True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel
“Those words are really, really counter-cultural. They are radical! They are not politically correct. But can I just remind us that that is God’s way? And that God says these things are good…these are not burdensome. These are a delight. These are the way to experience God’s blessing…..These qualities are what flow out of believing sound doctrine. You can know your Bible backward and forward. You can call yourself a Christian, you can be active in ministry, but if you do not exhibit behavior fitting for those who are holy, if you use your tongue to slander others, if you are self-indulgent, have an addictive lifestyle, if you don’t love your husband and children…if you’re not managing your home well…if you’re not submissive to your own husband, then profess what you want about being a Christian, something is wrong with that picture. So many, many professing believers today have this huge gap, this fundamental disconnect between what they say they believe, and the way they live. And according to scripture, no such separation is legitimate.”
When she asks, “Does your life cause your husband, your kids, or others, to disrespect or doubt God’s word?”, who wants to say yes to that?
This study is so confident. So, so, so confident that by living this way, and only this way, that you glorify God.
“You cannot claim to be a saved woman and not live like a saved woman. Your lifestyle either proves….or disproves your claim to be a child of God.”
But what if it doesn’t? What if someone looks at this ideal of a submissive, home-based wifely mother and sees the opposite of God? What if someone sees the restriction of women’s roles and duties and thinks it actually maligns the Word of God? What if someone looks at this whole set-up and thinks it is anti-Jesus?
Is there a place, in this socio-economically diverse world, for someone to look at this and believe all the mandates and facts and truth are actually anti-love? Anti-truth? Anti-Jesus? And what if that person actually loves Jesus and isn’t just hating on the Bible?
“There seems to be an assumption made by the apostle Paul that young women will be wives and mothers. This is God’s norm….it’s part of God’s plan and his story….[singles] are the exceptions, not the rule. And so we see that our homes are the first and primary sphere where we as women live out the gospel.”
Is there room in this study for differing opinions? Is there any humility in this? Any awareness that this might be offensive to people? Is it possible for people to understand where this study is coming from and still think it’s offensive?
Where is the space for that? When you stand up and put on conferences and build a (sadly) very well-designed website, and pastors and bible study leaders promote all of it – damn it! Do it with a little bit of empathy!
“You see this list of how a Christian woman is to reflect or illustrate the gospel.”
Where is the self-awareness that when you say ‘thus sayeth the Lord’, people are going to legitimately disagree?
Because, I’ll tell you what. You want to know why people won’t come to church? People won’t come to church, because to be validated as human beings with legitimate thoughts, we have to toe the party line.
And I’ll tell you what else. When someone comes to you and says, ‘hey, this is actually really offensive to me,’ the answer is not ‘oh, I didn’t think so. Actually I thought it was really respectful. And, you know, Bible.‘
I’m telling you F&%$ing what.
That is not an adequate response!
The globe is a beautiful, glorious thing, and history is a fascinating thing to study. It is horrific and amazing, sometimes at the same time.
What would the world be like without Rome? But what would the world be like without Nero?
Would we have Starry Night if the church was perfect?
Where is our self-awareness that history repeats itself?
People are going to be legitimately and illegitimately offended at what we say or do. Can we at least have the courtesy to realize that we are capable of perpetuating harmful beliefs? And to listen when people feel harmed or excluded? Especially in Jesus’ name????
“You do not realize the impact that your life has on an unbelieving world, and others around us. As we make the gospel believable, or not, by the extent to which our lives reflect sound doctrine and the gospel of Christ.”
That cuts both ways, Nancy. (Fun fact. My first 2 years of summer camp were spent at her ministry headquarters.)
What if this does not realize? What if this study equals the not for some people? Where is the availability for that? And just saying ‘the darkness doesn’t like the light’ or ‘the gospel is offensive’ is a cop-out. It takes a special arrogance to be so sure we are that right about every single damn thing we believe. Is the church really willing to die on the hill of gender roles, even causing people to walk away from Jesus and the church because of it?
This is why we should be so, so, so careful about what we consider fundamentals of the faith. Why we should be incredibly cautious as to what ideology we attach to Jesus.
Because if we attach our cultural beliefs to our timeless God, rejection of the former can equal rejection of the latter.
And the oblivion with which we cause offense, and the lack of understanding we reveal when we cling to our rightness, can do more to undermine the gospel than any form of womanhood could ever do.
This post is part of a series reviewing and discussing the True Woman 101 Divine Design study, by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss:
Part 2 – True Womanhood – Death to Certainty
Part 5 – True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel
Part 9 – True Womanhood – Cookies and Chains