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.
This past Sunday, we had two guests who drove a good distance to be with us for worship. One drove from the Stone Mountain area while the other drove from Lagrange, Georgia—both are right about one hour from our church campus. As they discussed their situations, each of them are looking for a healthy church where they can grow in God’s Word. As I considered the fact that two different visitors drove an hour to be with us for worship as they’re looking for a church—what exactly should we look for if we find ourselves looking for a new church home?
As we engage in a church search, there are specific things that must be prioritized in the life of the church or it should be crossed off the list quickly. Some lists will look differently depending on specific needs, but there are certain elements that cannot be optional and I’ve listed a few non-negotiable categories below.
Transcending above cultural preferences must come biblical preaching. If we truly want our families to grow in grace, that necessitates a steady diet of biblical preaching. While topical preaching can certainly feed the hearts and minds of people on occasion, the steady practice of the preaching must be centered on consistent sequential verse-by-verse preaching through books of the Bible. Without faithful expository preaching, the church will be left with a superficial understanding of the whole of God’s Word. It was D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who wrote the following in his classic book, Preaching and Preachers:
The big difference…between a lecture and a sermon is that a sermon does not start with a subject; a sermon should always be expository. In a sermon the theme or the doctrine is something that arises out of the text and its context, it is something which is illustrated by that text and context. 
How well would you understand any book on your bookshelf if a friend came over to your home and read to you out of random pages – explaining one central message about how the book ends, but not allowing you to hear how the plot and themes develop through each chapter? It would leave you a bit frustrated and disconnected from the central message of the book—right? Why is the Bible any different? Why would we be led to believe that a random approach to preaching would cause the church to grow deep and wide spiritually?
God Centered Worship
We have a worship crisis within evangelicalism today. It’s not that we aren’t worshipping, but rather, who and what we’re worshipping. Some churches are worshipping themselves as they gather to have their own cultural desires met in the worship service. Others are worshipping a specific pastor or personality who leads the church. Still others are centering their affections on the church campus or building itself. Far too often people in evangelical circles find themselves much like the Ethiopian Eunuch who was returning to Ethiopia from Jerusalem with a scroll of Isaiah’s prophecy—yet completely disengaged from biblical worship. Far too often evangelicals arrive home from church on Sunday without having worshipped God in the slightest degree.
When looking for a church, we must focus on how the worship service places God at the center. Some churches worship one member of the Trinity rather than our Triune God. Some focus on Jesus while others focus on the Spirit and still others focus on the Father. We have so segmented the Trinity that we fail to worship God as he desires. The calling of God’s people is to worship God—which involves an intentional effort to worship God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
When searching for a church home, pay close attention to how the worship service approaches the public reading of Scripture. How much Scripture is read and is there a balance from Old to New Testament each week? How do the songs point your mind and direct your emotions to engage in worship of our Triune God? This is critically important in order to avoid a severe imbalance and deficient understanding of who God really is and how he desires to be worshipped.
Faithful Administration of the Ordinances
If you visit a church on the Lord’s Day and they’re showing slides of the youth pastor baptizing football players at the local high school in a feeding trough for cows on Friday afternoon—it’s probably a good sign that this is not the church for you. All throughout history, if a church did not have the right administration of the ordinances, they were not considered to be a true church. This is one reason why youth group baptisms in the ocean at summer camp should not be practiced. This is why we shouldn’t encourage members to get rebaptized in the Jordan River when they visit Jerusalem.
It’s critically important for the local church to practice the ordinances within the context of the local church under the oversight of the elders who lead the church. This assures both organization, accountability, and intentionality as to what we are communicating as we engage in worship as a gathered church. This is why observing the Lord’s Supper in your living room on Friday evening with your small group is forbidden. How does such a practice honor God and encourage the local church as a whole? How does a person know if they’re welcomed to the Table? Who fences the Table before engaging in worship if the Lord’s Supper is practiced in a college dormitory at the local college? We must be firmly committed to the right practice of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Practice of Loving Church Discipline
Would you lead your family to join a church that did not practice loving biblical church discipline? When you talk to people about how they came to the decision about membership in a specific church, you will often hear about how good a specific program is in the church that attracted them or you might hear that their church was closer to their job—or perhaps other pragmatic reasoning. When was the last time you heard someone say they chose a church because they practice biblical church discipline? Jay Adams argues that if a church refuses to practice church discipline, we “should declare them to be ‘no church’ since they will not draw a line between the world and the church by exercising discipline.” 
Several years ago a family went through our membership class and became members in our church. However, within a year of their joining, they left our church after hearing a presentation on the errors of Roman Catholicism. I went to the church where they were visiting and met with the pastor in his office. I encouraged he and his staff to point them back to us and not to receive them as members because this was a gospel issue that required corrective discipline. The pastor ignored our request and accepted their family as members. Within a short season, the family completely derailed into horrible sin resulting in the husband’s picture appearing on the front page of the newspaper. To this day, their family has never been disciplined by the church who took them in as members.
Church discipline is not a debatable issue. Jesus has commanded that we practice it and that we do so in the manner and with the motives that he has charged us in Matthew 18:15-20. Consider these helpful words from Alexander Strauch:
Love is not just happy smiles or pleasant words. A critical test of genuine love is whether we are willing to confront and discipline those we care for. Nothing is more difficult than disciplining a brother or sister in Christ who is trapped in sin. It is always agonizing work – messy, complicated, often unsuccessful, emotionally exhausting, and potentially divisive. This is why most church leaders avoid discipline at all costs. But that is not love. It is lack of courage and disobedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself laid down instructions for the discipline of an unrepentant believer (Matt. 18:17-18). 
When you find yourself searching for a new church home, don’t compromise in the process. You may find a church that meets your needs on many different levels, but yet fails in one of the non-negotiable areas. Always remember a church that hasn’t practiced corrective church discipline in the last 25 years will certainly not begin with you and your family when you wander off the path of righteousness. You need the church, and you need a healthy church for you and your family.
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), 71.
- Jay Adams, Handbook of Church Discipline, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 103.
- Alexander Strauch, Leading With Love, (Colorado Springs: Lewis and Roth, 2006), 152.
Is it absolutely necessary for the freedom and vitality of the United States for a president to lead the people? While there may be many opinions on that very subject, it would not be necessary for our nation to be led by a president. If our nation decided to change the way we structure things and be led by a plurality of presidents, it would not be wrong to move in that direction. Neither one is mandatory. When it comes to professional baseball, must the team be led by a coach who is often referred to as a general manager? The fact is—there is no absolute answer to that question. A new management process could be developed that may do away with the general manager position and the owners of the baseball team would not be in error if they went in that direction. We have freedom in politics and the world of athletics.
When it comes to the local church—we must remember that everything we do should be evaluated through the lens of Scripture. If the Bible provides us with the necessities of both life and the practice of our faith—how the household of God functions really matters. Therefore, if God established a specific system and we choose to operate under a different model simply because of pragmatic rationale or a commitment to some form of modern trends or historic traditions—it must be noted that we don’t have such freedom to make those alterations.
There are great benefits to a church being led by elders (a plurality of pastors). Some of those benefits to the church as a whole would include a shared oversight through multiple men rather than just one man. Such shared authority protects the church from the cult of personality and bad decisions that could harm the church for years to follow. This shared oversight provides support for the lead pastor who serves as one of the pastors in the group. This shared authority includes shared responsibility and accountability. However, the main reason for organizing the leadership of the local church with a plurality of elders is not based on the benefits since this is not a pragmatic decision. The reason a plurality of elders is necessary is because of the fact that it’s clearly modeled in Scripture as the God-ordained pattern of leadership for a local church.
Alistair Begg writes, “Leadership in the church should always be shared – that is one reason that the apostolic pattern was to appoint a plurality of elders rather than a solitary elder in all the churches (Acts 14:23).”  God has a purpose in all that he does, and we must honor his plan for church government. We see a plurality of elders in individual local churches throughout the New Testament:
- James 5:14
- Acts 11:30
- Acts 14:14; 21-23
- Acts 15
- Acts 20:17-38
- 1 Timothy 5:17-20
- Titus 1:5-11
According to 1 Peter 5:1-4, the pastor’s responsibility is to provide food, protection, discipline, and love. That task is utterly impossible to accomplish alone regardless of the size of the local church. Pastors need assistance from other pastors within the context of the local church family. For a pastor to think that he has all of the gifts necessary to oversee, equip, discipline, and lead the church is beyond arrogance. Needless to say, such a man has an elevated opinion of himself. Far too many local churches are self-governed or led by a group of deacons while the pastor simply preaches on Sunday. That’s not the biblical model.
When a church is led by a plurality of elders it not only provides joy for the pastors—but it should provide joy for the church as a whole as they become encouraged by the intentional oversight and care for the body of Christ. In short, true shepherds of God’s flock understand that the church belongs to God and they are merely appointed leaders to do the work of God. Therefore, the church should be established and organized to follow the biblical pattern.
Having staff positions who serve beneath the pastor and work alongside him is not the same as having a plurality of pastors who are equal in position. The pastors and the church both should be under authority. Mark Dever provides a helpful explanation as he writes:
So the Bible clearly teaches that New Testament churches are to be led by elders. At the end of the day, this question is just another way of asking whether or not we are going to allow the Scriptures to be the sole authority in the life of the church. For though there are lots of pragmatic reasons to have elders, from the perspective of a pastor, there are more pragmatic reasons not to have them. Elders can slow a senior pastor down, they can disagree with him, they can even tell him on occasion that he’s wrong. Pragmatically speaking, who would want that? 
When we ask if a plurality of elders is necessary it’s like asking if the Bible is sufficient? Interestingly enough we don’t argue with the organization of a plurality of deacons in a single local church, but we often have people who intentionally avoid having a plurality of elders in a local church. While there is biblical evidence to support a plurality of elders and a plurality of deacons in a local church—there are far more passages that discuss a plurality of elders than discuss a plurality of deacons.
If you are moving to a new town or looking for a church home—consider looking for a local church that has intentionally organized their church government to include a plurality of elders (pastors) who lead, oversee, care for, and equip their local church and a plurality of deacons who serve the church.
- Alistair Begg, On Being a Pastor, (Chicago: Moody Press, 2004), 218.
- Mark Dever, “Should a Church Have Elders?“
As a pastor, I truly love the local church. In my own context, I love my church that I’m a member of and that I have the privilege to leading. However, as I often explain to my children when we read the Bible together in the evening—I don’t love the church simply because I’m a pastor. Even if I worked at a local business in town and was a member of the church who didn’t hold a given office—I would still love the church and would encourage my children to do the same.
As I prepare to speak in a conference in a little more than a week from now, I’m reflecting upon the given assignment of preaching on the topic: “Loving the Church Like Your Life Depends On It.” As I consider this assignment, I believe we should actually love the church with such passion which will often shape our commitment, service, worship, and various other involvement. So, how do we love the church and become a profitable and encouraging church member?
Pray for Your Church
When was the last time you prayed for your deacons? Did you know that deacons are often praying for you and your family? Not only that, they are are looking for ways to serve the church (including your family) in areas of physical, practical, and spiritual needs. Without good deacons, the church will not be able to function properly—therefore, it’s vitally important for you to pray for the deacons within your local church.
When was the last time you prayed for your pastor(s)? To hold the office of pastor is very demanding. It requires spending time in prayer for families within the church and committing oneself to much time in God’s Word in preparation for preaching and teaching. One of the greatest ways to discourage a pastor is to spend more time complaining about him than you do praying for him. The pastor can’t just leave his work at the office. After praying and studying the Word, the pastor also leaves the office (or home depending on the time) in times of emergency to be with families during times of sickness and death.
In the early days of the Church, we find the people of God praying together and for one another. Consider all of the “love one another” passages in the Bible and how they center upon the intentional care that the church is to have for one another. At the center of this intentional and sacrificial love is prayer. It’s far more difficult to be divided when you spend time praying for one another.
James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Become Sacrificial Rather than Selfish
As we live life, sometimes our responsibilities of family time, ball practices, education, vacations, marriage enrichment, and work responsibilities will fill up multiple calendars—but as we live life, we must keep the church at the center of the equation. The secular world has zero commitment to the church—and it seems that many things compete to push the church down the priority list. Remember, Satan is crafty in how he works and children are watching how we make decisions. How we use our time, our talents, and our treasure speaks volumes about the priority of the church and the mission of Christ.
When was the last time you considered who actually arrived early to turn on the lights or stayed late to lock up the building? That’s just a couple of examples of many things that are necessary on a weekly basis to benefit the gathering of the local church. It’s more than just showing up. If everyone just showed up at 11:00am on Sunday morning the church would be shallow and disorganized. Have you considered the volunteers who work with children or teachers who labor in the Word? What about the finances? How does the church pay the bills, meet budget, pay salaries, do ministry, engage in missions, and reach a fallen world with the gospel? Have you considered the financial needs of your local church? Where does that need land on your priority list?
Forgive One Another and Love One Another
Through the years as a pastor, I’ve witnessed numerous families struggle with bitterness and division within the church. They have harbored thoughts, feelings, and ideas in their heart against another individual or family within the church. Not only does this harm that particular family (or individuals involved), but it will harm the entire church as a whole. Mark Dever said, “If you are not expressing proper Christian love to every member of your church, you are in disobedience to God and you are hindering the evangelistic work of your church.” 
The calling of a Christian is the pursuit of unity. Consider the words of Paul in Colossians 3:14, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” The words of Paul in Ephesians 4 become more intense on this subject of unity and forgiveness. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul says, Christians are to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The word “maintain” is taken from the Greek term “τηρέω” meaning, “To retain in custody, keep watch over, guard. It can be defined as, causing a state, condition, or activity to continue.” In other words, it’s not optional. The Christian must be striving with great intentionality and purpose to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We spend time maintaining our automobiles, maintaining our HVAC units on our homes, but often not enough time maintaining unity within our church.
We turn to John’s words in 1 John 4:7-8, and the proof that we love God is that we love one another. Paul would not allow for disunity and splintering of fellowship within the local church. Notice his words in Ephesians 4:29-32
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Take Worship Seriously
One of the best ways to become a productive and encouraging church member is to have a high view of worship. Rather than centering your worship on your music preferences or shallow preaching filled with recycled jokes—come anxious to hear from God’s Word and longing to sing praises to God.
Preaching must take the central place in worship. It’s through the preaching of God’s Word that sinners are awakened to saving faith and consistently sanctified in the truth of the Scriptures. When preachers turn to gimmicks such as dressing up in costumes, flying drones in the worship center, and all types of hype-building to grow their church—they turn into religious pep-rally leaders rather than expositors of God’s Word. We need congregations who would find that humiliating and distasteful rather than appealing and acceptable.
If you come to gather with the church to be satisfied with the sound of the music and the production (or presentation) of the songs—you will likely leave disappointed. If you come to offer up praises to the God who has saved you, it’s quite probable that you will leave fulfilled. For far too long within specific pockets of evangelicalism, we have fed the culture of entertainment so that we now have churches who pay professionals to do the worship for the church. It’s not uncommon to hear a band or a big voice on Sunday rather than the congregation.
Rather than getting in the car and driving to church on Sunday thinking about what the local church can do to satisfy you, why not consider what you can do for your local church and how you can become a profitable and encouraging church member? If every member in your local church was just like you, would you consider that a healthy church or an unhealthy church?
- Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, 3rd Edition, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013), 139.
Never assume assumptions are safe. If you spend most of your time building your positions and beliefs based on assumptions, you will be a very shallow and misguided person. If you’re a preacher, well, you will be a very shallow and misguided preacher. Consider how easily it is for the devil to get into the details of assumptions. Below are a few dangerous assumptions that seem to be popular in our day.
- Assuming everyone’s life is wonderful and that your friends are living the “dream life” simply by following their Instagram posts.
- Assuming you know people because you follow them on social media.
- Assuming you are real friends with people who you follow on social media.
- Assuming a person doesn’t like you because they never interact with you on social media.
Remember that nice picture of your friend’s family enjoying a great vacation doesn’t contain the noise and drama of the children fighting and the lengthy list of other real life challenges that we all face. Stop allowing the sin of the human heart to lead you to jealousy and anger based on a simple social media post. The above list are just a few assumptions that are popular in our digital world, but what about “real life” that involves real conversations, actions, and church relationships?
Stop Assuming the Worst About People
How many people do you know who consistently embrace the worst about others merely based on assumptions gathered by body language or gossip gathered about the person without ever asking one question to the person in question? It’s really easy to build positions about people and to formulate what you believe about a person based on assumptions rather than reality. This is not only dangerously toxic, it’s a sinful misrepresentation of the person in your family, local church, neighbor, or co-worker.
Within the local church, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with individuals who have built an entire library of opinions about another individual within their local church based completely on assumptions. When I push back and ask if they’ve gone to the person to verify the reality of the opinions, nearly every single time the person denies having every asked a single question to the person for verification. They would rather believe assumptions instead of reality. The devil laughs at such patterns because he can easily divide people who aren’t committed to truth.
When you hear something about another person, instead of believing the worst, why not strive to believe the positive? Is darkness really more attractive than light? Consider what damage can arise from basing your opinion of another person on negative assumptions instead of verified reality. Likewise, consider what the Bible teaches about striving to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. In his letter to the church at Ephesus (and surrounding cities), Paul penned pointed out the need for Christians to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). The word translated maintain is “τηρέω” which means to retain in custody, keep watch over, guard. It can carry the idea of causing a state, condition, or activity to continue.
In short, the command is to strive for unity and it’s not an option for the Christian. The Christian is not called to create unity, but we are called to cultivate unity. The Christian is not called to manufacture unity, but we are called to maintain it. Martyn Lloyd-Jones – “Not to be in fellowship with those who are born again is to be guilty of schism, which is sinful.”  Rather than assuming the worst, why not fight for the unity of the Spirit within your local church?
Don’t Assume People Know the Gospel
Another danger among the Christian community is to assume that everyone understands and knows the gospel simply because they claim to be a follower of Jesus. This happens in the work of preaching (the heralding of the gospel) and it happens in general conversations in the community on a regular basis.
Consider how many times in preaching (you or your pastor) the gospel has been assumed. It’s often assumed that since people are in an evangelical church assembly on the Lord’s Day—they must understand what the gospel is and believe it. It would be wonderful to hear the gospel explained more clearly from the pulpit in the regular preaching of God’s Word. Preachers should state the gospel, and then explain it clearly. After explaining it, they should repeat what they explained and have already stated in order to be sure that people understand what they stated from the beginning. Assumptions are deadly when it comes to the gospel.
When having conversations at school or during break sessions at work—just because a friend claims to be a Christian don’t assume he or she is a Christian. It would be good to ask your friend to explain the gospel. What does a person mean when they claim to believe the gospel? Just yesterday, when I finished the Discovery class (membership class at our church) I informed each family that when we do their interview prior to membership, I will ask them to explain the gospel in 2-minutes and then explain how they have embraced (believed) the gospel personally. It would be a tragic mistake to assume that families who desire membership in our church know the gospel and believe it.
Assumptions lead to darkness and the devil always thrives in darkness rather than the light. It would be really good to stop assuming and start asking people to verify that what you assume to be true is actually…true.
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, What is an Evangelical? (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1992), 90.
Satan delights in denigrating what God created as good. It has always been God’s plan for his Church to possess a certain masculinity in leadership and that masculinity flows into the general membership as well. One of the depressing realities of our modern culture is the assault upon masculinity as if it’s somehow a bad thing. While we can all certainly agree that male dominance is not God’s plan for his Church—the plan to extract male leadership and characteristics from God’s Church is certainly not healthy—in fact it’s downright sinful.
When Paul was closing out his letter to the church in the city of Corinth, he wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” We must recall that Paul was writing to a church that was in desperate need of theological and practical correction. The apostle took a firm stance against their sin, and then pointed them to the proper means of living out the gospel of Christ. Apparently one of their struggles was centered on love and their lack of manliness. William Robertson Nicoll observes that these exhortations are “directed respectively against the heedlessness, fickleness, childishness, and moral enervation of the” church at Corinth. 
Today, we continue to see the Church of Jesus Christ suffering from a lack of manliness. This has been the result of the radical feminist attack as well as the problem of perpetual adolescence that continues to prevent men from rising up and taking lead roles within the local church. These problems together create added friction over offices, giftedness, and the need for strong leadership. We would do well to remember Paul’s words to the church in Corinth—”act like men.”
The Feminization of the Church
The liberal agenda has masculinity in its sights and has for many years dating back to the radical women’s liberation movement. From this rank liberal ideology, they teach that God is not a male, Paul was a sexist, and Jesus was a feminist. This agenda took aim at Bible translations in an attempt to produce gender neutral texts while removing references to God’s masculine characteristics. However, the progressives of our day within evangelical circles have adopted that type of language and it has continued to soften the church. Today’s social justice agenda is moving rapidly through evangelicalism beneath the banner of liberation. They claim to work for the liberation of oppressed segments within our evangelical circles—and women are at the center of this debate.
Apparently, we have done a poor job of allowing women to flourish and use their gifts for God’s glory so we must tear down our hierarchies and develop new leadership structures to allow women to bloom. With varying degrees of opinions on this subject—including an eclectic array of interpretations on biblical texts such as 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 3:1-15; Titus 2, do we stand in need of clarification on complementarianism? Is The Danvers Statement (1987) unclear? More importantly, is the Bible silent or insufficient to answer these questions?
In her article “God’s Feminist Ideals” published in Christianity Today, Wendy Alsup writes:
Gloria Steinem famously said a feminist is “anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” Is God then a feminist by her definition? If feminism in its purest sense is the quest for justice and equal rights for women, then, yes, God was the first feminist. God created woman in his image and bestowed on her equal dignity with man. By a woman’s mere existence, God has bestowed on her dignity and privileges that transcend race, economic status, and physical ability.
At least that’s the language being used by leaders in evangelical circles today. In a recent article on SBC Voices, the question of a woman leading the SBC has once again emerged for discussion and debate. William Thornton critiques our current culture within evangelicalism by stating, “Seems we can’t celebrate women doing much of anything without inserting ‘in biblically appropriate ways.'” Apparently it’s taboo to appeal to the Scriptures and to uphold God’s original design for men and women within the local church and society as a whole.
Make no mistake, complementarity is under assault today and it’s a divisive agenda fueled by ancient errors that not only degrade masculinity—but they call into question God’s sovereign design. Does God need to revise his design for women and men and their roles to align with our modern culture? That type of thinking depicts our God as an aged grandfather in the sky who is not up with the times and apparently hasn’t been reading the latest blogs on his iPhone. In short, it’s a blasphemous assault on God and his sovereignty.
The fruit of this assault will be the feminization of the church. Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt, in their book Megatrends for Women wrote the following back in 1992:
Women of the late twentieth century are revolutionizing the most sexist institution in history—organized religion. Overturning millennia of tradition, they are challenging authorities, reinterpreting the Bible, creating their own services, crowding into seminaries, winning the right to ordination, purging sexist language in liturgy, reintegrating female values and assuming positions of leadership. 
The leading chatter within evangelical circles suggests we suddenly have a need to liberate women in 2018 and swing all doors open for our sisters to flourish in God’s grace. Was Paul sexist in his appeal to the church in Corinth to act like men? Certainly not since we understand that Paul is driving at spiritual maturity. Therefore, spiritually mature men and women will desire to serve God within their roles as God designed from the beginning.
Today, men are behaving as if they must apologize for being created as a man and desiring to lead in the home and in the church. Is it sexist or is it Scriptural for men to desire to act like men and desire offices of leadership in the church while humbly leading in the home as well? Another question should be asked at this juncture—is it oppressive to women for men to act like men? Today’s church doesn’t need softer hands—it needs humble men who act like men and lead with biblical conviction.
The Childishness of the Church
Notice Paul didn’t say, “Act like boys.” There is a pervasive trend among many men today who desire an extended childhood. They avoid responsibility, delay marriage, downgrade family, and elevate play-time far above the need to work. That mindset has crept into the church long ago, and in many ways that’s why we have worship services that look like extended children’s church for adults. Furthermore, that’s why we have such a disconnect among leadership roles in the church in many cases where women are taking the lead because the men want to focus on delaying adulthood and the necessary responsibilities that come along with being a man.
Paul thunders over and over through the New Testament about the need for maturity. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, he placed it as a central goal of pastoral ministry that labors to bring the church to spiritual maturity—to mature manhood (Eph. 4:13). Here in his closing words to the church at Corinth, Paul simply writes—”act like men.” We read Paul’s words today, and seek to make application to our context while the radio and television is providing another message that says growing up and becoming an adult is a really bad idea.
In many church cultures, men find no problem getting together to watch MMA fights or to have video game parties, but they find it extremely awkward to get together and talk about the doctrine of God, the meaning of the atonement, or the meaning and purpose of marriage. We have adopted delayed adulthood and created the “forty-something teenager” mentality—a perpetual adolescent who finds no value in adulthood and maturity. What an appropriate time to read and mediate on Paul’s words to the church at Corinth as he says, “act like men.” Paul had already written to them earlier in his letter providing them a warning:
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature (1 Cor. 14:20).
We would do well in our day to heed this warning and to obey Paul’s words to “act like men.” One of the most loving things that a church can do is to pursue maturity and celebrate masculinity which produces true love. This is where both men and women can flourish within God’s original design. Biblical manhood is not defined by how much a man can bench press, the thickness of his beard, or how many tattoos he has about Jesus on his arm. It’s not even connected to his love and affection for cigars. Biblical manhood is rooted in the gospel and has a profound submission to Christ and a love for the roles of men and women as God has designed.
- W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament: Commentary, vol. 2 (New York: George H. Doran Company, n.d.), 949.
- Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt, Megatrends for Women (New York: Villard Books, 1992), 119.