Sanctification, Sin

Wise to the Ways of the Worldly: 4 Ways Worldliness Sneaks In, and the Scriptures to Slay It

Lately, every time I turn around, I keep bumping up against the same biblical concept. It’s showing up in my personal Bible study time. In Sunday School. In sermons. Even in a revival my husband and I served at this week.

Worldliness, and the need for Christians to be set apart.

What is worldliness? It’s thinking, acting, and “attituding” the way lost people think, act, and attitude. It’s taking everything in through a fleshly filter instead of a biblical one and putting yourself out there through a fleshly filter instead of a biblical one. It’s dealing with the world around you in any way Jesus wouldn’t.

God has called His people to be set apart from the world from day one. (OK, day six, if you want to get all technical about it.) You can’t be more set apart than living at an address God personally designed for you and plopped you down in the middle of.

The whole purpose of the Promised Land, the Law, driving out the pagan nations and destroying them, depending on God to miraculously win wars and conquer the enemy, was for God to set apart a people for Himself. To raise up a nation that the rest of the world could look at and say, “Hey, those Israelite folks are different, and their God is different, too. What’s their one God got that our pantheon doesn’t?”.

Jesus reminded God’s people what it looked like to be different and set apart from the world. So did His disciples. And the New Testament is chock full of passages in which the apostles exhort Christians and the church to be holy and distinct from the world in heart, mind, and behavior.

Why? Because being different, and holy, and counter-cultural is weird, and counter-intuitive, and attention-grabbing to the world. And once we’ve got their attention, we’ve got an opportunity to share the gospel with them.

Yes, sister, God has called you to be a weirdo for Jesus.

And you’re going to have to fight the flesh to do it, because worldliness is insidious and subtle. Just like that sneaky, slimy serpent slithered in to paradise with no alarm bells ringing, we modern day Eves often don’t even notice worldliness has slipped in and tempted us to think and act in ways it has never even occurred to us aren’t godly. Sure, we don’t drink, and we don’t chew, and we don’t go with boys who do. And we don’t rob banks or murder people. But is that all there is to it? Avoiding the big, bad, behavioral no-no’s?

Before Eve ever extended her hand to pluck the fruit off the tree, Satan had already won several skirmishes with her heart. He had gotten her to doubt God’s character, disbelieve God’s word, and disregard God’s desires in favor of her own. And isn’t he still doing that with us today? Jesus warned us:

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

As we look at these four ways worldliness can tiptoe into our actions unannounced and unnoticed, let’s also think about how our actions are merely the fruit of what’s going on in our hearts.

What are some of those sneaky snakes of worldliness, and how can we mortify those sins and respond in a godly way?

1.
Being quick to take offense

It’s getting to the point where you can hardly carry on a mundane, “Nice weather we’re having,” conversation any more without being accused of racism, gender bias, or having some sort of “privilege”. Even compliments and positive comments are likely to be twisted and heard by the easily offended as insults or condescension.

Think of the way Jesus endured and responded to the verbal abuse and false accusations intentionally and maliciously hurled at Him. Can you imagine Him freaking out at an innocent, offhand remark, someone’s tone of voice, or somebody unintentionally sticking her foot in her mouth?

Neither can I, yet this form of worldliness is probably my biggest area of weakness. It’s just the pride of life, pure and simple. (Well, not pure, I guess.) How dare anyone ruffle my feathers!

And how do I respond? Maybe the same way you do. I get my back up and strike back, fighting fire with fire. I rarely take a moment to step back and think that maybe this person didn’t intend for her tone to sound like that, or maybe to her that word means something different than what it means to me, or maybe she’s just PMS-ing today, or maybe I misheard or misinterpreted what she actually said. I don’t think, “How can I respond in godly love to this person?”. I don’t think at all. I just vomit my fleshly emotions all over her. Instead, I’m to respond in patience, kindness, and love, even if the situation calls for standing firm on Scripture without budging.

The Serpent Slayer:

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:16-18

2.
Being “Tolerant”

The world has been torturing this poor word “tolerant” for at least a few decades now. The definition has morphed from its actual meaning of “peacefully putting up with something that bothers you” to “embracing and celebrating any and every behavior and ideology (except biblical Christianity) as worthy and valid.” You’re not even allowed to think someone else’s worldview or behavior is wrong. You have to think it’s good or you’re a terrible person.

Now, of course, most Christians would not go around blatantly proclaiming that any old religion is just fine or that sexual immorality and perversion are perfectly acceptable or that abortion is a valid health care choice. But what about shying away from sharing the gospel with our Muslim neighbor for fear of appearing to be an Islamophobe? What about attending the homosexual “wedding” of a friend or loved one in order not to offend him and to maintain the relationship? What about failing to stand up for what’s right at work when unethical practices are the industry standard?

The Bible is very clear that following Christ and loyalty to His Word divides people. It divides family members from one another. It divides friends from one another, and it divides God’s people from those who claim to be God’s people and from the rest of the world. Jesus came to unite repentant sinners to God, not to unite unrepentant sinners to saved people. We must do what is right and biblical, refusing to participate in sinful and worldly activities, and lovingly, yet firmly, calling sinners to repentance and faith in Christ, even if it costs us family members, friends, our reputations, our churches, or our jobs.

The Serpent Slayer:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:34-39

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God…Submit yourselves therefore to God. James 4:4,7a

3.
Being Flippant or Consumeristic about Church

The world has no reason to think going to church is important. Why would they? They’re lost. And if they do darken the door of a church, it’s not because they love Christ and want to worship Him, it’s ultimately for self-centered reasons. To assuage their guilt, to get Mom or the wife off their back, to feel better about themselves, to satisfy their curiosity.

Gathering to worship God is what genuinely regenerated Christians do. We have a God-given craving for fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and approaching His throne in prayer, praise, and the study of His Word together. Skipping church at the drop of a hat, shopping around for a church with all the slappy happy bells and whistles that make you comfortable, demanding that your church cater to your feelings, opinions, and preferences, strolling in with a “what’s in it for me” attitude? Uh uh. Those are worldly, self-centered attitudes, and might even indicate that you’re not saved.

Christians see faithfully attending and serving at church as vital to their relationship with Christ and other Christians. It’s not, “What’s in it for me?” but “How can I serve you?”. It’s not, “What did I get out of the worship service?” but “How can I wholeheartedly throw myself into the worship of Christ?”.

The Serpent Slayer:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, Hebrews 12:28

4.
Being Defiant

If ever there were a generation of Americans who treated defying authority as the national pastime, this is it. Have you seen all the videos of people pulled over by the police who refuse to comply with their every request, sometimes even turning violent? How about the way wives these days run their marriages and treat their husbands like children? And the way children are allowed to rebel at school and at home? What about the rioting in the streets we’ve seen over the last few years?

The more I study the New Testament, the more passages I find instructing Christians to submit to the authorities in our lives. I’m not sure if I’d call it a major theme of the New Testament, but it sure isn’t a minor one. We’re to submit to the government, governing officials, earthly “masters” (literally if we’re slaves, figuratively – bosses, supervisors, etc. – if we’re not), wives are to submit to our husbands, children are to submit to their parents, and church members are to submit to our pastors and elders. Every human institution.

God’s people are a submitting people. Submitting to the authorities in our lives paints a picture for the watching world that one day every knee will bow in submission to the ultimate authority – God. And because God is our ultimate authority, the only time we disobey the human authorities in our lives is when what they’re asking us to do would cause us to disobey or dishonor God. Otherwise, we humble ourselves and joyfully and graciously submit.

The Serpent Slayer:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution. 1 Peter 2:13a

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

 

There are so many more ways Satan tempts Christians to act like the world. We put our faith in politicians to fix things rather than in God. We approach the world with a posture of entitlement and demand our rights instead of laying them down to serve others. We lash out in bitterness at those who have hurt us, holding grudges and cutting them out of our lives instead of forgiving as Christ has forgiven us. The list could go on and on.

But however worldliness manifests itself, it all has the same serpentine root in the heart: doubting God’s character, disbelieving God’s Word, and disregarding God’s desires. And when our hearts become ambivalent about God, and we push His desires and directives aside, the void that’s left has to be filled with something.

That “something” is the idol of self. I want to do what I want to do and I don’t want anybody standing in my way. This thing, or person, or idea makes me happy and comfortable, and keeping it is more important to me than what God says about it. That’s ultimately what’s going on in our hearts when we think, speak, and act in worldly ways.

out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks

Submit to the Scriptures. Be subject to the Savior. Slay the serpent of worldliness.


 

What are some other forms of worldliness that can sneak into our lives,
and what Scriptures can we use to combat them?

Politics, Prayer

Throwback Thursday ~ A Prayer for the President

Note- this article was originally published on Inauguration Day 2009, when President Obama was sworn into office. God desires that we pray for our President no matter who he is, so these principles still apply today to our current President. FYI- Political comments, and comments idolizing or demonizing President Trump will not be published.
Please pour your energy into praying for him instead.

Originally published January 20, 2009

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. I Timothy 2:1-4

Today, we, the people of the United States, will inaugurate a new President. As President Obama begins his tenure in the White House, God desires that we pray for him.

Pray for the President’s salvation- No one knows our hearts except God alone, but knowing how narrow the way is that leads to salvation (Matthew 7:13-14) and taking into consideration the President’s words and actions, it seems likely that he is not saved. Our burden for his salvation should be two-fold, first, for his own soul and the salvation of his family, and second, that his salvation will enable him to be a Godly leader.

Pray for the President’s, and his family’s, safety and protection- His wife needs her husband, those two little girls need their daddy, and our nation needs a leader.

Pray that God will help the President to be a godly husband and father- The presidency is a job that leaves little time for anything or anyone else. Pray that the President will have the time to spend with his family, leading them to godliness.

Pray that God will surround the President with wise and godly counsel- Proverbs 1:5 says: “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel”.

Pray that God will direct the President’s decisions- Proverbs 21:1 tells us: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

Pray that, whatever the actions of the President, the gospel will spread and we will become a more godly nation- “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

May God bless our new President, and may God bless the United States of America.

Women of Genesis Bible Study

The Women of Genesis: Lesson 36- Wrap Up

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35

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Read Genesis 1-50

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I hope you have enjoyed our long walk through the book of Genesis – almost as long as Abraham’s and Jacob’s wanderings! – and our study of the women who people this great story of Israel’s history from Creation to Egypt.

Today, we’re going to be wrapping up by looking at some of the broader themes and topics in Genesis. You may want to look back over your notes, or previous lessons, all of which are linked above.

Our next study will be a topical study of the Scriptures dealing with biblical womanhood. We’ll be having another fun title pic contest prior to the start of the study. I’ll have the exact title of the study and all the other details here for you next Wednesday (September 5), so get those creative juices flowing and pass the word to any artsy friends who might be interested!

Questions to Consider

1. What is the overall theme or purpose of the book of Genesis? Which attribute(s) of God does Genesis point to?

2. Make a list of each of the women we studied in this book. In what way did each of them contribute to moving the theme or purpose of Genesis forward?

3. What are some godly attributes of the women we studied that you aspire to in your walk with the Lord?

4. What are some ungodly attributes of the women we studied that God showed you were present in your own life? What are some ways you can mortify those sins and avoid those ungodly attitudes and actions in the future?

5. Which “Woman of Genesis” did you learn the most from, and why?

6. List three attributes of God that you learned about in this study.

7. What are the three major covenants in Genesis? Explain how each of them affected the person (and his family) it was given to and how each covenant points ahead to Christ.

8. All of the action in Genesis took place before God gave the Law (in Exodus, Leviticus, etc.). What are some specific incidents in Genesis that demonstrate that God’s moral law is transcendent (i.e. that the rules of morality – intrinsically good and bad behavior/attitudes – are universal. They applied before God gave Israel the Law and still apply now that Christ has fulfilled the Law – to everyone, everywhere.)?

9. What are the major historical events of Genesis?

10. What did you learn from this study about ancient Middle Eastern cultural practices, especially those that impacted the life of women?

11. In what ways is the book of Genesis an introduction and background to the book of Exodus?


Thanks again for studying The Women of Genesis. I hope it was as much of a blessing to you as it was to me! For more studies and resources on how to study the Bible for yourself, please click the “Bible Studies” tab at the top of this page.

Church, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Planting a Biblically Sound Church: A Story of God’s Faithfulness

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in the “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com,
and let’s chat about it.

A Brief Word from Michelle:

I’m frequently asked by readers what to do if, despite their best efforts, they can’t find a doctrinally sound church within reasonable driving distance from home. One of my suggestions has been to look into church planting. When Laura told me about her experience, I knew it was a perfect fit to that question, so I asked to share her story here on the blog, and she graciously agreed.


Planting a Biblically Sound Church:
A Story of God’s Faithfulness
by Laura Moses

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Luke 12:37

This is our story of the painful decision to leave a church and the joy of planting a new one. In the last few years, the Lord Jesus has been gracious to teach us the depths of His Word through the faithful preaching of many of these men we regard highly as doctrinally sound. The more we learned the more we desired to be fed this way in our own local church. Over time, we had watched our church slowly begin to allow wider doctrinal stances. Further, we were concerned that authors and Bible teachers with questionable theology were not being vetted properly. (Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Lysa Terkeurst, etc.) One of the many resources we used to discern for ourselves truth from error, in comparison to Scripture, were the source links Michelle provided that enabled us to hear what was being taught directly from the mouths of these teachers.

We would caution anyone not to leave a church too quickly. Stay and do the work involved by having discussions with leadership to effect change, if the Lord may be gracious to honor that, and PRAY! Pray for wisdom, pray for humility, pray for discernment, pray for truth to be spoken and heard by all those involved in the hard conversations.

Initially, my husband and I met with a few of the pastors and elders of our church and expressed our concerns and also our desire for deeper and more defined teaching. Unfortunately, they did not share these concerns and affirmed they would continue a lighter teaching to meet the needs of the unsaved and newer Christians. The elder board saw no issue with teachers we asked them to reconsider using because what they taught fit within the wide doctrinal positions of the church. After many months and many hard meetings it became evident that we were not going to agree on the direction the church was headed and the model of leadership they chose to use. There is value to walking away quietly rather than to continue and cause conflict and friction.

This was a heartbreaking decision as my husband was an elder and we had been a part of this church family for more than 20 years. We have many dear friends that still make this their church home. However, we felt the decision to leave was necessary for our family’s spiritual growth. As we began to search for another church we looked very intentionally for a church with a well-defined statement of faith. We realized that many of our concerns could be traced back to a limited doctrinal statement which allowed even opposing doctrines to be taught from the pulpit and in the classrooms. This makes it almost impossible to teach clearly and precisely on any given doctrine, and results in disunity among the elders who are able to have differing positions.

In many churches, the Gospel may be clearly proclaimed, but the doctrines that support it are handled without clarity. These secondary doctrines are of utmost importance, not to salvation but to lift a congregation to a high view of God and His Word. They gird the firm foundation of the Gospel, affirm the authority and sufficiency of the whole body of Scripture, and give the most glory to God who has revealed them to us.

After searching for many months, we did eventually find, through The Master’s Seminary church search and Grace Advance, a church 45 minutes away. Along with two other couples who had also left our former church for similar reasons, we began attending, albeit with hesitancy, as we had always served regularly at our church and had no idea how that would be possible at this new church because of the distance. Our main goal at this point was to be fed “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and the Lord provided this for us. We were able to observe a Biblical model of Christ’s plan for the church. They held to a specific doctrinal statement (almost identical to the statement of Grace Community Church), carefully vetted those applying for membership for many months before welcoming them into membership, and required Believer’s baptism. This church applied church discipline in a way that was soberly administered. We also saw the congregation joyfully praise the Lord together when the brother was restored to fellowship. The Lord graciously gave us a year there to be taught. After several months, we became members, as we knew that we needed the protection of the men in leadership for however long the Lord would have us there. Even membership class, (12 weeks long!) was a blessing as we were taught from Scripture the doctrines of our faith and the responsibilities of membership.

However, after several months, we found it increasingly difficult to attend weekday meetings and activities, as well as minister to the body due to the distance. We began a couples Bible study at our home using Behold Your God, Rethinking God Biblically with Dr. John Snyder. We cannot recommend this study highly enough. Other couples from our former church joined us.

We continued to feel a burden for our community in Bucks County, PA, located between Philadelphia and Princeton, NJ. We knew others who were searching for a church that had expository teaching and sound doctrine, but for some the church we were now attending was even further.

Since we were attending a Grace Advance church and John MacArthur had been so instrumental in our growth we decided to humbly submit an application to Grace Advance in hopes they would support us in establishing a Biblically sound church here in Bucks County. The application was quite lengthy and thorough as they wanted to make sure we had left our former church properly and there was a valid need for a church plant. Our boldness to ask for help came out of a deep desire to have the Lord build His church. We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Cor 4:7

We prayed He would honor the meager offerings of a few people willing to serve Him in whatever way He saw fit to use our gifts. We have had many conference calls with the elders of Grace, a personal visit from one of the pastors of Grace, more calls, and meetings with those that may commit to helping us. And then, just a few weeks ago, we rejoiced at the most wonderful news…our application was approved!!

We are now officially, The Master’s Church – a simple statement of truth affirming that this is Christ’s church. We chose this name based on Luke 12:36-37 and in appreciation for Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary training our future pastor and supporting our request for help.

We are praying and waiting for the Lord to make known the man He will call and has gifted to come shepherd us (1 Tim 3:1-7). The elders from Grace have instructed us to begin meeting on the Lord’s Day in anticipation of that call. We have the elder oversight from Grace for the time being and our Sunday mornings have been a joyful time worshipping with likeminded believers. The Lord has provided some qualified men willing to preach occasionally and in the interim we also have been learning from Pastor John’s series regarding our responsibility to the church and God’s strategy for church growth to prepare us further for the task ahead.

Finally, it is important to mention that Grace Advance offers a two week Academy in July to train up their seminary graduates in preparation for the unique task of church planting. One of our core group members was permitted to audit this course as we wait for God to call our pastor. The information they provided will be invaluable as we move forward.

This is our testimony to the power of God to equip and provide for those who are willing to be obedient and continually “dressed for action” (Luke 12:35). We can make no boast except in Him (2 Cor 10:17) and His promise to build His church (Matt 16:18). The providential circumstances that have led us to the humble beginnings of planting a church have been a blessing more abundant than we could have asked for (Eph 3:20). We have seen His Hand at work and it is a powerful one! We pray this testimony encourages and spurs many of you on to do the hard work of ministry that the Lord places in your sphere of influence.

We are grateful to Michelle for offering the opportunity to share our story and we want to encourage those who find themselves in our situation. The Lord may not call you to church plant as He has us, but He is faithful to feed His sheep. We must do our homework to find a church and be willing to drive or even move if necessary, as we are responsible to our Savior, in gratefulness to His sacrifice, to be fed pure truth from His Word. If you would pray for our beginnings as we watch our Master “add to our number” (Acts 2:47) we would be grateful. We would also welcome anyone nearby to join us on Sunday or in our one of our weekly Bible studies. Visit our website: The Master’s Church.

“Give us a church that loves Jesus Christ much. You will have mighty prayer meetings, you will have a Holy membership, you will have liberal giving to the cause of Christ, you will have a hearty praising of His name, you will have careful walking before the world, you will have earnest endeavors for the conversion of sinners.” Charles Spurgeon


Update (March 2019):

We have begun meeting in a new rental facility and we are growing. I want to encourage others willing to be diligent to work and pray, be confident that the Lord’s hears and answers according to His will and plan to build the church as He has promised. A few ordinary people with no church planting experience sought the Lord’s help through a proven faithful ministry and our prayer has been answered above all that we could ask in this Godly man that has a heart for evangelism, experience as a pastor, and educated to teach us well with clarity and conviction.

Praise God for Grace Advance and Pastor John. We are so thankful for the ministry of Grace Community Church to come alongside and help The Master’s Church.

Come visit us if in the Bucks County, PA /Princeton, NJ area!


Laura and her husband Scott have been married 24 years and have three children. They live near historic Washington Crossing, PA a suburb of Philadelphia, Princeton and NYC. She has homeschooled for the last 11 years, with one son still in high school. Their oldest two daughters are blessed to be at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. She and Scott love to open their home for men, women, and teens who desire to study the Word of God and enjoy fellowship with other believers.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Potpourri (Sexual abuse, Feminism, Serpent seed doctrine…)

Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Can you please suggest an iPhone app Radio station that plays biblically sound worship, praise and messages?

A reader asked this question via Facebook recently. I mostly listen to podcasts, and though I’m aware of a few good sermon apps, I wasn’t familiar with any apps that provide both sermons and music. I asked my Facebook readers for some help and got lots of great answers. You can check out their suggestions here (even if you’re not on Facebook). I’m not personally familiar with all of these sites and apps, so use good discernment and make sure everything they’re teaching lines up with Scripture.


Do you have advice on Christian women and feminism? I have friends who are reading Jesus Feminist. The title makes me cringe.

Secular feminism is not something I handle a whole lot here on the blog, although I have touched on it in these articles:

Toxic (Evangelical) Femininity

Feminist Infiltration and the Emasculation of Christian Men

6 Reasons Godly Women are Stronger Than Feminazis

 

I would recommend that you head over to Sheologians. Summer and Joy have done several very good podcast episodes and articles on the history of feminism and its current influence on society and the church. I cannot remember whether they covered Jesus Feminist or not, so you may want to make use of the “contact us” link at the top of their site and ask. (Tell them I said hi!)


My husband and I are having sexual problems that stem from the fact that I was molested as a child. What should I do?

I have intentionally left out the specific details of this particular reader’s question, first, in order to protect her identity, second, because I have no doubt that many readers have this same general question, and third, because, being a stranger on the internet, I am not the person who can best help anyone in this situation, so I can only give a very general answer anyway.

I grieve with those of you who have had this terrible sin perpetrated against you. I hope the person who abused you was caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is also my prayer that God has taken what was meant for evil against you and used it for good in your life by drawing you to Himself, teaching you to depend on Him, and deepening your walk with Him.

As I mentioned, although I’m humbled and honored that readers sometimes reach out to me for help with staggering griefs and difficulties, I would be doing you a disservice if I tried to help you via e-mail or a blog article with complicated personal problems that require ongoing counseling from someone you have (or can develop) a face-to-face relationship with.

Generally speaking, it’s important that you understand that, as a child, the abuse was not your fault, regardless of how you responded to it at the time. A physiological response (orgasm) to the abuse does not mean you enjoyed being violated, wanted it to happen, or were “asking for it”. Neither does having kept it a secret, being friendly with the abuser, “allowing” the abuse to continue in order to receive gifts from the abuser, etc. You were a victim.

It’s important that your husband understand that the sexual difficulties you are experiencing are no reflection on him. Sex is a very personal thing, and he may be incorrectly assuming that your aversion to sex is an aversion to his performance or to him, personally. He will also need to come to grips with the fact that there’s no quick, cut-and dried, three or five or fifteen step plan to “fixing” this. It will be a growth process for both of you.

Assuming you’re in a doctrinally sound church, I would urge you and your husband in the strongest possible terms to set up an appointment with your pastor for counseling. Shepherding your souls through life’s difficulties is part of his biblical job description, and if he went to a decent seminary, he was trained in marital counseling.

If you absolutely don’t think you could look your pastor in the eye during the sermon every week after discussing such personal matters, ask him for a referral to a certified biblical counselor (not a “Christian counselor” – biblical counseling, formerly called nouthetic counseling, is different) who can help you and your husband heal by learning and walking out in your marriage the Scriptures that apply to your situation. If your pastor isn’t familiar with biblical counseling, find a referral through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, the counselor search links here, or contact a nearby (doctrinally sound) seminary or Christian university and ask if you can speak to someone in their school of biblical counseling.

I know it seems like it will be painful and embarrassing to discuss this situation with a third party, but don’t let it continue to fester. It will destroy your marriage. Getting biblical help will set you and your husband free.


What are your thoughts on a woman teaching an introductory class in biblical Greek to adults (men and women) at church?

Not knowing the context and spiritual climate of your church and assuming the class is taught in the same way other academic foreign language classes are taught – alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, etc. – I don’t see any more problem with it than if she were teaching French or Swahili or Chinese.

The biblical prohibition against women teaching men has to do with women instructing men in the content of the Bible, not the language the Bible was originally written in. Greek is just a language like any other. It is not holy or special just because that’s the language the majority of the New Testament was penned in. (Actually, the opposite is true. Greek was the most widely spoken language of the time, so God used it to get His Word out to the largest number of people.)

Even if the teacher has the class translate portions of Scripture or uses a word or phrase from a Bible verse to illustrate the meaning of a word – assuming she doesn’t veer off into preaching on that verse – she is still teaching a language, not giving Bible instruction to men in the way prohibited by Scripture.

As I said, I don’t know the context and spiritual climate of your church so there could be other factors along those lines that need to be taken into consideration as to whether or not it’s wise for a woman to teach this class, but strictly speaking as to whether or not it’s a violation of Scripture, no.


Do you have any teachings on the implications of the serpent seed doctrine?

No, I’ve never written about it because, until I was asked this question, I’d never heard of it.

I did a brief search, and I would say that the implications are racism, false doctrine, and poor hermeneutics. Apparently, the gist of this teaching is that when the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, a sexual encounter took place between the two, leading to the conception of Cain. Therefore, everyone who is descended from Cain was conceived from the “serpent’s seed” and is of the devil.

This is a concoction of an evil imagination and has no basis in Scripture whatsoever. In fact, Genesis 4:1 clearly tells us who Cain’s father was. Even Cain’s name tells us God caused Eve to conceive him:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.”

I mean, that’s pretty much a mic drop moment with regard to this ridiculous “doctrine”.

Here are a couple of good resources explaining more:

What is the Serpent Seed doctrine?

The serpent seed and the Kenites


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.