Christian women

You Don’t Need Jezebel for a Role Model

In the midst of all the craziness going on out there, did you notice that, for the first time in history, the United States has a woman occupying the office of Vice President?

It’s been overshadowed a bit by the Covid vaccination, the protest at the Capitol, the “will they or won’t they” impeachment proceedings against former President Trump, the flurry of executive orders issued by President Biden in his first few days in office, and, of course, Bernie’s mittens.

Sorry to rain on your inaugural parade, there, feminists, but it seems like there aren’t very many folks – at least not as many as you’d probably like – celebrating this supposedly groundbreaking moment for women. I guess it’s kind of hard when the tribe you’re joined to has, for the moment anyway, left you in the wallflower line to dance with the “gender is just a social construct”
guys
gals
humans
huwomens

people.

But cheer up. A few gentlewomen of your ilk are out there beating the drum for Kamala Harris to be the Great American Role Model for young girls to look up to. She’s a woman in a position of power, after all, and that’s all that matters.

Or is it?

For Christian women and girls, it takes a lot more than two X chromosomes and a fancy job title to qualify as a role model, and Kamala Harris doesn’t even come close to being in the running.

For starters, she’s not a Christian. But it goes waaaaaay beyond that. You could probably recite with me the litany of the evils she stands for:

  • She promotes the torturing to death of babies in the womb, hopes to expand access to abortion, voted against protecting babies born alive after botched abortions, and votes against every piece of pro-life legislation that crosses her desk.
  • As California’s Attorney General she prosecuted David Daleiden for exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal sales of aborted babies’ body parts.
  • She has voted in favor of banning abstinence-only sex education.
  • She was one of the original co-sponsors of the Equality Act, which enshrines sexual perversion lifestyles into a special legal class, thereby threatening the freedom of churches, Christian organizations, and others to operate according to biblical principles.
  • She is an outspoken advocate for the the sexual perversion lifestyle agenda
  • When same sex “marriage” was legalized in California, she praised the decision and celebrated it by performing the first same sex “wedding” in San Francisco.
  • She has been supportive of Black Lives Matter and many of their protest activities.

…and so much more.

Is everything she stands for evil? I doubt it. I would assume she’s not in favor of kicking puppies or armed robbery or littering, and probably lots of other things. But from a biblical perspective, in her capacity as a governmental leader, she generally advocates for wickedness. And that is certainly not the type of person Christians should look up to as a role model.

Which must have been what got my friend, Pastor Tom Buck, thinking about the evil Old Testament queen, Jezebel, and led him to make this astute observation on Twitter:

And, though he wasn’t actually calling Vice President Harris “Jezebel,”1 he’s absolutely right in drawing the comparison between Israelite women looking up to a wicked queen and Christian women looking up to a Vice President who fights for all sorts of things the Bible calls wickedness.

Do you know who Jezebel was and what she stood for? She was the wife of King Ahab, who, 1 Kings tells us, did more evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more to provoke the Lord, than all who were before him. And his “vice president,” Queen Jezebel, pushed him there.

Hold your nose and brace yourself, and let’s check out Jezebel’s bio:

1 Kings 16:31– Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal (whose name means “Baal is alive”). Idolatry was the way of life she had been raised in- an idolatry that required human sacrifice as a sacrament.

1 Kings 18:4,13– Jezebel “cut off” and “killed” the prophets of the Lord.

1 Kings 18:19– Jezebel welcomed, embraced, and honored the 450 false prophets of Baal and the 400 false prophets of Asherah.

1 Kings 19:1-2– After the showdown on Mt. Carmel in which God demonstrated through Elijah that He was the one true God, and Elijah put the prophets of Baal to death, Jezebel swore to kill Elijah, God’s representative to His people.

1 Kings 21:1-16– Jezebel, in the name of the king, ordered city officials to have false accusations of capital crimes levied against Naboth in order to execute him and steal his land, which Naboth, in obedience to God, had refused to give the king.

1 Kings 21:25– “There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.” She encouraged the king toward greater wickedness.

2 Kings 9– God was so disgusted with Jezebel’s vile character and behavior that He destroyed Ahab’s lineage and killed Jezebel in one of the basest, most humiliating ways possible. Dogs, at the time, were wild, filthy, and despised, so much so that to call someone a “dog” was an outrageous epithet. And anyone not receiving a proper burial was looked upon as cursed by God. We’re given some hints in this chapter that Jezebel may have been sexually immoral, but Scripture places far more emphasis on her sins of idolatry (often called “whoring” in the Old Testament- indeed 2 Chronicles says “the house of Ahab led Israel into ‘whoredom'”, i.e. idolatry), rebellion against God, and general wickedness than on any acts of sexual immorality she may have committed.

That’s Jezebel. A woman in the second most powerful position in the country who facilitated the murder of innocent human beings, ran swiftly to do evil, and zealously defied the commands of the living God.

Let the reader understand.

You cannot look up at the cross of Christ and look up to Kamala at the same time. She champions the sins that nailed your precious Savior to the tree.

“So who can I point my daughters to as role models?” a reader recently asked me. “With so many false teachers out there, I can only think of one or two well known Christians I can hold up to them as examples.”

That’s OK, because you don’t need to.

Forget the evangelical celebrities, ladies. Teach your girls to look up to the godly older women in your church, and, if God has so blessed you, in your family. And you look to them, too.

Look for the women in your church who are like the godly widows of 1 Timothy 5. The ones who…

  • are deserving of honor
  • “set [their] hope on God and continue in supplications and prayers night and day”
  • have been faithful wives
  • have a reputation for good works
  • have been godly mothers
  • have shown hospitality, served God’s people, cared for the afflicted, and devoted themselves to every good work
  • are faithful to Christ
  • aren’t idlers, gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not
  • give the adversary no occasion for slander.

Look up to the women in your church who exemplify the godly character of the older women in Titus 2. Women who…

  • are reverent in behavior
  • control their tongues and speak of others in godly ways
  • don’t allow themselves to be controlled by alcohol or anything else but Christ
  • are able to teach and train young women to be godly women, wives, and mothers
  • strive to prevent the word of God from being reviled.

These are the women you and your girls should look to – not the celebrities who don’t even know you exist, but the older, spiritually mature real life women you know and have access to. The women you can pour your heart out to, call when you have a question, get wise counsel from when you need advice. That’s the biblical model – personal discipleship, not admiration from afar.

And ladies my age and older – those of us who have been married a minute and have managed to shoot our little arrows out the door and into lives of their own, who have flourished in a life of God-ordained singlehood, who have suffered the loss of a spouse or the loss of a marriage, those of us who have been there, done that, and been around the block a time or two – well, scroll back up there and read those character qualities from Titus and Timothy again, because those are the women we need to be. It’s all well and good to point these younger ladies to the godly older women in their churches, but we’d better be there for them when they show up. We need to strive to be able to say to them, as Paul said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

Younger women need, and older women need to be church “mothers” and “older sisters” who lead by example and nurture those under their care in real time.

Nobody needs Jezebel as a role model.


1Tom was accused by some of using a racial slur against Kamala Harris, because, apparently some consider the term “Jezebel” to mean “a promiscuous woman of color”. This was certainly news to me, Tom, and a host of others who had never heard such a thing before. He was (as am I in this article) strictly referencing the Jezebel of the Bible and her evil character, which had nothing to do with ethnicity, and little, if anything, to do with sexual immorality. Jezebel is an icon of female wickedness just like Hitler is an icon of wickedness in general. When you compare someone to Hitler you’re not saying they’re German or antisemitic, and when you compare someone to Jezebel, all that’s being implied is that she’s a generally evil woman, regardless of race or chastity.

Christian women, Church, Complementarianism

Unforbidden Fruits: 3 Ways Women MUST Lead and Teach the Church

Originally published April 20, 2018

Ladies, we whine too much.

Like petulant little girls, we look at what’s off limits to us, stomp our Mary Janes on the floor and cry “Why can’t I? I want to!” instead of giddily jumping into all the opportunities God has blessed us with. Instead of being happy and thankful for what we have, our greedy little fingers stretch out to grasp what God has said we can’t have because it’s not good for us or anybody else.

God has instructed pastors – who are, in turn, to instruct us – that, in the gathered body of Believers, women are not to preach to men, instruct men in the Scriptures, or exercise authority over men. And that’s what we focus on, and whine and kick our feet about. That part – the childish rebellion and discontent with the role God has graciously placed us in – that’s on us.

But pastors, we badly need your help on this one. Many pastors do a wonderful job of rightly and biblically explaining what women are not to do (And may I take a moment to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I know how difficult that can be and that you take a lot of undeserved flak for simply teaching God’s Word on this subject.), but that “no” teaching has often not been coupled with the “yes” teaching of what women must do and how they must lead in order for women, and the church, to be healthy and function properly.

You’ve loved us well to tell us not to bite at the apple from the forbidden tree, but we also desperately need you to take us on a tour of the Garden and introduce us to the all-you-can-eat buffet of pear and peach and cherry and pecan trees that we have the privilege and the responsibility to feast on.

🍊 The Other Institution 🍊

Did you ever notice that the “do” for women in the church comes before the “don’t”? We tend to totally skip over that enormous little word that kicks off 1 Timothy 2:11: “Let a woman learn…”. We have no idea of, nor appreciation for, how huge and groundbreaking it was for the Holy Spirit, through Paul, to proactively instruct pastors: “Hey, get these women in here, make sure they listen up, and train them properly in the Scriptures so they’ll be equipped to fortify their homes with biblical truth.”

We completely miss the fact that, though God installs men as the teachers and leaders in one of His foundational institutions – the church – He has very much made women the functional, boots on the ground, day to day, teachers and leaders by example – of His other foundational institution – the family. The church didn’t even exist for the first few millennia of human history, but the family has existed since Creation. And people who are members of families populate and lead the church. Raising and molding those people is a tremendous position and responsibility. A position and responsibility God has largely given to women.

Wives pray for our husbands’ growth in Christ. We build them up with Scripture. With a gentle and quiet spirit, we set a godly example for them as they observe our respectful and pure conduct. We encourage and help them in their leadership roles at church.

Moms pray for our children’s salvation. We pour the gospel into them at every turn. We train up our children in the way that they should go – in the nurture and admonition of the Lord – so that when they are old they do not depart from it. We teach them to love and serve and invest in the church both directly and by modeling these things for them.

And our single, widowed, and childless sisters work right alongside us in this labor, praying for church leaders and members, nurturing children at church whose parents are unsaved or unequipped to raise them biblically, encouraging and assisting brothers and sisters in Christ.

We grow and develop, nourish and support, exhort and sharpen the population of the body of Christ.

Men may lead the church, but women raise the church.

🍐 Woman to Woman 🍐

Essential to the health of any church is the component of women training women, whether in the formal setting of a Bible study class and structured women’s ministry programs or an impromptu “let’s get together for coffee this week” discipleship discussion.

Though we receive instruction in Scripture from our pastors, elders, and teachers, there are some counseling and teaching situations it’s not appropriate for a man to address with a woman, or that a woman understands better than a man. There are issues women face that men just don’t “get” in the same way a sister in Christ does. There are insights and perspectives a woman can use to explain Scripture to another woman that a man just doesn’t have. There are times when a woman needs someone to walk through a long term emotional journey with her that requires a personal intimacy which would be inappropriate for a man to engage in with her. And in the same way men are better equipped than women to train men to be godly husbands, fathers, and church members, women are better equipped than men to train women to be godly wives, mothers, and church members.

God knew all of this back when He breathed out the words of Titus 2:3-5…

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.

…and, again, 1 Timothy 2:11:

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

Women must be trained properly in the Scriptures so we can take that training and pour it into other women, teaching and sharpening them into godly women, wives, mothers, and church members.

🍑 Super Models 🍑

Women instruct our brothers and sisters in the church in biblical truth when we lead by example. When we sin against someone, we go to that person and ask forgiveness. We demonstrate the importance of meeting together with the Body by being faithful in our church and Sunday School attendance. We model servanthood by serving the church and our brothers and sisters. We paint a picture of biblical compassion by ministering to the sick and others in need. We show Christians how to carry out the Great Commission by sharing the gospel. We set an example of trusting God when others see us depending on Him through difficult situations.

And one of the most important biblical concepts women have the privilege and responsibility of teaching the church through our example is submission to authority – a lesson the church is sorely in need of these days.

Because God blessed us by creating us as women, we have an opportunity to model submission to authority in a unique way that God has chosen to deny to men.

As we submit to our husbands, we teach the church what it means to submit to Christ. How to walk in humility and obey Him out of love. How to put selfishness aside. To trust Him to take care of us. To deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him.

When we submit to God’s design for leadership in the church and joyfully carry out the work He has planned for us as godly women, we teach the church to submit to God’s authority and love Him by obeying His commands. We instruct our fellow church members in respecting and submitting to the pastors and elders God has placed in spiritual authority over us.

Submission to Christ, to God’s commands, and to pastors and elders is the bedrock of a healthy church. God has graciously given women the role – and the duty – of teaching these and other biblical principles to our churches in a way that men cannot -through our example as godly women.

 

Remember the series of fun little nutritional books that came out several years ago called Eat This, Not That? The idea the books centered around was, “Don’t eat that unhealthy thing. Eat this similar but healthy thing instead.”

Sadly, many Christian women have only been getting half the story. “Not that” (preaching to/teaching men and exercising authority over men) is biblically correct, but it’s not biblically complete. If all you tell someone is “Don’t eat that,” without showing her the “Eat this,” part, what she needs to eat to be healthy, she’s going to starve, and the church will be malnourished as well.

Christian women need our pastors to teach us to eat the fat of the land of being properly trained in the Scriptures and drink the sweet wine of leading and instructing the church the way God gifts us and requires us to. Only then will the Body be healthy and well nourished.

Christian women, Church, Complementarianism

Unforbidden Fruits: 3 Ways Women MUST Lead and Teach the Church

Ladies, we whine too much.

Like petulant little girls, we look at what’s off limits to us, stomp our Mary Janes on the floor and cry “Why can’t I? I want to!” instead of giddily jumping into all the opportunities God has blessed us with. Instead of being happy and thankful for what we have, our greedy little fingers stretch out to grasp what God has said we can’t have because it’s not good for us or anybody else.

God has instructed pastors – who are, in turn, to instruct us – that, in the gathered body of Believers, women are not to preach to men, instruct men in the Scriptures, or exercise authority over men. And that’s what we focus on, and whine and kick our feet about. That part – the childish rebellion and discontent with the role God has graciously placed us in – that’s on us.

But pastors, we badly need your help on this one. Many pastors do a wonderful job of rightly and biblically explaining what women are not to do (And may I take a moment to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I know how difficult that can be and that you take a lot of undeserved flak for simply teaching God’s Word on this subject.), but that “no” teaching has often not been coupled with the “yes” teaching of what women must do and how they must lead in order for women, and the church, to be healthy and function properly.

You’ve loved us well to tell us not to bite at the apple from the forbidden tree, but we also desperately need you to take us on a tour of the Garden and introduce us to the all-you-can-eat buffet of pear and peach and cherry and pecan trees that we have the privilege and the responsibility to feast on.

🍊 The Other Institution 🍊

Did you ever notice that the “do” for women in the church comes before the “don’t”? We tend to totally skip over that enormous little word that kicks off 1 Timothy 2:11: “Let a woman learn…”. We have no idea of, nor appreciation for, how huge and groundbreaking it was for the Holy Spirit, through Paul, to proactively instruct pastors: “Hey, get these women in here, make sure they listen up, and train them properly in the Scriptures so they’ll be equipped to fortify their homes with biblical truth.”

We completely miss the fact that, though God installs men as the teachers and leaders in one of His foundational institutions – the church – He has very much made women the functional, boots on the ground, day to day, teachers and leaders by example – of His other foundational institution – the family. The church didn’t even exist for the first few millennia of human history, but the family has existed since Creation. And people who are members of families populate and lead the church. Raising and molding those people is a tremendous position and responsibility. A position and responsibility God has largely given to women.

Wives pray for our husbands’ growth in Christ. We build them up with Scripture. With a gentle and quiet spirit, we set a godly example for them as they observe our respectful and pure conduct. We encourage and help them in their leadership roles at church.

Moms pray for our children’s salvation. We pour the gospel into them at every turn. We train up our children in the way that they should go – in the nurture and admonition of the Lord – so that when they are old they do not depart from it. We teach them to love and serve and invest in the church both directly and by modeling these things for them.

And our single, widowed, and childless sisters work right alongside us in this labor, praying for church leaders and members, nurturing children at church whose parents are unsaved or unequipped to raise them biblically, encouraging and assisting brothers and sisters in Christ.

We grow and develop, nourish and support, exhort and sharpen the population of the body of Christ.

Men may lead the church, but women raise the church.

🍐 Woman to Woman 🍐

Essential to the health of any church is the component of women training women, whether in the formal setting of a Bible study class and structured women’s ministry programs or an impromptu “let’s get together for coffee this week” discipleship discussion.

Though we receive instruction in Scripture from our pastors, elders, and teachers, there are some counseling and teaching situations it’s not appropriate for a man to address with a woman, or that a woman understands better than a man. There are issues women face that men just don’t “get” in the same way a sister in Christ does. There are insights and perspectives a woman can use to explain Scripture to another woman that a man just doesn’t have. There are times when a woman needs someone to walk through a long term emotional journey with her that requires a personal intimacy which would be inappropriate for a man to engage in with her. And in the same way men are better equipped than women to train men to be godly husbands, fathers, and church members, women are better equipped than men to train women to be godly wives, mothers, and church members.

God knew all of this back when He breathed out the words of Titus 2:3-5…

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.

…and, again, 1 Timothy 2:11:

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.

Women must be trained properly in the Scriptures so we can take that training and pour it into other women, teaching and sharpening them into godly women, wives, mothers, and church members.

🍑 Super Models 🍑

Women instruct our brothers and sisters in the church in biblical truth when we lead by example. When we sin against someone, we go to that person and ask forgiveness. We demonstrate the importance of meeting together with the Body by being faithful in our church and Sunday School attendance. We model servanthood by serving the church and our brothers and sisters. We paint a picture of biblical compassion by ministering to the sick and others in need. We show Christians how to carry out the Great Commission by sharing the gospel. We set an example of trusting God when others see us depending on Him through difficult situations.

And one of the most important biblical concepts women have the privilege and responsibility of teaching the church through our example is submission to authority – a lesson the church is sorely in need of these days.

Because God blessed us by creating us as women, we have an opportunity to model submission to authority in a unique way that God has chosen to deny to men.

As we submit to our husbands, we teach the church what it means to submit to Christ. How to walk in humility and obey Him out of love. How to put selfishness aside. To trust Him to take care of us. To deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him.

When we submit to God’s design for leadership in the church and joyfully carry out the work He has planned for us as godly women, we teach the church to submit to God’s authority and love Him by obeying His commands. We instruct our fellow church members in respecting and submitting to the pastors and elders God has placed in spiritual authority over us.

Submission to Christ, to God’s commands, and to pastors and elders is the bedrock of a healthy church. God has graciously given women the role – and the duty – of teaching these and other biblical principles to our churches in a way that men cannot -through our example as godly women.

 

Remember the series of fun little nutritional books that came out several years ago called Eat This, Not That? The idea the books centered around was, “Don’t eat that unhealthy thing. Eat this similar but healthy thing instead.”

Sadly, many Christian women have only been getting half the story. “Not that” (preaching to/teaching men and exercising authority over men) is biblically correct, but it’s not biblically complete. If all you tell someone is “Don’t eat that,” without showing her the “Eat this,” part, what she needs to eat to be healthy, she’s going to starve, and the church will be malnourished as well.

Christian women need our pastors to teach us to eat the fat of the land of being properly trained in the Scriptures and drink the sweet wine of leading and instructing the church the way God gifts us and requires us to. Only then will the Body be healthy and well nourished.