JREnsey February Blog

Welcome to the February 2020 blog. Reminder: Please note the change of email address for JREnsey. Please change my email address in your lists to  jrensey1@gmail.com for all personal communication. Thanks!

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The Word for Today

“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do. In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (I Peter 3:1-7 NLT).

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Judge tosses 5 charges against pro-life activists for undercover videos

A California judge dismissed five felony charges against two activists who secretly recorded Planned Parenthood executives talking about the practice of providing the body parts of aborted babies for research.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra charged the activists in 2017 with 14 criminal counts of filming people without permission and one count of conspiracy to do so.

One of the charges was previously thrown out, and Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite dismissed five more, leaving nine charges remaining, according to a release posted on Twitter by David Daleiden, one of the activists.

“Their case is falling apart as the facts about Planned Parenthood’s criminal organ tracking are revealed in the courtroom,” the release said. – Epoch Times

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Alexis De Tocqueville on American women

After visiting and touring America, De Tocqueville (1806-1859), a French diplomat and historian, describes the biblical American scene regarding equality between men and women versus the European socialistic approach.

“There are people in Europe who, confounding the various attributes of the sexes, claim to make man and woman into creatures not only equal but alike. They ascribe the same functions to both, assign them the same duties, and grant them the same rights. They mix them in all things: work, pleasure, affairs. It is easy to see how trying in this way to make one sex equal to the other degrades them both and how the only thing that can ever come of such a crude mixture of nature’s works is weak men and disreputable women.

“This was not how Americans understood the kind of democratic equality that can be established between woman and man. They believed that because nature had made man and woman so different in physical and moral constitution, its clear purpose was to assign different uses to the diverse faculties of each. They judged, moreover, that progress lay not in making dissimilar beings do virtually identical things but in seeing to it that each acquitted itself of its task in the best possible way. Americans…carefully divided the functions of man and woman in order to carry out the great work of society more effectively.

“No country in the world has been more persistent than America in tracing clearly separated lines of action for the two sexes or in wanting both to proceed at an equal pace, but along two permanently different paths. You do not see in American women managing the family’s outside affairs, conducting a business, or entering the sphere of politics, but neither do you find American women forced to do hard labor or engage in any of the arduous activities that require the development of physical strength. There are no families so poor as to constitute exceptions to this rule.

“Americans, moreover, never assumed that the consequence of democratic principles would be to topple the husband from power and confuse lines of authority within the family. They believed that every association needs a leader in order to be effective and that the natural leader of the conjugal association was the man. Hence they did not deny him the right to direct his helpmate, and they believed that in the small society consisting of husband and wife, as in the larger political society, the purpose of democracy is to regulate and legitimate necessary powers and not to destroy all power.

“This is not an opinion held by one sex and contested by the other. American women did not, in my view, appear to regard conjugal authority as a felicitous usurpation of their rights, nor did they believe that it was degrading to submit to it. On the contrary, it seemed to me that in a way they prided themselves on the voluntary sacrifice of their will and demonstrated their greatness by freely accepting the yoke rather than seeking to avoid it. That, at any rate, was the sentiment expressed by the most virtuous among them.”

– Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America, Arthur Goldhammer, translator (New York, NY: Literary Classics of the United States, 2004); pp. 705, 706. (Italics mine)

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The communist view

In his book, Women and the Family, Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) writes with contempt towards what De Tocqueville admired in American women, which is essentially the Proverbs 31 wife and the biblical homelife.

Trotsky, a leader of the Bolshevik communist revolution in Russia, sought to liberate women from “obsolete household work by replacing it with communal houses, public eating places, central laundries, nurseries, etc.” (p. 10)

Trotsky followed the thinking of Frederick Engels in the book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.  (p. 8)

“The Bolshevik program of Lenin and Trotsky’s time was correct: to liberate women from their role as domestic slaves by replacing the private family household with communal forms of living.” (p. 17)

“As long as woman is chained to her housework, the care of the family, the cooking and sewing, all her chances of participation in social and political life are cut down in the extreme.”

– Leon Trotsky, Women and the Family (New York, NY: Pathfinder Press, 1970) (p. 24)

Think about it: Christian America was the home of the Proverbs 31 woman.  – JRE

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A step backward forward

The nation of Hungary has eliminated “gender studies” in their colleges. President Orban said they aren’t important like math. He also defies the EU on migrants and encourages people to have babies to preserve “Hungarian culture.” Evidently he has observed what is coming down in the U.S.A. You go, Viktor!

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hungary-bans-gender-studies-programmes-viktor-orban-central-european-university-budapest-a8599796.html

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Trump promotes religious freedom

President Trump acted in the best interests of the American people recently when he signed an executive order to bolster and protect the rights of students to pray and discuss God in their schools. The order champions and reinforces the freedom of religion guaranteed to us in the Constitution as one of our most important rights.

The president appropriately took the action on National Religious Freedom Day. His executive order also ensures that religious entities are not excluded from participating in government-funded programs.

– https://video.foxnews.com/v/6123376262001#sp=show-clips

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Who split the United Methodist Church?

The denomination has struggled for years with the issue that has been pushed hard by new female clergy and LGBTQ adherents. The impasse was recognized and the church decided to split over the pressure to ordain gay clergy and perform same-sex marriages.

“I’m actually really sad that we couldn’t build a bridge that could have provided a witness to the world of what unity amid diversity and disagreement could look like,” Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto, the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, said.

There you have it. The gays will blame the “traditionalists” even though they are standing where the founders of Methodism stood. When change is being forced on a movement to make room for the acceptance of sin and/or unbiblical practice, who should be tagged with the blame for a split?

Perhaps one should take note of who is leading the charge to ordain homosexuals and perform gay marriages.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/united-methodist-church-split-lgbtq-rights

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Worth repeating

Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research, recently published a compelling article regarding the shifts within Christianity and churches in America. He states, “The lasting effects of these shifts will force churches to make a critical decision. They will either become a cultural church that allows the societal trends to dictate their ever-changing beliefs. Or they will become a counter-cultural church that faithfully adheres to Scripture and proclaims the gospel in a carefully considered way. The latter church will offer real hope in the midst of an adversarial culture and is the only real future for the American church.”

Selah!

For the original article, visit edstetzer.com.

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Whispers and shouts

Everyone knows that some members of the House of Representatives are unethical, corrupt, lying hypocrites; the problems is—their constituents don’t seem to care.

Seems like Democrats are afraid that Americans are going to interfere with the 2020 election.

When you see the word “social” before a word, it usually makes that word mean the exact opposite of what it was originally intended to mean.

If Donald Trump did all the things he is accused of, he could run as a Democrat.

This just in: Ukraine has launched an investigation to see if Democrats have any ties to the United States.

“Conservatives’ biggest mistake was handing over the school system to the Left. College campuses today are literally Leftist indoctrination camps.” – Candace Owens, black female conservative activist

After Rutgers University professor of Education Catherine Lugg took to social media and accused the GOP and Fox News of being “existential threats” to the United States, she tweeted that gun rights advocates are “gun/Moloch worshippers” belonging to a “death cult.” Her brazen condemnation of anyone with a conservative or biblical worldview on social issues are not only reflected in her teachings, but in her Twitter posts. Typical of college professors these days.

“When people like [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and [Democratic presidential candidate] Pete Buttigieg say it’s un-Christian not to have open borders or socialism, I think they’re perverting the Gospel.” – Jerry Falwell, Jr., Epoch Times

A light at the end of the tunnel: Only 5 more years of impeachment hearings left.

Donald Trump to Americans: “They’re not after me. They’re after you. I’m just in their way.”

If Democrats knew the illegal immigrants were voting Republican, you could see the border wall from space! – PP

“Politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.” – Ronald Reagan

Theological confusion has permitted us first to decide what we want and then build a theology that justifies it.

Why Leftists hate the Constitution: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  – John Adams

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Men, Women and Equality in the Creation Marriage Model

EVANGELICAL FEMINISTS (E/Fs herein) OFTEN ASSERT THAT IN CREATION God made man and woman co-equal partners in every way, without distinction in either role or authority. The only differences were the obvious physical dissimilarities. They were mutually submissive and shared total equality. They insist that Adam did not possess authority in that relationship before the Fall. Only after they sinned was Adam given ruling status. They then suggest that in the current Christian conversion experience the judgment granting Adam’s authority is reversed and the husband/wife relationship is returned to the former pre-Fall conditions, featuring mutual submission and full co-equal status and authority.

Does that scenario fit with the Genesis creation narrative? Do the New Testament authors confirm this arrangement? What does the creation model in Genesis teach us about those first two humans and their relationship? Was it truly co-equal in authority? Did the Fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden result in male authority to later be erased by Christian conversion?

The reshaping of the American mind

The cultural revolution that exploded in the 1960s was the product of a century of seething change in the Western nations. In retrospect, major societal modifications were inevitable, spurred by the economies of several nations, two world wars, and growing religious movements. Inherent were the crucial changes that would come in the home and workplaces of those nations, America in particular.

Liberation movements flourished during the last half of the 20th century, none growing faster or becoming more impacting than the……

… [to continue reading this article, click the link below.]

Men, Women, Equality in Creation

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The Last Words

As the radical leftist Saul Alinsky [a hero of Obama and Hillary Clinton] stated, “It is necessary to hide the true purposes of a movement and mobilize people on a large scale to act in support of local, temporary, plausible, or benign goals.”

Please change my email address to  jrensey1@gmail.com. Thanks! Have a great month!

JREnsey

Published in: on February 1, 2020 at 2:25 AM  Comments (1)  

JREnsey blog for January, 2020

Happy New Year! Welcome to the January 2020 blog. Please note the change of email address for JREnsey. Please use jrensey1@gmail.com for all personal communication. Thanks!

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The Word for Today

“For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[a] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault” (Ephesians 5:22-27 NLT).

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The doctor “made a mistake”

Terry Beatley, founder and president of Hosea Initiative, a pro-life organization, recently gave President Trump the “Courageous Witness for Life Award.” She said the organization selected Trump for his “courage to be able to stand up for the right thing.”

Beatley was inspired by her 2009 interview with Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson (left), an American medical doctor who was once known as “The Abortion King.” Nathanson later said he “made a mistake” in leading the pro-abortion cause and became a prominent opponent of the procedure. Two years before his death in 2011, the doctor told Beatley that he misled American public opinion in the 1970s about abortion, promoting it as “women’s health care.” [Let that sink in.]

According to Beatley’s book, Nathanson claimed responsibility for the death of more than 75,000 pre-born babies, including two of his own unborn children. A few months after the Roe v. Wade decision, a new technology, ultrasound, transformed his views on abortion.

“The bombshell was real-time ultrasound. It made everything come alive,” he told Beatley. “I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person. I was a physician, pledged to save my patients’ lives, not destroy them. So, I changed my mind on the subject of abortion.”

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, accepted the award for the President. Speaking at the event, Carson praised pro-life advocates for their courage. He said as a former neurosurgeon, he spent a lot of time working on babies, even premature babies born between 25 and 27 weeks, and “operating all night trying to save their lives. That’s why no one will ever convince me that what’s in a mother’s womb is a meaningless bunch of cells,” he said.  – Report by Emel Akan, The Epoch Times

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Was the Codex Sinaiticus, dated to the early fourth century, actually a forgery?

Some claim that this important early manuscript containing almost all of both biblical testaments, was a 19th century forgery accomplished by a man called Simonides. He claimed he wrote the manuscript when he was 19 years old while residing at Mt. Athos in northern Greece. Although he was discredited as either a liar or delusional at the time, some have recently revived his claim because, if true, it would potentially negate the position that the manuscript, which has earlier readings than the Textus Receptus/KJV, is older and likely to read more like the autographs.

I researched this claim a few years ago and dismissed it out of hand as entirely ludicrous. Since others have already published rebuttals of the claim, let me lean on another well known researcher of biblical texts, James Snapp, Jr. He provides twenty facts that prove Sinaiticus was not a forgery and certainly not the work of Simonides. To see his work, click on the links below (each site has 10 reasons):

http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2017/03/ten-reasons-why-sinaiticus-was-not-made.html

http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2017/03/ten-more-reasons-sinaiticus-was-not.html

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The search for perfection

Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today has railed against the President’s morality, suggesting that he should be put out of office. Evidently, he sided with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in the House of Representatives during the impeachment process. Perhaps he will come out for Pelosi for President, or perhaps Adam Schiff who led the impeachment effort. Or he may opt for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, or even Pete Buttigieg, the current gay mayor of South Bend, IN. Will he support one of them for president? Surely one of them has a spotless past.

If he had been living in 1790, would he have condemned President George Washington for owning slaves? He surely would have castigated later presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower for their extra-marital dalliances. Would he have called for the resignation of John F. Kennedy who was known for the stream of young women brought to the White House for his “comfort”? Galli was editor during the Obama administration. We can only assume that he overlooked the many “inaccuracies” Obama told publicly and his background connections with communism. Did Galli ever write an editorial condemning Obama or Clinton for their stand on abortion and homosexuality? The numerous ethical violations and governmental corruption of Obama and Biden must have been considered mere “oversights” by Mr. Galli. If he is into condemning office holders for their peccadillos and moral failures, we should look for a long editorial in the next issue. We can only assume that he has not excoriated Mayor Pete is because he is plugged into political correctness. The mayor’s type of immoral conduct is apparently off limits, even by some Christian editors.

No one is justifying Trump for anything he has done in his past. Everyone winced when some of his actions were disclosed. He will go to judgment for any unforgiven sins he may have committed. However, if we are looking for someone with experience and a spotless moral or ethical record to serve in a non-religious political position, we may be looking for a long time.

The Innocents?

We’ve all known for a long time that Mark Galli, CT’s editor was liberal to the core. He evidently supposes he represents Evangelicalism in America. For a glimpse of what he really believes and what he thinks of the God of the Bible, visit the website below and read his article where he casts God as a Divine Drama Queen.

http://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/christianity-today-editor-chief-called-god-divine-drama-queen-worried-about-president

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What else do these candidates have up their sleeves?

Openly gay mayor Pete Buttigieg (center top above), Democrat running for the presidency, has promised to legalize drug possession across the board. Wow, what a blessing that would be! Reckon whose votes he is fishing for? According to Fox News, the sheriff of Polk County, FL comments, “He is guaranteeing more drug addicts, he’s guaranteeing more crime, and he’s guaranteeing less help because we don’t have enough services for those who are addicted to crimes now and he’s going to create more addiction.” He also promises to reduce deportations. His policies will spur economic growth, he says. Increasing the number of drug dealers, thieves, and illegals will definitely spur the economy—in a number of Latin American countries whose economies depend in part on drug production and sales.

We didn’t know that until he said it publicly. What else do we not know that they are secretly planning to foist onto the American people? We know what the man who is in the office now will likely do. He keeps his promises. He is not perfect, but is probably as transparent as a president can be.

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Is “mutual submission” in marriage conveyed in Ephesians 5:21-25?

These verses are a focus of egalitarian writers today who have embraced the concept of gender equality at all levels of Christian life. Do they really teach mutual submission of husband and wife or are they misinterpreted by a flawed hermeneutic?

If the mutual submission of husband and wife is truly a biblical principle being expressed in v. 21, how did it escape most of the textual exegetes who have closely examined the Scriptures for the last two millennia? After checking with many of the often quoted Protestant commentators[1] of the last two hundred years, none appear cognizant of this principle. In other words, it is a recent concept.

In Christian circles, contemporary egalitarian authors like Letha Scanzoni, Paul Jewett and Craig Keener are often quoted by those leading the charge for cultural change. Keener focuses on Ephesians 5:21 to insist that it includes the relationship of husbands and wives in the mutual submission principle. Is that what the apostle Paul is teaching in this verse or is it merely being used as a prop for a larger agenda?

Different types or levels of submission

The target of Paul’s words in verses 19-21 is the body of Christ as a whole. All Christians, male and female, defer to one another in ways that maintain unity and harmony in that setting. More specific types of submission are the focus of vv. 22-25. As Wiersbe points out, the submission Paul speaks of in v. 21 “has nothing to do with the order of authority, but rather governs the operation of authority. …Often Jesus tried to teach His disciples not to throw their weight around, or seek to become great at someone else’s expense. Unfortunately, they failed to learn the lesson, and even at the Last Supper they were arguing over who was the greatest (Luke 22:24-26). When Jesus washed their feet, He taught them that the greatest is the person who uses his authority to build up people, and not, like the Pharisees, to build up his own authority and make himself important. We are to esteem others more important than ourselves (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:1-4).”[2]

Verse 21 addresses a general submission by all members of the body of Christ to each other to ensure unity and harmony. It acts as an introductory sentence to the more specific areas mentioned in the next verse, where submission is a factor in the relationships of husband and wife, children and parents, and slaves and masters. In those relationships, a submission is called for that emulates that of the church to its Head (authority), which is Christ: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” [sic – KJV] (vv. 22-24; Titus 2:5). There is no mutual submission suggested in these three areas or of Christ and the church. The order and line of authority descends from God through Christ to man to woman: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (I Corinthians 11:3).[3]

There is submission both in v. 21 and in v. 22, but of different types. One is reciprocated and the other is unrequited in kind. That in v. 21 is marked by reciprocity which does not appear in v. 22. Both husband and wife submit, but the wife’s submission is to her husband, and the husband’s is to the principle of selfless love of v. 25. The wife is to submit to her husband, but the husband is not told to submit to his wife.[4] Again, there is no correlative mutual submission in Paul’s four illustrations: husbands/wives, parents/children, slaves/masters, Christ/the church. Otherwise, total confusion would ensue.

How can a husband and wife live in harmony with both having equal authority? It would be a standoff and both would be in their right. Confusion would result. Someone has to be in charge. That which is two-headed is usually considered an anomaly or unnatural. There is no clear analogy in either Testament of mutual submission that can be applied to husbands and wives.

Some attempt to tie v. 22 to the submission command of v. 21 because the verb “submit” does not appear in the Greek in v. 22 but is “borrowed” by the presumption of Greek grammar from v. 21. This grammatical insertion changes nothing.

Misquoting the Scriptures

According to Keener, “Sometimes Paul gets a bad rap. The slave narratives are replete with sentiments from former slaves who loved Jesus but hated Paul, because slaveholders regularly quoted Ephesians 6:5, “Slaves, obey your masters.” What the slaveholders didn’t bother to quote was the rest of the passage, which goes on to say, “masters, do the same things to them” (6:9). That is, if slaves have to obey their masters, masters must also obey their slaves.”[5] Virtually anyone can see that the passage does not say that masters are to obey their slaves. That would be quite problematic. Masters were to treat their servants according to the principles laid down in vv. 20-21. The thrust of the passage is that masters manifest the same spirit of heartfelt sincerity and humility, treating their slaves/servants with respect and dignity as a brother in Christ, but it does not say that masters must obey their slaves. This amounts to a manipulation of the language, subjecting it to his own assumptions and presuppositions.

Keener doesn’t give up: “Moreover, he never instructs the male householder to rule; instead, he is to love his wife, serving her by offering his life for her (5:25), to avoid provoking his children (6:4), and to treat slaves as fellow servants of God (6:9).” Has he never read I Timothy 3:12: “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well”? (Italics mine) It seems best to follow Paul’s advice and ignore the secular humanists and radical egalitarians, else we could find ourselves slouching toward serious theological error.

The idea of the mutual submission of husband and wife can be made to sound so kind, so relevant, so thoughtful and reasonable as to make one think if it is not actually expressed in Scripture it should have been. Are some Apostolics picking up this concept from the secular sociologists, the media, and the feminist authors who are trying to coerce us to bow to the god of political correctness? Paul’s admonitions may not find acceptance with the social philosophers of the 21st century, but popular human reason cannot be placed above the authority of the Word of God. Perhaps we have sat at their feet so long and been indoctrinated with how pagans and Christian liberals conceive of Christianity that we are beginning to think like them. Have we become so enamored with letters behind our names that we now believe that all who have many of them are smarter in all ways than any who have fewer or none?

(For those who need more supporting references, I suggest they turn to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who published Life In the Spirit In Marriage, Home and Work: An exposition of Ephesians 5:18-6:9, pages 85-86.)

The source of this concept

Where did this concept of “mutual submission” of husband and wife originate? In the ever-darkening minds of modern secular humanists and sociologists? In the bowels of Berkeley, Columbia, and Harvard? In the glass-enclosed, downtown highrises where the media monsters lurk? In the hot-button books of the pop psychologists so faddish in the last half of the 20th century? In the 1960s cultural revolution that brought the Women’s Liberation Movement to the forefront in England and America? All may have had a part in the meteoric rise of this idee fixe among current sociologists and liberal Christian authors.

Early secular feminists were inclined to dismiss the Bible entirely and take their cues from contemporary sociologists. “Progressive” Christians, however, were hesitant to go that far. Too many American women were still conservative church goers. So they began to cast their lot with new Bible interpreters like R. T. France, David Thompson, and I. Howard Marshall who promote the idea that the Gospels gave Christianity a good start, but the faith has been sort of “unfolding” since then. Therefore, we know more today, we are more educated, and our understanding of ethics and morality are set in a more equitable light than that of the apostles. They suggest that a “fuller outworking of God’s purpose” is being captured today by modern thinkers. They propose fundamentally equalizing the roles of men and women, husbands and wives. They posit that Pauline admonitions were good for that time period, but new perspectives update Christianity and make it relevant to our time. These “progressive” new perspectives include the dismissal of the traditional complementarian view of women’s roles in favor of a more radical egalitarianism.[6]

These “progressive” ideas are espoused by Christian feminist authors Letha Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty who are emboldened to say Paul was wrong. His admonitions about female subordination in marriage were simply unresolved holdovers from his former rabbinic training. His references to passages in Genesis reflected contemporary understanding and the way they were interpreted “in his day.” Therefore, since Paul’s statements were based on misguided Jewish concepts current at that time, and were inconsistent with other NT passages, we are not obligated to obey the apostle’s commands regarding husbands and wives.[7]

A new hermeneutic?

A word about hermeneutics. Should we employ “Pentecostal” hermeneutics or Baptist hermeneutics or some other religious tradition’s hermeneutics to interpret Scripture instead of standard “biblical” hermeneutics? To do so could bring pressure on leaders to accept theological error merely to accommodate whatever is already is being done by prominent pastors. In throwing a grid of Penteccostal hermeneutics over the Bible, we could possibly find ourselves in doctrinal error along the way, depending on what stripe of “Pentecostal” created the grid.

The modernists’ “trajectory hermeneutic” suggests that the commands Paul gave in the first century need not be followed today. Gender equality advocate R. T. France proposes this approach: “The gospels do not, perhaps, record a total reversal of Jewish prejudice against women and of their total exclusion from roles of leadership. But they do contain the seeds from which such a reversal was bound to grow. Effective revolutions are seldom completed in a year or two. In this, as in other matters, the disciples were slow learners. But the fuse, long as it might prove to be, has been ignited.”[8] Fellow egalitarian, I. Howard Marshall adds, “Paul wrote as he did about marriage because in his world he did not know any other form than the patriarchal. As he did with other relationships, he worked within the structures of his time and gave directions for Christian behavior within them. The danger is to think that this validates the setup for all time.”[9] Ah, now we see the plan—today other moral standards (read: ours) apply. Paul’s statements applied to his time, but our more erudite, educated and more ethical understanding is the way for today. I trow not.

Do Paul’s statements give husbands the right to mistreat or abuse their wives as some may have assumed? Absolutely not. Tyrants are not countenanced in the Scriptures. There are other verses which make that abundantly clear (I Peter 3:7; Colossians 3:19; et al). Deferment is included in love. A husband must recognize that there are times he should defer to his wife’s needs, wishes, abilities and ideas. This does not usurp his ultimate leadership. In the case of slaves, the same is true. Masters were enjoined to treat them as Christian brothers (see the Book of Philemon). Nor does it allow for child abuse, although there is no mutual submission directive for parent/child relationships. Additionally, there is no hint in these or other verses of a husband’s superiority or a wife’s inferiority. All persons are of equal value and worth in the sight of God. That being said, there is no justification for expanding the scope of the Scriptures merely to condemn selfish or violent acts.

Conclusion

The happiest couples are those who follow scriptural directives. Aside from the fact that such admonitions are “commandments of the Lord” (I Corinthians 14:37), they are actually stress relievers. Much of the pressure and stress on contemporary marriages has evolved from the departure from biblical principles. God’s way is always the better way, the happiest way, and the less stressful way.

Let me conclude with a thoughtful observation lifted from Barnes Notes on the Bible: “Submitting yourselves one to another – Maintaining due subordination in the various relations of life. This general principle of religion, the apostle proceeds now to illustrate in reference to wives Ephesians 5:22-24; to children Ephesians 6:1-3; and to servants, Ephesians 6:5-8. At the same time that he enforces this duty of submission, however, he enjoins on others to use their authority in a proper manner, and gives solemn injunctions that there should be no abuse of power. Particularly he enjoins on husbands the duty of loving their wives with all tenderness Ephesians 5:25-33; on fathers, the duty of treating their children so that they might easily obey them Ephesians 6:4; and on masters, the duly of treating their servants with kindness, remembering that they have a Master also in heaven; Ephesians 6:9. The general meaning here is, that Christianity does not break up the relations of life, and produce disorder, lawlessness, and insubordination; but that it will confirm every proper authority, and make every just yoke lighter. Infidelity is always disorganizing; Christianity, never.”[10]

Endnotes

[1] In the commentaries listed at Biblos.com, including Clarke, Poole, Pulpit, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown, Ellicott, Barnes, Expositors, etc., etc., I found no principle of mutual submission of husband and wife extracted from these verses in Ephesians 5. One would assume if the concept mutual submission of husband and wife was apparent in Paul’s admonitions, some of them would have caught it. Obviously, it is a recent idea, concocted to support the new perspectives regarding male and female relationships.
[2] Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Colorado Springs: Cook Comm. Ministries, 1989), p. 50.
[3] One should not assume from this that every woman is to submit to every man, even strangers, “in everything.” The principle is being applied here only to the marriage relationship.
[4] There is deferment and agreement along the way in any relationship. No one is absolutely right all the time, in every case. However, this does not alter the basic principle, oft repeated in the Epistles, of wives’ submission to their husbands.
[5] Craig Keener quotes in this article are found in https://www.cbeinternational.org/blogs/case-mutual-submission-ephesians-5. Keener lamely concedes that “there is much less mutual submission in the instruction to fathers: children do need guidance.”
[6] Galatians 3:28 has been called upon by gender equality advocates to prove that gender is no longer a factor in the kingdom of God. We shall deal with that topic in another setting. I Corinthians 7:3-5 has also been used in the discussion, but one can see that the passage there is dealing with the matter of deprivation of sexual fulfillment in marriage, not authority.
[7] These ideas were set forth by Letha Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty in All We Were Meant To Be: A Biblical Approach to Women’s Liberation (Waco, TX: Word Publishers, 1974), pp. 28,212,213, et al. In What God Hath Joined Together: A Christian Case for Gay Marriage (San Francisco: Harper 2005), Scanzoni would reveal her direction and ultimate goal: God sanctions gay marriage and so should we. One must be careful which path he chooses—where will it lead? She was following the concepts of Fuller Seminary professor Paul Jewett who wrote Man as Male and Female (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975).
[8] Quoted by Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), p. 54. Apparently a total reversal of roles, not merely an equalization, is the goal of the more progressive feminists. This is apparent in Barack Obama’s recent statement suggesting that it would be better if females ruled every nation in the world.
[9] Ibid., p. 58.
[10] Barnes Notes on the Bible at the Biblos.com website.

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Worth repeating

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