On Complementarianism

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Jonathan Leeman has a fabulous article in the new 9Marks journal on relationships between men and women (complementarianism/egalitarianism). I was just able to teach on biblical womanhood at a youth camp with my church. Honestly, one session went extremely well, one session could have gone better. I wish I had some of this before I went. This discussion can get confusing if not presented and articulated well, especially when not knowing where your hearers are coming from. Always be ready with a biblical answer – and always submit to the authority of Scripture and Christ when speaking on this. That is how I’ve worked on my conversations. I try not to share my opinion – because why does my opinion ultimately matter. But, the only lasting perfect words on this subject is from Scripture.
Thanks to Dr. Burk for highlighling this article and for the men at 9Marks for putting this together and for CBMW for being around for so many years giving us good resources on this topic.

Jonathan Leeman has an excellent essay in the latest 9marks journal. In short, he argues that Complementarianism is crucial to discipleship. It’s worth reading the whole essay, but I want to highlight one section that I found particularly helpful. It will frame the way I engage the “borders” from now on. He writes:

‘Too often, the discussion about complementarianism gets stuck at the borders. For instance, people get marooned on matters like whether it’s appropriate for adult women to teach high school men. Where’s the line, they ask. But focusing on the borders of what’s licit is a bit like the dating couple who asks, “How much can we do with each other physically? Hold hands? Kiss?”

‘There is a place for such questions, but what’s needed first is a positive statement about how to promote biblical masculinity and femininity among young men and women. The dating couple, instead of asking, “How far can we go?” should instead ask, “How can we serve one another and best prepare the other for marriage?” In the church, likewise, we should ask, “How can we best help these high school women become mature women, and these high school men become mature men?” But that’s a question a church will never think to ask if it doesn’t have a positive vision for Christian masculinity and Christian femininity in the first place.

‘So let’s try again: Is it okay to have adult women teaching high school men? Well, frankly, I’m not entirely sure if it’s licit or not, but I do know I want those high school men to learn what it means for men to take initiative and biblical leadership in the church. And I do want the women to learn what it means to love, affirm, and support male leadership in the church. Therefore, I’m going to be very careful about what models I place before them. In most circumstances, I’m going to have Bible-loving, initiative-taking adult men teach the group as a whole, while having mature women support and assist that ministry.’

This entire issue of the 9marks journal is devoted to the complementarianism and is titled Pastoring Women: Understanding and Honoring Distinctness. Go check it out.

Wonder Woman, Feminists, and Biblical Womanhood

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The only comics I read growing up were Archie and the Sunday Funnies.  I loved waking up each Sunday morning and looking at the brightly colored comics – now many of them I don’t even know, nor are they funny.  I miss the days of new Garfields, Peanuts, and B.C.

DC Comics are a different thing altogether.  Even though I’ve watched most of the movies, I’ve never read any of the actual comics.  I know they are very different and I can’t call myself a fan if I haven’t.  But, I have watched Unbreakable by M. Night and there are some creapy comic book fans out there!

I love the original Batman, The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, all the Spideys (of recent years)…  But, what of Wonder Woman?  I don’t think I ever watched an episode/rerun with Lynda Carter (THE Wonder Woman in most opinions).  I grew up watching the Smurfs, Strawberry Shortcake, and The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show (loved 11am on Saturday mornings). 

I came across this blog yesterday and did some thinking about it.  Why hasn’t Wonder Woman been as big of a HERO as her male counterparts?  Is it because she isn’t strong enough?  No.  There are reasons at which I’ll get to later.  One of the statements in the blog I read brings up an interesting fact of feminism and lesbianism (do they really think this will sell more copies):

“Comic books are a male-dominate, testosterone fueled medium.  Guys grow up wanting to be Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Captain America.  Wonder Woman is eye-candy and the hot chick they fantasize about.  First, last and always.  The small percentage of women and girls that read Wonder Woman hardly make up for the large percentage of men and boys who don’t.  The best rendition of Wonder Woman is and was the Lynda Carter version – and she wore the one-piece.  Even then the character of Steve Trevor was introduced only to give Wonder Woman someone to rescue every week and give her a little heterosexual cover.  The woman is almost 70 years old.  Isn’t it about time she finally chose a side.  Drag her out of the closet and let her start singing Melissa Etheridge and Indigo Girls songs.”

Amazon, not the bookseller, but the home of WW, is an all-female planet.  Females dominate.  “Wonder Woman is an Amazon (based on the Amazons of Greek mythology) and was created by Marston (an American) as a “distinctly feminist role model whose mission was to bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality to a world torn by the hatred of men.”  I would love to go back and interview the creator of WW for DC Comics.  Created by a husband/wife team who lead a polygamous lifestyle, WW was seen as a loving superhero who embodied the feminist, non-traditional woman of the day (WW2).  Marston, the main creator, said this in 1943:

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

The more I study this – the problem goes deeper.  So, basically, we have, all demonstrated in WW: helpless men, all-powerful, attractive, sexy, loving, truthful, I’m-in-charge woman.”  This is what we as Americans are giving are girls.  Now they want to make her a lesbian or a feminist?  They aren’t too far from the truth according to some.

But, without going further…how can we as Christians (especially women and mothers and those who work with young women) counter this?

1.  Please do not misunderstand me – I am not advocating door-mat women.  I am not advocating weak women.  Just to get that right.

2.  We need to advocate biblical feminity.  I like how John Piper defines it:

“At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership from worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s differing relationships.”

3.  Scripture tells us women of the Word will be wise, fearing the Lord, industrious, hard workers, strong, giving, nurturing, trusting in her God, dignified, praiseworthy, gentle, quiet, modest, self-controlled, woman of good works, submissive to her husband and those in authority over her (see above quote), reverent in behavior, not enslaved to much wine (or any other bondage to sin), teachers of what is good, training the younger to love their husbands.  These are just some of the commands/descriptions of women – not to mention all the traits of any one who considers themselves to be lovers of God, bought by the blood of Jesus.  (Prov 31, 1 Timothy, Titus 2)

When I think of Wonder Woman, I see a woman who is trying to be all things, take charge, not submissive, pleaser of self, helping others (of course, she is a superhero), someone ogled by men, not gentle or meek or quiet. 

When allowing your sons and daughters (and yourselves) to watch/read things in culture – do you know what those people are trying to teach your children or you?  I just read some Spurgeon this morning:

“Whether we teach young Christians truth or not, the devil will be sure to teach them error.”

As a married woman – the book I can recommend is Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.

For a single woman (like me) – the books would be Girls Gone Wise by Mary Kassian or Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? by Carolyn McCulley.

For a mom of older daughters, the above mentioned Girls Gone Wise. 

For a mom of younger daughters, Girl Talk by Mahaney and Whitacre (her daughter).

Radical Womanhood: Carolyn McCulley

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Carolyn McCulley has been a blessing to me through her writing, speaking, and the few times I have been blessed to hang out with her.  She cares deeply about Christ, the church, missions, and women.  She cares about the gospel being lived out well by the women she is in contact with.  That is why you can hear and feel her heartbeat in her latest book, Radical Womanhood. 

I love hearing Carolyn’s story of God’s grace on her life.  Saved much later than most, in her 30s, she saw great evidences of God’s grace in her life as He shaped, and continually shapes, her to be a Radical Woman.  This book was written to help others who find themselves in the culture that displays very different standards for men and women when compared to God’s Word. 

As a friend and I have read this book together over the past 2 months, we both said that it was very helpful to us.  This would not be a book we would give to new Christians though, especially young women because of its depth.  More so, I see this book as a crucial tool to give to women in our churches to see how their ideologies and performance-based theories of worth are not founded in Scripture – yet they are founded in the lies of Satan.  If you did want to walk through it as a new believer, or even one who doesn’t know Christ, this would be excellent to go through with a friend.  My friend and I were able to discuss it over sushi or pizza and salads.  Made for interesting dinner conversation and I was thankful for the push!

This book has enough history in it to give one an overview of the three movements within Feminism.  McCulley shows you the depth of which these movements have permeated every part of our society: our home, the work place, and the church.  When reading through some of the tougher chapters, such as “The Mommy Wars” – one almost reads in defeat because of the overwhelming sin and destructive thoughts that permeate the area of birth control, Planned Parenthood, etc.

At the end of the chapters, Carolyn brings each of the matters a little closer to home with real life snippets of women who have been molded and shaped in these areas by the grace of God and for His glory.

Just some thoughts that I underlined:

“Sin also separates us from one another.  We need to be redeemed from the consequences of sin – God’s righteous judgment and wrath – to experience true freedom.” (p 45)

“Every time my married friends spoke to me about their trials and temptations, I had the choice to influence them with the Bible’s perspective or with the latest self-help theories.  We do not need the authority of personal experience to counsel one another because the Bible is sufficient for this task.  But, we do need to know the Word.” (p 75)

“However, even among a large number of Christians today, the home is not as important as it once was, nor it is viewed as a place of ministry and outreach.” (p 104).  Carolyn goes into this concept more in depth, especially for single women, in her book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye?.

Thoughts on Margaret Sanger (founder of modern-day birth control movement) – THINK about this – whether you are married or not: “Margaret Sanger was the founder of the modern birth control movement and a vocal proponent of eugenics – the theory of race improvement that was the cornerstone of Nazi Germany.  Sanger believed that all evils stemmed from large families, especially large families of those she deemed as unfit.  As she wrote in her 1920 book Woman and the New Race, “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” (p 128)   This will and should make you weep for the gospel and the coming of Christ.

“Without the cross, we are doomed.  There is no hope for mercy to triumph over judgment unless it be at the foot of the cross.” (p 131)

Read, learn, engage the culture around you with the Truth of the Cross and the Word.

Ed Gungor in Relevant Magazine on Modesty

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Relevant Magazine is a cutting edge, all about culture with a Christian view online/published magazine.  Anywhere from politics to music to movies to personal attitude – all of these are discussed in this magazine.

Each week I get an email with what is new, this week’s definitely made me want to read it.  Ed Gungor is an author, pastor, father, husband.  He wrote an article for this edition of Relevant entitled “Does Modesty Really Matter”.  I will attempt to respond to two things in this article. 

Here’s where I agree:

“The apostle Paul wrote that Christ-followers should “dress modestly, with decency and propriety” (1 Timothy 2:9). Inherent in Christian thought is the notion of “modesty” (for both men and women), which implies a kind of reserve about how one dresses, along with a humility that willingly owns the fact that our actions and choices do affect others. Whether we like it or not, we can dress and carry ourselves in ways that illicit inappropriate and lustful reactions in others. But this opens up a proverbial can of worms—when is it, “I lusted and it’s your fault,” and when is it, “I need to be responsible for the fact that I am a lustful person”? The “who-is-culpable?” question is full of subjectivity and complexity.”

I have had many people over the years use the “I can’t help it if men stare at me and lust” excuse.  You are right – you can’t help what the other person does.  I love it though here where Pastor Gungor uses modesty also in the sense of the attitude/body positioning/eye winking mode.  Two other books I’ve read recently, Carolyn McCulley’s Radical Womanhood Mary Kassian’s Girls Gone Wise both speak on this topic and would be worth your read.  For women, especially, not only do the clothes matter but the heart matters as well.

Here is where I didn’t agree:

Fashions come and go. Skirt hems go up and down; clothing gets tighter in some seasons and baggy in others; sometimes necklines plummet to depths that leave little to the imagination—somewhere in the milieu of the fashion waterworld, believers need space to think through what they believe modesty, decency and propriety are. But you need to be honest about what constitutes inappropriateness within your particular cultural context. This is an issue that demands careful reflection in the heart and honest discussion with the community one is called to be a part of. (That being said, don’t necessarily let prudish church people tell you where the center on this issue is. In the fear of sin, church folk tend to overprotect and over-sanitize their views on just about everything.)

Bottom line? I think you can get away with being as fashionable as you want, as long as your heart is clear and clean and you don’t have patterns of complaints from those you love and trust. If your heart is clear and clean, you can confidently tell the occasional accuser who makes the “you-make-me-lust” accusation to go look in the mirror for the source of his or her inappropriate desires.

I just won’t go that far.  If what is fashionable is a halter top and a mini skirt – whether you have a good attitude about it or not – is not appropriate.  If Madonna’s or Lady Gaga’s style is what is fashionable, or even Miley Cyrus or anyone else we watch on TV or see on stage, than I don’t believe we as believers, as women of God, seeking to build up the body of Christ and make God famous – can wear this – no matter what our conscience says. 

Hear the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the young pastor, Timothy: “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”

Not that I don’t want to be fashionable, but if it comes down to being fashionable or “proper for women who profess godliness” – I hope I always turn to the latter.


Redeeming the Time (Guest Post)

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I don’t know of any woman (single, married, young, not as young, with kids, no kids) who will tell me that she is not busy. We have iPhones, calendars, outlook, post-it notes, etc to help keep us organized! Unfortunately, every day we live, most of us are just getting busier.

There are many Scriptures that tell us how to redeem our time – in every area of life. But, I want to concentrate on your time at home today.

There are a few books that have helped me see this reality a bit clearer: Girls Gone Wise, Shopping for Time, and The Gentle Ways of a Beautiful Woman. Of course there are more, but these three come to mind.

I want to live most of my life at home. Ok, yes, I work a full time job, in ministry, so that often means that it is well over 40 hours and even when at home I’m doing work for work. However, since i’ve been here, that has not been a reality for me. Some of the personal disciplines that I had in Louisville have not translated well to Raleigh living. Why – busy-ness and lack of strategical planning my day.

My friend Courtney wrote a fantastic blog post on her site about how the Spirit is sanctifying her in this area right now:

“Today has been a lazy day. And boy, do I like it! About a month or two ago a dear friend encouraged me to examine my schedule and cut things out that took me away from my husband and my home. As she wisely observed, I had begun to fill my evenings, and even my Saturdays, with a lot of other things that had very little to do with my husband. I had assumed that since he was studying I could just do whatever I wanted. He didn’t need me around, right? Well, what happened was these other things became overwhelming. Suddenly, I was just away from home too much, but I was exhausted and moody when I was home. Not good.”

To read the rest…go visit Courtney:

Here are a few exhortations from Scripture:

Prov 31.10, 15, 27: “An excellent wife, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. She rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household and portions for her maiden. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

These commands and characteristics of the excellent wife (or excellent woman as Carolyn McCulley points out and illustrates in her book Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye) will look different depending on what life stage you are currently in. But, each of us must strive, in and through grace, to live these out. God has given us His Word to live out by the strength of His grace for his fame and glory in the world (or in our home, or to our friends, or our husbands).

May you be strengthened in His grace today!

True Woman Conference: Nancy Leigh DeMoss (Last Session)

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This last session for the Conference is on Deborah:
Judges 4-5
The stage is set; it describes a cycle that is repeated at least 7 times in Judges:
God’s chosen covenant people were being disobedient. God’s is concerned with the homes of His people. The people of Israel do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. This was a period in the life of Israel of spiritual apostasy, “doing what was right in their own eyes”, they abandoned God and his laws, they pursued after Baal and Canaanite gods.
God sold them – he disciplined them. God in his mercy and love, he gave them up to be oppressed by the enemy. The chastening hand of God. God allows people and instruments to come into our lives to show us where we have disobeyed him.
It took intense discipline over prolonged time (20 years of oppression by the Canaanites) for the Lord to get the attention of His people. This is an amazing demonstration of the longsuffering of God, of his patience and mercy. We will be shown the redeeming hand of God.
v. 4 – Deborah comes in as a judge. Deborah was the answer to the cry of the people. She is utilizing her God-given gifts, living her life for other people, and she was content to fulfill the call of God on her life.
She was a prophetess. She was called and gifted by God to declare His Word to His people.
She was a wife. God inspired this little detail. This was her primary human relationship. She didn’t neglect this relationship.
She was a judge. Judges were people God raised up to rescue his people from their oppressors. God, in his sovereignty, raised this woman up. She just said, ‘”Yes, Lord.”
Deborah first heard from the Lord for herself. Then she gave the message. Deborah didn’t know any better other than just believe what God had said – God would win the battle. There is no doubt here – she is only confident in the Word of God. She had wisdom greater than her own. Today – we need women who know the Word of God. Others will seek us out. They will look for the wisdom that flows through us – the very Words of God.
Deborah agreed to go and arose. She went out of her comfort zone, out of her home; she marched into the face of danger. She went because she was a woman of faith and believed the promises of God. She had no choice but to be involved because God had put a call of God on her life. We get a display of a woman who stands and is strong in the power and Word of God.
God uses foot soldiers and women in this story. God chose the weak to confound the strong. Why? So God would get all the glory. God chooses the needy, helpless, and dependent. We go in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
The period of the Judges was not one of strong male leadership. I see Deborah as one who inspires male leadership. Her goal was not to lead but to serve. (5.7) Her heart was a mother. She simply saw herself as a mother – to the troops of Israel. She exuded a nurturing instinct. That is what motivated her, she wasn’t driven by power, position, or prestige – she was driven to be a mother – to sustain and nurture life.
Biblical womanhood looks different in different relationships. Deborah worked to nurture male leadership. She didn’t command Barak to do something – she wasn’t threatening him. She is relaying a message from God. We see Deborah in a responsive, helper role – she went at Barak’s appeal. She is delighted to see men rise up and take leadership. She is delighted to see it happen. When men are inspired to lead, she is happy (5.2). She affirms these men and expresses her gratitude to God. She doesn’t male bash.
Deborah is a woman of faith and courage. The legacy of her life – the men of her day became men. They came forward to fight evil and to defend their wives and children. She wasn’t looking to be the hero of the story. (Heb 11 mentions Barak and not Deborah). We would be totally bent out of shape. Deborah would have been thrilled to see Barak reach that point of faith – a man of great faith. Though she too had faith, in the end, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it is Barak’s faith that gets listed.
The battle: v 12 – Barak is in a life-threatening position – but Deborah encourages him to move forward in faith. The power of a woman’s word has great influence on a man. Do your words encourage men to be men in whatever realm they are in? Or do they tear him down and make him timid. This isn’t just for your husband, but also for your pastor, your father, your brother, your friends. Our words can either tear up or tear down. Do your words bring fresh new life into the lives of men who are in your circle of influence?
Deborah is not the hero. Barak is not the hero. GOD is the hero. He won the battle. God is the champion of the story of our lives. God is the victorious warrior. We go into battle with that confidence. The battle is the Lord’s. God used human means but he also used supernatural means to win the battle. Jehovah was over this war – and over the false gods. God reminded both the enemy and His people that He is the God over all.
Don’t ever underestimate the power or the grace of God.

True Woman Conference Chattanooga – Mary Kassian

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How many of you have messed something up because you were too proud or stubborn to follow the directions? Over the past few decades, we women decided we needed to put out a new definition of womanhood. Men and women are the same and should be treated the same. Being like men became our highest goal. Men should be more like women; and women should be more like men.
Genesis of Gender (God’s original design for male and female – the directions – the theological meat of gender). Genesis 1 reveals male and female are more like God than anything else in the universe:
1.26-27 “Let us make man in our image.” God is talking to God – the Father is talking to the Son. God created male and female in His image. There is something about the us of God – the relationship of the Trinity – that speaks to gender. He created male and female, gender displays God. How we relate is an object lesson, a parable, the story isn’t about us. Scripture saiys God created sons and daughters to display HIS GLORY. Male and female are the focal point of everything God made. When you observe the differences in male and female, all these things tell a story. Gender and sex constantly display truth about God.
Paul says in Romans 1 that people are without excuse because gender screams out two truths about God: His power and his diving nature. He wants us to get it. Eph 5 connects the dots, marriage and sex, male and female, all illustrate the Gospel Story. That is why God created male and female. Before the foundation of the earth, God knew the story of the Gospel – He had this in mind when He made male and female in the garden during the week of Creation.
12 differences in male and female evident in creation (Girls Gone Wise, Chapter 9):
1. Male is uniquely male – he is firstborn. 2.7. God created male first. This is not random. The firstborn son held a special position in the family – responsible to carry out his father’s instruction. Adam was the firstborn of the human race. Romans tells us that in Adam, all die. This points us to Christ – Col 1 – he took Adam’s place. He is the firstborn, the last Adam, the representative for all who place their trust in Him (Hebrews). Paul tells Timothy the reason men are called to be leaders of the church is because Adam was created first. Men need to step up and be responsible for the church family; as well as his earthly family (Eph 5).
2. The male was put in the garden. 2.15. God took the man from where he was created and put him in the garden. God created man out in the wild, from the dust of the dessert, and put him in the Garden of Eden. A garden is a place with specified boundaries.
3. The male was commissioned to work. 2.15. Work is translated for tilling soil. It contains the idea of serving someone else. Man’s life in the garden was not for himself, but he was to provide for his family’s need. The primary responsibility for provision for a family lies with the man; this is in their makeup.
4. The male was commissioned to protect. 2.15. “Keep” translates to be in charge of, oversight, to be attentive, protect what is in one’s charge. He created men to be stronger, more suited for a fight.
5. The male receives spiritual instruction. 2.16-17. Before woman arrived on the scene, God put the instruction to the man. Woman had a personal relationship with the Lord, but as leader of his newly formed family unit – he needed to know God’s command.
6. The male learned to exercise authority. 2.19. This “naming of the animals” was a training exercise for authority. He was mentoring him in how to do that – how to govern well. He wanted him to exercise that authority with gentleness, care, and wisdom.
7. The female was created from the male. 2.22.23. We need to remember where we came from. We are not to regard that which we were created from as lesser than us. It was proper for the woman to have a sense of respect for the male from which she was created.
8. The female was created for the male. 2.22. It was not the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. The Hebrew preposition denotes direction – with reference to, or towards him, his existence led to hers. We have fallen so far from the created order. When brides walk down the aisle, we need to be thinking “I was created for this man.”
9. The female was created to help. 2.20. Help with what? She is a helper “fit” for him – a like opposite – a complement to him. His purpose was to glorify God – woman helps man glorify God more than man could do by himself.
10. The female deferred to the male. 2.23. She didn’t try to have dominion over him.
11. The female was the perfect counterpart. 2.25. The sound of the ish and the isha are similar, but ish comes from the root: strength, and isha comes from the root: soft. Strength and soft. She is able to receive. The biblical meaning for strength: a champion valiantly serving his people, manhood, virility. Woman’s corresponding softness is her ability to give life, directed by inner strength. The bodies of male and female show this. A woman’s body is meant to receive; a man’s body is designed to give. She is the beautiful soft woman. Each is a beautiful counterpart. According to Scripture, it is a woman’s softness, our ability to nurture, that is our greatest strength.
12. The woman was created in the garden. Gen 2.15. Female was created in a place of safety. The place that was designed as a place of authority by her husband. She is the constant beneficiary of the protection God has put in her life.
God’s design for biblical manhood and womanhood is spectacular. The sexes complement each other – both exult to the glory of the Gospel. Ultimately, that is what women and men are supposed to do. God designed creation and gender in this way so we could have a display of the Gospel – the story of His Son and His Bride. It also gave us a picture of longing, desire, and relationship. The visible symbols give picture to the unseen – that is why gender is SO important. Is it any wonder Satan tries to destroy this picture? It is where we hurt the most.
1. God has a spectactular design for your womanhood. He has a pattern for what He wants for you to be as woman. It is very profound and significant.
2. God wants you to say yes to His design. He wants you to recognize the ways you have messed up your life by not wanting to read the directions. It is not a cookie-cutter or a list. True womanhood says yes to God and His right to be God. I am a true woman when I acknowledge that God has the best insight into who I am and how I should live.
3. God will do an amazing work of restoration.

True Woman Conference Chattanooga – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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Titus 3 reminds us that we ourselves were once foolish, slaves, hating one another. Do we ever see ourselves in that light? We will never love the gospel enough until we see ourselves as great sinners. And thankfully there is the next verse – he saved us – not because of our works, but according to his own mercy.
First, the context of Titus. Titus 1: Titus’ culture looked much like ours: Titus 1.10ff. God has a solution: the gospel. How does that gospel get into the culture? How does the light penetrate the darkness? God has raised up the church, the redeemed.
Paul is talking to a young man who was called to lead the local church: be above reproach, teach in accordance with sound doctrine. In Titus 2, Paul calls all believers are to do the same thing. Our lives are to be above reproach, different from the world, transformed from the inside out from the power of the gospel, they are to be distinctive. The gospel is supposed to make a difference in our lives. Sadly, this is often not the case. Paul insists that they way to transform a lost culture is to live out the truths of the Word. This is why Paul tells Titus to preach sound doctrine.
Paul gives declaratives to each demographic in life: what constitutes older women? Every woman is an older woman to someone – and we should all be aspiring to this position. We see the life and the legacy of this woman. Our lives are to be above reproach. We need to be reverent in behavior – exhibit behavior for those who are holy. We are not slanders nor slaves to much wine. This above reproach-ness affects every area of our lives. One area is slaves to much wine: (not only specifically to wine, but also to an indulgent lifestyle). God wants to change every bit about me – that includes not living my life for myself.
Their legacy: to train the young women. We cannot train others what we have not learned ourselves. We will not be effective teaching what others have not seen lived out in our lives. We need to teach out of brokenness. We need to take the younger women into our lives: let them see how the Lord of the Gospel is daily changing our lives. We are to pass on the baton of faith for the glory of Jesus.
This teaching takes place in the context of community. Life on life. Teach what is good and so train the younger women. If you have had truth poured into you, then you are to turn around and pour it out into the lives of younger women. (This role is not reserved for the Kay Arthurs, Beth Moores, and Anne Lotzes.) We have the curriculum spelled out for us in Titus 2.3ff. 7 radical, swimming-against-the- culture-lessons. It is God’s way. This is how life is to work.
What is not on this list: prayer, Bible reading, personal devotional life, evangelism. These are important but they are not on the “must” list. Career and doing ministry are not on this list. We need to focus on this list. We see the importance of the home on this list. The norm for most women is to be wives and mothers – this is the primary sphere where most live out the gospel. We also see the priority of love: the love of Christ. We can’t claim to love God if we don’t love our husbands or our children. It doesn’t matter what the other women in the church see in you – it matters what your family sees in you. If we don’t know how to love our husbands and children – we can learn.
Our lives are supposed to be counter-culture. Culture is characterized by pride, gluttony, rebellion, hatred, impurity, etc. That is what this world is like. Can they see a difference in us?
We need to live above reproach.
We need to be intentional about passing on the faith.
We need to be reverent in behavior.
We speak words that build up.
We are not slaves to much wine. We do not live for our flesh.
We are to love our husbands and value the permanence of marriage.
We are to love our children.
We are to be self-controlled. (a sophron state of mind)
We are to be pure.
We are to love our home – be homemakers.
We are to be kind and other-centered.
We are to have a submissive heart attitude.
How well does your life, does my life, reflect the grace of God – a woman who has been transformed and redeemed by the Blood of Christ. Our culture is so absent of the items in the above list. I want to be defined by the things on this list – even while single. I want to love my home. I want to be kind and gracious to people in my speech. I want to have a submissive spirit to the godly, male authority in my life in the relationships with my pastors, my boss, and my father. I want to be pure in every area of my life. I do not want to indulge.
So that the world will have nothing negative to say about me.
So that that the Word of God will not be misaligned.
So that I might adorn the gospel – that the focus would not be on me.
By the power of the Gospel. (Titus 2.11)

True Woman Conference Chattanooga: Voddie Baucham

posted in: sin, Women | 1

True Woman Conference Sessions 1: Voddie Baucham
Dr. Baucham is a pastor in Spring, Texas and an author, a husband, and a father. The first time I heard him speak live was at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to a packed house – he brought it. Tonight he is speaking to a group of women of all ages – about 2400 of us. Different audience, same Truth. Tonight, the truth is coming from Titus 1-2.
“Set our heart’s affection on you – speak to us clearly and powerfully through your Word.” – Amen
From True Woman Manifesto: God’s Plan for gender is wider than marriage; all women, whether married or single, are to model femininity in their various relationship, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty , responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit. (Lord – make this so in my life.)
Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith, by discipling younger women in the Word and ways of God and modeling for the next generation lives of fruitful femininity.
God gives us a picture in Titus 1 and 2 of what he has provided for our sanctification – the way he shapes our lives as believers. There are three principle tools here:
a. Godly mature men and women in the church.
b. Godly manly elders and pastors
c. Biblically functioning homes

Titus 2 – Godly mature men and women in the church. This is for our discipleship and growth in Christ. Older men are to be. Older women are to likewise be. Godly, mature, character. This isn’t automatic for people who are older – this is character that is formed over time and is the fruit of sanctification. This is the picture of character forged over time. We, as women, have a unique power in our tongue – to build up and to tear down. The older women are exemplified in the way we use our speech. The picture painted here is the result of the years of walking with God and being transformed by the gospel – she opens her mouth and wisdom comes out (Prov 31, Gal 4, Dt 31), speaking God’s truth. This isn’t a picture of a woman who teaches Bible studies (primarily) – but is speaking of a woman who has poured her life into the lives of women through intentional relationships. The younger women need older women to teach them to love their husbands and children. That the Word of God might not be reviled. When older women are not about the task of teaching younger women – we are not rightly living out the gospel. If we are following the ways of a culture that denies biblical manhood and womanhood, then I am marring the picture of Christ and his Church. His honor is being defamed. These things need to be taught. The older women have such a crucial role in the life of the church. And when we blame our disobedience on our circumstances: we are putting our circumstances above the Word of God.

Titus 1: Godly manly elders and pastors. The list in Titus 1 is primarily for pastors and elders, but Titus 1 is for all men – here is why:
There is no list in Titus 2.
Pastors are called in 1 Peter 5.3 to be examples to the flock. If he has a list of qualifications that aren’t applicable to the rest of the flock – then how can he be an example.
There isn’t anything in this list that we would give up for our sons – that we would not want our sons to be. Above reproach. Godly kids. Not arrogant. But hospitable. Hold firm to
the Truth (not a heretic). (Just to name a few.)
Titus 1: Biblically functioning homes. Titus 1.10 – “for” – there are many who are upsetting whole families.”
The primary discipling unit is the home. Eph 6.1-4. Children, parents, fathers – Dt 6, Ps 78, Proverbs – the home is the place of instruction for our children. Child is born. Child is born into a home with a mother and father who know and love God. They understand biblical womanhood and manhood, understand marriage as a picture of the gospel, and they give sound doctrine throughout the life of that child, they take that child to a healthy church where he hears thundering gospel from the pulpit. The pastor echoes what this child has heard in his home, the gray-haired folks in the church echo what this child has learned in his home. That is the picture.
On a personal note: I do not live in the ideal. I am not ideal: I sin. I fall short of the glory of God. I do have great older women, pastors, and families who model Titus 1 and 2 for me. I pray that as I grow older, the Lord continues to put younger women in my life that I can pour into – that I can speak grace and truth to. Lord – make my speech a display of your glorious Gospel.
When we don’t have all the pieces of this puzzle – be grateful before you get mad at the Lord. Be grateful for the grace in your life of what you do have. Repent of the sin that is in our lives that keep us from having the ideal. We live in a fallen world – always affected by either our sin or someone else’s sin. Repent of the anger, the bitterness, the lies, the unforgiveness. Be God’s, live and walk in the Truth of the Word and the light of the Gospel.

Personal Reflection on Girls Gone Wise

posted in: Women | 1

This past week I’ve spent much of my time reading Mary Kassian’s new book Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. As most of my close friends know, I’m not a huge reader of “women only” books because I find them to be only geared to certain women or I find them to be fluffy. I am not a fluffy girls’ book reader.
This was not a fluffy book and it was geared toward all women – no matter the stage of life she is in! And, it was AMAZING (only better if it were shorter). I was convicted by this book many times. And it seemed as if I thought of one thing – she brought it up in the next paragraph. Very odd – but very cool as well.
Here are some personal thoughts on the Spirit’s work in my life through this book. I will definitely be re-reading it – and will hopefully have a chance to lead some girls through it in the future.
1. I am not amenable, at least not in my heart. I like to control a situation, I like to know what is going on, and though I may be “glad” to go along with other plans on the outside, it is a heart struggle. God is working on this in my life. “An amenable woman gladly foregoes personal desires and preferences to honor that authority. (Contrast #4). I think I do that, planning around other’s likes and dislikes and preferences, but I still want to be in control. I don’t want to be like this: “A brazen, defiant attitude stands in stark contrast to the soft receptiveness that the Lord intended for women.” (#4). Like I said, this may be done on the outside, but its the heart that matters.
2. I clearly see the effect of sin in this book on women’s lives; it is a sad affair. “So many of us are living with the brokenness, dysfunction, pain, and confusion, that comes from having gone wild.” The cure: the Gospel. (intro)
3. “The more a woman’s heart is seized with affection for Jesus, the more her life will be transformed to walk in his ways.” (#1) It has to start with the heart. I can definitely tell a difference in my life if I have spent way too much time watching TV/movies/internet and not any time reading the Word. My thoughts and contentrations and shortness of temper are definitely off the mark. I saw this marked in a girl’s life just last night. You could tell in how she talked about her Jesus that she loved Him and the feelings were mutual! 🙂
4. “The second adjective describing the Proverbs 7 woman is translated wayward. The Hebrew word means to be stubborn and rebellious. It reflects a defiant, self-willed, obstinate, nobody tells me what to do frame of mind. (#4, Ez 20.38, Ps 78.8). God has already been working this in me. But, I also pick it up in girls more easily now than before. I work in the lounge of the women’s dorm on campus here at SBTS. It has given me opportunity to get to know some of them. I can tell though in some of them that they are defiant and loud and not calm and gentle. This makes me sad. Honestly.
5. “Homeward faced, wisdom graced; out to the max, wisdom lacks.” (#5) I loved this. I can clearly see that my focus needs to be on home. The past few weeks haven’t been that for me in the midst of packing, hanging out with friends, etc – and I have missed that. I love my home (ok, my 800 square foot apt), but I love having folks over, tending to home, being satisfied with being in my quiet apt. This is where God has called women – whether a family, single, kids, etc. We see this in the commands for what older women are to teach younger women (Titus 2).
6. “She’s happy when she has a new prospect on the horizon and the hunt is going well” (#6). Mary talks here of a woman’s focus. I will admit that when there is a prospect of a cute godly guy in my path, I’m going to get dressed differently in the morning, wear makeup if I’m going out where I might see him, etc. There is an added spring to my step. But, why? Why don’t I do this everyday because I’m loved by my Saviour?
7. Body Language – #8. I have seen this all too often in the girls’ dorm too – mainly this has been my interaction with college girls the past 3 years. They are playful in tossing the hair, sitting on guys’ laps, sitting on the arm of the chair he is sitting in, giggling profusely, sometimes dressing inappropriately. I want to film them, then have a movie night and play it along side the reading of this book. I have also been convicted of watching these same tendencies in my own life and interaction with every male that I come in contact with, work with, see in stores, etc.
8. Roles #9 – if you want a good quick chapter overview of the basics of CBMW Gender Roles – read this chapter. Nuf said!
9. Another one of the big hits for me: “Restraining words means that you don’t have to have an opinion on everything. You don’t have to comment on everything that happens. You don’t have to answer every question. You don’t have to constantly make your thoughts known. You don’t have to be proved right. You don’t have to show off your superior knowledge. You don’t have to constantly offer advice.” (#17). As most of you know I am quite opinionated. I feel this has also gotten less in the last few years. It is partly due to male leadership in my life the last few years and also the working of the Spirit. I noticed a few times this week even that I practiced this – and you know, it was ok that I didn’t express my opinion but instead kept my mouth shut.
I started to get discouraged in my actions and heartitude by page 105. Then I read the next paragraph:
“Given my own strength and willpower, my ability to life a self-disciplined life is extremely limited. That’s why I need to depend on my Helper. Success is a matter of depending on the Holy Spirit and not on my own capacity.” (#5). Remember, living a life pleasing to God isn’t done on your own merits – but on the merit of Christ. That’s why we celebrate EASTER!