Protecting the Weaker Vessel

We have another shining example this week illustrating why the elders of the church need to protect the women of the church from the wolves of the church. This time, it is Jen Hatmaker who has recently come out and caved on the issue of homosexuality. This has caused Lifeway Christian Resources to pull her books off the shelves, and  brought some clarity from Matt Walsh who had this to say about Hatmaker’s recent move on the issue:

Now, you may struggle with the Biblical teaching on homosexuality, just as you may struggle with any other teaching. You may not understand it. You may find it harsh and difficult and emotionally distressing. But before we even get into explaining why the Bible says what it says, all we really need to establish is that it does say it. Period. We are commanded by God to accept this teaching or risk losing our souls. It’s not an option. We are not required to follow Christ only in the areas where we can find mutual agreement with Him. Our consent and agreement does not matter. At all. Not one tiny bit. We are called to follow regardless. That’s what it means to love God.

The reason so many people fall when it comes to the issue of homosexuality, and sin in general, is because they place their love for people over and against their love for God. They have made “acceptance” and “toleration” into idolatry and ignored what God has said. As Christians, we cannot do this. Our stand must always be on what the word of God has declared on any given topic, no matter what the cultural push may be. We should know this: the culture is always at odds with the word of God.

Here is the bigger problem: women like Hatmaker, Sarah Young, Ann Voskamp, and Beth Moore have have no business teaching the Bible. I include Sarah Young, who wrote Jesus Calling, and Ann Voskamp, who wrote One Thousand Gifts, in this category of heretical women of the faith as well. I wrote about the error of those two here. These women are having a huge impact with the women of the church, yet they are not trained theologically, they are certainly not called by God, and they answer to no one except themselves, doing what is right in their own eyes, when it comes to leading the women of the church. They are not in submission to the elders of the church, and in their success, have silenced many who might object.

The problem is exacerbated because elders of the church are so dreadfully silent on these issues. Why does it take someone like Matt Walsh to declare to our women that they should not be following Beth Moore, Hatmaker, and company? Why does it take a dreadfully theologically weak organization like Lifeway Christian Resources to finally mention that one should not be reading Hatmaker’s books?

Why are the pulpits so silent when it comes to these issues? I know that in my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, nary a word has been uttered at the falsehood of Jesus Calling on any denominational level. There have been a few voices showing the problems with Young’s books, but nothing like a study committee to reprimand the authors of such books. Sadly, the elders of our denominations are too busy trying to study the issue of women in ministry so we can produce even more women who have no business teaching other women. But that is a side issue, well, maybe it is THE issue. It’s the role of the elders of the church to teach the people of the church, and the husbands to teach their wives (not Hatmaker, not Sarah Young, not Voskamp, not Beth Moor, nor any of the other popular women in ministry).

The worst part is that so few say anything at all against such ministries. I do have an inkling as to why this may be. Just from a few conversation that I have had about Young’s book, most men in the church really don’t want to take on the issue because they feel it would be too difficult. What I mean by this is that if the men of the church, especially elders, were serious about our calling as elders and husbands, we would address these issues and provide good solid teaching for our wives. Instead we leave it up to the women to teach the women. No, I don’t believe that the passage in Titus 2:3-5 is instructing the older women to teach the younger women the word of God. Even if it were, would anyone apply that principle to Voskamp & company? Look at the verse:

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.

We see no mention of older women teaching the younger women the word of God. The older women are to help the younger women with their primary calling: loving their husbands and children, working in the home, being kind and submissive to their own husbands. Far be it from the women’s ministries of our current age to ever teach younger women anything dealing with godly submission.

This is why the responsibility to teach Scripture should be left to those who are called, namely, the elders in the church and husbands in the home. Listen to Paul’s admonition:

If there is anything they [women] desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church (I Corinthians 14:35).

You would think this is clear enough, but the church has so been given over to the heresy of feminism that the men do what Adam did in the Garden of Eden, shirk their responsibility to be the spiritual leaders of the home. As Matt Walsh pointed out above, we may not like what Scripture says, but we are still to follow it. (Isn’t it sad that someone like Matt Walsh has to point this out, instead of the elders of the church?)

The role of women in the church is quite clear to those who will actually look at what Scripture says. There is no call for women to be leading large masses of women in Bible studies, or at conferences, or any other such notion. According to the passage in Titus, and the way God created women, they are to be at home serving their husbands.

One might say, “but Timothy, where are any of the conferences we have ever called for in Scripture?” Great point. Why do we keep feeding these celebrity machines at all? Our calling is to the local church and to our families, not mega-churches, mega-studies, conferences, etc.

But back to my point that the ones who are responsible for teaching the women of the church are the men of the church. We are to recognize their delicate nature, and the reality that when it comes to spiritual truth, women are prone to being deceived (the apostle Paul’s declaration in 1 Timothy 2:12-15, not mine).

We need to make sure to understand their frail nature as declared to us by the apostle Peter.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

In other words, we need to be more serious about our wives’ spiritual well-being. As men of the church, we need to shepherd our wives in their instruction so that they do not go looking elsewhere for it. If our wives are getting good, biblical instruction in our homes and in the church, then they will not go looking elsewhere for it and they will recognize deception when they see it.

I know that many men may bristle at the thought out of fear or intimidation of teaching their wives. But the only way to overcome that is to start being responsible for what God has given you. Start reading to your wives and learning what you need to know to be godly men and quit giving that responsibility over to others who have no real concern for your wife’s well being, only a love for your hard-earned dollars. As you lead her, you will find that God is faithful and will grow you into the man you need to be, spiritually speaking.

Also, don’t tell me you don’t have time. I’m a full-time school teacher and my wife and I make sure that we get up early enough every day to have time in the word. We read and pray every day. It’s that simple.

Men, do you need a place to start? Pick up a copy of J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospel, and use that to read together with your wives as you work through the gospels. Yes, I know that the four volumes are almost $70. But you wouldn’t hesitate to shell out that kind of dough for a new golf club, or whatever hobby you have. The four volumes are worth every cent.

As for the women in the church, you need to quit looking for star-studded satisfaction in your biblical instruction. If your husband reads the Bible to you daily, that is enough. The word of God is sufficient for you in that category. Your husband does not have to be dynamic, winsome, popular, etc., just faithful in reading Scripture every day. And your pastor doesn’t have to be popular, dynamic, winsome, etc., just faithful in preaching the word of God every LORD’s day. The word is sufficient enough for your spiritual growth. Trust God and His word to grow you spiritually. Let me say it one more time: His word is sufficient.

 


UPDATE: Here are two more articles on this subject, Matthew Henry on Titus 2:3 and John Calvin on Titus 2:30. Hopefully, this will clarify my position.


 

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19 thoughts on “Protecting the Weaker Vessel

  1. I’ve only recently come across this idea that women are not allowed to teach women biblical truth. New idea. I see the Scriptures that forbids women to teach or exercise authority over men, but not the prohibition on women teaching women. I would assume, by the same logic, this also means that mothers are not allowed to teach their children biblical truth. Biblical teaching can only come from males and, apparently male church leadership. Not sure what to think of prohibitions not found in Scripture.

    But the only real disagreement I have with what you wrote here is referring to those women as “heretical women of the faith”. I would say they are heretical, yes, but not “of the faith”. In John’s words, they are not “of us” even though they “come out from us”.

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    1. Hi Stan,
      I think there are times that women can teach. Both Timothy’s mother and grand mother taught him the truths of the faith because his Greek father had no such interest. So there are general exceptions to the rule. Paul clearly knew of their teaching since he was the one who informed us of such, writing to Timothy. He then goes on to give his admonition, so we see that Timothy was an exception. Yet, what the women of today are doing, is making the exception the rule, and going beyond that exception in teaching large numbers of women. That should be left up to the responsibility of elders and husbands.

      Please note: I know that I’m in the minority on this position, but believe it to be biblical and faithful to Scripture.

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  2. Hi, Timothy–

    This is an excellent refutation of women like Voskamp, Moore, Hatmaker, etc.. I suppose one could also add Christine Caine and Paula White to that list. ICK.

    I do have one question, however. What about single women–those who’ve never married, or are widows or divorcees? I’m of the never-married category; I don’t have a husband who would lead in Bible study, prayer, etc.. Where do we go? And where do women like me fit in to the church? I don’t have kids, and don’t want them (to be honest).

    Not trying to cause controversy. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Patricia,

      I knew you would ask that. 🙂 I think that in your situation, and those of widows and orphans, that is where the elders and deacons come alongside those who are single, and bring them into the family. This both helps women in your situation and gives the elders and deacons the opportunity to show Christ-like love to you and others in the same situation. There should always be room for one more around the breakfast/lunch/dinner table.

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      1. Carla

        And you think elders and deacons can come alongside single women and give them instruction, read the Bible to them, or whatever else their non-existent husbands might have done for them? Really? At the breakfast table, as you suggest? Meetings would be in her home or yours? C’mon.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hi Carla,
        Difficult yes, but possible. Single women should be under the leadership of their fathers for that instruction. I know that is not always possible, but that is the goal.

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      3. Hi, Timothy–

        I noticed that you mention having fathers leading their single daughters in spiritual matters. What if the father is deceased (as in my case)? Or, that he wasn’t a believer?

        It’s as if the single woman hasn’t much of an option. I sometimes think it would have been better if I’d been born male, instead of female.

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      4. Patricia,

        I was a single woman for several years before I married Timothy. I met with my pastor on a fairly regular basis and he guided me in my devotional reading and encouraged me in the faith. I suggest that you turn to the elders of your church for guidance in your particular situation.

        The single greatest thing that you can hang onto in your situation is the Scriptures themselves, for that is where you will hear Christ. I also enjoy the encouragement found in the pastoral writings of Samuel Rutherford. (https://amzn.com/B00CLV04XO)

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      5. Carla,

        Yes, elders and deacons DO come alongside of single women. When I was single I was a welcome guest at the homes of my pastor, the deacons of my church (and the deacons of other churches). A wonderful family in my church became “another family” to myself and my two daughters as we struggled through life after my former husband broke our marriage covenant. I was a guest in their home many Sunday afternoons, and they enjoyed my hospitality frequently as well. I attended church faithfully, was encouraged by my elders, continued in my private devotional reading. I never once needed to look outside of my local church and the ordinary means of grace (the preaching of the word, the Lord’s Table, prayer, etc.) for my spiritual growth.

        Could it be that some women are not satisfied with the ordinary means of grace? Not satisfied with being created as a help-meet for man? Does the clay question the Potter’s design?

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  3. fluffybabybunnyrabbit

    “The problem is exacerbated because elders of the church are so dreadfully silent on these issues”
    No they are not. They never sit up with their misogynist tripe that puts women down and refuses to treat them like actual people. Just like this vomit. So not pretend to follow God. This attitude is not biblical. It’s the result of the fall. It’s pure evil. You and your ilk are disgusting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennifer Corry

    All of this is very good to know: now, women shouldn’t even teach women! We must lead silently, by example, and look for Biblical instruction NOWHERE but from our husbands. If our husbands read to us from the Bible, which is much better than us reading by ourselves, that must be enough. Clearly Paul was not just talking about Eve when he said “The woman, being deceived”, but all women in every century to ever live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is not what I said. The preaching of the word in the body of the Christ and the reading from your husbands IS enough. This is how we are to hear from Christ, and sit at His feet, per Martha and Jesus in Luke 10. Yes, women are to learn and grow, but under the care of their husbands and the elders of the church. His word is sufficient.

      I’m not ruling out that women can grow, read and study the word of God, that is fine. But turning to other women, who are not under the care or leadership of your husband, father, or elders, lacks wisdom, as we are seeing with Hatmaker and Company.

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    2. You are taking my position to a ridiculous extreme. But I understand. Read some of my other comments.
      As for Eve being deceived, yes, that is the reason a woman should not teach or have authority over men. His admonition is rooted in creation.

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  5. As an older woman who is to teach younger women, how careful must I be in order to avoid teaching them the Word of God? For example, if a young woman is struggling in performing her domestic duties, an I crossing the line by praying with her? suggesting that she pray? quoting her an encouraging Scripture? reminding her of the truths of the Word? How secular and devoid of any of God’s Word must my teaching be in order that I not be quilty of teaching His Word?

    Recently I was encouraging an adult male relative by answering his questions as to how God had enabled me to overcome a similar issue in my life. I became so excited about sharing the goodness of God, that I began quoting the Scriptures that had been most helpful to me. Next thing you know, I had my Bible open and read an entire passage out loud, and included commentary about what I’d learned from my pastor and another teacher. My male relative thanked me for teaching him!

    Was I in sin? Is this something I need to avoid doing in the future with other men? With women as well? To be honest, it would grieve me to have to say something like, “I would love to give you an answer for the hope that lies within me, but if I cannot seem to avoid telling you what I’ve learned from the Word of God, and I do not want to sin by accidentally teaching you.”

    Please clarify. And what do I do if your answer disagrees with that of my husband and elders?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another question: am I to avoid sharing the gospel with anyone, or is there a method I can use that does not involve teaching the Word of God?

    Or am I perhaps safest if I avoid conversations of a spiritual nature entirely with anyone besides my husband and elders?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you misunderstand my position. I’m not calling for mute-Stepford wives in the LORD. Of course you can share the gospel, converse with brothers and sisters in the LORD. That is a part of fellowship. What I’m opposed to is setting up teachers where teachers should not be set up. Keep the instruction close to the leadership where it is accountable. Keep the instruction open to all, and with all age groups under that instruction. What I’m opposed to is women’s ministry, and even men’s ministry and even children’s ministry when it divides the church, and provides teaching and instruction outside the bounds of the leadership of the church. People like Hatmaker, Beth Moore, etc, are not under the leadership of the church, and need to be avoided.

      Does that help?

      BTW, direct answers:
      if your elders and husband disagree with me, you go with their leadership, not mine.
      No you were not in sin in answering questions with your relative. Share the gospel, that is part of being a believer and our calling.
      Pray with you sister, quote Scripture, remind her of the truth, and bring her into closer fellowship with the LORD.
      Do all those things, build up, do not tear down.

      The real point though is being under the leadership and instruction of your husband and the elders.
      Does that help?

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      1. You wrote: “No, I don’t believe that the passage in Titus 2:3-5 is instructing the older women to teach the younger women the word of God.”

        Perhaps the problem is that too many in the church think “teaching” and “discipleship” should only, or mostly, take place in some sort of institutional setting or program. Thus your opposition to “women’s ministry”. Some of the most powerful teachers in my life have been those without a “teaching ministry” recognized by the church leaders. I recall an older mother, for example, who invited a number of us younger moms over for a day — over a quarter century later, I still recall much of what she taught us that day, informally, between diaper changes, lunch, and commiserating over never ending laundry. That was women’s ministry in its finest — yet I know a church that actually banned similar gatherings, insisting that an elder would need to supervise and take over the “teaching of the Word”.

        I recall another older woman, who was known for her hospitality, and who led many to Jesus, discipline women, counseling them, and teaching them how to study the Word. Her pastor recognized her as actually being more learned and scholarly than he was, and a far more gifted teacher, but she preferred doing her in depth studies one on one or in very small groups of women. Many women, over the years, benefitted from her ministry and went on to teach other women, as well as children and youth.

        Is this the sort of teaching and women’s ministries you oppose? Or must the group being taught become larger and more formal in structure? At what point is the line crossed?

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