In this part I would like to look at what biblical womanhood is rather than look at what it isn't. We have seen enough of that in part 1, haven't we?!
In 2007 a half day conference was held titled "Different By Design: A crucial call to faithfulness in gender issues." The session was to be held just prior to the Desiring God conference. Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ligon Duncan, Professor at the Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) were the keynotes. If the call was crucial in 2007 almost 6 years ago, it is a siren call today.
Posted on this woman's webpage is an archive of some of the issues discussed at that conference.
Wayne Grudem, Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, wrote a book called Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. The synopsis of the book states, "Egalitarians, or evangelical feminists, consider men’s and women’s roles in the home and church to be interchangeable. In this helpful book, Bible scholar Wayne Grudem considers over a hundred egalitarian arguments and finds them contrary to the Bible. According to Grudem, the Bible teaches that God values men and women equally. However, their roles in home and church are complementary to each other, not interchangeable. Arguing against both feminism on the left and male chauvinism on the right, his carefully researched handbook is a valuable resource defending the complementarian viewpoint."
Professor Grudem wrote it because he was concerned that evangelical feminism (also called “egalitarianism”) has become a new path by which evangelicals are being drawn into the theological liberalism."
Grudem defines evangelical feminism (or as I define the worse flavors of it, Christian secret feminists), "When I speak of “evangelical feminism” I mean a movement that claims there are no unique leadership roles for men in marriage or in the church. According to evangelical feminism, there is no leadership role in marriage that belongs to the husband simply because he is the husband, but leadership is to be shared between husband and wife according to their gifts and desires. And there are no leadership roles in the church reserved for men, but women as well as men can be pastors and elders and hold any office in the church.'"
For example, Al Moher explained why the issue of biblical womanhood is so important, "The fault lines of controversy in contemporary Christianity range across a vast terrain of issues, but none seems quite so volatile as the question of gender. As Christians have been thinking and rethinking these issues in recent years, a clear pattern of divergence has appeared. At stake in this debate is something more important than the question of gender, for this controversy reaches the deepest questions of Christian identity and biblical authority." Continuing later in his piece, Mohler said, "The postmodern worldview embraces the notion of gender as a social construct. That is, postmodernists argue that our notions of what it means to be male and female are entirely due to what society has constructed as its theories of masculinity and femininity."
It is important to remember that roles for men and women are not socially defined, but biblically defined. Even those women inside Christianity who attempt to redefine their roles by saying it is a gift or a ministry from God are in themselves redefining the bible because doing this proves they believe the bible to be insufficient as their authoritative guide for life.
So what is Biblical Womanhood? Dr. Georgia Purdom at Answers in Genesis begins her answer to that question by saying:
"The online Free Dictionary defines womanhood as “the composite of qualities thought to be appropriate to or representative of women.” How do we determine the qualities women should possess? Scripture is the ultimate authority."Purdum continues by saying that in biblical womanhood "God has a lot to say about the qualities of a woman made in His image. Let’s take a look at a couple." She cites modesty and work and goes into a solid biblical exposition of those two concepts in light of the biblically defined roles for women. I suggest you read it in context at the site for more depth. (source)
"Most Christians think immediately of Proverbs 31. While this passage is important to biblical womanhood, it is not the foundation. We need to go back to the beginning—Genesis 1. Here we see that God created both male and female in His image (Genesis 1:27)."
"However, God created men and women with physical, emotional, and mental differences; and while both bear the image of God, they do so uniquely. God also created men and women to have different roles in marriage (Genesis 2:18) and the church (1 Timothy 2:11–13), but again they are both image-bearers and equal in Christ (Galatians 3:28)."
In another essay at Answers in Genesis called Are Gender Roles a Social Construct? by Steve Golden, the author looks at the curse on men and women after the fall and how this curse might be affecting us today.
"A final point regards the Curse in Genesis 3. Here we see that Adam and Eve already had distinct roles, but as a result of the Curse, their roles became toilsome and painful. In verse 16, God graciously allowed Eve (and her female descendants) to bear children, but childbirth would be associated with a good deal of physical pain as well as concerns about bringing a child into this cursed world. Additionally, God tells Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). Christians differ over what this verse means, but two likely interpretations arise: (1) Eve will try to usurp her husband’s role as head, but God is requiring Adam to keep her from doing so, resulting in conflict; or (2) Eve will try to usurp her husband’s role as head, and he will exercise unbiblical male domination over her."We see the evil results of that sin and its resulting curse today. In my opinion, many men have become tired of the conflict and have given up (by no longer attending church, so as to avoid the whole issue) or have given in (by accepting the recapitulation of the roles as some of the female celebrity teachers' husbands have done.) The second chapter of Titus illustrates what is expected of Godly behavior of men and woman, the youth and the old:
"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior." (Titus 2:1-10)
Ladies, modest and humble and loving wives do not disrespect their husbands on Facebook. It's ugly when you do that. Just had to get that off my chest while I was thinking about it.
An example I came across of immodesty and irreverence toward the elder women comes from Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer at the 2009 "Deeper Still" Christian Women's Conference in Greensboro NC. Robin Schumacher of Confident Christians used the account from an attendee in his power point teaching called "Got Ethics? Where is the Line?"
An Example of Getting it Wrong: One of the questions that the speakers addressed was, “What is the best part of marriage for you, and what is the most challenging?” When it came time for Priscilla to address the “most challenging part” of her marriage, she explained that she has two small children (one of whom she is still breast-feeding) and well, “I’m often just too tired, if you know what I mean, ladies! [Wink, wink.]”Biblical womanhood is supposed to be submissive to elders, and yet Mrs Moore and Mrs Shirer reportedly disrespected an elder and refused an opportunity to apologize to the audience and repent to God. What an example they could have demonstrated of biblical womanhood to thousands of attendees! They could have edified Jesus! But instead they introduced an off-color topic, disrespected their husbands, engaged in unsound speech, dissed an elder woman, and refused submission to the clear teaching of the Word. (See Titus verses above). This is not biblical womanhood. It is Christian feminism. Mrs Arthur is to be praised for handling the situation in a biblical, loving fashion. THAT is biblical womanhood according to Titus 2!
To my (saddened) surprise, the arena of 10,000 women actually stood up and cheered. Various chimes of laughter, screaming, and “yeah, girl!” boomed in the packed house. This continued for about a minute, while even Beth Moore nodded, laughed and clapped at Ms. Shirer’s comment. Priscilla continued by relating a story of how she often tries to creep into bed after her husband falls asleep so that he won’t start coming on to her. Beth Moore admitted the same, and the more they discussed, the louder the cheering arena shouted and clapped in agreement.
I sat in my seat and was profoundly disturbed. Here I was at a Christian Women’s Conference, and our “trusted” female leaders were joking about avoiding their husbands in bed.
What happened next, I believe, shocked everyone.
An Example of Getting it Right: As all the shouting and cheering continued while Priscilla and Beth discussed the “too tired” syndrome, I turned my attention to Kay Arthur. This very beautiful, very wise woman was silently flipping through her Bible, which she kept on her lap during the discussion. Finally she looked up at her two fellow speakers and said very kindly but unflinchingly, “Now girls, I understand how you feel. We have all been there, myself included. I remember once sleeping on the very edge of my bed so that I could avoid my husband. I know what you mean. But let me show you something, please.” Kay picked up her Bible and then simply spoke:
“1 Corinthians 7:4-5. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Oh if you could have seen the faces on Ms. Moore and Ms. Shirer! Ms. Moore had her mouth half-open in disbelief, and Ms. Shirer raised her eyebrows and opened her eyes wider in shock. The Coliseum’s chorus of cheers changed to a disgruntled murmur. I do believe I was the only one clapping.
After a brief pause, the two rebuked women turned to the audience and said with a half eye-roll, “Oh, well Ms. Kay has a verse for everything, doesn’t she?!” The crowd laughed again. Ms. Shirer continued, commenting that her husband loves to eat, so she was doubtful there would be a lot of abstaining for fasting. Ms. Moore agreed. The crowd continued laughing and cheering.
Kay Arthur continued her uncompromising, yet gentle rebuke. “Girls, again, I understand fully what you’re saying, but I’m merely telling you what God has to say about sex between a husband and wife. You are not to deprive one another, except for prayer or fasting. So, unless you’re doing that, you’re not to avoid your husband… and he should not avoid you either.”
Nervous giggles and pauses were all that remained from Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. Finally, Priscilla exclaimed, “Well! On to another topic, shall we?!” To which the crowd laughed enthusiastically.
The outcome of the curse in Genesis 3 is coming home to roost now. In Revelation 2 we read of a church that Jesus praises in some ways but condemns in others. Let's finish the series with a look at it in terms of what happens to those who accept false teaching from women who rebel.
Christian secret feminists part 1
Christian secret feminists part 3