A Biblical Response to the Feminist Agenda
The following message was delivered at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California, by John MacArthur Jr.
It was transcribed from the tape, GTY-44, titled "A Biblical Response to the Feminist Agenda." A copy of the tape can be obtained by writing, Word of Grace, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412 or by dialling toll free 1-800-55-GRACE.
I have made every effort to ensure that an accurate transcription of the original tape was made. Please note that at times sentence structure may appear to vary from accepted English conventions. This is due primarily to the techniques involved in preaching and the obvious choices I had to make in placing the correct punctuation in the article.
It is my intent and prayer that the Holy Spirit will use this transcription to strengthen and encourage the true Church of Jesus Christ. Tony Capoccia
Copyright 1993 by John F. MacArthur, Jr. All rights reserved.
Hyperjump to Source
Let us open our Bibles to Titus, chapter 2. In our study of the second chapter of Titus we are considering it under the title, "The Character of a Healthy Church." In this chapter the Apostle Paul gives instruction to the church as to how it is to conduct itself. He directs his instruction to older men, older women, younger women, younger men--selecting every category within the church and giving basically some direct and specific instruction to them. This is very crucial to the life of the church, not only for its own internal well-being, but for the sake of its witness. He says, in verse 5, that "This instruction is so that the Word of God may not be dishonoured." Verse 8, "So that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." And verse 10, "So that we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in every respect." Those are evangelistic matters. We want the Word of God honoured; we want the opponents of Christianity silenced; and we want God our Saviour adorned.
Let's look at verses 3, 4, and 5,
Older women likewise, are to reverent in their behaviour, not malicious gossips, not enslaved to too much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind. Being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be dishonoured.
One of the responsibilities of the older women, which we noted when we discussed that, is that they are to teach the younger women, and here it is very specific what they are to teach, as indicated in verses 4 and 5. God has designed, very clearly, His own order for the conduct of young women, just as He has for young men and older folks as well. If there is anything in our culture that is being attacked more viciously than any other, it is this matter of the role of young women. In fact, if I were to title this message alone, I might title it "The Feminist Attack on the Divine Order for Women." We are going through that right now. No matter what I would say about verses 4 and 5 it would be controversial. If I just read it--it would be controversial.
One of the most devastating, and debilitating, and destructive movements in our day is the "Feminist Movement." It is changing not only the world but sadly it is changing the church, and as a result the Word of God is being dishonoured; opponents are having plenty bad to say about us and God our Saviour is being dishonoured and shamed. Radical feminism has brainwashed our culture. It has brainwashed our culture to the degree that even the church has fallen victim to this. Church leaders, theologians, professors of theology who are supposed to be profound in the Scripture, as well as lay people in the church have bought the feminist lies. There was even an organisation in America called "CBE" having to do with Christians for Equality, and this is an evangelical group advocating a feminist agenda.
Marriage and the family, the primary building blocks of social and moral order, are in shambles in our country and the future is even worse than the present. Unthinking Christians, unthinking believers, not just in liberal churches but in evangelical churches, unthinking, untaught Christians are falling prey to this agenda. The sad thing is that most of us have no idea where it is coming from. Most of us think that this is just a lot of women who really just want some liberation and some freedom and they're tired of cleaning floors and washing dishes, and they want equal pay, and they want equal jobs, and they want to get out from under the mundane duties and express themselves in more grandiose ways than they think they can in the home--that may be a contemporary component--that isn't even remotely related to the reason for this.
The real feminist agenda is frightening. The real feminist agenda is Satanic and you need to understand that, so I am going to do something this morning that is a bit unusual. Rather than diving right into the text this morning, I want to give you some understanding of where this movement today has come from, so that you will see that text in its proper light.
What the public sees is women who want to be free. In fact, there is even a book published by a Christian publisher written by a Christian woman, called, "Woman Be Free;" and we think that this is a movement about freedom for women, freedom from strictures that bind them to their husbands and their children and their duties in the home. We see it as a cry for equality in a society that is preoccupied with life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness; a cry for opportunity and privilege to use their abilities and their skills unhindered and unrestricted; and sometimes the rhetoric does sound reasonable. But the real agenda is not reasonable--it is frightening.
Let me help you to understand some of the philosophy that is behind this movement, by giving you some quotes from the recognised leaders of the feminist movement:
Gloria Stimenn (sp.) says, "By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God."
Radical feminist leader Sheila Cronam (sp.), who is oft quoted by the way, says this, "Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women's movement must concentrate on attacking this institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage."
The "Declaration of Feminism" goes back to November of 1971 when they laid out their agenda and this is what it says, "The end of the institution of marriage is necessary for the liberation of women; therefore, it is important for us to encourage women to leave their husbands and not live individually with men. All of history must be rewritten in terms of oppression of women. We must go back to ancient female religions like witchcraft!" Mark that, "We must go back to ancient female religions like witchcraft!"
Anne Lori Gaylor (sp.) writing an article called "Feminist Salvation" in the "Humanist" in 1988 says, "Let's forget about the mythical Jesus and look for encouragement, solace, and inspiration from real women. 2,000 years of patriarchal rule under the shadow of the cross ought to be enough to turn women towards the feminist salvation of the world."
Dr. Mary Jo Bane, feminist, Assistant Professor of Education at Welsley College, and the Associate Director of the school's Centre for Research on Women, writes, "In order to raise children with equality we must take them away from families and communally raise them."
And that well known name, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, writing an article called "Women in the New Race," says this, "The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant members is to kill it."
We cannot think lightly about this agenda--we have to think deeply about it. The fact that you may feel in your heart some need to be free because you become victimised by the current agenda, doesn't really mean that you really understand the agenda. You don't know that behind this entire feminist movement is some very Satanic religious philosophy, and it runs very deep in the people who are influencing our culture, the people who have influenced deeply and provided the whole agenda, to say, Hillary Clinton and many others. And we have to take these ideas very seriously because they are in the White House, and now they will be creating laws that we have to live by. They are obliterating our culture. They are being taught through every avenue to our youth, and even Christians are falling under the spell of the feminists.
Sheila Croonan (sp.) again, writing in the National Organisation of Women Times, in January of 1988, said, "The simple fact is, every woman must be willing to be recognised as a lesbian to be fully feminine!" Now, some people might think that this is some kind of a 20th century phenomena, that this is some kind of a new thing connected to American democracy and egalitarianism--it is not--it is old; it is very, very old. Though in our time, in our century it is an expression of the anti-male, homosexual women who generated it, it is not a human creation at all; it is Satanic--absolutely and utterly Satanic. I want to take you back to some of its origins so that you can understand it.
Feminism with all of its assorted features and its unique companionship with homosexuality is an old, old heresy that is meant to destroy God's design. It really started in the Garden when Eve, the original feminist, stepped out from under Adam's authority and thought that she would act independently and led the whole race into sin; and thus the first act in Satan's feminist agenda was successful.
Let's go back, say, to the time of the New Testament. We won't go all the way back into ancient, ancient time; we can learn enough by going back into New Testament times. When we get back into the time of the New Testament, before the New Testament, running through the New Testament and after, we have a religion that is generally known as Gnosticism. It comes from a Greek word "gnosis" which means "to know." Gnosticism was the religion, the mystical religion of superior knowledge. You could experience mystical, intuitive, spiritual knowledge, which was higher than the Bible--that was the whole point of it. It was an anti-God, antichrist, anti-Biblical religion designed by Satan to lure people away from Scripture. What you see today in the feminist agenda is a repackaging, a reincarnation of ancient Gnosticism. In fact, the parallels are very striking.
Peter Jones, writing in his book, very interesting book, "The Occult Empire Strikes Back," says, "Gnosticism is a broad term to describe false, anti-God religion developed before the birth of Christ as the meeting of the mysticism of the Eastern religions and the rationalism of the Greek West." That's just a broad definition. Gnosticism took Greek Rationalism (i.e., the musings and the mind of man) and Eastern Mysticism (those intuitive, esoteric, fanciful, imaginatory experiences that mystics supposedly have), and wed them together and said, "This is the higher knowledge, this is the lofty knowledge, this is the superior knowledge." It is very hard to pin down specifics in the Gnostic religion because it is a kaleidoscopic mixture of all kinds of mystical things, and anytime that you have a mystical religion it is somewhat amorphous or shapeless because it tends to ebb and flow in the minds and the imaginations of its adherents.
Today, Gnostic religion is called the "New Age Philosophy," but it's Gnosticism--it's the same thing. It's a new kind of mystical, higher level of knowledge that is supposedly shows the weakness, the mundane character of Biblical Christianity.
Now, let's look at Gnosticism and get some idea of what it is. The best way to define it is by what it attacked, rather than what it is, because as I said, it is so amorphous, it is so subject to imagination and intuition that it can spin off in all kinds of ways. But the one thing you do see in Gnosticism is that it continually blasts everything the Scripture affirms. So you can know it by what it attacks.
At the heart of ancient Gnosticism was a central myth, and that central myth drove the whole heresy. Here is that myth: the myth was that the physical universe was never intended to exist--it's part of that old Greek dualism "That matter is evil and spirit is good." But the idea was we were all supposed to be free spirits, and free spirits with full self-knowledge would be divine, and we were just supposed to float around in the mystical free world of spirit life, unencumbered and uninhibited by physical definition and confinement. But, the physical universe came into being, and it came into being, they said, because a foolish sub-god created the universe.
If you read ancient Gnostic literature you will see that they attack the Creator God, they mock Him, they disdain Him with a disdain that even has components of hatred in it. They hate the Creator God who made matter because to them matter was evil, and it becomes the prison of the free floating spirit.
According to one recently discovered Gnostic text, God the Creator is presented as, "Blind, ignorant, arrogant, the source of envy, and they call him the 'Father of Death.'" Gnostics believe that this fake god somehow (and they have to believe this or their whole thing would fall apart)--this fake god somehow, when he created the universe, accidentally infused into humanity some spark of divine life. They would have to say that or they would have no way to fan the spark of divine life that they want to believe that is in them. So that man is divine: there is a little component of divinity in him which he needs to fan until it just consumes him and he becomes fully divine. But here is this man with the divine spark, or this woman with a divine spark imprisoned in evil matter, and he has to find, or she has to find, a way to escape.
Gnostics taught that there is no such thing as sin, because there is no such thing as right and wrong in the human realm; therefore, there is no need for a Saviour, there is no need for a death on the cross, there is no need for an atonement. What they needed to do to be saved was (listen to this) "Throw off the God of the Old Testament--this evil God." Throw off the God of the New Testament with all of His laws and all of His threats, and all of His so-called punishment. Throw off the whole Old and the whole New Testament and free yourself from the encumbering of this subgod, this bungling creator who did what he never should have done and created a prison for us in doing it.
So you can see that the first tenet of their system was a blasphemy against God--calling God evil, bungling, ignorant. The system also included (listen to this) lies that elevated women. Ancient Gnosticism focused on women, this is what it said, for example, "Eve was a spirit endowed woman who saved Adam." They said, "Final salvation for the whole world from the imprisonment of matter will come through female power, and the key is female self-actualisation, self-realisation, self-knowledge, in which a woman becomes so fully in tune with herself and so well knows herself, and actualises, and realises and fulfils herself that she becomes fully divine, and as she becomes divine she will rescue the rest of these lame men just like Eve, fully divine, rescued poor Adam."
In fact, convoluting the creation account, Gnostic texts tell us that Dame Wisdom was the heavenly Eve. There was a mystical heavenly woman named "The Heavenly Eve" who is the same as Dame Wisdom (she is the source of all wisdom). She entered the snake in the garden, and she taught both Adam and Eve the true way of salvation. The snake then is not called the "Tempter," the snake in Gnostic literature is the "Instructor." The snake is ultimate wisdom, the snake was wiser than anybody else. The snake, it says in Gnostic literature, is the redeemer because the snake is the incarnated woman who comes to heavenly Eve and teaches the truth about self-realisation, which is self-fulfilment, which is making yourself divine, which delivers you from being encumbered by matter.
They also say this, "The serpent in the garden is the true Christ, the true reflection of God." So, they take redemptive history and stand it on its head like a Satanist cross in a Black Mass. God is evil, the serpent in the garden is the true Christ, Christ in the New Testament--the reflection of God--is equally evil. Now, again I say, it is hard to pin all this stuff down, it's mystical stuff, but you can see not so much by what it is, the clarity of it, but by what it attacks. Right? It attacks God, Christ, the Bible, Creation.
"Though caught in matter," they say, the Gnostics, "humanity once again can become part of the universal whole by a process of self-realisation." They say in the Book of Genesis, "The lack of self-realisation is really the problem that man has." The Bible says that man's problem is sin--sin! And the root of his sin is his self-preoccupation, so they flip that completely around.
So the heart and core of Gnostic religion then is the "consubstantiality of self with God;" you make yourself into God. You are the only God that exists: you get in tune with yourself, you elevate yourself--self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-actualisation, self-realisation, self-fulfilment; whatever your self wants that's how you become God--you just give complete sway to your own self-desire.
[The Gnostics say] "So the human plight is not because we have moral offences against God, but we are ignorant of human potential." Listen to this, according to Gnostic writing, "The real Christ's spirit actually sat on the branch of a tree watching the Christ on the cross and laughed at Him." Let me read to you from the Apocalypse of Peter (one of their ancient documents), this is from that Apocalypse,
He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus, but the one in who's hands and feet they drive the nails is the fleshly part, which is the substitute part being put to shame, the one who came into being in His likeness. Be strong, for you are the one to whom these mysteries have been given to know them through revelation, that he whom they crucified is the firstborn and the home of demons, and He who stands near him is the living Saviour.
The earthly Christ is a demon; the spiritual mystical Christ in the tree laughing is the true Christ. Further, they said, "Since the true Christ never died, there is no resurrection." Redemption, then, is not a gracious, miraculous transformation of a person through the sacrifice of Christ. Redemption is self-understanding, self-actualisation, that is, giving sway to anything your self wants: getting out of the strictures, getting out of the limits, getting out of the prison, being free. Peter Jones writes that, "The Gnostic believers are saved when they realise who they are: a part of the divine, processing within themselves the kingdom; capable of anything; untrammelled by human traditions, creational structures, or divine laws. It follows that part of self-redemption is the rejection of Biblical ethical norms and the promotion of the distortion of Biblical sexuality." In fact, they say, "That when a person comes to full self-knowledge he becomes another living Christ, and since the serpent had that knowledge; the serpent who was the woman is also the true living Christ." Everything twisted and perverted.
Gnosticism is the blasphemy of Satanic distortion of God's truth:
The Bible says, God is a good God and He is the sovereign God--the Gnostics denied it and blasphemed His name.
The Bible says, Christ is the Living God incarnate in flesh--the Gnostics blasted it, blasphemed His name.
The Bible says the snake was the tempter--they say the snake is wisdom personified who is the instructor.
The Bible says Jesus died on a cross for your sins--the Gnostics says that the Jesus that died on the cross was a joke.
Obviously, this is Satan's lying heresy to confound God's truth. This blasphemous stuff the Apostle Paul wrote against, even in his epistles in the New Testament. It is the doctrine of demons from seducing spirits. This wasn't invented by Gloria Steinem (sp.) and Bella Apsburg (sp.), this was invented in the pits of hell millennia ago.
Now, to the very central element in this; and that is the issue of "Feminism." What role did feminism play in Gnosticism? Well, it played a very, very important role, as I told you already. Eve was the saviour of Adam; and furthermore, the spiritual or heavenly Eve was the personification of wisdom in the serpent who became the instructor, and by thus, his instruction sets out to save men. But let's take a look at some other things.
In the Gnostic system, Eve dominates Adam and sexual roles are totally altered. And you can understand this, because Satan wants to totally tear up God's created order. They wrote (the early Gnostics did) that
The divine revealer was feminine. The divine revealer said, "I am Androgynous. I am both mother and father, it is through me alone that the all stands firm. I am the womb that gives shape to the all by giving birth to the light that shines in splendour. I am the aeon to come. I am the fulfilment of the all, that is, the glory of the mother."
Now, all of that double-talk is the talk of the Androgyny of Gnosticism: that means the wiping out of all sexual distinction. There are Gnostic texts where God the Creator is castigated by a higher feminine power. That's that heavenly Eve called "Sophia"--Dame Wisdom. And, "God the Creator," the Gnostics said, "finally learned that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." In other words, He learned to fear the feminine "Sophia," so that the God of the Bible is now in fear of the feminine god "Sophia." The feminisation, then, of this higher God "Wisdom" led directly to the ordination of women. The ordination of women flows out of the feminisation of deity.
The early Gnostic, well known to church history students, named "Marcion," was excommunicated from the church in A.D. 150. He then established his own church, in which he appointed women as bishops and priests. In the Valentinian Gnosticism, women functioned as teachers, evangelists, healers, priests, perhaps as bishops. This movement in the church to put women in the roles of spiritual leadership is simply reflective of this same kind of religious attitude. In sum, Gnosticism, then, rejects the Creator God of Scripture as blind, and envious, malicious, not hesitating to commit the most heinous blasphemy of all. The Gnostics even called the God of the Bible "The True Devil." For the true Gnostic, the real God, whoever this force was, was unknowable, impersonal, untouchable--some kind of unified sum of separated parts--a sort of pantheistic force. But they said this, "The divine being, because he is all and all, impersonal, untouchable--just this big force--is best expressed by 'androgyny,' that is, the erasure of male and female distinctions."
The ideal for the Gnostic was to become sexless--a radical refusal of sexual differentiation, and a complete confusion of sexual identity and God's intended role.
See, this is how Satan has always tried to tear up God's moral order in the world, and attacking the family, of course, does the greatest damage. Diabolical reversal of everything--is Satan's approach. Destroy God's created order; destroy the integrity of Scripture; destroy the character of God; destroy the name of Christ.
Beloved, I am telling you this is what is behind today's feminist movement. This is not some whimsical deal that popped up in the 20th century by a few women who wanted to take off the apron and buy a briefcase--this is not that. This is not something that was invented by women who wanted to abort their babies and get into the corporate halls and the executive washrooms. This "New Age" thinking (that's what it is called today) is nothing but "Gnosticism." "New Age" is a new way of talking about age-old Gnosticism. The heart of it is that female power is the key to salvation. The "Goddess Cult" is back!
Shirley McClain wrote a book called "Going Within," and in her book she writes this dedication, "Dedicated to Sachi (sp.), Mother Kathleen Anbila (sp.), and all the other women and men who seek the spiritual feminine in themselves. Male is matter, matter is male, matter is evil, male is evil, feminine is spirit, spirit is feminine, and that's good."
Radical feminism today is being moved along by the idea that women must be liberated and they can redeem humanity--they can save humanity. These are the philosophers that are driving the movement--the religionists: "Creator God of Genesis has to go, He is male, tyrannical, he denies basic human liberties, He demands total obedience, He threatens punishment for evil deeds." Consequently, "Original sin is not to be found in man," they said, "but in God. Feminist liberation releases us from God, and from all His evil male values--like marriage, fidelity, family, authority, and morality. The serpent Eve wants to set us free! The God of the Bible is a jealous tyrant who wants to stand in her way."
So when you hear about the Methodists, or the Presbyterians, or whatever, or the Episcopalians, deciding to change the Bible and put in "She"--you know that this is not some human contrivance to make ladies feel better about themselves--this is a Satanic religion, as Satanic as a "Black Mass!" And, as with ancient Gnosticism, the New Age movement today, the goal of liberation, is total reversal of all God-ordained values! That's why it is so unthinkable that Christians would get sucked into this!
"I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely," said Roman Catholic theologian Carol Krist (sp.). "I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely,"--there you have in one simple statement the whole deal. Where is God? In myself. What is God? Feminine! And, I am one with God. And she found God in herself with liberation from all Biblical constraint.
The path to the New Age involves destroying the Biblical male and female differentiation--that's New Age feminism. Take for example New Age author Charlene Sprentnack's (sp.) book, "The Politics of Women's Spirituality," published by Doubleday, (by the way the same publisher that published the Anchor Bible Commentary series; they are publishing God's Word and Satan's at the same time). This book, "The Politics of Women's Spirituality" is a book that calls for an end to Judaeo-Christian religion, and the call is that we will end Judeao-Christian religion by a feminist movement nourished on goddess-worship paganism and witchcraft that succeeds in overthrowing the global rule of men. Feminism wants revenge.
Their real ideological goal, because it's Satan's goal, is to absolutely erase any recollection of creational structure and Biblical morality--wipe it out! And they are after it! You wonder, don't you, two generations from now whether anyone will know what Biblical morality is. Well, they might be able to read the ancient Bible and see what it looked like, but they certainly are going to have a hard time looking around town to find it. And here, witless Christians jump on this feminist bandwagon as if it were some harmless thing: "Well, we have a right to work, and we shouldn't be confined at home, and I have a right to express fully myself." Silly women who fall prey and silly men who do as well.
George Guilder (sp.) is a prominent writer. He makes no claim to be a Christian, but he does understand the agenda. He was once a feminist thinker, but since 1973 he has realised what their agenda is and he's written about it; this is what he says,
The revolutionary members of the "Women's Movement" say that sexual relationships are fundamental to all our other institutions and activities. If one can profoundly change the relations between the sexes (they contend) one could radically and unrecognisably transform the society.
[He is] dead right! The Satanic agenda is to destroy human society, to just rip the family to shreds and to destroy marriage, so that God has no means to pass righteousness from one generation to the next. Right? Which was always the role of the family. There is no more order maintained in society. There are no more ethical values left, and the way you do that is sexually--you just shred all standard norms sexually, so nobody knows how any one is related to anybody, but everybody is free to do whatever they want to do and that is how they become divine.
Guilder rightly affirms that "Sexuality is not simply a matter of games people play, it is one of the few matters, truly, of life and death to society." He warns that if the feminist agenda, even in it's most moderate version, is carried through, "Our society is doomed to years of demoralisation and anarchy, possibly ending in a police state"
Our society is doing exactly what I told you in Romans one happens to a society when "God gives them over." What does it say? "God gave them over," and what did they do? "Women with women doing things which aren't even imaginable, and men with men doing things which aren't imaginable." that's what happens to a society under God's wrath--God lets them go--and they're going the way of the Satanic lies.
Playing right into the hands of the Satanic lies is our own government--working hard aren't they? What are they working so hard? Our government, the government of the United States, State of California, the City of Los Angeles, are doing everything they can do to eliminate all gender differences. That is not an issue of constitutional liberty; that is an issue of Satanic religion.
Homosexuality is the companion of feminism because of androgyny. Homosexuality running rampant--no society can survive that. The Roman Empire didn't survive it. This entire system is going right into the "pit"--tearing up God's order--sexually; tearing up families; tearing up marriage; blaspheming God; blaspheming Christ; exalting the Serpent. I read one book this weekend where one man suggested that the Antichrist might be a woman if we keep going the way we are going. Satan is very successful with this; Vice President Al Gore has written a book called, "Earth in the Balance--Ecology and the Human Spirit." Peter Jones writes about that book, "Gore's involvement in ecology is an expression of his belief in the connectedness of all things, in the great value of all religious faiths, and in his hope that ancient pagan goddess worship will help bring us planetary and personal salvation." It is inconceivable that these people call themselves Baptists--no it is not inconceivable! Undiscerning Christians falling victim to these hellish heresies. The destruction is not restrained by the church--the church has joined it!
There is no doubt about what a woman's role is; there is no doubt what a man's role is. Look at our text again. What has God designed for a woman? Verse 4, "To love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands that the Word of God may not be dishonoured." That's very clear. You can get into a lot of trouble by suggesting that kind of stuff. Try standing up in this culture and saying, "Women you are commanded to love your husband, and to love your children, and to work at home, and to be subject to your husband." You'll get screamed down--I mean you could be in deep trouble just reading that, let alone commenting on it!
It's been amazing since people knew that I was approaching this text, they been telling me, "What are you going to say about this? This is going to be very controversial. Boy, we can't wait until these tapes come out--what's going to happen then?" Well, just to mitigate that a little bit, I have said what I have said this morning so that if you get upset--you'll know whose side you are on! God has laid out His standards--they are not negotiable. I will tell you this, if the Church doesn't wake up soon and obey the Word of God--all is lost! We don't need to fall victim to this stuff. You don't need a master's degree to figure out what it means "to love you husband, love your children, and to work at home!" How hard is that? By the way, there are no qualifiers there, no caveats, no footnotes--it is just what it says. "Go home, submit to your husband, have children, raise them in godliness, take care of your house." And that's what older women are to teach younger women--they are to teach it not only with their mouth; they are to teach it with their life.
I'm telling you what I said a few weeks ago is now is becoming so vividly true. We are living in Romans one--aren't we? What's wrong with America? God let us go, and we are plunging down the path and the evidence of it is this reversal of sexual roles that Paul talked about in Romans 1:26.
Now before we look at verse four, let's go to verse three for a moment because it's connected. One of the duties of the older women into which we looked a few weeks back, one of the duties comes at the end of the list in verse three, "teaching what is good." Older women have as their responsibility--"teaching what is good." Literally, the Greek word here could be translated "teachers of what is good," "kalodidaskalos" (Greek): "teachers of good." "Good" being a word that means "noble, excellent, and lofty," and the idea in the word is not some kind of formal thing. It's not conducting seminars, writing a book, making tapes, holding formal classes--it is the idea of "the very life they live becoming a model of a pattern of goodness."
Older women, when their children are grown and gone and they reach the senior years, are not supposed to just wander away from the church and travel around as if they had no responsibility. In their older years they are responsible to become teachers of the next generation. They do that by mentoring, by disciplining, by modelling, by setting the example of godly living with regard to marriage, and the family, and the home.
Now, they are then to be "teachers of good" and the primary ones they teach are the "young women;" and that's the transition into verse four, they are to be teachers of what is good, in order that they may encourage the young women. The primary responsibility of "older women" is "younger women." Their children are raised, the children are gone, hopefully they have raised up a godly generation of their own. Now, within the framework of the church, the older women are to give themselves in a very informal, personal way to the modelling of godliness that only a woman can do to pass on to the next generation. They are to demonstrate virtue as wives, and virtue as mothers, and virtue as humble, loving, patient, kind, generous servants to the next generation. Verse four begins with the word "That;" it's a purpose clause "In order that" with the purpose or the result "that young women will be encouraged."
Now, the word "encouraged" is probably not translated the best way. It's a very interesting word: the root of it "sophra" (Greek) is used all over the Pastoral Epistles; in fact, hardly anywhere else--I think I may have found one or two uses of the root somewhere other than the Pastorals, but it appears in the Pastorals many places, and it has various, different endings which change the form of the word, and we will see it several times, even in our discussion this morning. But, the form of it that appears uniquely here, "sophronizo," (Greek) which is a verb ending, means "to train." To say it another way, "to teach someone self-control." Some lexicons translate it "to make someone sober minded," "to make someone balanced," "to make someone steady," "to provide someone guidance." But the best translation is "to train someone in self-control." There are other forms of this word, in 1:8, 2:2, and we will see even in 2:5, and in those cases it is translated "sensible," but it is a little bit of a different word, the root is the same but the form of it is different. One form of it is translated "discipline." In Titus 2:12 it's translated "sensibly," in 1 Timothy 3:2, "prudent," and we will see later in 1 Timothy 2 it's translated "discrete"--it has the idea of being "discrete," or "chaste." But the best way to understand this term is the idea of "training in the art of self-control," "Learning self-restraint;" in fact, a form of it is translated "self-restraint" in 1 Timothy 2:15.
So, the "older women" then are to teach the "young women" the self-discipline that trains them to be able to do their duty, which is to love their husbands, love their children, etc. "Older women" are engaged then in a training process--to raise a generation of sensible, disciplined, prudent, wise, discrete, restrained women who are committed to doing God's will. This is a tremendous challenge: it's not easily done. A training process implies relationship, ongoing relationship and responsibility, confrontation, and affirmation. You older women who no longer have the responsibility of your own children, now have the responsibility of training the next generation of women.
Now, let's talk about the idea of the "young women." How young is young? Now, what I am going to say is going to make some of you very happy. To what age does "young women" refer? Well, in a general sense, we would say it refers to women who are able to bear children, or are still rearing children. We would say, generally speaking, that it is sort of a pre-menopause category of young women; those who are still able to have children. A good way to understand this is to go back to 1 Timothy 5. I would add even to that, women who are able to have children or are still rearing their children. And if you think about it, women can bear children well into their forties, and consequently for the next, say, "10 to 15 years" even after that, they are going to be raising children, so that would push the sort of child-bearing, child-rearing responsibility up to, maybe, sixty. If you are still having children at 46, 47--remember in ancient times without the means to prevent pregnancy, as we have them today, and with a devotion to bearing children--(that was very different than a society like ours that has been clobbered with the idea of reducing the population), people had children and they continued to have children. The home was the centre of life. They bore children well into their forties, normally, and so as approaching sixty they would still be raising their own children. Now that is consistent with what we see in 1 Timothy.
In 1 Timothy 5:9, it says, "Let a widow be put on the list." There was a list of widows, whether cared for by the church or not, who were official servants of the church, and they would serve the church, they had a number of tasks, if you go back into the history of the church, they had fairly defined responsibility: they would visit the church's younger women, that was a priority obviously drawn from Titus 2. They would visit these "younger women" to teach them, to instruct them, to help them in daily tasks, to show them things about being wives, and about being mothers, and about being homemakers, and they had an ongoing responsibility to be available to those women in the church who needed their help.
They were also used to provide teaching and counselling when women had needs that were specific and problematic. They also visited the sick and the afflicted and those in prison. They provided hospitality to travellers, such as itinerant preachers, evangelists, and missionaries, and travelling Christians, who may be coming into town because they were being persecuted in another place. They had responsibility also to help with their own grandchildren and their extended family and whatever needs were there.
These women were to be models, then, of virtue. Their qualifications to be put on the list are quite interesting, look at it in verse nine. First of all, they had to be at least sixty years or thereabouts, and they had to have a reputation of being the wife of one man. That doesn't mean that they only had one husband--it means a one-man woman in the Greek. I could only wish that they had translated that right because every time it appears it is misleading. In the Greek, they were a "one-man woman;" that's the idea. That is to say, they were totally devoted to their husband. They may have been married a couple of times, perhaps widowed earlier in life and would be instructed to marry again. It may have been that they had an "unbeliever depart" and left them, and they then were free to remarry. The issue is not how many times they were married--the issue is: were they known as a wife devoted to the man who was her husband? They were virtuous in that sense that they were loyal, faithful wives. That would be the moral qualification.
And then, verse 10, if she had a reputation for good works. That is to say, she has done those kinds of things that have demonstrated her excellent character: she is a noble woman, she has a unrelenting pursuit of doing good for others, she is unselfish. She is devoted to others, like the woman of Proverbs 31, or like Dorcas, who was always making garments for the poor.
And then, additionally, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, if she has devoted herself to every good work, and then that one I skipped which is really the heart of it--if she has brought up children. This particular duty was for someone who had a godly reputation, who had cared for strangers, who had humbled herself to wash the dirty feet of those who had walked in the dust or the mud (it was either one). She was known because she had devoted her whole life to every good work, utterly selfless, but she had brought up children, and the implication is they are godly children. She had lived in, as 1 Timothy 2:15 says, "faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint," and so she had preserved herself from the stigma that woman bears for having led the race into sin, by raising up a godly generation of children.
Now, on the other hand (let's follow this text a little bit), verse 11, "Don't put younger widows on the list." Why? They will want to be on it! Some will lose their husband and they will be so distressed and so bereft and mourning so deeply, and they will say, "There will never be a man like him. I never want to marry another. I don't want another man. He's the only man I ever want." And in the emotion of that moment, and the devotion to that love that was there with that man--they will devote themselves to Christ and say, "I want to be on the list. I'll give the rest of my life to Christ. I don't ever want to marry again."
"But," verse 11 says, "when they feel sensual desires," when the normal sex drive rises, "in disregard of Christ, they want to get married." And they will have made this public promise (and apparently there was some public forum in which this actually took place), and they will then incur condemnation because either they will reluctantly keep their vow, or they will break their vow, and in either place they will be condemned because they set aside their previous pledge. Don't let the younger women do this. They have a normal desire which results in the bearing and the rearing of children and the need for a husband and all of that.
"At the same time," he says in verse 13, "younger women who might be a bit immature will go around learning to be idle, going from house to house; and not merely idle, but they'll gossip and be busybodies, and talk about things not proper to mention." They will just go around talking and instead of going and helping and teaching and instructing and counselling, they will collect information here and more it over here, collect more information here and move it over here, and pretty soon the thing will be all over the place. So, don't let younger women do that. "The younger women you must instruct," verse 14, "to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan." That's sad, if they don't get married, their physical desire will lead them into sin. You need to get married and bear children and keep house. That's their domain, that's their area, that's their responsibility, that's their calling, that's their place--and that allows the enemy no occasion to bring reproach on those women who name the Name of Christ, and go out an scandalise the Name of Christ by their sin. So, don't put the younger women on the list.
Now, what we have learned from that passage is that, there are younger women and older women, and the older women are kind of in the sixty and up category, and the younger women are below that, at least at the point where they are still bearing children, capable of bearing children, or rearing children. Now, let's go back to Titus.
Here, with that as a background, in Titus, chapter 2, we hear some very familiar words. The young women were encouraged, you remember, in 1 Timothy 5, "to marry and bear children," and all, and here is the same thing, "encourage young women to love their husbands, to love their children, be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands." And again I remind you, that there is always a move against this, and it rises out of the fallen flesh of a woman who wants to lord it over her husband, who wants to express herself, who wants to run independent of the plan and purpose of God--that's what the sinful flesh does and it's exacerbated by Satan as he develops the culture to call its siren call to the woman outside the home.
Verse 4, "Encourage these young women (that is train them in the matter of self-control) to love their husbands." That's one word, "philandros" (Greek), to be "husband-lovers." That's what it means in 1 Timothy 5, as we read, "to be a one-man woman," totally devoted to your husband. Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church." That's the key--you love your wife like Christ loved the church. How did He love the church? He loved the church when the church was sinful; He loves us when we are not worthy of His love; He loves us sacrificially; He loves us protectively--that's how husbands are to love their wives--and that's how wives are to love their husbands. You are to be a "husband-lover," you are to love your husband.
You say, "You don't know my husband! I don't love my husband. My husband is not loveable. He has turned me off. I don't love him anymore. I don't care for him anymore." My response to you is, "That is disobedience!" That is disobedience to the clear Word of God, "You are to love your husband." Listen, that doesn't mean that you are going to feel the rockets and hear the bells and whistles. I read Newsweek magazine two weeks ago, and in their edition they said that goes in about two years, because of chemical changes. Isn't that amazing! Marriage isn't all rockets, and bells, and whistles--it's a contented commitment with an occasional rocket, and maybe a bell and a whistle now and then. It goes beyond that, it goes beyond that to a devotedness, to a level of friendship that runs deep and satisfying. And I will tell you how it works: if you don't love you husband then you need to train yourself to love your husband, and the way you train yourself to love your husband is to continue to serve and serve, and do every good thing and every kind thing, and every gracious thing, and every magnanimous thing, and you will make such a massive investment in him, you will say, "I have got too much in this guy not to love him!"
It is a sin to disobey this command. It is a sacrificial love. It is not necessarily the love of emotion, it's the love of will and a deep commitment, and that's where healthy relationships begin. It's the kind of love Philippians 2 talks about when it says, "If there is any love then do this, let no man look on the things of his own life but the things of others, let each esteem others better than himself." It's that sacrificial, humble, condescending, self-effacing love.
Secondly, he says, "Teach these young women to love their children." That's one word, "philoteknos" (Greek) to be "children-lovers." Women, this is your highest calling, "to raise godly children" (1 Timothy 2:15), we have been mentioning it all along. You will reverse the stigma of the curse by which women are stigmatised because a woman led the race into sin, you will be preserved from that stigma when you rear a godly generation--that's your highest calling. Your greatest contribution comes in motherhood--that's generally true. Now, let me hasten to say there are some women that God wants to be single, and they are the exception--He doesn't want them to be married. They have what the New Testament calls a "gift of singleness," 1 Corinthians 7 says that women who are single should remain single if they can do that; so should men, so they can devote their whole life to Christ and not be encumbered by having to care for a life partner, and a family, and children, and all of that. I understand that. I understand what immense freedom a man could have if he wasn't married and didn't have children.
Now, God hasn't made me that way, obviously, but some are, and some women are designed by God to "be single for the Kingdom's sake." And there are some women who are barren for the Kingdom's sake, for God's divine purposes. There are some men who cannot produce children and therefore their wives will never bear children; God knows that and in His purpose and His providence that is a glorious and a complete and total fulfilment for that individual woman. But, those are the unique exceptions that God designs--the general rule is that women bear children, and love the children they bear. Certainly, in ancient times, this would even go for those women who though not bearing children would have adopted some of those children that the widows had scooped out of the market place, and would therefore have the same responsibility for loving children who had been adopted.
Obviously, God doesn't want all women to be mothers or they would be. God has designed some women to have the uniqueness of singleness, and others not to have children for His own purpose. We can thank God for what single women mean to the Kingdom, and we can thank God (and I do daily) for what women who have no children mean to the Kingdom because God has given them freedom to serve in unique ways. But, generally speaking, women are mothers and they are to bear children, and in bearing children they have then the responsibility to love those children--that means to sacrifice their life on the children's behalf. Again the love in not an emotion, it's not standing in the corner gloating when your little child is all dressed up, at how handsome or how beautiful she is--it is the responsibility of pouring your life sacrificially into that little life so that that child grows up to love Christ.
"Women are to be taught," according to verse 5, "to be sensible." There's that "sophron" (Greek) root again: to have sound judgement, common sense, right thinking, right priorities--very basic. The older women come along and they teach the young women the common sense stuff of life, just the normal processes of knowing your priorities, thinking right, making sound judgement, applying wisdom. You know, so many young women today don't understand this, Patricia and I have talked about this through the years. We can't imagine ever going to a marriage seminar. We can't imagine ever going to some kind of a child raising seminar. People say, "Why can't you imagine that?" The reason is simply this: we were both raised in families where the Biblical pattern was modelled. I will tell you something that will shock you: I have never in my lifetime have seen my father and mother argue. It's hard to pick a fight with me. I have never seen my parents argue. I seen a model of commitment to one another. I watched my parents raise children. My wife watched her parents raise children. Nobody needs to give me a book on how to do this, there is something that is built into the fabric of a home that becomes reproductive in the next generation, and when that gets severed you have a major problem of trying to undo the bad modelling and restructure the whole thing. That's why the Old Testament says where you have wickedness in the family, it takes three or four generations to turn it around--it's not easy and it will take a long time before it gets turned around in our own culture.
But where we are living today, in this society, it is desperately needed--that some women come along and teach the young generation how to think right--what we think is common sense parenting. That's why the whole parenting process is taught with such zeal in our church, because we have to fill in the gap here. With the second generation of women exposed to a "Feminist Agenda" and coming out of broken homes, devastated marriages, some of them divorced and some of them stayed together but equally devastating.
Then he says, "Teach the young women to be pure," "hagnos" in Greek, "chaste," "morally pure," "virtuous," "sexually faithful to their husbands." Teach them that they are devoted to one man and that's it--morally pure. 1 Peter 3:3 says that women are not to adorn themselves merely on the external. It's fine to do a little work out there--we all appreciate it, but mostly--this is true isn't it? But mostly, he says, don't be worried about "braiding your hair, and wearing gold jewellery, or putting on dresses; but you worry about the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also. . . .used to adorn themselves."
So if you want to be a holy woman you work on the inside, and that's what he is saying, "Teach women to be adorning their heart; teach women to be virtuous and godly on the inside." Back in 1 Timothy, chapter 2, and verses 9 and 10, this same is said, women are not to adorn themselves in any way that would call attention to themselves, but they are to put on "proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness." So if you are going to claim godliness, and virtue, and holiness, and purity--it ought to show up on the outside. Those two words in 1 Timothy 2, "modestly" and "discreetly," very interesting.
"Modestly" means with a sense of shame, with a healthy blush. Not ashamed that you are a woman, but ashamed that you might cause someone to be distracted from worshipping God, or ashamed that you might cause someone to look at you in lust. You want to have that kind of sense of shame--the thought of inciting lust or distracting someone from worshipping God. And the idea of "discreetly" is the same root again "sophra" (Greek), and again it means controlling all of your passions. Women who make a claim to godliness have their passions under control and they wouldn't do anything to excite lust; they wouldn't do anything to draw attention to themselves when God's people come together for worship. Holy women have always conducted themselves that way, so Paul says you teach the young women to be pure like that.
And then he says, "workers at home," and here's the one that gets all the heat nowadays. Forty-five percent of the American work force is women. "Megatrends 2000" says in the past 20 years U.S. women have taken two-thirds of the millions of new jobs, and that will continue. Fifty-six percent, says "Megatrends," 56% of mothers with children under 6, work outside the home. Seventy-three percent of mothers with children 6 to 17 work outside the home. By the year 2000, that's in 6 years or so, 90% of women between 16 and 65 will be at work outside the home. Nobody will be home--nobody.
The word "workers at home" one word in the Greek, "oikourgos" from two root words, "ergon" which means "work" and "oikos" which means "house." It's simply the sphere of a woman's life is her home--that's her domain. It doesn't mean she has to be there 24 hours a day and can never leave. I am not saying that, because you don't want to lock her up with Soap Operas either, but what it does mean is that is the sphere of her life; that is her domain. It is not that she is simply to be home, but that the home is her sphere. The woman in Proverbs 31 left home when she needed to buy a field, she left home to prepare that field, she left home and went afar to find things that would help the family. The woman did what she needed to do, but the focus of everything was the home, and that's where she poured her life. She got up early and she went to bed late for the sake of the home. She is to be a "home-keeper" that's the sphere of her responsibility, that's her place of employment, that's where she should pour her life.
For a mother to get a job outside the home and send the children to some kind of "Day-care" place is to shirk her God-given responsibility. It also is a failure to understand that her husband is to be the provider, as Ephesians 5 makes it very clear. Even if you wanted to work outside the home to pay for your children to go to a Christian school you made a big mistake. Better that you should stay in the home and raise your own children to be godly than to pass it on to somebody else. Now we know today there are a lot of wonderful things that we have in the home that ancient people didn't have. I mean that you are not in there with some kind of a stone pot beating out the grain to make flour. And you are not down at the creek slapping your clothes on a rock--we know that. And you are not just spinning thread so that you can make fabrics so that you can sew garments, so we know that you have more time. You need to be very careful how you use that time discreetly. You do have more time, and there may be things outside the home you can do that will assist the home and that will assist others, that may even be enterprising like the Proverbs 31 woman and bring in a little bit of income, but any of those kind of things that you do--the home remains the constant and ongoing priority--everything focuses on that.
When your children are grown and gone, or if God doesn't give you any children, you have a certain freedom. But even then in what you choose to do outside the home you don't lose the responsibility for the home, you may be able to care for your home, and because you have no children still do some things outside. Your home may still be a haven for your husband, it may be a place where you can show hospitality. You may have opportunity to wash the saints' feet and do every good work, and still do something outside the home, something noble. I always think its wonderful when women work in Christian ministry, when they don't have children at home, or when they teach little ones in school, or when they are involved in a Christian mission enterprise, or when they are involved in ministering to people in jail, or when they work in a hospital, or with doctors, and those who help people. But you need to be careful even in doing that that you don't get yourself in a position where you are tempted, because we all know, and the statistics are very clear on this: "women who work outside the home have an exponential number of extramarital affairs when compare to women who are in the home--because of exposure, temptation." You must make wise choices if you are going to take the freedom that you have in terms of time, because you children are grown, because you can care for that home because of conveniences, and choose where it is you are going to use your gifts and talents and abilities, and women have them to teach and lead and administrate, co-ordinate, and serve, and help, and give, and all of that. Just like all of the gifts that are mentioned in the New Testament. You must choose wisely so you don't compromise yourself in any way. But, your place is the home.
It is also tragic to realise that many women want nothing more than that, and they have an unfaithful husband who leaves them. They are stuck, aren't they with children--no source of income, and forced in many cases to work outside the home to support the family. That's not right. 1 Timothy 5 makes it very clear, "other men in the extended family should care for that woman so she doesn't have to do that." They have already lost a father, now are you going to make them lose a mother--those little ones? If there is no other men in it, then it says in 1 Timothy 5, some other women ought to come to her aid, and if there are no women to do that, then the church ought to take care of her; but churches aren't even willing to do that. We have been involved in doing that for years at Grace Church, where we have widows, or where we have single women whose husbands have been divorced, or in some cases where we have women with little children whose husbands are serving long prison sentences--even life imprisonment. They lost a father--should they lose a mother?
If you have some woman like that in your family, you need to support that woman. And if there is no one there, the church can come along side, and we do much counselling in that area. But, "a woman's place is in the home" only says half of it. "A woman's place is in the home" to me doesn't sound right--a woman's responsibility is in the home. To say her place is in the home makes you think that she just ought to sit there, because that's where she belongs. No, that's where her duty and responsibility is--that's where her opportunity is to have the greatest impact on the world. A woman doesn't impact the world by getting a briefcase and going downtown--she impacts the world by raising a godly generation of men and women.
Obviously, this is very simple, direct teaching, and we know how to respond to it. At the same time there are questions and I know that they can come up in your heart. You say, "Well, what if I have an opportunity to be gone two hours in the morning, or three hours? Or what if I can go to the Christian school and help there for a few hours?" The answer to all of that is: if it does not impact your home, if it enhances and enriches the life in the home, if it accomplishes all of the spiritual goals, then that's between you and the Lord and your husband and your family to work those things out. You understand the plan and the pattern that God has laid out: the specifics on how it fleshes out in your home are for you and the Lord and your family to work out.
What grieves me is this massive onslaught that says "We have got to stamp out this whole idea of women staying at home." If you don't think that is it, listen to the agenda: Vivian Gornick (sp.), feminist author, University of Illinois,
Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession. The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family maker is a choice that shouldn't be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that.
Why do they care? You tell me, why does some feminist woman care whether you are a homemaker? Why does she care? I'll tell you why--because her agenda isn't her agenda--it's the agenda of the enemy. It is an anti-God agenda intended to destroy the credibility of the church, because if you can get women who claim to be Christians to abandon the home, then you can pick up a Bible and say, "You say you believe this--I don't think so. Therefore, it must not be believable because you know what it says and you are not interested in believing it and you claim to be a Christian." They don't know what they are doing, but they don't care really whether you work--Satan cares to discredit the Bible--that's the issue. That's the level of the attack. See it for what it is and don't become victimised.
--The home is where a woman provides the expressions of love for her husband and her children.
--The home is where she leads and guides and teaches and raises the godly generation.
--The home is where she is protected and secured from other men and potentially wicked relationships and abuses.
--The home is where she lodges strangers and washes Saints' feet, shows hospitality and devotes herself to every good work--that's her sphere.
Whatever of that home and whatever of the goodness of her life she can take outside and not sacrifice the home is between her and the Lord and her husband.
Proverbs 7:11 gives a definition of a prostitute, this is what it says, "She is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home." She is not content to be at home. She is not content with that domain with that man, she wants to explore other options. People today say, "Oh, a woman must work. She has to work to fulfil herself." That is ridiculous; that is not true. Her place that God has designed her to express herself most magnanimously is in the home for her family and friends and those in need.
In spite of all the clear teaching, Satan has allowed the church to get sucked into the Lesbian/Feminist Agenda. This is of great consequence to the church, for a couple of statistical reasons. Sixty percent of the church population is women, and in Bible believing churches only 37% are men. And so this great massive force of people who name the name of Christ are either living in affirmation of Scripture, or in denial of it--very important in terms of Christian testimony.
Then it says, and this is wonderful, in verse 5, "She should be kind." What needs to be said about that? "Gentle, tender-hearted, merciful, and thoughtful." And then lastly, "Being subject to their own husbands." Not somebody else's husband, but their own. That is an echo of Ephesians 5:22, "Subject to their own husbands." A woman doesn't know how to bow her knee to God until she learns how to bow her knee to her husband. It doesn't mean a servile way--it simply means that she submits as God as designed the order. "God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the man," 1 Corinthians 11 says, "And the man is the head of the woman." "Subject to her own husband." I worry about women who get out and get under powerful male-dominated environments--I worry about that, because a woman responds. A woman can be easily abused. I understand why all this hue and cry of sexual harassment is going on, though it is way beyond any kind of rational approach. Though it is way out of whack, though it is only another way for the feminist to achieve their agenda--it is nonetheless true that women, in a male-dominated place are going to get abused--there is no question about it--they are going to get exposed, at best, to innuendo, at worst to sexual involvement.
A woman needs the protection, the saving sense of protection that a husband and a home provides. And all of that is so that the Word of God may not be dishonoured. It isn't so much for you, it's for God's Word so that it will not be "blasphemeo" (Greek), "blasphemed." The honour of Scripture is at stake, and as I said at the beginning an unbeliever can read this text and know whether we are obeying it. What do you think the unbeliever thinks of current Christianity, if he knows anything about the Bible--he'd have to say, "Well, Christians certainly aren't serious about the Bible." It's really amazing.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon made this tribute to his wife,
She delights in her husband; in his person, his character, his affection. To her he is not only the chief and the foremost of mankind, but in her eyes he is all in all. Her heart's love belongs to him, and to him only. He is her little world, her paradise, her choice treasure. She is glad to sink her individuality in him. She seeks no renown for herself. His honour is reflected upon her and she rejoices in it. She will defend his name with her dying breath. Safe enough is he where she can speak for him. His smiling gratitude is all the reward she seeks. Even in her dress she thinks of him and considers nothing beautiful which is distasteful to him. He has many objects in life, some of which she does not quite understand, but she believes them all and anything she can do to promote them she delights to perform. Such a wife as a true spouse, realises the model marriage relation and sets forth what our oneness with the Lord ought to be.
Boy, what a joy to be married to someone like that. You wonder why he was the "Man of God" that he was--he had some tremendous support.
And so it is that God has said, "You want your church powerful in the world? This how you are to live."
Father, we come to You now, at the close of this service, very much aware of the fact that these things we have taught are clearly from You, and clearly against everything that this culture stands for. First of all Lord, we know that turning this thing around is a major enterprise that only You can do, but Lord we can deal with our own lives, and so I pray for the dear families of this church, precious women of this church, old and young, fathers and husbands. I pray O God that these things will be lived out in the homes and the families of our church. And that it might ignite a movement across this country that can bring back honour to Your Word. How can so many people say they are Christians and believe the Bible, and live in total disregard of what it says, and thus shame the very testimony of the One they proclaim? Lord, make us faithful in the disciplines of life to do what honours You. We pray in Christ's Name. Amen.
As I said in conclusion, I know there are a myriad of things that may flood your mind; exceptions here and there and everywhere, and what about a woman who is single working in the world? And what about a woman who has no children working? And again, I just remind you, those things you need to pray about and decide in your own family, and then follow the leading of the Lord. And the first time there is indication that any environment like that is compromising your commitment to Christ, compromising your commitment to your husband, compromising your commitment to your home--you need to change that. I can only pray that every gift and every talent and every opportunity that you have as a woman will be maximised with the home as the centre priority, and then in whatever extending circumference God will allow--but always for His glory.
Transcribed by Tony Capoccia of
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