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.