December 29, 2008
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December 22, 2008
December 16, 2008
The last video session addressed how women can lack self control as it relates to the body. Whether obsessing over every bite or giving in to every indulgence, women are at risk in this media-driven culture to go one way or the other. This lack of respect of the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, becomes the essence of idolatry. That's a solid message.
In offering a corrective, Beth talked about how we need to have a biblical perspective on the body, but I believe she erred in moving the listener too quickly into application. She said "you can't just think with the top of your head" you've got to apply the truths we know about God, ourselves, etc, and make them a real part of our lives. I certainly don't disagree with her in that regard. But does Beth overestimate her audience? I would suggest that in women's ministry and in the church more broadly, we equip few to think theologically--or simply logically--on any matter on their own. I believe to suggest otherwise is to miss the root cause of many of the problems in the evangelical community. Neglecting to teach women how to think will create a culture of quick fix therapy. But by cultivating the life of the mind in women's ministry, where I firmly believe it has become so necessary, women and their families will be equipped to live beyond their circumstances to the glory of God.
November 30, 2008
As WFC works passionately with current women’s leaders and participates in the development of women as future leaders in church and culture, we desire not to compromise a core belief, that the leadership roles of Senior Pastor and Elder are an office of the church to which only men may serve... (...continue reading)
November 24, 2008
I was taken aback when the program featured a young family with 3 kids--a 4th on the way. But this 4th child was too great of a burden, so with the aid of some tree bark and some other plants known to induce an abortion, the husband and wife ended the life of their unborn child. They, like humans around the globe, spoke of the abortion as something less ominous, as if he didn't intentionally prepare the toxic drink to end the life of that child, as if she didn't intentionally drink the poison. For them, it was a miscarriage. Even the show narrator avoided calling it what it was. The term abortion was never used.
This smoke-and-mirrors approach is hardly new, nor is it limited to uncivilized parts of the world. In fact, the language of death in our society has had to be reframed such that the sting of guilt doesn't exist. That's why we see the pro-aborts refer to Plan B as contraception instead of the abortifacient that it is. "Let no one deceive you with empty words" (Eph 5:6).
Confusing people with language in biotechnology and the abortion arena is a problem that is not going away. So as the economy continues to nose dive, we need to be prepared to educate young women that when they sell their eggs, the eggs are being fertilized. A fertilized egg is an embryo. Recently a feminist organization put out a press release claiming that evangelicals believed eggs to be more valuable than human persons. Either a deliberate obfuscation, or they are severely uninformed. We are cautioning young women by telling them the truth and eliminating the confusion in terminology. Another word for a fertilized egg is "offspring." So as young women are offered thousands of dollars for what they perceive to be nothing more than an altruistic tissue donation, the truth is that they are being exploited.
So what does this have to do with the church and with women's ministry?? Everything! We are in a unique position to educate our congregations and communities on these and similar issues. The biotech and fertility industries have a conflict of interest--they make money off of egg donations. Oooops! Yet we find another misuse of language. This is hardly a donation--it's a sale.
“Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B, Plan B will not work."
November 21, 2008
This battle began in Eden, which translated means delight or pleasure. Eden was a place where God provided all that the Creation would need. Food, shelter, companionship, fellowship with God--they lacked for nothing. Yet Eve, confronted by the Serpent (Gen 3:1-6), was deceived into believing that eating of the tree "in the midst of the Garden" would be a good idea.
This wouldn't be the last time we see this form of temptation in scripture. As Eve was tempted by physical pleasure ("good for food"), materialistic attraction ("delight to the eyes") and intellectual autonomy ("make one wise"), Jesus also was confronted with these temptations, in a location neither pleasurable or delightful, but in the wilderness. (Luke 4:1-13)
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, "To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. (4:5.6) (materialistic attraction)
And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, "for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,'" and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" (4:9-11) (intellectual autonomy)
Jesus conquered sin and death with the work of the Cross, but we still live in a world where we face choices and challenges due to the condition of our own heart. As Jeremiah teaches that the heart is deceitful, the Psalmist prays "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10) We can join in that prayer.
As the Holy Spirit continues His work within each of us, we continue to pursue God by indulging in holy, obedient living, glorifying Him in self-sacrifice instead of self-indulgence. No doubt the battle is real, but the power to walk by the Spirit is greater.
November 19, 2008
Deuteronomy 7:6-9 affirms that Israel is a mighty nation, fewest of all peoples, a holy people, and God's treasured possession. But none of these things were true about Israel in a way that caused God to choose them, so to say God chose them because of any of these things is erroneous. At one point in time, Israel was a promise to Abraham, they didn't exist except as his offspring multiplied.
So what is Deut 7:6-9 saying? In fact, it is saying exactly the opposite of Beth's question. The answer is in verse 8, "but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping His oath that He swore to your fathers."
I don't claim to know Hebrew, but the English is plain enough here. Statements that are true about Israel in this passage do not necessitate that they are causes.
1. "You are a people holy to the Lord..."
2. "The Lord your God has chosen you to be...His treasured possession" emphasis on "to be," indicative that holiness was not a cause.
3. "It was not because you were more in number...for you were the fewest." Be careful here, this is not a causitive statement, it is emphasizing even further that there is nothing mighty about Israel apart from God's love.
If this was intended by the editors to be a thought-provoking question, then it might work, but the wordsmiths aren't satisfied with this use of language as it clouds serious truths about God and His covenant relationship with Israel.
Please don't be too quick to beat up on me for being critical of this study. There are other areas of concern that I have with it that I have not publically addressed as of yet. To excuse the flaws of this study because it is 10 years old misunderstands the role of editors in publishing, but more importantly, it prevents women from getting the best training in Bible study methods and application.
I disagree with Beth Moore on many things, but they have more to do with method as she often draws conclusions with little rigor. I certainly am not judging her intentions or motives, I believe her to be a woman who sincerely loves the Lord.
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November 18, 2008
In the past tense, Paul writes (Eph 1:5) that all believers were predestined for adoption (huiothesia = huio/son, thesia/placed)...planned in eternity to occur at some point in time. Similar to our earthly conception of adoption where a child is placed in the care of another family, to become a permanent member of that family, God has placed us in His family. Paul prays that this is "according to the purpose of His will." Here the word purpose comes from eudokian meaning good pleasure or desire. And certainly, it is God's desire--His requirement--that "we should be holy and blameless before him" (Eph 1:4).
Paul continues in his prayer, which flows logically and flawlessly, declaring in the present tense that "In Him we have redemption" (Eph 1:7). The word redemption is related to apolutrosin which refers to deliverance or a ransom paid. Pointing to the Cross, Paul prays this doctrine of redemption, showing how we are (through the blood, the ransom paid) and how we are becoming "holy and blameless before Him" (Eph 1:4). We assume with Paul that the recipients of this letter are believers, which is why he speaks so affirmatively of having redemption.
Finally, Paul prays about our present tense inheritance, or kleroo ((klay-ro'-o) in the original language (Eph 1:11) that is guaranteed for us "to acquire possession of" at a future point in time (Eph 1:14) as a consequence of the sealing or securing of our salvation by and through Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13).
Each of these theological truths are intended to be understood by the recepients of this letter, including you and I. But why exactly is Paul praying these truths? The answer to that is found in verses 15-23 where he begins "For this reason" (Eph 1:15) and is fleshed out in Eph 1:18-20,
that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he rasied him from the dead...We can only take joy and comfort in the Lord if he is all powerful and has had our lives in His hands for all eternity. If at any point the opposite were true, then Paul could not speak of our past tense adoption and then there would be no trust in a present tense redemption or present/future tense inheritance. But because of God's sovereign power which has held history history together, His "immeasuarable greatness and power" that saved us and raised Jesus, there is a basis for His purpose "that we should be holy and blameless before Him" (Eph 1:4).
So as Paul brings this prayer to a conclusion, it begins an exciting letter to a group of believers in a decadent society full of sexual immorality, false religion, and self-indulgence. That doesn't sound much different from the landscape of 21st century America. Chapters 2-6 explain further how God has actualized our hagios, our pure and blamess position before the Throne, but also how the members of the Church have been called to responsibility in living out the Christian life. While we have been made holy, we are being made holy. God has accomplished our redemption, and we participate in our sanctification through obedience by the power of the Holy Spirit.
November 14, 2008
Contrast that to Mary of Bethany who knew that everything she needed--and everything she wanted--was at the feet of Jesus. A woman who knew exactly what she wanted was everything that she needed. Without Christ, there was no real satisfaction in life, but she needed to know who he was, and that was accomplished by spending time with and learning from the Lord who was with her. Mary corrected Eve's mistake by knowing more about her Lord by studying him and with him. Another incident between Mary and Jesus shows her anointing his feet with oil--with her hair. This is a woman who not only learned who Jesus is, but aspired to live like him. She learned how she was different from Jesus (in her fallenness) but still sought to live the humble, sacrificial life.
November 13, 2008
We wonder what's going on in today's culture...how a young America can vote for change that lacks definition, can vote for candidates who are rabid pro-aborts, can embrace religious pluralism while being hypocrites toward evangelicalism. It happens when young America is left to figure things out on their own....or when organizations like NARAL and the Feminist Majority provide the only answers to their most difficult questions. I wish I had the financial means to be a voice to today's young women, validating them as human, as professionals, as thinkers, as achievers, as the future of our society in all of its quadrants. In the meantime, the biggest muscle is coming through campaigns such as Free.Will.Power.
November 11, 2008
"Morality doesn't come from religion. It's a set of values embraced by individuals and society based on empathy, fairness, and experience."
Competing against God would no doubt make an individual or organization insecure, necessitating the launch of a campaign aimed at desensitizing the voting public against the existence of God. Apart from their inability to account for objective good, they clearly are inconsistent in application of tolerance. A pluralistic public square is indeed what we have, and in a democratic society the predominant beliefs of the people are going to have the greatest impact. So organizations like the American Humanist Association go all, poisoning the well against theistic perspectives on public issues.
But to the heart of this advertising, it's no surprise that they would try to argue for goodness without God. As part of how man was created, he can have a sense of right and wrong, good and evil. But he'll certainly struggle giving an account for the right and the good in absolute terms. Humanism leaves us in the mire of relativism, with numerous interpretations of the right and the good.
As we move into the new administration in 2009, we will undoubtedly encounter more efforts to promote humanistic ideals at the expense of policies that protect human life and promote human dignity. Resulting from this will be more confidence for the anti-theistic verbiage. Clearly we're in for a rough ride, but certainly not a without an aggressive response.
Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003
Hyde Amendment (restricting taxpayer funding of abortions)
Restrictions on abortions performed at military hospitals
Restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion for federal employees
Informed consent laws
Parental consent and notification laws
Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics
Requirements that licensed physicians perform abortions
“Delayed enforcement” laws (banning abortion when Roe v. Wade is overturned and/or the authority to restrict abortion is returned to the states)
Bans on partial-birth abortion
Bans on abortion after viability. FOCA’s apparent attempt to limit post-viability abortions is illusory. Under FOCA, post-viability abortions are expressly permitted to protect the woman’s “health.” Within the context of abortion, “health” has been interpreted so broadly that FOCA would not actually proscribe any abortion before or after viability.
Limits on public funding for elective abortions (thus, making American taxpayers fund a procedure that many find morally objectionable)
Limits on the use of public facilities (such has public hospitals and medical schools at state universities) for abortions
State and federal legal protections for individual healthcare providers who decline to participate in abortions
Legal protections for Catholic and other religiously-affiliated hospitals who, while providing care to millions of poor and uninsured Americans, refuse to allow abortions within their facilities
November 7, 2008
John Murray wrote "...all truth is derived from him and only in relation to him is anything true." (Principles of Conduct, P. 132).
Facts aren't floating about such that anyone can grab them and call them their own. Whatever is true is so because God exists. We can even say that universal laws of logic exist because they emanate from God. There are no abstract ideas that exist independently of God, or else we could say something does exist without dependence on God. And isn't this the way sinful humanity desires to exist?
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November 6, 2008
Frame writes in The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God that "knowledge of God is a heart-knowledge" citing Ex 35:5, Ps 4:4, Isa 6:10, Matt 5:8, Eph 1:18 and more. Accordingly, scripture "represents it as the source of thought, of volition, of attitude, of speech. It is the seat of moral knowledge." (P. 322)
If we conceive of the heart as inseparable from the mind or the conscious, regarding them rather as a single entity with a variety of out workings, then we need to rethink the manner in which we speak of them. The mind is not the place for only intellectual activity and the heart is not only where we feel and find inspiration. The heart is not alone the seat of spirituality, relegating the so-called nonspiritual activity of logic and reason to the mind. Scripture calls us to understand the heart and mind singularly, paying respect to its ability to reason, hope, love, grieve, and more.
...instead of seeing ourselves as connected to Christ at all times, we tend to view our relationship with God in terms of intersecting moments during the day. We think that the more times our lives intersect with God, the more 'spiritual' we are. In this paradigm, God goes on his way and I go my way until we intersect at another corner...Instead, we need to think of ourselves walking with Jesus continually...Christ is in you...holding you together at all times. (p. 96)I continually meet women who say they agree with the author in this regard, but then they will often speak of their work or family life as something separate from their spiritual life, or they will speak of their devotional life as the spiritual quadrant where they go to find God, neglecting to recognize His presence in every other area of their life.
This is an excellent book for the young or mature woman in Christ. There is nothing about it that says "this book is for girls," so for those who typically avoid pink, frilly devotionals, this book is for you. I recommend moving from this book into more studies in systematic theology, but I affirm the impact this book will have on the thought life of everyone who reads it. It's very suitable for group studies and individual reading.
Practical Theology for Women
Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois
November 5, 2008
The title of this story just cracked me up, but I didn't think you'd believe me without a screen shot, so here you go! Word ordering does matter when we write! I wonder if he'll get a 3rd shot at the jump....
November 4, 2008
Ephesians 4:25 tells us to put away all falsehood and speak truth while being imitators of God and walking in love. Our motivation, again, is not the winning of the argument, but the soul of the unbeliever. But don't be deceived, having the discussion, debate, argument--whatever term you apply to it--it must happen. It is through the dialogue that God will plant seeds of truth or accomplish His redemptive ends altogether. We don't know, but we must not avoid the worldview discussion.
When Paul addressed the people at the Areopagus (Acts 19:22-32) he made known to them what they had identified for themselves as unknown by proclaiming Christ. Similarly, with meekness and gentleness we are called to give an answer for the hope we have in Christ, making a defense to anyone who asks. This may involve destroying arguments (in love, of course) and any opinions raised against the knowledge of God (1 Cor 10:5).
if there is a willingness to discuss religious beliefs with unbelieving friends, the worldview approach which questions their source of knowledge and basis for belief and their justification of morality (right and wrong) is a great place to begin. What it will reveal is that people cannot live without absolute truth and that they cannot account for any knowledge within the framework of their own worldview. Borrowing from Christianity philosophically is the only way people actually live, and we can show this to be the case if we are willing to enter into a ministry of apologetics in our individual relationships. Apologetics isn't an academic exercise, it is a necessary ministry in our anything-goes pluralistic culture.
November 2, 2008
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. …But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:17-24)
Putting off the old self in practice requires putting off the old self of ideas and beliefs. We put on the new self through the renewing in the spirit of our minds, but this is not achieved by placing scripture over top our old ways of thinking and living, but by holding up our existing beliefs, views and opinions against the light of God’s written Word and purging them from our mind as necessary. This is, in essence, a reshaping of our worldview, moving from a worldly perspective to a biblical worldview.
Recognizing that you are what you think should be cause for ongoing self-examination. Take the time to answer the following questions:
1. Does the way I run my business cohere with godly principles of leadership and truthfulness?
2. Is my view of the sanctity of life consistent with what scripture teaches about the pre-born?
3. Do I honor God in my marriage and family with physical and emotional faithfulness?
4. Do I believe the Bible is God's written revelation to man, that it is inspired, inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and authoritative?
5. Is truth absolute or does it depend on my culture or circumstances?
6. Is Jesus the savior for all sinners, or does he only represent Christians?
7. What do I believe about the Trinity?
October 26, 2008
The theologian L. H. Marshall puts forth this idea that for Christian living, the Holy Spirit functions as a spontaneous power that mystically causes people to know right from wrong. He said,
The Spirit of God in action in a man’s heart was an adequate ethical guide, and that a man under the sway of the Spirit knew from within what the will of God was and was enabled both to will and to do… (2)This view not only confuses the entity referred to as the heart (the mind), but it under-estimates the impact of unconscious and conscious beliefs we retain. As well, it ignores the deceitful nature of the heart (Jer 17:9). But the New Testament theologian G.E. Ladd writes,
It is striking that Paul does not appeal to the Spirit as a direct source of moral enlightenment. Paul is conscious that the Holy Spirit reveals the things of God (1 Cor 2:10), but this does not mean that Paul feels himself to be independent of the Old Testament and the teaching of Jesus.(3)Ladd shows how Paul’s letters communicate the reality, that new life comes from the Spirit, but that we are commanded to actually participate in this by walking by the Spirit (Gal 5:25).To bring more clarification to this topic, consider the distinction that is made between law and grace. Paul never insisted that principles of conduct went away with the Law and that the Holy Spirit would provide an answer for every dilemma we face. For redemptive purposes, Christ fulfilled the requirements of the Law yet he also provided a summary for it’s ethical requirements in Matt 22:37-29 in the Great Commandment. Ethical reflection toward a life that pleases God was never replaced with a mystical, abstract approach to living. We are always expected to obey, though our salvation doesn’t depend upon our always succeeding. Yet any ability to obey—to please God—is found in our new nature accounted for through the regenerative work of the Spirit.For men and women, many of the decisions we face in today’s world are not to be answered with specifics contained in Scripture. Technology, economics, and entertainment leave us wringing our hands sometimes, not entirely clear on how to think Christianly about these areas. But Ephesians 5:10 calls each of us to discern what is pleasing to God—not to guess, hope, or feel….but to discern. Chapters 2-5 in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus focus largely on how we participate—ethical reflection—in pursuit of the holy life. This is a very practical, tangible section of scripture rooted in solid teachings on salvation and God in contrast to our sinfulness. The letter concludes with application in marriage and family. But this is hardly exhaustive in content, and many other areas of our every day living call us to reflect on our walk.In considering the many perspectives that women in particular face in today’s world, decisions from reproductive technologies and birth control to careers, relationships and matters of the family, room needs to exist for deliberate ethical reflection, grounded in a firm foundation the acknowledges the supremacy of God. The ability to move from Scripture into the specific areas of life that are in question is the process of doing theology. Knowing what the Bible says in its context is the first step, but bringing it to bear on every square inch of your life is where it all becomes real.
1. If you are confused after reading this essay, please contact me for clarification. firstname.lastname@example.org. L.H. Marshall, The Challenge of NT Ethics (1947), p. 220.3. G.E. Ladd, A New Testament Theology (2002), p. 563.
October 24, 2008
The discussion with Katie entailed the influence of same-sex experimentation being communicated to young girls via Grey's Anatomy, a bit more subtle than what was portrayed this week on House. As girls and young women struggle with a lack of self-confidence while possessing a highly relational nature, they can easily be persuaded to experiment with what 2 adult women on Grey's are portrayed as trying for the first time. Acting like school girls who are completely clueless about the ways of the world, this story line replaces the usual confident/militant lesbian story line with a softer, more feminine version that seeks to remove the contrast between unnatural & inappropriate sexual relationships and those which are viewed to be healthy female relationships. Removing what little stigma that is left in our society toward same-sex relationships seems to be the goal of prime time television this season. But I should be fair; Grey's Anatomy, House, ER--these have never been shows that were meant to tap into our medical curiosity. These are meant to indulge our wildest sexual fantasies by portraying them as the norm of our society. They are accomplishing their goal, I fear, by desensitizing the youngest generations to any sense of right or wrong in the context of sexuality.
October 23, 2008
Seven more times throughout the rest of the letter, walked is used to contrast the former way of living with the way that is found to be pleasing to the Lord...a way of conducting one's life as a child of God. This needs to be understood in distinction from the fact that as believers we still sin--and pursue a life of repentance. Walking or living in sin is not the same as being a sinner saved by grace.
As followers of Jesus, we need to be aware of our commitment, manifest in obedience. Because the Holy Spirit has sealed us in Christ and has created in us a new heart, we are able not only to obey, but to desire it as well.
So how in this world does it look to walk in ways that are pleasing to the Lord? We've got to be willing to examine the ideas and beliefs we hold and the issues and decisions we are confronted with on a daily basis. And as women serving God, we must be prepared to mentor young women in these times. The way this looks is to examine the latest trends, understand the ideas of the age, and evaluate the ways of the world. Trying to discern what is pleasing to the Lord is not as easy of a task as it once was, in my opinion. The many questions and choices that constantly bombard us require more than 'that's good for me' or 'God created me this way.' Daytime and primetime television is selling women the idea that the good life is merely what you determine it to be, and the politicians will simply agree with the popular opinion--that's the nature of politics
We are called to a faith that is both thoughtful and practical, but the two can never be separated. Historic Christianity requires that we avoid ritual and really understand what we believe, and live it. So walking in a way worthy of our calling demands more than just a casual devotional life or a spirituality that has no effect on our every day decisions. To walk in the way God expects requires that we consider how our faith impacts every corner of our lives, recognizing that there is nothing that God does not have his hand upon.
October 22, 2008
In 1 Cor 2:14, Paul alludes to the condition of humanity, noting that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. From this, we can gather that the "unnatural" man, or the man indwelled by the Holy Spirit, can indeed understand spiritual things. This reflects a change in his nature before the Lord, yet still stuck in a fallen world.
Redeemed humanity is changed by virtue of the Spirit's indwelling, which is why Paul can ask each of us to no longer walk in the futility of the Gentile mind (Eph 4:17) or for the thief to no longer steal (Eph 4:28) and people in general to avoid corrupted communications (Eph 4:29). I'm struck by the fact that some things are easily discernable, that we don't ask thieves to "pray about it" in terms of whether they will be obedient to God and avoid the sin of theft. We just expect obedience. We do the same thing with language. We teach that the use of certain profanities is inappropriate and so the practice should just simply be avoided. Obedience is something that we desire and can do because the Spirit lives within us. However, there are still those matters that are a bit more complicated, that scripture does not speak to directly. Those matters require that we try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Eph 4:10) and work a bit harder at figuring things out. The role of the mind cannot go unmentioned in our quest for holiness, and at the same time, it is not unspiritual to tap into our intellect--it, too, is part of God's creation.
October 17, 2008
we want to make sure that women have more rights than an egg!Well, either their statement reflects a profound ignorance--because those of us who are prolife do not equate eggs with embryos-- or this is what they have been wanting to say all along. With smoke and mirrors, they speak of the embryo in its pre-fertilized state so as to avoid the scientific truth we know about all embryos...that they are living human organisms. Eggs are not. Why do they do they insist on ignoring this scientifically obvious difference? Because the Feminist Majority really does believe that grown women have more rights than smaller humans, and that this goes against the conscience of the majority of Americans. It is necessary to their agenda to obfuscate this issue because an egg with moral worth is not an egg, its an embryo. Young women in their reproductive years are being psychologically primed to donate their eggs for research purposes, but these eggs never remain eggs, they become embryos. If they are persuaded to believe falsely that their eggs forever remain eggs, then they don't have to consider that the eggs they give up actually become their embryonic offspring. What woman is not repulsed by the notion if giving up her offspring for research? For the Feminist Majority to speak of fertilized eggs as simply eggs is scientifically false and a deliberate attempt to confuse the same women they believe have more rights than these much smaller humans. How can they, the Feminist Majority, claim to respect the rights of women if they can't respect our basic intelligence?
October 13, 2008
If you're in the Chicago area, you don't want to miss this event. The MidAmerica Baptist Conference is hosting a conference for Christian women who are leaders in church and in culture. I'll be speaking briefly at this event, but I don't want you to come hear me. It's the awesome line-up of speakers that we have that you just can't miss!
Created in Him for Good Works will direct our attention to the work of ministry and how it is conducted. Ephesians is especially important to the lives of every Christian, as the letter from Paul begins with the doctrines of the gospel and concludes with the Christian life, living a life worthy of the calling.
If you're in the area, check out the link for the conference and contact me about attending. Here are the details!
The 3rd Voice: Creating a Transformational Culture
Angie Weszley, Caris Pregnancy Clinics
From Dial Ups to Smart Phones: Women's Ministry Then & Now
Felecia Thompson, Trinity Christian College
Kingdom Writing: How Your Words Serve Heavenly Purposes
Caryn Rivadeneira, Christianity Today: Gifted for Leadership
Saturday, October 18th, 10:00am - 3:30pm
Bethany Baptist Church
6700 W Gunnison, Harwood Heights, IL 60656
Registration fee: $40 (includes lunch)
To register: email@example.com
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October 9, 2008
For more info on AUL go to www.aul.org
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October 2, 2008
We know that regeneration is a one time event and that we are then sealed by the Spirit. We belong forever to God. Is this the end of the Holy Spirit's involvement in our life? Certainly not! But what is our role in our sanctification? While salvation is monergistic, we must hold to a synergistic view of holiness. Man and God work together in this regard as man is called to be obedient.
The spirit enabled our ability to please God at the instance of our salvation. But because of man's new nature, are we permitted to differentiate between what he do naturally vs supernaturally? For example, is having thorough knowledge about something "natural" because it was learned, and "supernatural" because it might have been received in a way that appears to be "beyond nature?" I wonder if the latter potentially does a disservice to the former in its basic assumption that we can clearly make the distinction between the supernatural and the natural.
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September 29, 2008
The attention to the details of our salvation by grace through faith is joined by an emphatic declaration that it is not by anything we have done that we can claim to be saved. We haven't been given life in Christ according to our own good works, but by God for good works "that we should walk in them" (2:10).
We can agree with Jake and Elwood that we are "on a mission from God." But that is where we should discontinue any comparison with the Chicago nobility of '70's folklore.
What we need to think about is the plural nature of these good works and our responsibility to "walk in them." Our sanctification is synergistic in that we comply with the Spirit and revelation of God in willing obedience. So while you live life, pursuing matters of this world, it should be with the desire to imitate God--imitate His holiness.
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September 22, 2008
Chapter 1 states so clearly that God chose us before we even existed, but the emphasis is really on how the great power of God overcomes our sinful natures and allows us to stand before Him through Christ's righteousness, "holy and blameless" (Eph 1:4), our ultimate sanctification. The power of God that has brings us to our knees is the same power that created the earth and resurrected Christ.
Paul speaks for himself better than any of us can paraphrase him, but take note of what he says should be a primary focus as a result our believing in Him--that we might know the hope to which we have been called, the riches of our inheritance as saints, and the greatness of his power to those who believe (v. 2:18-19). Our focus must be on the Lord for who he is and for what he has accomplished for those he chose before the foundations of the earth.
Tomorrow--Ephesians 2: Created for A Purpose
September 20, 2008
The buyers said the statements that were in it took positions that were contrary to what we would say...It wasn't so much that there were women on the cover.
What I find very interesting is that the contents of Gospel Today should have been in question in the past. Prior to this issue, other cover articles have included prosperity teachers Bishop T.D. Jakes (who rejects the doctrine of the Trinity) and Pastor Paula White. Yet the same folks who are up in arms over the current cover article don't seem to have an awareness about other equally important--likely more important--doctrines this magazine highlights, or else we would have heard about their concern before. This ultimately points to the overall ignorance of the market at Lifeway Bookstores, certainly not their theological sophistication, otherwise this would have been off the shelves a long time ago.
On the other hand, there is something to be said about having materials available to the Christian community that provide first-hand knowledge of what other schools of thought are teaching. I've never read Gospel Today and don't expect to even pick up the most recent copy. But sometimes people need to read things for themselves instead of being coached on the beliefs of others.
I am not an advocate of women as pastors or elders, but I don't believe a person's salvation or commitment to Christ is or should be in question when someone holds an opposing view on this particular issue. This is not a matter of heresy and certainly not worth the negative publicity that will result, especially in light of the current cultural discussion of women as leaders. For the SBC, this is an embarrassment. For Gospel Today, it will sell more magazines.
September 19, 2008
What is a woman?
1. Mother-A woman develops her womanhood through motherhood...she is womb-centered...She may choose not to mother a child; but mother something or someone she will; her husband, her boss, her poodle. A man prefers a feminine, womanly woman. One reason: such a woman makes him feel more like a man.
2.Subjective-Feelings come first. More attached. Makes much of things and events and what they may mean in relation to herself.
3. Nags-Her mother-instinct, her emotionalism, her concern for detail all combine to make her a fault-finder. Nagging is a device that can get her the attention that she wants.
4. Intuitive-Often knows without knowing how she knows. Relies on instinct, on emotion.
5. Sensitive to people, and environment. She shifts her emotional gears more frequently and abruptly.
6. A Follower-Feels secure when relying on a man (but with a womanly, not childish, dependence). Must feel needed as a helpmate to her husband. Her femininity demands reassurance that she is the "Heart of the House."
7. Jealous-She wants all of her husbands love, all of the time. In her craving for attention she is monopolistic.
It's a good thing the church has moved beyond some of these generalizations, and I believe the evangelical community is in a much better place now than it was 20 years ago...but when these generalizations come up, it is better for everyone--church and culture--that they are appropriately addressed.
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September 18, 2008
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September 15, 2008
Shalit's book, by the same title, documents story after story of young women who are tired of the sexual exhibitionism that defines contemporary feminism. They understand the backwards logic of this in that it cancels out the work of the early feminists who wanted to be taken seriously as intellectual equals instead of merely objects of sexual gratification.
The Girlcotters are a group of young women known for their objection to the Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts for girls that say "who needs brains when you have these." A young group of feminists, Shalit spends many pages telling their story, leading up to their invitation to be guests at a NOW conference. Here is what one of the girls had to say about the conference:
We went to the NOW conference last week, and I support equality and would never like to be controlled by a man, but the NOW conference was more like a brainwashing feminist summit than anything else. They had this artistic performance that was so much about sex and how much all men suck; it really made me feel sick...Those three days were awfully confusing for me...I mean, we got the Women of Action award for what we've done, but...I think we've been misunderstood. Everyone thinks that we are so feminist, but, frankly, most of us are not that radical. We just want to be on par with men...I thought that they were very reasonable, middle-of-the-road like me, but I guess I was somewhat mistaken. (page 235)The Girlcotters are evidence of NOW conferences hard at work to exert their influence on young women (where is the church????). It's exciting to know that this young woman could think for herself, that she could be confident and retain her self-respect when clearly NOW was going to be no help in that regard.
What Shalit points out in numerous ways in GGR is that 2nd and 3rd wave feminists cannot accommodate today's young feminists who embrace modesty as a way to value themselves. The feminists of previous generations hold that promoting modesty is a sell-out to patriarchy, but I can't understand how young women giving themselves over entirely without emotional or commitment safety is of any benefit to woman.
Desiring fair and equal treatment between men and women is a noble pursuit, but women have deceived themselves into thinking that being bad, engaging in casual sex and and other forms of exhibitionism puts them on par with men. In fact, it accomplishes quite the opposite and the evidence is that sexism is still a serious problem in our culture. I believe we can place the blame on women who have made it easy for men to not take any of us seriously.
September 14, 2008
Where we begin is in understanding what exactly Christianity is. It is the one true religion. It is a system of thought based on the activity of the Triune godhead throughout history. It is the story of creation, fall, redemption, and consumation. It is about Jesus, God incarnate, who satisfied the demand of justice by paying the price for our sins. Christianity is the story of love of the Creator for his creation, and creation's love in return.
What Christianity is not is merely a set of do's and don'ts that provide a framework for salvation. Our faith is a gift from God, not something we receive for good behavior. We don't find our election dependent upon anything we do, and our salvation is not maintained by certain acts of obedience. But does this mean that "do's and don'ts" aren't a part of living our our faith? This is where I take issue with casually stating that Christianity isn't about following a list of rules, because in fact, the Christian life is all about loving God so much that we seek to reflect his goodness in all areas of our life with loving acts of obedience. By de-emphasizing rules, we over-emphasize an easy-believism that says it doesn't matter what one does from day to day, as long as they love God and are sincere. This doesn't seem dangerous? To say that Christianity isn't about a list of rules is to create a straw man argument. But for the younger people and younger believers who hears this, what they really hears is that we need not struggle with the ethical issues of our day.
As we prepare members of the community of faith to live in this world, we find that we are preparing them to encounter another set of moral precepts. Sripture tells us to avoid any resemblance of evil and to live our life in such a way that we bring glory to God. So how is it that we can have a relationship with Christ without our faith having a relationship to every day do's and don'ts? It is impossible to pursue a biblical faith--our relationship with God--without thinking Christianly about our every day activities. When we encounter dilemmas in life that the Bible speaks nothing about specifically, we have to reflect on biblical principles to determine the next step. But to say bluntly that Christianity isn't about a list of rules undermines a significant amount of scripture that emphasizes obedience and the pursuit of sinlessness. Perhaps, it over emphasizes a positional perfection over an ongoing sanctification. I think we need to use more care in how we communite this "relationship with God" that is becoming more and more abstract as we move further and further away from discussing ethics and morality among the community of believers.
September 13, 2008
I know now I'm not crazy and that I've understood and perceived matters correctly--this book affirms it. Ministry to young women is in trouble. My friend Karen introduced me last night to a little booklet called the Christian Charm Notebook. Her copy is from 1972, but you can--shockingly--still purchase your own copy on Amazon and Christianbook.com. I am greatly disturbed by the fact that it is still available. So if you're looking for a book to help you grow young women who love God with their heart, soul, and mind, then this book isn't for you. Not a single mention of the life of the mind is to be found in it.
The book is full of a lot of advice on posture, hair styles, and manners. Not bad things to know about I guess. It begins by describing the inherent beauty of being born again, contrasted with the unattractiveness of unbelief, utilizing storm clouds, sunshine and heart-shaped faces to depict this distinction. Unfortunately, it all goes downhill from there, because what it accomplishes is equating godliness with physical attractiveness, aka Christian Charm. In lesson 1, the student is encouraged to consider her inward appearance:
I want to be lovely and beautiful within, so that I will please God. I realize that I cannot change my heart merely by self-effort. I realize that I must allow God to enter my life and do His transforming work within me.And then, she is encouraged to consider her outward appearance:
I want to be attractive and charming, so that I will please others. I realize that this will not come about through wishful dreaming. I realize that I must work toward that goal diligently and steadfastly.So then the students are asked to fill out of things they would like to change inside and out. Remember that the goal is to please others--when did it become ok for women to be objectified...by the church?!?
You probably think that this book can only get better. Trust me, it doesn't. Lesson 6, page 31 is titled Femininity--My 'Crowning Glory,' stating that to be truly feminine
- See that you look like a girl--not a boy! (1 Cor. 11:15; Deut 22:5)
- Don't usurp the role of the male (1 Tim 2:12-13; 1 Pet 3:7)
- Cultivate a quiet, gentle spirit (1 Pet 3:4; Titus 3:2)
- Value your chastity (Prov 31:10; 1 Cor 6:19; 1 Tim 5:22)
Some would immediately look at this book and just chuck it aside, regarding it as outdated. In fact, a review at Amazon said just that. "This is a sadly outdated book...a waste of money." I want to suggest that this book was NEVER dated. When it was first published in 1967, it was irrelevant. In 1950, it wasn't appropriate for girls. And in 1900 it was still a shameful attempt to box up femininity. This book affirms so many destructive behaviors that cause many young women to become obsessive, and then self-destructive when they learn how hard it is to please everyone else. Yes, a woman should care about her appearance, but any more than a man? If she has short hair, is she any less loved by God?
This books claim to fame is that it "exalts TRUE FEMININITY--modesty, purity and honor, rather than a bold outward display!" The problem is, it fails to counter culture's obsession with appearance in that it actually adopts similar standards. Christian Charm is clear that they are obsessed by appearance and equate it to a certain level of spiritual maturity. But there is truly nothing modest about this, and it will destroy the esteem and faith of so many young women exposed to it.
September 8, 2008
No doubt inequalities exist between men and women throughout the world, and we can speak together against the atrocities occurring in the Middle East and other parts of the world against women in the name of family honor. But there is nothing in the core of our humanity that even implies that killing the unborn is a good thing, let alone a right for anyone. There is neither pride nor fulfillment in the destruction of our own kind, yet it is believed to be a universally understood human right.
Women's rights ought to be only those things that build character and bring the opportunity for peace and fulfillment to women's lives, the ability to pursue happiness without doing harm to others. Right now, abortion is legal, and as a result it is inferred as a fundamental right, but what is legal is not always moral or good. Once it was the case the slavery was legal, or that it was acceptable to discriminate on the basis of race. Appealing to the laws of the land is not the best argument for women's rights, and neither is the radical, seared conscious of those who promote abortion as a woman's fundamental right. I have little hope for a society that grounds women's rights in the willing and active violation of human rights.
Gllian Parrillo, the chair of NOW's pac, stated
We recognize the importance of having women's rights supporters at every level but, like Sarah Palin, not every woman supports women's rights.Reproductive inequality may have been the thrust of 2nd wave feminism, but the pursuit of this these so-called rights has tipped the scales and prevented fathers of the unborn to keep their human rights intact. There is nothing right about these "women's rights" and the term is in need of some serious redefinition.
Men's and women's rights should not differ in any significant way, but perhaps if our laws were tougher and enforcement less lenient, women might enjoy a life of less physical vulnerability and violation. We should understand women's rights as something more decent and beautiful in juxtaposition to that which is proclaimed by extreme feminism.
September 4, 2008
Today, I saw a young woman in her early 20's who stood out not because of her striking beauty, but because of the tee-shirt she so proudly modeled for each of us to appreciate. On the shirt, it stated "I kiss better than I drive." Immediately I was overcome with a sense of frustration...is this what feminism has been fighting for? The freedom to be stupid? Granted, it was just a tee shirt, but there is nothing about it that inspires this girl to greater things--or keeps men from objectifying her. If feminism is teaching women that equality is the logical equivalent to self-deprecating stupidity, its time to take over the feminist cause.
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September 3, 2008
I am a conservative evangelical woman who eagerly supports the Palin nomination, yet also believes only men are to hold lead pastor positions in the church. The difference? The church is not the same as the workplace. Women hold positions of authority in the workplace, something Scripture does not speak against. So if a woman can be a manager at Burger King, certainly she can be a VP.
The issue about womens roles in the home is a bit more fluid. In the Palin marriage, obviously there is some agreement on who does what. The same is true for my own home. That doesn't mean children/family do not come first for Sarah Palin. If the implication is that she cannot be putting her children/family first in her political ambitions, we are forced to say the same thing about husbands and fathers who pursue careers and provide for the home.
I hope I've adequately responded to your request to hear from evangelical women. Please feel free to contact me with further questions.
--Sarah Flashing, womenfaithculture.org
(Find Quinn's blogpost and comments here: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/sally_quinn/2008/09/sarah_palins_priorities.html)
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September 2, 2008
Let me first begin by saying that I understand and value the existence of powerful youth ministries, and I'm familiar with many leaders in this area who are doing marvelous work. But....yes, there's a but. I can't help but wonder if the existence of youth ministry is in some way preventing the older women from having a Titus 2 influence on the younger women in the church. And this is a 2 way street...maybe the older women just aren't interested in influencing the younger generation. That's a problem.
I've attended a lot of women's ministry events over the years, and only a few have had a focus on the older women relating to the much younger women. We spend a lot of time talking about how we need to bridge the generational gaps, but often we end up not pursuing anything with the much younger women not involved in women's ministry. The excuse is that they are involved in youth ministry. It's not our job. They don't think we're cool. We're too old. We do things differently. Change how we do women's ministry? I think not. These are some of that attitudes, conscious or unconscious, that impact our inability to reach the younger women in the church.
For the biblically instituted ministry between women to occur, access needs to be granted and coordinated within the local church. Younger women (teens, high school, college) should not be viewed as aliens to the women's ministry, as too immature to be involved. No, the women's ministry should view their role as equipping young women for successful, godly living in all areas and spheres of life. From dating to homemaking, cultural issues to biblical studies, older women need to be actively influencing other women, cultivating an environment where positive and significant role models are readily found.
With this view of ministry in mind, women's ministry had to change. No longer can it be exclusively about the social activities and daytime bible studies. Engaging the young women means engaging their world, knowing everything about it and being ready to give an answer to them for the hope we have in Christ. It's about knowing theology and engaging cultural understandings of God and spirituality. It's about knowing the self...the sinful nature and our need for a savior, and how man seeks continuously to be autonomous from God's sovereign hand. In other words, women's ministry has to broaden her understanding in order to broaded her audience. Leadership teams need to invite younger, godly women to help bridge the generational gaps (intellectually/functionally) and youth ministry needs to encourage the development of young women in the context of women's ministry. Some churches might even consider a youth women's leader who is also a part of the women's leadership team. The bottom line is, if women's ministry wants to continue having a real impact on the lives of women into the future, it must consider new avenues of action.
This is a topic I often speak about. Should you have any interest in this message being communicated to your women's ministry, please contact me to arrange for a time. firstname.lastname@example.org
August 29, 2008
I was hoping for Huckabee, I was expecting Pawlenty or Romney. Pleasantly suprised, I am so excited about McCain's selection of Gov. Sarah Palin for Vice President.
The choice of Gov. Palin as McCain's running mate brings conservative values and government ethics reform--something Senator Obama fails to address of his corrupt home state of Illinois--to the forefront of this election cycle.
Wife to Todd and mother to 5 children, including one with Down's Syndrome who Gov. Palin chose not to abort, is an inspiration to women everywhere, but particularly to women in the evangelical community who aspire to leadership but have few role models. In addition to her work throughout this election, I encourage Palin to reach out to young women who want to know how to be a Christian and how to be an effective leader without compromising ethics and integrity. Gov. Palin has broken through the glass ceiling in the sense of being called to the role of Vice President, but she makes it possible for women in the evangelical community to recognize that one need not be a secular feminist to aspire to such possibilities.