In 1989, according to Pew Research Center, approximately 4% of stay-at-home parents were dads who cared for the children and sent their wives off to earn the living for the family. Today, that number stands at 7%. While that may say much about our confusion as a society—the radical feminist will not be satisfied until the ratio of stay-at-home parents is 50/50 across gender lines.
From the beginning God has designed specific roles and responsibilities for men and women in spheres of society, the home, and the church (Gen. 2:18—helper). God placed a specific calling upon men to be workers. Although the immature man views work as an unfortunate distraction to his play—work was never the problem from the beginning. Work, far from a result of the curse, was God’s original design for men. If anything—a lack of moderation in recreation will prove to be a distraction to work.
Not only has today’s society at large lost its moral compass when it comes to the roles and responsibilities of men and women—the church today is likewise struggling to understand these vitally important issues as well. The desire for women to lead men (the egalitarian view) is not a new development.  Such role dysphoria originated in the very first sin in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3) and the subsequent curse of the entire world has brought a multiplicity of egalitarian, feminist, and humanist positions that seek to dismantle God’s original design for men and women—boys and girls.
Male headship and biblical submission have been under attack from the very beginning—and that certainly hasn’t changed to this very day. The curse led women to have a desire to rule over their husband and it likewise led the husband to have a sinful desire to dominate his wife. Both are the unbiblical fruit of a broken world where women are abused on a multiplicity of levels.
Male Headship Protects Women from Physical Abuse
The apex of God’s creation was not the majestic mountain ranges of this world nor was it the beauty of star clusters that sparkle in the night’s sky. The crowning jewel of God’s creation was humanity—as God created both male and female (Gen. 1:27). As image bearers—both men and women possess the same amount of the image of God and are created equal in dignity and value of personhood. However, it’s clear from the beginning that God has different roles and responsibilities for men and women. That is God’s creative design—not the bad fruit of the curse of sin (Rom. 5:12).
Our culture loves to abuse women. Our culture loves to abuse women because Satan loves the abuse of women (visible in his attack upon Eve in the Garden). Often, it’s those who promote themselves as advocates for women who lead in the abuse. Feminists do more harm to women than good. Feminists lead in the murder of hundreds of thousands of little baby girls every year through the promotion of abortion.
Feminists likewise promote a militant homosexual agenda that ruins women’s athletic competitions and subjects women to physical brutality. Not only do transgender women (aka – men who are pretending to be women) dominate women in Track & Field competitions, but they likewise brutally defeat women in MMA contests. The fact that we have women entering MMA rings to fight in the first place, is itself a sign of a culture that celebrates the abuse of women.
Fallon Fox (a man who went through gender reassignment surgery to become a woman) entered the MMA ring to fight Tamika Brents. In the first round, Fallon (a man who is pretending to be a woman) brutally knocked out Tamika. It was bloody and brutal. It left Brents with a concussion and a broken skull. In an interview, Tamika Brents stated the following:
I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right… I still disagree with Fox fighting. Any other job or career I say have a go at it, but when it comes to a combat sport I think it just isn’t fair. 
In the United States, we’re debating the issue of drafting women into military combat situations as a result of a federal court’s ruling in Texas, stating that a male only registration for the draft is unconstitutional. Yet, we pride ourselves as a nation in pursuing women’s equality—but does such role equality lead to the abuse of women? To ignore the roles and responsibilities that God has designed for men and women in the culture, the church, and the home is to dishonor God and abuse women.
Male headship is God’s design. Male headship is nothing to blush about. As a part of his creative genius—God designed for men to be the physical leaders. This means, in the home and society, male headship should bring about the protection of women rather than abuse. It’s not the headship role that abuses women, it’s the abuse of the headship role that leads to the abuse of women. Just as guns don’t kill people—people kill people. The same is true regarding God’s design for male headship.
When men lead properly, it will result in the protection of women. For instance, in the home, when a man hears a sound in the middle of the night in the basement—it could be a result of a home invasion or it could be something as simple as the cat knocking over a paint can on the storage shelf. Leadership requires that he gets out of bed to go and check it out. He doesn’t send his wife downstairs to protect him and their children. When it comes to providing for the physical needs of their home, the husband doesn’t send his wife onto the roof to fix the leak when a roofing shingle fails. Men are called to be leaders and this results in the protection of women rather than their abuse.
Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” The ultimate example for husbands to follow is Christ. It was Christ who laid down his life for the church. The husband is called to lead with such sacrificial leadership that if necessary—he would lay down his life for his wife. This loving and self-sacrificing leadership results in the protection of women. Women benefit greatly when men act like men.
Christian men must not use their role as the leader to physically abuse their wives. Such abuse must not be tolerated among the household of faith. Loving church discipline must be engaged in the situations where abuse is discovered within the church and men who abuse their wives and refuse to repent must be excommunicated from the church—and where laws are violated the proper authorities must be engaged. Christians must never tolerate the abuse of women.
Male Headship Protects Women from Spiritual Abuse
Male headship serves to protect women from spiritual abuse on two different levels. First, in the home, the husband who leads his wife as God has designed, will see to it that his wife Is not subjected to spiritual abuse. In short, he will lead his wife theologically. Such leadership takes the choosing of a church and Bible study consumption seriously. Far too often, men sit back without the slightest clue as to what is being taught in women’s Bible study circles which is often filled with aberrant theology and mysticism—even among conservative churches. Faithful headship should see the danger of pornography and unbiblical Bible studies. The husband serves as the gatekeeper to the home. In short, the Christian husband should know the difference between Sarah Young and Elizabeth Elliot. He should likewise be able to say no to Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling while at the same time leading his wife to trustworthy sources like Becoming a Titus 2 Woman by Martha Peace. It is the duty of the Christian husband to possess theological awareness and to lead his wife spiritually.
Biblical male headship within the offices of the church serves to protect women from spiritual abuse as well. While there is an ongoing debate on egalitarian and complementarian lines within evangelical circles—God has made it clear that he has called for men to lead in the context of the church. Not only should women not be elders, they should not teach or exercise authority over men. That involves both the office and function of the office (preaching and teaching the Word of God). Tom Schreiner, in a recent Twitter thread said the following:
But if Paul disallows the function and the office, his view says something about what it means to be a man and a woman. His view on men and women isn’t nominalism; it accords with the created order.
As elders lead in the context of the church—it provides an atmosphere that doesn’t allow for deficient theology among women’s Bible study groups or the physical abuse of women by sinful husbands. Not only will faithful elders who take male headship seriously rightly handle God’s Word—when necessary they will look into the eyes of abusive husbands and biblically reprove and correct them—and when necessary excommunicate them. Male leaders serve to protect women and the church should be a place where biblical manhood and womanhood flourish for the glory of God.
When Paul laid out the biblical boundaries for women regarding teaching and authority in the local church (see 1 Tim. 2:12-13), he had more than preaching sermons in mind. It was the total care of the church—including both physical and spiritual protection of men and women, boys and girls. Male headship serves the church spiritually which flows into the every corner and avenue of life—physically, emotionally, professionally, and more. Without the steady anchor of male headship—not only will the spiritual life of the church suffer—but it will open the doors of the church to the feminist agenda which always leads to the abuse of women.
When the church goes through a role dysphoria—it opens offices and pulpits to women who cannot functionally nor biblically fulfill the role of pastor as God designed. Such a dysphoria leads to dysfunction and eventual death. Just because a church has members doesn’t mean it has life nor does it mean that it has the blessings of God upon it.
Local churches make up denominations. From the spring of local churches flow educational institutions (Bible colleges and seminaries). From educational institutions come local church pastors. This cycle must not be overlooked. The egalitarian ideas and methodologies that are being promoted through a militant social justice agenda are dangerous. Such views must be exposed by the bright light of Scripture and avoided for the glory of God and the good of our churches and denominations.
- Egalitarianism — The opposite of complementarianism. The egalitarianism view suggests that God created both male and female equal in personhood and dignity as image bearers. As a result of this equality—there should be zero role and responsibility distinctions that prevent women from doing anything men do in society, the church, and the home.
- Fallon Fox is a MMA athlete who identifies as a woman. See the details of the brutal TKO of Tamika Brents here.
Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching Romans 8:26-27 as we continue to walk through the eighth chapter of Romans. The text is centered upon the subject of prayer and Paul explains how the Spirit of God helps us in our weakness.
Prayer is one of those subjects that goes unaddressed by many pastors and consequentially it becomes ignored by many believers. Bad habits often continue on from a child through adulthood without being corrected. This can lead to severe problems regarding the spiritual walk of a believer along with an ongoing pattern that’s passed on from one generation to another.
Consider the prayer life of James, the half brother of Jesus. He became a follower of Christ after Jesus’ resurrection and rose to the leadership role of the church in Jerusalem. He was martyred for his faith in Christ, yet, what we often don’t hear about James is that he was a prayer warrior. He was known by many as “camel knees” since he spent so much time on his knees they were rough and tough like that of an old camel.
Another man that we learn a great lesson from in church history is George Muller. He loved the orphans and cared for thousands of them during his lifetime—however, it was his relentless prayer life that propelled his ministry forward. George Muller once said, “I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.”
According to Romans 8:26, we are weak. Often we pride ourselves in our strength or we live life remembering how strong we once were in the past. We think that if we really worked hard, we could get back to that level again when in all reality it’s simply not possible. Perhaps you remember the days when you once lifted weights or competed in various athletic disciplines. To decline physically is considered normal, but it’s the exact opposite spiritually. So, why do we think about our Christian life in the same way? We think about how we once memorized verses of Scripture, searched the pages of the Bible soaking up the doctrine, and longed to pray to the Lord. But, over time that pattern declined and today your spiritual life parallels your physical life – both are in a state of decline.
According to Paul we are weak and stand in need of the help of the Spirit of God. When we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit of God helps us! This is one of the unique roles of the Spirit of God—as helper he brings us to a place of prayer and encourages us to remain steadfast in the faith during seasons of difficulty and challenging trials. Leon Morris observes, “It is not only that we do not pray very well; it is also the case that, while we often think we know what we need, we are not always good judges of that either.” 
The Spirit of God not only helps us in our weakness, but he intercedes for us in prayer. In other words, the Spirit of God prays for God’s children. When we read the Bible, we find that Paul and Moses struggled in prayer at times, so none of us can pray a perfect prayer. However, the Spirit of God prays with perfection. The third person of the Trinity praying to the first person of the Trinity without the slightest error or sinful motive. This should be of great joy to our hearts. John Knox once said, “Our needs go far beyond the power of our speech to express them.”
Paul says the Spirit groans in our hearts. John Murray explains that the groanings “are the intercessions of the Spirit and the groanings are but the way in which these intercessions are registered in the hearts of God’s children.”  As the Father searches the heart (vs. 27), he receives the prayers of the Spirit that are registered in our hearts. The Spirit of God knows what we need and he likewise prays in complete union with the Father.
When we pray, we often conclude our prayers by saying, “if it be your will.” The Spirit of God has no need to conclude his prayers in such manner. He prays in complete unity with the Father and knows the will of the Father before he prays. In other words, the Spirit prays in complete perfection unlike us in our weakness.
Life magazine photographer, Cornell Capa, once asked Elisabeth Elliot if she was fearful to go live with the Aucas after they had killed Jim. The photographer was asking her if she was concerned that God would not answer her prayer for safety since he didn’t answer her prayer for Jim’s safety. Her answer came back without hesitation: “I prayed for the protection of Jim, that is, physical protection. The answer the Lord gave transcended what I had in mind. He gave protection from disobedience and through Jim’s death accomplished results the magnitude of which only Eternity can show.”
Remember in your weakness to have confidence that the Spirit of God is near and he will help you to pray. Whatever you do—don’t neglect your prayer life.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 – pray without ceasing.
- Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), 327.
- John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, vol. 1, The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968), 312.
Congratulations on your recent graduation. You have put in long hours, hard work, and now you find yourself on the precipice of a summer of fun as you look forward to the next step toward adulthood (and not to spoil your fun this summer, but adulting is hard work too).
As you make your plans for the next step in your journey of life, pause for a moment and consider the words of a wise man who once said these words:
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent (Proverbs 1:8–10).
Whatever you have planned for the future, remember the words of Solomon. In his own words, he had walked down the pathway of rebellion in this world and tasted of sin. In his own words it was “vanity of vanities” and a wasted life (Ecc. 1).
Over the course of your life, you’ve been warned, lectured, taught, prayed over, counseled, disciplined, and given directions by your mother and father. Don’t despise your training in righteousness—it was and remains for your good.
When you cross paths with people who lack restraint and love rebellion remember your father’s instruction. When you find yourself being tempted to sin and to rebel against your God, remember your mother’s teaching. The season of instruction, teaching, and many prayers around the supper table were not just for formality. They were to prepare you for the season you find yourself entering now. The time spent in the living room reading the Bible was not just to keep you from your video games or your text conversations with your friends. It had a purpose and that purpose was to prepare you for today.
Today you are preparing to leave home. You’re preparing to take the next steps in life and that can be quite intimidating at times. Never forsake the Word of God that was taught to you and that has the ability not only to convert your soul but to lead you and guide you down the path of righteousness (Ps. 119:105; 2 Tim. 3:14-17).
Soon enough you will find yourself crossing paths with a specific crowd of people who love sin and walk down the pathway of rebellion (Prov. 5). They might invite you to join their party. As you evaluate them closely, you will not find the graceful garland or pendants upon them that are marks of God’s Word and the faithful instruction of parents who have loved them and spent time with them in the sacred Scriptures. You should be able to spot such temptation by now. It should appear as bright as a red barn in a massive lush green field. Stand firm (Eph. 6:10-18).
Make sure that you follow the path of righteousness and that you keep your eye on the end goal as you journey on in the faith. Don’t be enticed by the trappings of Vanity Fair—be like Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress who was fixed on the exit to the wicked city when he entered.
According to statistics—most teenagers leave their church when they leave their parent’s home. Sure they return to visit mom and dad, but they leave church behind. Don’t make that mistake. Remember that the church is God’s will for your life. It does not matter what your plans are from this point forward—keep the local church at the center of your life. No small group Bible study or YouTube playlist can suffice. You need the church (Eph. 4:11-16). You need pastors who will love you and shepherd your soul. Don’t despise their authority (Heb. 13:17). All of those Sunday mornings, evening services, and midweek prayer meetings were not so that you could have more friends or keep membership in a religious club. It was for the good of your soul. You didn’t memorize Bible verses to earn patches on a vest. It was to prepare you for today.
Remember your father’s instruction and your mother’s teaching did not originate with them (2 Tim. 3:16). The wisdom they shared with you and the counsel they provided you through the years came from God’s Word. Keep a warm heart and committed focus upon the Scriptures. It was Jonathan Edwards, who at a young age, penned these words in his list of Resolutions:
Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
You might have gone through a season where you thought you knew more than your parents—but soon enough that season will come to an abrupt close. When you soon juggle insurance, mortgage payments, tax deadlines, maintenance on your home and vehicle, balancing your checkbook, and a hundred other things your parents do each day—your respect level will grow for them for sure. However, in all of your getting in life—get wisdom and instruction from the Lord.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, Get insight (Proverbs 4:7).
Remember your parents. They love you.
Remember your Lord—He has loved you with a love that is unbelievable.
Remember you need the church.
Remember to not waste your life.
Remember to do everything for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)!
Remember to love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)!
When Molly Marshall served as the associate dean of the school of theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky she held to unbiblical positions that transcended to a far higher level than her egalitarianism. Upon being forced to resign due to her theological liberalism that contradicted the Bible and the governing documents of the institution, at a candlelight vigil on April 18th 1995, Molly Marshall stated, “The school of theology is without a tenured woman and probably will be as long as the misogynistic forces are unabated.” While we’ve come so far within the SBC, for many, we’ve been moving in the wrong direction. According to Beth Moore:
I am compelled to my bones by the Holy Spirit – I don’t want to be but I am -to draw attention to the sexism & misogyny that is rampant in segments of the SBC, cloaked by piety & bearing the stench of hypocrisy. There are countless godly conservative complementarians. So many.
This is one statement in her long Twitter response to Owen Strachan’s recent article “Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching” where he pointed to God’s divine hierarchy rooted in creation and connected to the design of the hierarchy established in God’s church.
In May of 2016, I penned an article titled, “Why Your Pastor Should Say ‘No More’ to Beth Moore” where I communicated several concerns that should be taken seriously regarding Beth Moore’s ministry. Today, I’m publishing a sequel to that article that focuses on why the Southern Baptist Convention should cease partnership with Beth Moore’s ministry on any official level—which would include the ERLC, LifeWay, and local churches who make up the SBC. As I begin, I want to be clear that this is not intended to be a hit piece on Beth Moore personally. I’m sure she’s a great mother, wife, and friend to many people, but her ministry, beliefs, and ideas are problematic and must not be overlooked.
The SBC and Doctrinal Fidelity
Years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention took a plunge into the abyss of liberal theology. During those days, professors were teaching post-mortem salvation opportunities at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The story of the SBC is one that is quite shocking and a testimony of God’s sovereign mercy. No denomination has ever returned from the abyss of liberal theology with a bright resurgence like the SBC. The story of the Conservative Resurgence (although not without imperfection) is something that all Southern Baptist churches should not forget.
While the SBC has certainly been rescued from theological liberalism—at some point the SBC has become a slave to pragmatism. Sadly, whatever works often trumps what the Bible actually says. This leads people, institutions, and entire denominations away from doctrinal purity. Over time, the SBC learned that a partnership with Beth Moore would be a good decision both pragmatically (due to her popularity among women) and financially (primarily through LifeWay). No amount of financial benefit should warrant a blind eye to Beth Moore’s theological deficiencies.
Charismatic Associations and Gifts
Beth Moore has become more visibly aligned with groups of people who do not align with the convictions and theological positions of the SBC. For instance, in early 2017, Beth Moore was the keynote preacher at a large charismatic conference where she said, “We are settling for woefully less than what Jesus promised us,” She went on to say, “I read my New Testament over and over. I’m not seeing what He [Jesus] promised. I’m unsettled and unsatisfied.” She likewise communicated, “I want holy fire!” The evening ended with many pastors and conference attendees running to the altar where they laid prostrate on the floor weeping and praying for more than an hour. While that may be a mild example, she has likewise appeared on TBN with Joyce Meyer and worshipped in Joel Osteen’s church. The apostle Paul stated plainly that we were to warn the church and avoid those who cause division (Rom. 16:17). Beth Moore chooses to partner with heretics which is a problem the SBC should avoid.
According to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, the SBC embraces a clear teaching of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. According to Article IV. B., “Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.” That is not the position of the Roman Catholic Church which has been denying the material principle of the Reformation (justification by faith alone) for centuries. According to the RCC:
If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).
Within her teaching ministry, Beth Moore has referred to Roman Catholics as her “brothers and sisters” in Christ. In one video from 2002, Beth Moore stated that God gave her a vision of the unity that God was building among various denominations in which she included both Catholics and charismatics. This ecumenical view of other faiths is problematic and weakens the SBC as a whole. As the SBC looks into the future, it should be obvious that a clear stance on justification by faith alone must be embraced, guarded, and proclaimed. Not only should the SBC be clear on justification, but other doctrinal distinctives must be maintained as well. Unfortunately, many people view distinctives as restrictive or even judgmental in nature. This negative view of doctrinal clarity often leads to the capitulation of God’s Word. Is the SBC interested in remaining in a specific theological lane or is the Convention interested in moving toward a more broad or mainstream protestant position?
The SBC and Women Preachers
When Molly Marshall was serving as a pastor of a local Baptist church, she recounts an incident when the little boys and girls in the church had a disagreement during children’s church. The disagreement was over whether or not little boys could be the preacher when they were “playing church”—to which a children’s worker had to correct the little girls by telling them that the little boys can be preachers too. Molly Marshall stated that the little girls had witnessed her as their example and this was key to their development which is why Marshall believes we develop a specific worldview and read the Bible through that particular lens regarding the roles and responsibilities of women within the church.
In 2017 Barna Research Group pointed out that there was a rise in the number of women pastors. According to their study, “One of every 11 Protestant pastors is a woman—triple as many as 25 years ago.” In a new statistical analysis, “State of Clergywomen in the U.S.: A Statistical Update” the numbers indicate that within “most Mainline denominations, the percentage of clergywomen has doubled or tripled since 1994.”
Dr. Albert Mohler who serves as the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has recently weighed in on this issue of complementarianism in an answer to a question during an “Ask Anything” podcast where he stated the following:
If you look at the denominations where women do the preaching, they are also the denominations where people do the leaving. I think there’s just something about the order of creation that means that God intends for the preaching voice to be a male voice.
While the mainline protestant denominations continue to shift toward an egalitarian position, this movement demonstrates an uptick across the board. When adding totals from American Baptist Churches USA, Disciples of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and United Methodist denominations, the numbers indicate 32 percent of clergy from those denominations in 2017. Compare the most recent percentage total (32%) with numbers from 1994 (15%) and 1977 (2.3%) and the trend is easy to follow. The numbers reveal an explosive growth of women serving in the office of pastor.
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, Beth Moore became the focus of many conversations within the Southern Baptist Convention mostly because of her article titled, “A Letter to My Brothers” which was written a few weeks before the SBC gathered in Dallas, Texas in June of 2018. Since then, she has been very outspoken on issues that we can all agree are problematic such as misogyny, sexism, and discrimination against women. However, is preventing women from preaching the Bible oppressive?
Victimology has replaced theology beneath the banner of social justice. To play the victim card in our culture today is like playing the ace of spades in a card game. The victim approach to ladder climbing is both politically correct and extremely powerful. The social justice movement, unfortunately, places a clear reading of 1 Timothy 2-3 and the roles of women that are rooted in creation within the category of misogyny. Beth Moore has clearly twisted the Scriptures and used the social justice movement to fuel her agenda. Suddenly, anyone who speaks out against her and this progressive deconstructionist trend are shouted down and labeled as misogynists.
Not only did Beth Moore take to Twitter to taunt her opposition on these matters in recent days, she likewise took to the pulpit in a SBC church on Mother’s Day to exercise her perceived privilege and calling as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word. Will Beth Moore mobilize her partnerships with Russell Moore (president of the ERLC) and her open door to the churches of the SBC through her ongoing LifeWay publishing agreement to shift the SBC toward an egalitarian position? Will her supporters within the SBC ignore the Bible and cite the mainstream protestant trends while demanding that we need to get up-to-date with the times? What the future holds for the SBC on such issues is uncertain, but if the positions of current leadership such as J.D. Greear and Russell Moore is any indication—it would not be out of the question to see a woman elected as a vice president or even presidential role in the upcoming years. Such a move would press the SBC down a progressive path through a top-down influence upon the local churches of the SBC.
The Russian journalist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky made the famous statement, “If there is no God, then everything is permissible.” This is true, but the problem with this line of thinking is that there is a God and he has established boundaries and hierarchies, and this goes for both the culture, home, and his church. To tamper with God’s design is to go to war with God himself. Beth Moore has made herself very clear on large theological and methodological positions and for that reason, it would be wise for the SBC to be clear where the denomination stands. If Dr. Mohler is accurate in his evaluation, if denominations where women do the preaching are also denominations where people do the leaving—it would be detrimental to the SBC to follow this trend. We must remember, this is not just about losing people—it’s dangerous to find yourself on the opposing side of God on any issue as Israel learned in 1 Samuel 4:21.
The SBC is not charismatic. The SBC is not egalitarian. To say so is not divisive nor is it misogynistic. It’s time for the SBC to say “no more” to Beth Moore.
Our world is divided, our nation is divided, and in many ways—the evangelical church is divided. We live in a broken world where both the soul of man and creation itself groans for the return of King Jesus who will make all things new. The new heavens and the new earth will be filled with unbroken relationships and a world without injustices. All systems will be pure and without the stain of imperfection. That’s why each Lord’s Day as we enjoy a little piece of heaven on earth with the gathered church—we join John the apostle in praying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus” because even our foretaste of heaven is imperfect and stained with sin.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s quite apparent that all is not well in evangelicalism. We are more divided today than at any other time in recent history. We are fractured and we continue to fracture as lines are being drawn in the sand regarding social justice. With social media as a megaphone, many people are screaming at the world while claiming to be right as they throw one another under the bus with disdain and divisive rhetoric punctuated with emojis and hashtags to drive home the point. Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like biblical Christianity (Eph. 4:31-32)?
One of the most intense areas of division is based on ethnic lines. How do we engage without sinning against one another and against God in this tense season of church history?
Listen to One Another
In recent months and years, many people who embrace social justice ideas have been doing much of the talking, much of the speaking, and much of the preaching. With the release of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel in 2018, things changed. The Statement hasn’t caused division, but it has been successful in putting a spotlight upon the division that already existed.
The common technique today is to avoid dealing with real issues. Those with white skin who disagree on matters of social justice are often rejected without consideration and labeled racist. People who have more melanin count who disagree on matters of social justice are often titled an “oreo” or “coon” and completely dismissed from the conversation.
Since the release of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel, not one robust theological rebuttal has been released. With all of the men and women who passionately disagree with the Statement—surely someone could take time to demonstrate where the biblical errors are within the Statement. Could it be that most of those who passionately disagree with the document are refusing to listen and could it be that many have not read the Statement that they’re opposing?
Conferences are being held where black speakers are making radical statements suggesting that “whiteness is wicked. It is wicked. It’s rooted in violence, it’s rooted in theft, it’s rooted in plunder, it’s rooted in power, in privilege.” Such statements are publicly praised rather than confronted by other black leaders in evangelical circles. The moment a white person addresses it, he or she becomes a racist. Are white people not allowed to speak? Are white people being asked to sit down and listen while black people do all of the talking? The wise path forward would be to listen. Black people need to listen too (Prov. 15:32).
Recently the G3 Conference released a graphic with an invitation for a FREE panel discussion at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention where a group of us will be discussing the issues of social justice and how these ideas have influenced many within evangelical circles. By the slanderous remarks and critique on social media you would have thought that we were dressed in KKK hoods announcing that we were coming to promote white supremacy. The reason for the pushback was that we didn’t have a black person on the panel. One such example of the heated rhetoric and slander was when Bishop Talbert Swan tweeted following:
While we did extend an invitation to a few different brothers who happen to be black, we didn’t invite them because they have black skin. We are not interested in meeting a quota. We stand unashamedly opposed to tokenism. We believe that idea to be sinful and patronizing of our black brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s about giftedness and who can communicate the truth on the issues—regardless of skin color.
In a Facebook post, Dwight Mckissic Sr. added to the divisiveness regarding the upcoming panel discussion by writing:
So let’s see if I have this correct. THIS is the panel first that wants to discuss social justice (of which they know nothing about) and then to define it as dangerous. This is a joke before it even gets started. I wonder if they will discuss police brutality? I wonder if they will discuss their misogynistic theology? I wonder if they will discuss the penal injustice system? This panel is like having atheists discuss the dangers of preaching on Christianity. Give me a break.
Still others, in another Facebook thread, bragged about registering for multiple seats at the event in order to occupy seats and prevent people from attending. Once again, these people claim to be our brothers and sisters in Christ, but refuse to listen to anything that challenges their own position. This divisive and defensive posture is following the same spirit that has now literally overtaken the university system in our country as liberals refuse to listen and even become violent in their protest of any speaker who would dare to challenge the validity of their own postmodern positions and philosophical ideas.
For black people to shout “white supremacy” charges at white people who have never owned a slave, never supported Jim Crow laws, and have no patterns of racism in their life or ministry practices is at best divisive and at worst racism. For white people to ignore real injustices and real racism is problematic as well. We are called to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Rom. 12:15). Both sides of this conversation must learn to listen to one another and to pursue unity in the gospel. When those who embrace social justice ideas hear the opposing side articulate their positions—they will discover that we are not opposed to helping people nor are we rejecting the fact that real injustices exist in this world. The dividing line will be based on how we choose to engage the brokenness of this world. Simply put—social justice is not biblical justice. They are not the same thing.
However, as we listen to one another, when given an opportunity to respond—there may be a need to offer correction or point out the error of a specific position based on the authoritative Word of God. When we point to solutions, we need to center our positions on chapter and verse—with a biblical foundation.
Listen to God’s Word
When it comes to addressing evil and error, does truth have a specific color? Must the truth be spoken by a person with a specific melanin count in order to get the message across? Is it really true that lived experience is necessary in order to address issues in our culture? Is a heterosexual white male permitted to use the Bible to address the sin of homosexuality or does he need a resume that includes homosexual activity in order to point out error? Interestingly enough, that was not the approach of the apostle Paul as he addressed division among Jews and Gentiles. He was not a Gentile, but he understood the issues and he understood their complaints. Likewise, he pointed both Jew and Gentile to the gospel.
When Paul wrote the letter to a divided church in Ephesus, he didn’t talk to the Gentiles about “Jewish privilege” and seek to inform them on how they had systemically held back the Gentiles from the grace of God. Likewise, he didn’t speak to the Jews about “Roman privilege” and explain how they had been systemically oppressed and discriminated against for years based on their ethnicity. Instead, Paul refused to engage through political methods or social rhetoric. He pointed both groups to the sufficient gospel of Jesus and the work of Christ on the cross where true unity is found and where the “dividing wall of hostility” is broken down (Eph. 2:14).
Social justice is not about helping people. Many people who are swept up into the dust cloud of social justice cannot possibly understand how certain groups could stand opposed to helping people. Quite simply put, social justice is about gaining power and dethroning people from seats of power and authority. Take Ekemini Uwan’s statement for example at the Sparrow Conference where she said the following:
So then when we talk about white identity, then we have to talk about what whiteness is. Well, the reality is that whiteness is rooted in plunder, in theft, in slavery, in enslavement of Africans, genocide of Native Americans, we are sitting on stolen land, if you are in America, we are sitting on stolen land, everywhere in America, this is the reality of land that was stolen from Native Americans and we have to recognize and acknowledge that. It’s a power structure, that is what whiteness is, and so that the thing for white women to do is you have to divest from whiteness because what happened was that your ancestors actually made a deliberate choice to rid themselves of their ethnic identity and by doing so they actually stripped Africans in America of their ethnic identity.
Notice her focus on “whiteness” as a power structure that needs to be eliminated. Once again, social justice should not be confused with a movement that’s interested in helping hurting people—it’s more about deconstructing the hierarchies which is a move right out of Jacques Derrida in his postmodern work titled Of Grammatology. We must all work diligently to distinguish between social justice and biblical justice. We must all likewise work diligently to separate ourselves from those who cause division and offense to the gospel by promoting worldly ideologies and divisive methods of deconstructionism that mirrors worldly techniques rather than the commands given to the church of Jesus. In short—we must not only listen to one another, but we must listen to God’s sufficient Word. Those who oppose social justice are not denying that genuine injustices exist. They are very much in disagreement about how to engage such injustices in this broken world. The question of sola Scriptura and the sufficiency of Scripture must be addressed at this juncture.
The message of social justice is pregnant with political rhetoric, methods, and ideas that simply do not square with the gospel of Jesus. When we pause and consider the fact that Jesus did not come as a social justice warrior to free oppressed people from discrimination and systemic injustice, but instead, he came to die for guilty hell-deserving sinners who deserve the wrath of God on their very best day—things start to come into proper perspective.
Likewise, when we read through the Word of God, we don’t see the apostles encouraging the use of social methods, social justice, and other politically charged ideologies in order to pursue unity or to reach a community. It doesn’t matter if it’s slavery, the dignity of women, or the ethnic division between Jew and Gentile—the apostles are consistently pointing people to the cross of Jesus. We have a sufficient message, so why would we desire to trade in the Bible for social justice ideas?
The dividing line in all of the confusion of the social justice debate comes down to whether or not we will engage real sin, real injustices, and cultural complexities through the authoritative and sufficient Word or will we engage such issues through the broken methods of postmodernism and political strategies?
In Acts 12, we find a very important scene of a persecuted church and a praying church. It was the persecution that precipitated the prayer—and what happens in this record of church history is vitally important regarding the practice of prayer within our local church today.
It has been said of prayer by Charles Spurgeon, “Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer can do.” Prayer is of great importance in the Christian journey! We see prayer in both the Old and New Testaments – and prayer is a privilege we enjoy not a task we must do. One of the most neglected forms of worship is the faithful practice of prayer. This is not true of just the individual believer—but also of the church as a whole. Far too often, the prayers of the gathered church are shallow, short, and more horizontal than vertical in nature. We have much to learn about prayer.
At the beginning of Acts 12, we find that Herod was persecuting Christians. He had killed John, the brother of James, with a sword. He was violently persecuting the church—and during this outburst of violence upon God’s people—Peter was arrested and imprisoned. It was likely that Herod was planning to use Peter as an example by killing him as well. However, something very interesting happened.
The Church Gathered for Prayer
We are living in days where prayer meetings are becoming a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the prayer meeting should be central to the life of the church. Apparently, as persecution was heating up against God’s people—the church gathered for prayer. They didn’t turn to social media for prayer nor did they just pray with a few random friends. They gathered as a church specifically for prayer (Acts 12:5, 12). It would do us well to notice that the church had gathered to pray late in the evening or they prayed until it was very late. We derive this from the text as Peter was already asleep between two soldiers when the angel appeared to him (Acts 12:6). This is critically important to see and a pattern to follow. How much more healthy would our churches be today if we gathered as a church for prayer?
Today, the church will gather for all sorts of reasons—many of which center on some sort of entertainment factor. Yes, even religious gatherings can be centered on entertainment. This comes in form of singing, special preachers for special services, and other special events including athletics and more. It’s a sad testimony of our day when prayer meetings are being canceled or are so poorly attended that leaders are considering canceling them altogether. The church received the Holy Spirit as they were gathered in the upper room praying. Here in Acts 12, the church was gathered together for prayer. We need to pray together and for one another. That’s the testimony of the church from the beginning. A healthy church will be a praying church.
Did the Church Refuse to Believe God Would Answer?
While we can learn much from the how the early church gathered for prayer, we can likewise learn some patterns to avoid—such as the one found in this very section. As the church gathered for the purpose of prayer and as they lifted up their voices to God for their brother Peter who was imprisoned—little did they know that God dispatched an angel to the cell of Peter who woke him up and miraculously delivered him from the heavily guarded cell. As they prayed—Peter was leaving the prison under the shadow of night and by nothing short of a miraculous intervention and deliverance.
When Peter arrived at the home of Mary—the mother of John Mark—where the church was praying, he knocked and a servant girl named Rhoda gave the report that Peter was at the gate. They didn’t believe the report. In fact, they went as far as to say, “You are out of your mind” (Acts 12:15). The insisted that if anything, it was the “angel” or “spirit” of Peter. In short, they refused to believe that God had heard their prayers and had delivered Peter out of prison safely. They chose to believe the worst—that Peter had been killed. Suddenly, they were reunited with Peter and their doubts were overcome by the reality of God’s answered prayer.
It was George Muller who said, “I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.” In commenting on this passage, Thomas Watson said, “The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.” We can learn both how to pray and how not to pray by reading Acts 12. Be encouraged to pray and trust the Lord who not only hears the cries of his people but answers our prayers in accordance with his perfect will for his eternal glory.