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A Good Effort Gone Too Far 1 Timothy 2:8-15; Titus 2:3-5


WARNING: THE VIEWS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE GOING TO ANGER MOST READERS


It is time for a discussion on the role of women in the church and the role of the local church. The feminist culture, which took off on steroids in the 1960s is now decimating Christian denominations (Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America, whose president is a woman, PCUSA, Episcopal, Anglican, United Methodist, SBC, etc.). Power is contagious; our sinful nature lusts for it. The more people remove themselves from the wisdom of God, the more self-centered they become. The idea of submission or obedience in men and women is diluted. Service is for the lower classes, blue-collar workers, and the weak, who are taught to accept their fates among the masses while the elite becomes their gods. Among the gods, men and women vie for more and more power. To aid women in their lust for control, cultural discrimination and feminist rights are created and legislated, not for equality, but to dismantle “male dominance” in the pursuit of female dominance. For many women, family, especially motherhood, and its devotion to the rearing of children as expendable. And faith, well, faith is a cover that is pliable; God is whatever the feminist wants him or her to be, as long as he is secondary to the goals that lead to more and more power.[1]

While feminism in liberal-leaning denominations reflects the characteristics mentioned above, feminism in the evangelical world is subtler. Here the focus is women teaching women. The women's movement in evangelical churches is separating men from women, as more and more women are creating huge women's teaching ministries that are designed to "empower women," which, historically, was the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. Criticize almost any woman in this movement and you will get a stern and sometimes vitriolic reaction--I know this personally. Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and many more are teaching doctrine that is quite questionable, if not purely heretical. The following are a few examples of “good intentions” going too far and corrupting the Word of God.


Going Too Far


Ann Voskamp "portrays God’s love in a dangerous way, confusing his love for an 'erotic' type of love.“ In her book, 100 Gifts, she writes of flying to Paris to 'learn how to make love to God,' and also, 'I run my hand along the beams over my loft bed, wood hewn by a hand several hundred years ago. I can hear Him. He’s calling for a response; He’s calling for oneness. Communion.'"[2]

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth combines pagan practice with Christianity: Nancy "regularly turns to the prayer circle and attributes her teaching to an early 20th-century British Evangelist, Rodney (Gipsy) Smith. She writes, "Gipsy Smith was a nineteenth-century revivalist who did something unusual when he came to a new town. He’d stop on the outskirts and draw a circle in the dirt. Then he would stand inside that circle and say, 'O God, please send a revival to this town, and let it begin inside this circle. Would you ask God to revive His people? Would you let the Holy Spirit draw a circle within your own heart? Then say, 'Lord, I long for You to send a revival to my nation, my church, my marriage, and my children. But Lord, would You first start a revival inside this circle? Let it begin in me.'"[3]

Sarah Young is now a recipient of divine revelation. Priscilla Shirer is "one of the many darlings of the Southern Baptist Convention and a regular speaker on the Life-Way Women’s speaking circuit. Shirer, daughter of Pelagian heretic, Tony Evans, is an advocate of mystical forms of prayer and contemplation that were born out of the Emergent movement." Lysa TerkHeurst is a protege of Steven Furtick, the prosperity huckster out of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. TerkHeurst, like her spiritual father, Furtick, is a proponent of the prosperity gospel. Beth Moore "is the favorite among the lady preacher speaking circuit ranging from Life-Way and the Southern Baptist Convention to Hillsong. Beth Moore’s most blatant heresy is undoubtedly her vision that contradicts the Scriptures entirely. In this vision, God supposedly told her that Roman Catholicism is one of God’s true Christian denominations and that he desires unity among the various denominations, including Catholicism."[4] She should leave the examination of what is true and false to the Word of God, not to her imaginative mind.

Biblical Guidance

Making Good Efforts Good Again


1 Timothy 2:8-15


Though there are other passages on this topic, every student of Scripture needs to spend time reading and studying 1 Timothy and Titus to understand the biblical roles of men and women in the Church. We will start with 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Read this very carefully. Try not to think in the 21st century "thought-control."


8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger and dispute. 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive apparel, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a wrongdoer. 15 But women will be preserved through childbirth—if they continue in faith, love, and sanctity, with moderation. Paul starts by admonishing men, "in every place to pray." Then verses 9-15 are directed to the behavior of women alone. He first talks about their dress-it is to be modest rather than seductive, which allows the woman's accomplishments to come from her good works, not her looks. This is called godliness. 2:11 requires women to receive "instruction” in the church “with entire submission." That instruction comes from men (pastors, elders, and deacons), whose character must be consistent with the characteristics found in 1 Timothy chapter 3:1-16[5] Then Paul exhorts the women not to teach or exhort men in the local churches. She can teach men in other professional settings, but not in the church. The question then is "Why must women be taught by men?" The answer is first; "God said so." Secondly, why did God take this responsibility (not privilege) from women? 1 Timothy 2:13-14 gives the answer unmistakably: the denial of responsibility to teach is both creation-related and a punishment. Firstly, God made the decision to create the male first. Secondly, Eve decided to disobey God. This was a direct assault upon the order of creation, which includes Adam's leadership responsibility. Her deception resulted in her sinful behavior. Though Adam did sin willfully, he was led into it by the woman.

When Adam and Eve introduced sin into the human race, it became essential that one gender needed to submit to the other, if any order was to be possible. Sin is a horrific and deadly intrusion into human existence. It must be controlled or humankind will be forever lost in disorder and gender conflict. God designed order among His saints to protect them, not subjugate them to one another. Charles Ryrie wrote: “A woman's greatest achievement is found in her devotion to her divinely ordained role; to help her husband, to bear children, and to follow a faithful, chaste way of life." And to do this she must practice self-restraint (1 Timothy 2:15), that is to resist the lure or temptation to seek her own will and way when the desire is openly defiant to God.


Titus 2:3-5


Titus provides more responsibilities that are specifically provided to Christian women.


3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored.


God is not opposed to women teaching, in fact, he desires it of older Christian women in each local church. What are they to teach? They are to teach younger women to love their husbands so that men are free to pursue the type of characteristics and responsibilities that enhance the lives of their wives, their children, and others whom God calls them to serve in their local churches (Single women can ignore the responsibility to love their husbands and bear children, but they can still teach children to love God and their parents.). Doing these tasks ensures that the Word of God will not be mocked, i.e., dishonored and that family remains the foundation for healthy churches and communities.


God is promoting a healthy division of spiritual responsibility at the local church level. He is not subjugating or demeaning anyone, which is the big complaint these days. Why do women follow God's guidance? The sole purpose of this guidance is to ensure that the Word of God is not dishonored. The world may hate the Word of God, but men and women of faith preserve it through their faithfulness. Men and women (single or married) cannot be at odds or competing with one another over roles. God has given each of us our specific responsibilities, some of which do overlap, e.g., rearing children.


Gender competition brings the world into the Church and contaminates it. What happens when women lust for power? Take a close look at the animosity, duplicity, immorality, and downright nastiness inherent in Democrat women, in politics and entertainment, who have no respect for God and His Word, even when they claim to be religious. They are male-bashers and obnoxiously arrogant people (feminism is an affront to God and is prevalent in many churches). This same vileness in women also happens to men who lust for power--everything becomes corrupt and death eventually results, one way or another. The Bible wisely gives responsibility to each gender in order to avoid gender-competition and the dehumanizing destruction it breeds. Think about sports: what is the purpose of competition? It is to defeat, even demoralize your opponent. Relationships between men and women are not about competition. They are about service to the Body of Christ, the Church.


Men cannot live up to their biblical responsibilities if women do not live up to theirs and visa-versa. Together (not just in marriage) we are better than being alone. God set up guidelines to protect us from our selfish and destructive sinful natures. The future of our children depends upon both gender's willingness to SUBMIT to the role that God has given them. Yes, both genders must submit, if unity is to be achieved! Again, both genders SUBMIT to God! Our roles are given to us so that we know how to serve God and one another productively and with respect. We disobey to our own demise, which, by the way, is exactly what the Scriptures teach the church will do (Revelation 2-3; six of the seven churches in this passage failed to obey Christ properly. This is true historically and prophetically). Gentlemen: don’t be a Fallen Adam, that is, a man who assists and encourages a woman to defy God and seek her own desires to the detriment of all. Ladies: don’t be a Fallen Eve, that is, a woman who defies God to seek her own way to the detriment of all. We must learn to respect God’s way without concern for cultural mores. However, we can sure pray and hope that the culture will seriously rethink the destructive direction it is presently taking.


Coming Back to the Local Church


We are spending millions of dollars on men and women ministries. These funds should be kept in the local church and area rather than in the pockets of individual “stars of the faith” and their organizations (cf. Romans 12:3; Gal. 6:3). God provides each individual community church with people who are capable of doing the work that He wants to be done (Ephesians 1-6; Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). Don’t even slightly diminish this work that God does through the Holy Spirit. However, the Church wants to be relative, cool, and modern. We seem to need male and female “stars” who can speak to the masses in nice venues that provide for all the needed comforts. This need for “religious rock-stars” is pure nonsense, which emanates from an inherent need for group acceptance and a personal lack of understanding with regard to the role of the local church.


God calls His children into the faith (1 Cor. 2:24; Ephesians 1-2) and prepares them for the work He desires to be done in local areas (Philippi, Corinth, Thessalonica, Rome, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea, etc.). The Holy Spirit provides each local church with the skills and funds to do what He wants to be done. Congregants didn’t go to Paul as we would prefer to do today; Paul came to them. He was a church establisher and builder, who left these churches with pastors, sometimes itinerant pastors. He took some support from these local churches, but he did not burden them—on the side, he worked for a living. Today, churches and their congregants spend millions of dollars going to the rich and famous, the most knowledgeable and charismatic among us. Meanwhile, local ministries in many churches have limited funds, sometimes due to the money being spent outside the local church for “personal growth” seminars in downtown whatever. Furthermore, some churches spend outlandish funds on missions while spending little to DO missions in the location in which God established them (this is somewhat of a side issue, but no less exasperating).


Does our dependence on the “stars” suggest that there are no women in the local church who are capable of teaching biblical principles of marriage and child-rearing? Are there no men in the local church who can teach the biblical roles of men? Is there no one in the local church who can find and purchase books from scholars who focus their interests on marriage, family, and children, etc.? Can no one, but the pastor, teach Scripture (all elders are responsible to teach Scripture)? Is the local church incapable of identifying and meeting needs in their God-given community? Have we retired and replaced the power and influence of the Holy Spirit? Apparently, the answer to these questions is, Yes! Who has replaced Him? Fallible “Christian” heroes and heroines who tickle our spines and give us someone to worship, someone whom we can see and meet and touch. I prefer the Holy Spirit!


Conclusion


Please! Do not let the cultural gender battles and our seminar culture undermine your faith and corrupt the Church and your family. Presently, we have gone too far. God knows how to protect you from yourself. Hence, He gives local churches men and women whose spiritual gifts and roles protect and benefit us while keeping us from unnecessary relationships and divisive conflicts. Order diminishes conflict. Can local churches actually serve the Lord and their communities effectively? Yes, service to the community is the local church’s primary purpose after the spiritual growth of the believers. There will never be an easy time to be faithful to God's Word, but I pray that each of you will fight the tendency to compromise in any matter related to biblical faith. The world will never understand the divisive effect of sin nor the remedy that restrains and ultimately defeats it: Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, and the Word of God. The gender roles, as outlined in Scripture, demean no one; rather, they provide the framework within which faith is developed and eternal hope is fully realized. The local church has been given all it needs through spiritual gifts and funds to effectively serve its local community. Faithfulness cannot compromise and hope will not disappoint. Follow the Lord’s guidance that frees you from the deleterious effects of the world; ignore the world’s guidance that entraps you in its seductively destructive power-struggles. God knows best!


Side Note


I have similar concerns with Youth Group rallies and events. Youth are extremely susceptible to “star” worship. I fear that the human tendency toward idolizing things and people among young people is not being considered even slightly. With no agenda, I did a search for the Church God Youth Rally.


The 52nd Youth Rally will be held at the beautiful World Center Marriot in Orlando, FL. Hotel rooms are $138.00 per night times 3 nights. Go to https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/iyc-2020/ to see the degree of extravagance being used to entice participation. Transportation costs are extraordinary. Registration costs range from $155.00 to $190.00 per person. They are working with Chick-fil-A and Jimmy Johns to provide $10.00 box lunches. Dinner is on your own. Attendees will range from 7th grade to 12th grade. Their adult leaders are welcome to attend as well—no kidding.


Who will pay for this extravagance? What will attendees actually learn about the reality of faith in Christ? Does this enticement truly reflect the life of Christ and the sacrifice and commitment that faith entails? I’m sure the Church of God will boast of great reviews and produce pictures and videos of the attendees boasting about the greatness of the experience. These events are not representing the Gospel, they are representing American indulgence.

I’m not picking on the Church of God. There are numerous denominations that have similar youth events. What are we really teaching our youth about service and sacrifice? How does this teach the humility of Christ? How do these events help young people prepare for the reality of faith in the world-system, which is becoming more militant? I fear that we are failing them miserably and projecting a false Gospel. How much will local churches pay to support this event? Have denominations and Pastors become disciples of the Christian entertainment industry or have they become the Christian entertainment industry? Have our church leaders simply become people-pleasers who love to count the numbers of people attending events and sitting in the pews? Does it matter that the Christian mindset reflects more of the world than it does the mindset of our Savior? Do we prefer being served rather than serving? How much church money is lost to entertainment rather than being used to reach the local church’s neighboring community? We have gone too far astray of the biblical Gospel! Numbers over substance!


[1] Race is also a tool for the accruement of power. Did you know that The United States is the least racist country in the world? See, Kathleen Brush, Racism and Anti-racism in the World: Before and After 1945. Copyright 2020, Kathleen Brush, pp. 63-67. This book suggests that no bias is acceptable, which I think is a bit naïve. Biases are not all evil; they can be protective. A nation should have reasonable biases against people who hold beliefs that are detrimental to good order or are a threat to national survival. Immigration cannot be open to everyone. [2] https://reformationcharlotte.org/2019/03/26/false-teachers-evangelical-churches/. [3] Ibid. [4] Ibid. [5] Contextually, the women in 3:11 refer to deacons’ wives because the verses before and after verse 11 are addressing the responsibilities and character of male deacons.


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