, you have revoked God’s word because of your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said:

8 These people honor Me with their lips,

but their heart is far from Me.

9 They worship Me in vain,

teaching as doctrines the commands of men.””

Matthew 15:6b -9 HCSB

The Apostle Paul, when fighting against a new false teaching that added rules to God’s Word spoke these words:

“8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ… 16 Therefore, don’t let anyone judge you in regard to food and drink or in the matter of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on ascetic practices and the worship of angels, claiming access to a visionary realm and inflated without cause by his unspiritual mind. 19 He doesn’t hold on to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and tendons, develops with growth from God.

20 If you died with the Messiah to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: 21 “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? 22 All these regulations refer to what is destroyed by being used up; they are commands and doctrines of men. 23 Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence.”

Colossians 2:8 & 16-23 HCSB

The Three types of spiritual slavery in the New Testament

In the passage we just quoted from Colossians 2, Paul talks about human tradition taking us captive. He has used this concept of captivity with lawlessness as well when he states:

“19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.”

2 Peter 2:19 HCSB

Paul talks about another type of slavery, a positive type of slavery:

“16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. “

Romans 6:16-18 HCSB

So we have three masters we can serve, Lawlessness, God or Tradition. Being a captive of Lawlessness or Tradition are both equally sinful activities.

Examples of the difference between Lawlessness, God’s law and Tradition

LawlessnessGodsLawManslaw2

What if I or my Church practice some of these traditions, am I sinning?

Please don’t misunderstand me. We all have some rules for ourselves, or as parents for our children that may fall into some of the categories I have mentioned above. Even some Churches may have some rules that are not found in the Bible.

It is one thing to have a rule or standard for one’s life, one’s family, or even for Church activities, and another to teach these things as doctrines of Scripture that all men must follow, else they are sinning.

For instance, if I personally have a rule for my family that we won’t drink alcohol in our home, there is no sin in that. But if I teach that the drinking of any alcohol is wrong for all people, and sinful for all people – then I am being a slave to tradition and I am sinning by adding to God’s Word. God’s Word condemns drunkenness, not drinking.

Perhaps you believe that God wants you and your family to tithe, to give 10 percent of your gross income to your local church. There is no sin in this belief, as long as you understand that it is not sinful for others give less than 10% to their local churches, because tithing was never instituted as a method of giving for the New Testament Church. Anyone who teaches this as a doctrine for the New Testament Church is being a slave to the traditions of men, and is adding to the New Testament which clearly says with New Covenant, we are no longer under the old law.

I could go on, but you get the point. There is nothing wrong with having traditions that you follow, as long as those traditions do not cause you to violate the commands of God, and as long you never equate those traditions with the commands and doctrines of God’s Word.

So the question is what master will you serve? Lawlessness? God or Tradition?

This has been the first in series of posts I wanted to write relating to traditionalism. In this first post I wanted to compare and contrast following lawlessness, God’s law and the traditions of men. This is not just some theoretical exercise, I grew up in Churches that believed in many of the traditions I listed, and they held strong convictions that anyone who did not embrace these traditions as the commands of God, were in fact sinners under the judgment of God.

Many times on this blog I have been accused of being a traditionalist myself, because of my strong convictions regarding Biblical Gender Roles. But the major difference between mine and millions of Christians who believe in Biblical Gender Roles and these traditions I listed above is – there are ample Scriptural commands that teach Biblical Gender Roles, there are no Scriptural commands that teach any of the traditions I have shown above. They are built on conjecture, and opinion, not on clear Scriptural commands.

In upcoming posts I will be reviewing actual doctrinal statements from a church website that one my blog readers referred to me where this Church teaches many of these traditions as the commands of God, rather than the traditions of men.

 

What Wives could learn from Secretaries

WifeSecretary

What Wives could learn from Secretaries? Consider the relationship between a man and his female secretary, not just the actions, but the attitudes that female secretaries generally have have toward their male bosses.  Then let’s compare and contrast those actions and attitudes with the actions and attitudes many wives have toward their husbands:

WifeSecretary13a WifeSecretary12a
“May I get you some coffee?” “Get you what? You have two legs and two arms – go get it yourself.”
“Would you like me to get you some lunch?” “I am not your waitress, go get your own lunch.”
“Do you need me to pick up your dry cleaning?” “I am not your maid, pickup your own clothes, and you could do some laundry too.”
“Is there any way I could assist you?” “Help you? I am the one that needs help around here.”
“Is the way I did this ok, or would you like it done differently?” “This is the way I do it, and if you don’t like it keep it to yourself.”

The first thing that many people would say to these two lists is, the comparisons are not fair, because a secretary is an employee of her boss(and thus a paid servant of sorts) and a wife is an equal partner, not her husband’s servant.

But as we have pointed out several times in the this blog, the modern teaching that marriage is an equal partnership between a man and a woman is not found anywhere in the Bible.  God, the creator of man, woman and marriage, defines marriage very differently, and equality has little to do with marriage.

God’s purpose in creating man, woman and marriage was to demonstrate his eternal qualities, and the relationship between himself and man kind.

In this symbolism, Man represents God, in his loving leadership, protection and provision qualities, while woman represents the people of God, and the attitude and actions that God’s people should have towards him.

In Ephesians 5:22-33 we have this symbolism very plainly stated by the Apostle Paul:

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

In our modern day, if you asked most Christians if the Church was made for the glory of God, that the church should submit to Christ in everything, serve him and humbly reverence him they would say all of these things are true of the relationship between Christ and the Church.

In fact if you were to ask most people, is the Church equal to Christ, they would say – Absolutely not!

Yet if you ask many of these same Christians(including Christian feminists), these same questions about the relationship between a husband and wife the answers are very different.

“Of course a wife is equal to her husband, and marriage is a equal partnership” they say.

“A woman is not her husband’s servant!” they say.

While we are all equal in our humanity, the Bible never says men and women are equal beyond that. Especially in marriage, men and women are not equal, and the symbolism and roles within marriage from a Biblical perspective make this very plain.

So let me bring this back around to the secretary illustration I began this article with.

Do you wonder why men often are drawn to actions and attitudes of their secretaries?

No it is not because all these men are selfish and egotistical as our feminist friends would have us believe. It is because men are wired by God himself to desire to be respected and served.

Let say very clearly – I am not saying it is ever right for a man to have an affair with his secretary. Many of the men who have had affairs with their secretaries have had loving wives at home who may be respecting and serving their husbands as they ought to.  But far too often, we neglect another reason why men have affairs with women who work under them.

This is explained by the fact that many times the secretary may not be as attractive as the wife.  The reason is because of how the secretary gives the man the respect he so craves, and she serves him willingly, and humbly.

Again – I am not saying these are excuses for a man to have an affair with his secretary, I am only identifying a reason that is often ignored.

Conclusion

I invite Christian women to truly examine Ephesians 5 and many other Bible passages I talk about on this site.

Contrary to the false accusations that are often hurled at those Christians who believe in the gender roles as God created them, Christian men are not selfish beings looking to stomp on women.

We as Bible believing Christian men are simply seeking to live out our design, our role, and our symbolism in God’s design, or at least we should be.

The question is Christian woman, will you submit to God’s design and be willing to do the same?

Do you want your to please God and your husband as a Christian woman? Then respect him and serve him.