JREnsey April 2020 blog

Thanks for taking a few minutes to visit about some important matters pertaining to both our secular society and God’s kingdom.

The Word for today:

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:6,7 NLT).

Timely alternate word: “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners” (James 4:8 KJV).

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Oddities

We preachers always wanted a great library. Czech out the gorgeous Klementium Library in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Be still my heart.

Below is the library inside the Waldsassen Abbey in Bavaria, which holds thousands of volumes bound in white pigskin. These settings and their contents might be expensive to reproduce today. Isn’t it amazing that in this technological age we could carry all or most of these libraries in our briefcase?

If you think your 1987 Mercury Marquis is ancient, or that you yourself are getting old, remember that age is relative. The “Methuselah” bristlecone pine tree in California is said to be over 4,850 years old.

17-year old Juliane Koepcke was sucked out of an airplane in 1971 after it broke up over the Amazon rain forest, having been struck by a bolt of lightning. She fell two miles to the ground, strapped to her seat and survived, then endured more than 10 days in the Amazon jungle before being found. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliane_Koepcke

Carbonized bread from Pompeii, baked in AD 79, still bearing the baker’s stamp.

Pentecostals and covid-19

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Di•vers•ity

Definition:  An increasingly popular term representing differences within any entity. Differences can be good or bad, positive or negative, progressive or regressive, helpful or hindering. It all depends on the definition we have in mind when we employ the term.

The church should be diverse. The church should not be diverse. Both of those statements are correct. To use the term in such a general way can evoke confusion and misunderstanding. It all depends on one’s definition of diversity and the context in which it is used. Some use the term to undergird their particular vision of what the church should be.

If we are discussing race and ethnicity, or color of skin or national origin, then, ideally, the church will probably reflect the community it serves. If we are talking about pluralistic cultural diversity, that is another matter. Different elements of society, outside of those mentioned, have varying values, ethics, morals and divergent agendas that may run counter to the purposes of the church. In that case, the church should not reflect the community it is reaching out to influence. At some point the church has to identify and live out what “be ye separate” (II Corinthians 6:17) means.

The church is not designed to be a melting pot of values, ethics, morals, and beliefs. Some Christian denominations have decided that they must reflect their culture in every way in order to be effective in it. How is that working out for them? “A little leaven….”

Blandness has left the European Christian community as a tasteless concoction, impotent and fading. America may be following only a short distance behind. The suggestion of Jesus was that His people should affect the world in which it exists, make a difference, be a light, add a spice (Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 5:13,17).

The church has to be different in order to make a difference.

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O, the scourge of global warming!

Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTyoT0agyg4&feature=youtu.be

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“The Squad” strikes again

Led by the socialist squad of four women, 174 House of Representatives Democrats recently voted against an anti-terrorist and sexual predator amendment regarding employment by the TSA, the folks that screen air travelers. They mustn’t be unfair to the Harvey Weinsteins or the Muslim terrorists of the world when it comes to doling out taxpayer’s money. Right? This Marxist-leaning coalition is in the news daily leading the charge to turn America into a socialist state.

Where, oh where, have women like Phyllis Schlafly gone? If we must elect women to Congress, then elect some who love this country, who want to preserve personal and religious freedom, who want the Constitution upheld, and the rule of law to be honored.

We get what we elect, folks.

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Book review:

Seven things wimps won’t say

Hell? Yes!

By Robert Jeffress

Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1995; 23.95 (available at Amazon)

The author of this book is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, one of the largest in the nation, whose facilities cover several city blocks of downtown Dallas. Pastor Jeffress is an outspoken advocate of conservative political values as well as a proponent of biblical veracity. You have likely seen his face and heard his voice on social media. He is unapologetic about his traditionalist views on the Scriptures.

This book has seven chapters, the titles being seven things spiritual wimps likely won’t ever say. The chapters are:

  • Every Other Religion Is Wrong
  • God Is Ultimately Responsible for Suffering
  • God Sends Good People to Hell
  • Homosexuality Is a Perversion
  • Husbands Are to Be the Leaders of Their Families
  • Evolution Is a Myth
  • America Is a Christian Nation

How is that for a list that will wring cries of dismay from liberal preachers and left-wing media talking heads? Jeffress, however, is fearless. I recently attended a meeting where he was the speaker. He leaves no question in your mind as to where he stands. He quotes Scripture like barristers quote Blackstone. He is as pro-life as one can be. He has more to lose by standing strong on social isses than most pastors but is unfazed by media moguls or liberal professors. He appears to be a selfless individual. That is not judging the author’s standing with God, or judging him at all. The salvation gospel is what it is and always has been. This is just saying that the book is worth reading. It won’t waste your time.

A cautionary note: It is not a book for spiritual wimps.

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Important articles worth your time to read:

Why we are a Republic, not a Democracy

By Walter Williams

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/why-we-are-republic-not-democracy

Our culture degrades women by trying to make them men

By Annie Holmquist

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/our-culture-degrades-women-trying-make-them-men

Other interesting articles by Annie Holmquist:

Camille Paglia: Neo feminism teaching women to live in ‘a permanently juvenile condition’

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/camille-paglia-neo-feminism-teaching-women-live-permanently-juvenile-condition

Boys are Growing Frustrated by Living in a Feminized Society… and That’s Showing Up in Their Friendships

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/boys-are-growing-frustrated-living-feminized-society-and-thats-showing-their-friendship

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A story of selfless heroism

“I spit in the doctor’s face!”

Would it ever be right to spit in a doctor’s face? It happened…and it saved a man’s life! Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

One of our Texas heroes who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor was a man of physical and moral strength. His courage and selflessness deserved the honor bestowed upon him by the US President Ronald Reagan.

In the steamy jungles of South Vietnam was where it all happened. The inspiring story of Staff Sergeant Roy Benavidez is worth you time!

You can read the incredible story HERE, or watch a brief video HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B2w0abQazg  His heroic actions save the lives of at least eight men. His heroism saved others, but his spit saved his own life!

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Why?

If unvaccinated American kids aren’t allowed in public schools, why would we import millions of unvaccinated migrants?

Representative Maxine Waters wants open borders and the privilege to vote in U.S. elections for anyone who can get across the border. Yet she requires those attending her town hall meetings to show photo ID. How hypocritical is that? When she and Nancy Pelosi remove the locks from their gates and doors, then we should consider open borders.

A transgender activist who still has male genitalia is reportedly ‘shocked,’ ‘confused,’ and ‘hurt’ after being turned away by a gynecologist who told him, “You’re playing make believe. Real doctors don’t have time for that foolishness.” He had been to a salon seeking a bikini wax and they also turned him down.  Blaze, 12/3  Is there no end to this nonsense? (No pun intended.)

Leftists think injecting hormones into cattle is evil, but injecting kids with hormones to change their gender is just fine. Patriot Post

Why is it that the only two genders that have reportedly had covid-19 are male and female? Does that mean that the other 57 genders are immune?

Fact: 66.6% of presidents who have been impeached by the House were guilty of humiliating Hillary Clinton. – Mark Alexander

Eight sex offenders—three of which were convicted of raping children—have been released from a jail in New York as a part of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide initiative to decrease prison populations over fear of spreading the coronavirus. Were these prisoners the safest ones he could have turned loose on the public? Where has common sense gone?

Barack Obama has reportedly announced that he is no longer taking credit for the economy.

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It Happened In A House

A young African-American minister, William Seymour was attending a Christian training mission in Houston in 1905. In those meetings, he met Neely Terry, a young woman who was part of a group that founded a black church in Los Angeles affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. The group had been expelled from the Baptist church when they began teaching holiness and sanctification. She was impressed with Seymour’s sincerity and convinced her church leaders to invite him come to LA and minister in their church. He considered the invitation to be a call from God and arrived in California in February of 1906.

He was subsequently asked to preach in the church, which was led by Julia Hutchins. As yet he had not personally received the Holy Spirit and spoken with tongues, but was convinced that it was scriptural. When Seymour took the pulpit, he chose Acts 2:4 for his text. In the message he conveyed his conviction that “anyone who has not spoken in tongues does not have the Holy Spirit.” This did not set well with the more starchy Nazarene types, so they gave him the boot and actually padlocked the door of the church against his return. The more open-minded individuals in the congregation offered their homes to him for house meetings. One of these was the Asberry (or Asbury) family, living at 214 Bonnie Brae Street. That little house became the focal point of the Pentecostal outpouring, tagged by many as the initial thunderstorm of the biblical “latter rain.” Since the church was on “lockdown,” God moved the revival to a house!

It was in the house on Bonnie Brae St. that Seymour and others received the Holy Spirit. The prayer meetings held there were powerful. Soon hundreds were attracted to the meetings, filling the home and overflowing onto the porch and the yard. The porch actually collapsed under the weight of the crowd trying to participate in the prayer services. Police had to actually cordon off the street where the house was because of the crowds on foot, horseback and in carriages (traffic, if you will) trying to get to the house where God was moving. Even Julia Hutchins, the Nazarene leader who locked Seymour out of her church, received the Holy Spirit and ultimately became a missionary to Liberia.

The original Pentecostal outpouring occurred in an upper room in a house in Jerusalem: “It filled all the house were they sitting.” In America it also began in a humble house, not a church! When the house could no longer hold the crowds, another meeting place was sought. In April of 1906, they found an old warehouse at 312 Azusa Street in LA that had once been used as a stable and for a while as an AME church. There the Spirit fell in torrents during the next few years. People from many denominations came to the Azusa St. location and received the Holy Spirit and took the message of Acts 2 back to their communities. Missionaries from foreign lands came to see what was happening there, received their Pentecostal experience and returned to their fields with the power of the Spirit. Doubters and unbelievers said Pentecostal revival “will soon blow over.” It did…all over the world!

What can God do in our houses during the current quarantine? The Bible tells us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25), but while our churches are on temporary lockdown, God may have in mind another mighty Pentecostal revival in somebody’s house. Let it happen!

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As they say… 

So we should let the millennials install that system here?

A pox on the virus!

Common sense has a terminal virus:

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The last word

…and sane!

Published in: on April 1, 2020 at 2:10 AM  Leave a Comment  

JREnsey March Blog

Welcome to the JREnsey March 2020 blog with a focus on Galatians 3:28—What does this verse mean?

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The Word for Today

“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them” (Hebrews 13:4-8 NLT).

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Galatians 3:28—Does It Erase All Gender Distinctions?

J. R. Ensey

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (KJV).

Let’s go right to the heart of the matter: Does this verse establish an extreme theological view of individual equality that erases all gender distinctions and functions for Christian males and females? Egalitarians generally say yes[1]; complementarians say no.[2] Who is right?

Until a few decades ago, this verse did not seem to evoke such widespread ideological division. Commentators and Greek grammarians over the years broke it down for readers and pointed out its harmony with other scriptural passages.

Enter the women’s liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s. A rebellion—actually a revolution—occurred that turned Western culture on its ear. Women began to insist on full access to the workplaces traditionally staffed by men. Headscarves were traded for hard hats. Lesbian-led marches filled the streets while feminist articles filled the magazines. Their demands were soon heard in Congress and affirmed in the courts. Emboldened by the full support of the media and academia, they saw the opportunity to emasculate males and overturn what they viewed as a patriarchal society. The process would divide and re-shape much of American Christianity into a radical egalitarian movement. A minority of men got on the bandwagon with them right away. Others drew back when they saw the insurmountable problems that would ensue. The majority seemed to opt for silence and took a wait-and-see attitude. They got trampled in the melee.

Homelife deteriorated as women assumed masculine roles and attire while Hollywood and the media promoted the epicene Mr. Mom caricature. He was depicted in the kitchen wearing an apron, holding a vacuum cleaner in one hand and a diaper-clad baby in the other. In that scenario, the wife is seen walking out the door in a suit and tie carrying a briefcase.[3] One was made to wonder if the goal was equality or a total reversal of roles. The divorce rate rose exponentially. Households with single moms multiplied.

Confusion resulted. We sowed the wind and today we are reaping the whirlwind. Some teens now do not know whether they are male or female, perhaps even multi-gendered. They are presented with many choices by the change agents serving as editors in social media contexts. Homosexuality is rampant. Transgenderism is promoted in our schools with special protections from the courts. Ads across virtually all social media platforms feature feminine attire for men and masculine duds for women. The Bible is cast as an outdated patriarchal document written by and for an ancient generation, badly in need of reinterpretation. Magazine and news editors, as well as school teachers, are warned to use the proper personal pronouns for individuals they reference.[4] Patronization has reached the level of pure nonsense. Churches are urged to “catch up” with the culture and one denomination after the other has fallen in line with the terms of the feminist manifesto. To raise one’s voice today against this social and spiritual corruption earns a hate label. All of this has occurred in less than my own lifetime.

In the face of these facts, do we remain silent and retreat into a shell of self-preservation or stand up and be counted as Christians who will resist the imposition of anti-God and anti-Bible values on our children and grandchildren? Hard choices seem to be the only choices.

The purpose of this analysis

The primary focus of this article is to question the use of Galatians 3:28 to promote the current egalitarian agenda. It will not be an angst-free endeavor for I have deeply committed, knowledgeable friends who prefer to take another approach. This will be an honest “as I see it”[5] understanding of Paul’s statement.

“Progressive” Christian feminists who seem to be offended by Paul’s compelling and clear references supporting a complementarian view of the family and church expand the parameters of this verse to comply with their predilections. Some appear to be annoyed with God Himself for including verses in the Bible that do not affirm their chosen perspective. Others argue that this verse should be a “‘window’ text through which to adjudicate other Pauline texts.”[6] In other words, all other biblical texts of Paul should bow to the egalitarian interpretation of this one, basically encouraging us to ignore those texts. Is that reasonable? Is it theologically sound?

To support the increasingly popular views mentioned above, some overlay the Bible with a feminist hermeneutic, using Galatians 3:28 as a linchpin. There is a tendency to strip away the context, allowing the verse to become a stand alone theology, totally separate and apart from the remainder of Scripture. Comprehension and clarity are clouded when it is removed from its context (chapters 3 and 4), inviting misunderstanding.[7]

What is the apostle really saying in this verse? Isn’t he urging the Galatians to ignore the Judaizers who want them to continue certain practices of the law in order to be saved (Galatians 2:4,5)? Isn’t the apostle making it clear to the new Christians in Galatia, particularly targeting the Jewish converts, that in Christ there are no value distinctions between believers, that no one is either superior or inferior because of his or her station in life, that when determining whether one is a child of Abraham by faith, neither gender, race nor social class are relevant? The ground is level at the foot of the cross. Positionally in Christ we are all equals having identical worth, dignity and value, regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, skin color, whether free or in bondage. This view of the body of Christ is made clear in the preceding verses (26,27). This statement attacked any effort by the Judaizers’ to marginalize women or any other social group.[8] Functionally, however, we are still obligated to the guidelines that Scripture provides for us as individuals and families (Ephesians 5:22-30; I Peter 3:1-8; Titus 2:1-9; I Timothy 2:1-15; 3:1-13; et al).[9]

In Romans 4:25-5:2, Paul again describes the Christian’s position in Christ: “[Jesus] was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” The universality of this position for all Christians is also laid out in the verses preceding and following Galatians 3:28. Many other passages describe our position is Christ, yet not overlooking the varying functions with qualifications in the practice of both home and church life (Ephesians 5:22-25; I Timothy 2:9-15; I Corinthians 11:2-16;14:34,35; I Peter 3:1-7; et al).

According to author S. Lewis Johnson, “There is no reason to claim that Galatians 3:28 supports an egalitarianism of function in the church. [although] It does plainly teach an egalitarianism of privilege in the covenantal union of believers in Christ.”[10] (Italics mine) James B. Hurley agrees: “Our study of the context of Galatians 3:28 has shown that Paul was not reflecting upon relations within the body of Christ when he had the text penned. He was thinking about the basis of membership in the body of Christ. This means that it is an error to say that ‘all one’ in Christ means that there are no distinctions within the body.”[11]

Believers are not neutered by conversion or the facts stated in Galatians 3:28. Although one is “in Christ” after conversion, the apostle states that wives still have to submit to their husbands and husbands have to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Men are still men and women are still women. Christianity has not created a gender-free, androgynous society, changing all patterns of home and public life in place since the reckoning of time. Also, if believers were slaves when they were converted, Paul wasn’t saying they are now free to walk away but are still bound to their owners/masters. In fact, slaves were given instructions elsewhere for their appropriate behavior (Ephesians 6:5-9; I Peter 2:18-25). Children were still to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). Neither Christ nor Paul expressed a purpose to overturn all universal laws and practices arising out of biblical principles.

In other words, Galatians 3:28 was not a release from all obligations having to do with gender distinctions or stations in life. Paul did not negate the creation model to which he repeatedly appealed to establish practices and behaviors. Again, former positions and dissimilarities were still in place after commitment to Christ—slaves were still slaves, children didn’t become self-disciplining adults via conversion, and wives still have to yield ultimate authority to their husbands who are mandated to love them as Christ loves the church. There is no place in Scripture that cancels those conditions.

The context of Galatians 3:28 makes abundantly clear the sense in which men and women are equal in Christ: they are “equally justified by faith (v. 24), equally free from the bondage of legalism (v. 25), equally children of God (v. 26), equally clothed with Christ (v. 27), equally possessed by Christ (v. 29), and equally heirs of the promises to Abraham (v. 29).  …Galatians 3:28 does not abolish gender-based roles established by God.”[12] Paul affirms the oneness of males and females in Christ, but he does not claim that maleness and femaleness are irrelevant in every respect (Romans 1:21-32; I Corinthians 7; 11:1-15; 14:34,35; I Timothy 2:8-16; Titus 1:5-7; 2:1-10; I Peter 3:1-7).

By expanding a text to conform to current political correctness, we could end up in the same quagmire as our Christless culture. Nuancing and dissecting this verse to support an agenda generated extra-biblically could lead to divisions and misunderstandings in virtually every human relationship.

One in Christ

The “oneness” of which Paul speaks in this verse is the foundation of his position. The whole is highlighted in contrast to its several parts. He made similar observations in his letters to the churches at Corinth (I Corinthians 12:13) and Colosse (Colossians 3:11). He identifies six different groups he says are “one in Christ”: Jews, Greeks, slaves, free, males, and females. How can all of this diversity—slaves and masters, males and females, parents and children, circumcised and uncircumcised, Sythian and barbarian, bond or free—achieve a oneness? It occurs when they come “into Christ” (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3) and are joined together with those of “like precious faith” (II Peter 1:1). All are “one in Christ” and have taken His name, but that does not change a Jew into a Greek, a circumcised male into one uncircumcised, or a slave into a freedman, or a female into a male, automatically altering human associations and particular responsibilities. Former relationships, as Paul points out in many places, are still in order. All Christian converts are placed into “one body” (I Corinthians 12:12) but the body has members with different functions. God and Christ are “one” (John 10:30), yet the Father (the “one Spirit” of Deity; Ephesians 4:4) and the Son (read “flesh”; Hebrews 5:7) perform different functions and roles.

Being one in Christ does not mean that everyone has the same authority, exercises the same responsibilities, performs the same functions, or possesses the same giftings for service. There is no suggestion of interchangeability of roles and responsibilities in v. 28. Paul’s affirmation of oneness in Christ is not a call for total irrelevance of gender in every sense of the word.[13] It does not follow that equality in some respects entails equality in all respects. The topic is less broad than many egalitarians are willing to concede.

The apostle adds this in Romans 12:5: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us….” All Christian converts are placed into “one body” having different members (I Corinthians 12:12) that are assigned varying responsibilities and functions—that seems to be the background and application of the Galatians 3:28 principle.

The source of Paul’s writings

Egalitarians appeal to the concept that Paul was stuck in a patriarchal Jewish mindset that was in vogue then, creating an attitude that resulted in his complementarian statements elsewhere in the New Testament, which have no relevance to today’s Christians. That was then; this is now, and his way is not applicable today. Such an approach suggests that we toss the Bible—or at least reinterpret it—giving ear to the culture for guidance in matters pertaining to home and church.

Paul’s writings, however, transcended cultural or legal mandates. He clearly stated where he got his material: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (I Corinthians 14:37).[14] Committed Christians are guided by God’s decrees and not by cultural philosophies and edicts.

The other apostles did not correct Paul or add a new dimension to his teaching to accommodate present or future emerging social philosophies. Agreement among NT writers on this issue is evident. Also, early Protestant leaders did not attempt to reform every aspect of civil governments, including slavery, children’s rights, or the function of women in the church and the home. The KJV translators obviously saw it Paul’s way. The vast majority of the well-known ministers, Bible commentators, authors and Christian leaders of the last 300 years subscribed to these apostolic tenets. While that in itself doesn’t authenticate a particular view, it does suggest that the egalitarian cloak thrown over this verse is relatively new and is not generally considered to be in line with the thrust of this or other passages dealing with the topic. Although some Bible translators have surrendered to feminist pressure, many of the major contemporary translations give little ground beyond turning “brethren” into “brothers and sisters” in places. Scriptural interpretation should be based on that old golden rule of hermeneutics: “When the sense of the Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense.”

We see an abundance of nonsense in the current political scene. Some radical feminists (both male and female) are suing public servants for using traditional pronouns when referring to others. The “he” one is addressing might prefer the pronoun “she” or one of fifty other designations. The leading female candidate for president of the USA has gone to great lengths to court LGBTQ support. She has, for example, emphasized the need to allow inmates to be held in prison based on their chosen gender identity rather than their biological sex. She promises to name women and non-binary individuals to at least half of her cabinet positions. Also, she has found a transgender child, Jacob Lemay, age 9, whom she says must personally approve of her choice as Secretary of Education.[15] There seems to be no stopping place when one pitches his or her tent toward Sodom.

Conclusion

Having some truth does not necessarily mean that one has all truth. There may be some mutual ground for complementarians and egalitarians. For example, both believe in equality, but the scriptural dimensions of that equality need discussion and agreement. Pressure from the current culture seems to have expanded those dimensions until agreement may be difficult but not unachievable. We must always go back to the Bible with a goal of objectivity to find a position closest to the truth. Conformity to apostolic doctrines and less diversity in practice will generate more conversions to absolute truth. Accommodation to political correctness is not the path to real and lasting revival—it is the road to compromise and spiritual declension.

 

Endnotes

[1] Douglas J. Moo states, “It is easy to quote the saying in this verse as a slogan that proclaims the erasure of any distinctions within the Christian community” in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Galatians (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2013), p. 254. This statement is based on the written record, including the following references: Paul King Jewett, known as a “biblical” feminist, calls Galatians 3:28 the “Magna Carta of Humanity” in Man As Male and Female: A Study in Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point of View (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 142; Klyne Snodgrass calls it “the most socially explosive statement in the New Testament” in “Galatians 3:28: Conundrum or Solution?” in Men, Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), p. 161. Ronald and Beverly Allen call it “the feminist credo of equality” in Liberated Traditionalism: Men and Women in Balance (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1985), p. 134; Mary Hayter refers to it as “a crux” and ‘the locus classicus’ for biblical feminists” in The New Eve in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), p. 134.
[2] Complementarianism is a theological view that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, and religious leadership. (Wikipedia) Complementarians would include authors like Wayne House, Wayne Grudem, Abigail Dodds, Denny Burk, John Piper, to name a few, some of whom will be referenced in this paper.
[3] Some questioned the wisdom of the UPCI for taking a stand against movies and television (recommendations to avoid them are still in the Manual), but it was easy to see the negative influence they were having on family life. They recognized that these media outlets promoted, and still do, everything the Bible opposes as sin and ungodliness, including biblical family life. Nations, as well as individuals and families, reap what they sow.
[4] Apparently God is undergoing a sex change, according to some women’s groups, or is at least taking hormone treatments. Some feminists have begun using “her” as an acceptable pronoun for God as part of the process being called “the feminization of God.” Taking God’s “feminine side,” as extremists call it, as an example, men are encouraged to “get in touch with their feminine side.” Where will this lead?
[5] In addition to many other authors and commentators, some of whom are quoted herein.
[6] David M. Scholer, “Galatians 3:28 and the Ministry of Women in the Church,” in Theology, News and Notes (Pasadena, Calif.: Fuller Theological Seminary, June 1998), 20.
[7] As is often said, “A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext.”
[8] Ancient Jewish morning prayers for men included thanks to God for not being “a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.”
[9] Someone put it this way: “It’s important to note that this teaching is not based on the current climate of the culture. It is not liberal, conservative, or political. It is the direct result of the gospel. It is not a statement about the various roles any Christian may be called to fill in this life or the honor we may or may not be given on this side of eternity. It is a statement about our equal value in the eyes of God, and how we should learn to view each other. Since all Christians are in Christ, all of us are one.” http://www.bibleref.com/Galatians/3/Galatians-3-28.html#verse.
[10] S. Lewis Johnson, “Role Distinctions in the Church,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1991), 164. James B. Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1981), 127, italics his.
[11] James B. Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1981), 127.
[12] John Piper and Wayne Grudem, “An Overview of Central Concerns: Questions and Answers,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 71-72.
[13] “If one were to draw such a conclusion, then Paul would not object to homosexuality, but it is clear that he thinks homosexuality is sinful (Rom 1:26 – 27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10).  In the same way, the equality of men and women in Christ does not cancel out, in Paul’s mind, the distinct roles of men and women in marriage (Eph 5:22–33; Col 3:18–19; Titus 2:4–5) or in ministry contexts (1 Cor. 11:2–16; 14:33–36; 1 Tim 2:9–15).” (Thomas Schreiner, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary; Galatians)
[14] Once, when he digressed from that source regarding some interpersonal relationships and slavery, he acknowledged that it was his personal judgment and not the Lord’s commandment (I Corinthians 7:6, 25). Otherwise his writings were God’s requirements.
[15] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/30/elizabeth-warren-vows-transgender-child-must-appro/. Is this the vision some have of our country—a nation led by women and children?

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Pete Buttigieg: “I’m Not Going To Take Lectures On Family Values From The Likes Of Rush Limbaugh”

Former South Bend Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg responded recently to comments from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh about him kissing his “husband” in public, saying he won’t take advice from Mr. Limbaugh on family values. “I love my husband. I’m faithful to my husband,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “I’m not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.”

One wonders just who has been giving him lessons on family values. Since [he] is a wife, and has a husband, would he really be the first female U.S. President? More confusion on the horizon.

He also expressed that “so much depends on how we make ourselves useful to those who are marginalized and oppressed.” That would be his guiding philosophy and primary objective if he is elected. If his type or a woman is elected to the presidency, we will hear “poor babies” for every far out liberal idee fixe in the book, both in America and around the world.

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No place to stop

Elizabeth Warren promises that one half her cabinet will be women, including non-binary individuals (transgenders, multi-gendered, asexuals, whatever), and now she says a transgender boy age 9 will have to give his approval for whoever she selects as Secretary of Education. Going even farther to court LGBTQ support in the Democratic primary, she has, for example, emphasized the need to allow inmates to be held in prison based on their chosen gender identity, rather than their biological sex. Now how do you think such a law might be interpreted by liberal judges in the future? Don’t even think about it.

Angel Alicea, a Democrat field organizer for Elizabeth Warren, is referencing a relatively recent emphasis on the use of people’s chosen pronouns, rather than assuming the pronoun of their biological gender. “Where I come from, no one cares about a pronoun. They want to know how you’re gonna create a job” (expletives deleted). I think he agrees with James Carville and me that there seems to be no rest stops or exits on the roads to anarchy, socialism or Sodom.

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Samson: “Which way went [common sense] from me?”

Bleeding hearts in New York recently enacted the “Green Light Law,” which gives illegal aliens access to drivers’ licenses—but also blocks federal agencies like ICE and CPB from accessing the state’s DMV records without a court order—was the tipping point. In a letter provided to state officials, Wolf noted the law “compromises CPB’s ability to confirm whether an individual applying to TTP membership meets the program’s eligibility requirement.”

Why is that important? “In New York alone, last year ICE arrested 149 child predators, identified or rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrested 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids,” Wolf added. “In the vast majority of these cases, ICE relied on New York DMV records to fulfill its mission.”

And that was before the law took effect in December, precipitating a surge of illegals rushing to New York DMVs to obtain their new identification, using foreign documents such as passports or a driver’s license to get it.

What is going on in our east and west coast states?

Even the blind Samson knew when it was time to drain the swamp and topple the temples of the idolaters!

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Memes I couldn’t pass up

If Joe Biden knows how to fix America, why didn’t he tell Obama?

Elizabeth Warren credits “her people” (the Chiefs) with winning the Super Bowl.

Abortion is “health care,” cry the feminists! But wait, true health care doesn’t kill people!

If you were to kill kids and keep them in the fridge, you’d be Jeffrey Dahmer. When Planned Parenthood does it, its “health care” and “empowers women.”

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The last word:

Apostolics have a voice. It is time to let the world hear it!

Hurry, November!

JREnsey

PS – Share this blog with someone you care about. Encourage them to subscribe to the notification list.

Published in: on March 1, 2020 at 2:22 AM  Comments (3)  

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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