The Need for Clarity on Complementarianism

The Need for Clarity on Complementarianism

Years ago, the evangelical world was abuzz with controversy over inerrancy. This was especially true within the Southern Baptist Convention. You could ask two different people if they believed in the inerrancy of Scripture, and while both answered “yes”—both of them when pressed would provide two different understandings of inerrancy. For the liberal, his view was that the Bible “contains the Word of God” which is quite different from the other individual who was contending for total, verbal, plenary inerrancy.

In short, words matter and definitions lead to the defining of positions. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) was helpful in defining terms and providing clarity on a very important theological subject. It would take a good number of years before the Southern Baptist Convention would be rerouted back to a historic position on biblical inerrancy—and this move has been labeled the Conservative Resurgence.

Today, there are new winds of controversy blowing in the evangelical world. The winds of controversy are centered on the issue of women serving in leadership. 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, we stand in need of clarification on complementarianism. In an age where being soft is in vogue—we must remember that watering down masculinity, beefing up femininity, and redefining biblical roles as designed by God for the home, the church, and society will have a negative result in all areas. We need real men and women again!

As we consider this issue, it’s not one that can be approached without crystal clear definitions. While The Danvers Statement (1987) deals with the issues of complementarity, there are some voices in evangelicalism who are suggesting that The Danvers Statement would permit a woman to serve as the president of the SBC. Others seem to disagree. While the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 is rather broad, it points to the office of pastor in article VI and states, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” Some voices are arguing that this is only in regards to the “senior pastor” within the local church, and does not place the same restrictions on associate pastors and denominational offices.

With all of the opinions blowing around in the wind, we need to clarify positions on the definition of comlementarianism. I propose the following list of questions that need to be seriously reviewed and considered.

1. What does the term complementarianism mean? There is a maximum view and a minimum view, so what exactly should we think when we use the term itself and from what passages do we derive the definition from?
2. Is the theological position of complementarianism oppressive to women in any way?
3. Is the theological position of complementarianism restricting women from doing what God has called them to do?
4. Should we tolerate both minimum and maximum views of complementarianism in the same way we tolerate dispensationalism and amillennialism within the same evangelical circles or local churches?
5. Does the biblical text in regard to authority (1 Tim. 2:12) forbid women from serving as a professor of theology in a seminary setting?
6. Does this passage, as it pertains to teaching and preaching, forbid women from serving as associate pastors in the local church?
7. Does this passage, as it pertains to teaching and preaching, forbid women from speaking to a mixed audience in a conference setting?
8. Does 1 Timothy 2 forbid a woman from serving in a denominational leadership role such as the office of the president of the SBC, ERLC, or similar position?
9. If evangelicals redefine complementarity boundaries for leadership in the church and denominational structures, what affect will this have upon the roles of the home?
10. Will a redefining of complementarianism lead to a redefining of sexual boundaries within evangelicalism?

At one point, The Danvers Statement states the following rationale for the formation of the statement in 1987:

the increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts;

It seems as if history has repeated itself. So it is within the world of theology. It has been stated well there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9) and all modern heresy is ancient error retooled for an urbane culture. One of the affirmations (#8) of The Danvers Statement reads as follows:

In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

Do we still believe that a subjective calling to serve in ministry should be tested by the biblical texts cited in the above affirmation? These are serious questions that need to be clarified. The women’s liberation movement with its egalitarian approach to life was birthed in the Garden of Eden, it has Satan as its father (Satan is the father of all lies), and it has oppression as its ultimate goal. If we fail to be clear on comlementarianism (as a political move, by neglect, or by mere oversight), we will lead people into the trap of the enemy.

People are asking legitimate questions. While I’m not an alarmist, I do believe many organizations and entities are postured for serious problems if we take a left turn at this juncture. With all of the talk of entering a new era where women can flourish and be respected as fellow image-bearers, we need to evaluate this “new era” through a robust biblical lens to be certain that it’s not a false promise from an ancient serpent. Does complementarianism disrespect women and hold them back from God’s intended purpose and his original design? If not, we need to stand firm and stop apologizing for what God has ordained from the beginning.

Presumption of Guilt and the Billy Graham Rule

Presumption of Guilt and the Billy Graham Rule

It has happened again.  Another sexual assault scandal has hit the news.  Just yesterday morning, co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb looked into the camera for what was a raw and emotionally tense moment to announce the termination of Matt Lauer’s employment from NBC’s Today Show.  After a lengthy public career in front of the camera, suddenly he vanished into thin air. He didn’t die. He didn’t say good-bye.  No closure.  Sudden termination after 23 years of employment as a news anchor for the popular Today show and the whole world is presuming the guilt of Matt Lauer.

The Danger of Presuming Guilt

The details may prove the guilt of Matt Lauer over the next several weeks.  However, in the meantime, the whole world is left to presume his guilt.  In the first 16 hours following the public announcement, the video circulated on Facebook by the official Today page racked up 15 million views.  According to our justice system, we are to presume innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  In the wake of the latest round of scandals, the tide has seemed to shift toward a position of “guilty until proven innocent.”

It’s absolutely healthy for our culture to protect women and to support victims as they come forward to confront those who have abused, mistreated, or violated them in some manner that is unlawful and disrespectful.  We must always support victims and protect the rights of such people to come forward.  However, we must likewise consider what happens in a culture where the default position is to presume guilt until proven innocence.  The innocence of many men is being challenged in an reckless fashion.

Emily Lindin, a columnist at Teen Vogue, made the following statement recently on Twitter. “I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations,” she wrote. “If some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay.”  That approach is reprehensible and unfortunately—many people in our culture will allow her ideology to become the cultural norm.

The laws we enjoy in our land that protect people from being sexually assaulted and likewise protect character assassination of the innocent are reflected in God’s law that governed Israel.  In order for someone to receive the death penalty for an offense—it had to be established beyond a reasonable doubt by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut. 17:6; Deut. 19:15-21).  God was protecting the people on both sides of the fence—something that we must be careful to not neglect in our day as well.

The Genius of the Billy Graham Rule

Not long ago, the Vice President—Mike Pence, was heavily criticized for embracing the “Billy Graham rule.”  In short, a Washington Post piece documented a position held by Pence back in 2012 where he states that ““he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife.”

This position was popularized by Billy Graham years ago who made a similar commitment in order to protect his character, his career, and to protect his marriage from failure during the lengthy crusades and frequent travels.  It was during a ministry trip to California in 1948 where Graham along with three friends (Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, and Grady Wilson) discussed scandals that ruined ministries and marriages through the years and they made a commitment to protect themselves from such heart wrenching scandals.

When the position of Pence was made public, it led to a great number of sarcastic and demeaning tweets in response to Vice President Pence’s position.  Some of those tweets include the following:

Stop the insanity.  In a world full of scandals, deceit, abuse, and disappointments, is it really a scandalous crime for Vice President Pence to protect himself, his marriage, his career, and the reputation of the United States of America by refusing to spend time with women (other than his own wife) alone?  What’s worse, the recent barrage of sexual scandals and abuse or Vice President Pence’s embrace of the “Billy Graham rule?”  Does the “Billy Graham rule” really mock women and turn them into commodities or does it protect them from being used and abused?

If we can learn anything from these accusations with public figures, it would be wise for all men—especially a Christian man to refuse to meet together, dine together, and spend time with the opposite sex without his wife.  If a meeting is held in private and accusations are made—how is a man to protect himself in a culture that presumes guilt and demands the proof of innocence?  Once a character is damaged it’s too late.  False accusations spread far more rapidly than the truth.

How many pastors have fallen into sexual misconduct causing their marriage to fall apart and their ministry to come to a sudden end?  The list is lengthy.  No pastor should place himself in a place where he could be tempted to fall or where he could be falsely accused of misconduct. The genius of the “Billy Graham rule” focuses on several key factors:

  1.  Honesty about the deceit of the human heart (Jer. 17:9).
  2.  The necessity of protecting your character as a follower of Christ (Prov. 4:25-27).
  3.  Protecting the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of a perverse culture (Heb. 13:4).

While the world laughs and mocks Vice President Pence out of one side of their mouth—they applaud the termination of Matt Lauer’s job for an accusation of sexual misconduct out of the other side of their mouth.  The world doesn’t possess a great deal of sanity.  If there ever was a day where great wisdom was needed in the area of mixed relationships in the workplace—it’s now.

I appeal to all Christian men—especially pastors—create laughter by embracing the “Billy Graham rule” rather than tears for falling into a sex scandal.


NCAA and the Gender Bender Agenda

NCAA and the Gender Bender Agenda

This past weekend I was sitting in my living room watching a football game that I wasn’t interested in because there wasn’t a baseball game on, a marathon (or any foot race) to watch, or a better football game to choose from.  While sitting there, a commercial came on that grabbed my attention and elevated my pulse far more than the boring football game.  The commercial was in form of a short video by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).  The advertisement contains an agenda that transcends collegiate sports.  Near the end of the advertisement, two female athletes make the following statement, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do.”  As the commercial ends, a statement appears on the screen: Creating equal opportunities for college athletes.

What Is Gender?

The gender of a person is part of the fabric of the individual’s identity.  Male and female are the two possible genders as God designed His creation in the beginning (Gen. 1:27) when He created Adam and Eve as the progenitors of the human race.  In short, there are no other options available.  However, in recent months our progressive culture has sought to craft new boundaries, new options, even no options at all in the gender debate.

Today, it’s possible to have a man with all of the signs and indications of masculinity using the restroom designated for women because he “self identifies” as a woman.  This has caused great tension in the public gender debate and in the wake of the landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize homosexual marriage in in all fifty states.

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the word gender as it pertains to humans is “the state of being male or female (chiefly in cultural or social contexts).” [1]  Although much change has occurred in recent years on this very subject and the boundaries are continually being pushed, to exist as a human being involves being either male or female.  This is visibly evident in the physical traits of a person, including the body parts of each individual person.

Why the “Gender Bender” Agenda is Harmful

You might have heard the rumbling story of Nattaphon “Ice” Wangyot who made history at Alaska’s state track meet, becoming the first transgender student-athlete to compete individually for a high school state championship back in the 2016 track season.  Wangyot, a Thai native who was born male and identifies as female, qualified and competed in the Class 3A girls’ sprints at the state meet, capturing third place in the 200-meter dash (27.3) and fifth in the 100 (13.36). [2]

Is Wangyot really that good?  When you examine his times, if he had been forced to run against the male students in the men’s race, he wouldn’t have made the finals in the 100-meter.  In fact, he wouldn’t have made it to the state meet.  The slowest runner in the 100-meter race was Jacob Rogers from Holy Rosary Academy who ran a 12.47.  His time was the 17th fastest in the preliminary races, and he didn’t make the finals.  Rogers’ time is much faster than Wangyot, but he was able to capture the 5th fastest time in the women’s state meet because he self identifies as a female.

In the end, the gender bender policy of the NCAA is killing competition in women’s sports.  Male athletes who would otherwise not rise to the top are able to do so by competing in women’s events.  This is not only true in high school but in collegiate events as well.  This will harm true competition for women athletes.  In a world that demands equality for women, this gender bender identity policy by the NCAA will do just the opposite.  The very organization that prides itself in “Creating equal opportunities for college athletes” is pushing an agenda that refuses reat women as women.

Why Have Boundaries in Sports?

If you’ve ever played a sport, or watched one on television, you know about boundaries.  In football, there are sidelines that border the field.  If a wide receiver catches a pass from the quarterback outside of those boundaries, the pass is considered incomplete.  In golf, if your ball lands in the water hazard, you will be penalized for it.  In basketball, the playing surface has boundaries around the court in order to contain the playing area within those specified boundaries.  If a play is made beyond those lines, it results in a turnover in possession.  If football field sidelines, water hazards, and basketball court boundaries are treated as absolutes, why should gender be treated with such relativism by the NCAA?

As the debate continues to grow in our culture, are we prepared for the man who self identifies as a dog to be allowed to compete in The National Dog Show?  We’re living in strange times where common sense, logic, and absolutes are completely ignored and rejected.  The problem with that type of world is that it doesn’t exist.  The very minute that we treat the laws of nature with a relativistic attitude, we will certainly do bodily harm to ourselves and people around us.  The real world is full of absolutes, and that includes the subject of gender.  If gender is merely a social construct, why can’t we treat boundaries in athletics in the same manner?  Do rules and boundaries really mean anything?

The NCAA may not see it this way, but they have entered the perverse revolt against God.  We are living in a sexual and moral revolution that is twisting and spiraling out of control into the abyss of human depravity.  The NCAA can’t remain socially consistent in their positions.  While running advertisements on national television stating, “Genders don’t play sports, athletes do”—the very website of the NCAA makes a clear distinction between men’s and women’s sports.  The inconsistency is striking.

The NCAA will never be able to bypass God in the gender conversation.  Just as the NCAA is accustomed to reading rule books and operating by the set boundaries of various sporting events, it would do them well to read the boundaries instituted and crafted by God regarding human gender and sexuality.  When pronouns are replaced with abstract neuter forms to bypass masculinity and femininity, God doesn’t lose—we do.  We all do.  Our children do.  So will the world of athletics.  You can make a word neuter, but you can’t make an athlete neuter.  An athlete will always be male or female.  Athletes are human.  John Piper provides helpful wisdom on this subject in an article titled, “Male and Female, Created in God’s Image” found at  He writes:

The tendency today is to stress the equality of men and women by minimizing the unique significance of our maleness or femaleness. But this depreciation of male and female personhood is a great loss. It is taking a tremendous toll on generations of young men and women who do not know what it means to be a man or a woman. Confusion over the meaning of sexual personhood today is epidemic. The consequence of this confusion is not a free and happy harmony among gender-free persons relating on the basis of abstract competencies. The consequence rather is more divorce, more homosexuality, more sexual abuse, more promiscuity, more social awkwardness, and more emotional distress and suicide that come with the loss of God-given identity. [3]

  1. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
  2. Transgender track athlete makes history as controversy swirls around her
  3. John Piper, “Male and Female, Created in God’s Image
Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More” to Beth Moore

Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More” to Beth Moore

Beth Moore is an extremely popular Bible teacher, author, and founder of Living Proof Ministries, Inc. which began in 1994 with the purpose of teaching women through Bible studies and resources.  Many thousands of women (and men) study the Bible in groups who use resources from LPM and watch videos of Beth Moore’s teaching.  With wide success in the publishing world, she is a frequent keynote speaker at large conferences including Passion.  As a former member of the First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas (now a member of Bayou City Fellowship), Beth Moore has been a Southern Baptist for years and finds great success in publishing her material through B&H Publishing Group and distributing it through LifeWay – a popular bookstore closely associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

For many years, Beth Moore’s teaching has raised eyebrows among pastors and leaders in conservative circles.  Although concerns have been raised through the years, Beth Moore continues to be welcomed into the study groups within local churches where women read her books, study guides, and watch her videos with limited, if any, oversight from the pastoral staff.  Below I’ve documented three main reasons why pastors should fire Beth Moore from the women’s ministry within their local church.

Beth Moore Clearly Violates Biblical Boundaries

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (1 Tim. 2:12).  Paul forbids women from teaching and having authority over men.  Therefore, the pattern of the early church was established by Christ who chose twelve men to be His inner circle and then entrusted the early church to their oversight.  From that point forward (post Acts 6), God raised up a plurality of men to serve as deacons who would serve alongside the plurality of men who would serve as elders.

In short, we don’t see God calling, equipping, and endorsing women to teach the Bible in the context of the church (or beyond in places such as conferences).  This position rooted in creation and upheld by a distinctive position known as complementarianism is not only consistent with Scripture, but in tandem with the early church’s design.  Beth Moore violates this early church pattern and most importantly – the text of Scripture found in 1 Timothy 2:12.  As she appears on the platform with an open Bible, she preaches the Word to thousands of men who are in attendance at the Passion conference and other venues where she’s invited to speak.  Not only is this her personal pattern of ministry, but she likewise condones other women who preach to men as she was in attendance at Joel Osteen’s church to hear her friend Christine Caine when she preached at Lakewood.

The point of the Bible is clear, women are not permitted to have authority over men, and how is it possible to teach the Bible without authority?  Paul forbids women from occupying the office of elder, but it must likewise be noted that he forbids women from the functionality of preaching and teaching the Bible to men – even if they don’t hold the office of elder (1 Tim. 2:12).  Beth Moore has demonstrated a heart of rebellion in this important area where she has violated God’s original intent in women’s role in the church, and therefore, should not be accepted into the church as an acceptable women’s ministry (or any Bible teaching ministry).  The pattern of ministry Beth Moore has developed will continue to manifest itself in local churches so long as local churches continue to incorporate her resources in their ministries.

Beth Moore Employs Faulty Biblical Hermeneutics

The fancy word hermeneutics, is a reference to the science of biblical interpretation.  Anyone who teaches the Bible understands that you don’t merely approach the Bible with a flippant and disorganized manner and expect organized presentation and application.  Beth Moore does not approach the Bible with a disorganized methodology, but she does approach the Bible with a deficient hermeneutic – one that should be rejected.

The most appropriate method of biblical interpretation is known as the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation.  This method seeks to uncover the original author’s intent from a literal and historical lens.  This method upholds the single meaning of the text of Scripture and does so with a careful analysis upon the terms and grammar used in the text.

Beth Moore, often very animated and passionate in her delivery of her Bible teaching employs a method of biblical interpretation known as allegorical interpretation.  This is a method of spiritualizing the text and making it say something other than what the original author intended.  If you’ve ever heard a sermon preached from the text of David and Goliath where the preacher pointed out that David is Jesus and Goliath is Satan – you’ve heard allegorical interpretation in action.  This is perhaps the main interpretative method used by Beth Moore.

Beth Moore goes beyond allegorical interpretation at times as she approaches the Bible through a mystical method of Bible reading known as Lectio Divina.  This is an old heretical form of biblical interpretation taken from Roman Catholic mystics and often closely connected to contemplative prayer.  This practice is often viewed as a spiritual method of approaching the Bible that involves emptying your brain and preparing to hear God speak.  David Helm, in his book, Expositional Preaching, writes:

Lectio Divina advocates a method that is spiritual as opposed to systematically studious. It substitutes intuition for investigation. It prefers mood and emotion to methodical and reasoned inquiry. It equates your spirit to the Holy Spirit.” [1]

Although once a Roman Catholic method of reading and interpreting the Bible, Lectio Divina is now becoming popular in the mainstream evangelical community.  This method sidesteps the careful and historical method of biblical interpretation as it encourages people to open their minds and listen for the voice of God.  We should not be teaching people to empty their minds or open their minds while they listen for the voice of God.  God has spoken clearly and we can see what God has said as we read the Bible.

Beth Moore Is an Ecumenical Charismatic

In recent years, Beth Moore has been beating the drum of ecumenism with fervor.  In many recordings of her teachings, you can hear her categorize many liberal and conservative denominations along with Roman Catholics into the same group as if there are no distinctions or divisions.  If this isn’t enough to cause great concern, in more recent days Beth Moore has been crossing over the line into the troubled waters of the charismatic circles and aligning herself with people such as Joyce Meyer.

It’s one thing to refer to Joyce Meyer as a mentor and to embrace Roman Catholics as another denomination within evangelicalism, but why should Beth Moore be classified as a charismatic?  Beyond the obvious connection that Beth Moore has with Joyce Meyer, she also leads conferences with other charismatics and engages in teaching strange doctrines. Beth Moore participated in a Women of Faith conference held at Lakewood Church in Houston (see Roma Downey promote it on YouTube) where she taught sloppy allegorical lessons and engaged in a strange “commissioning” event at the close of the conference.

  1. Beth Moore frequently hears the voice of God and receives visions.
  2. Beth Moore aligns herself with Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.
  3. Beth Moore engages in contemplative spirituality.
  4. Beth Moore is using charismatic language such as in a recent tweet about “binding prayers.”
  5. Beth Moore advocates receiving direct messages from God.

Beth Moore relates the story of a woman who approached her during a conference with a message from God:

With obvious anointing, she told the story we’re about to study, then she said: “I don’t know you Beth. I have no idea why God sent me with such a message to give you, but He told me clearly to say these words to you: ‘Tell her that her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much.’” [2]

Notice that Beth Moore claimed the woman had an “obvious anointing” from God.  To attach God’s name to a special message that doesn’t originate between Genesis and Revelation is to open yourself up to extrabiblical revelation and to deny the sufficiency of Scripture.

Discernment is needed today in the church like never before.  It should also be noted that God has called pastors to exercise oversight over women’s ministries within the church.  To allow women to go through church sponsored Beth Moore studies and gather for simulcast studies is to open the doors of the church to unbiblical and dangerous teaching.  Pastors, guard the doors and educate the people to exercise biblical discernment.

  1. David Helm, Expositional Preaching, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), Kindle Edition, 355 of 1576.
  2. Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 91.
The Pregnant Truth of the ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reunion

The Pregnant Truth of the ‘Saved by the Bell’ Reunion

Do you remember what it was like when you were in high school?  For some of us, those days are becoming more and more blurry as time progresses.  However, you do recall the lack of maturity you possessed along with the foolish amount of importance we all placed upon certain things – size of arms, height, speed, length of chin, width of nostrils, eye color, hairstyles, and more.  It seems foolish now to think about what we used as entrance into our circle of acceptance.  For some of us, it was the length of sideburns or tight rolled jeans, but for far too many today it’s sex! One popular means of acceptance into certain social circles is the willingness to engage in premarital sex.  This is not a new trend.  Sex has been used to “feel” accepted for years, but with the more liberal television and entertainment outlets, what was once hidden, or merely alluded to, is now openly shoved in your face.

Unless you have been spending a lot of time on the moon, it’s no secret that the modern cultural trends of American television entertainment has been on attack mode for years toward biblical marriage and abstinence.  The public schools have aided in this effort through free condom distribution and unwise sex education programs.  This has led to a massive amount of sexual promiscuity.  The drum continues to beat in that direction through our entertainment outlets.  It’s apparently not cool nor culturally acceptable to wait until you are married to engage in sexual activity.  Just a passing glance at the popularity of The Bachelor will give you an idea of what people really think about marriage, sexual promiscuity, and abstinence.  The thought of modesty is about as ancient as the old typewriter is to an iPad in our culture.  Houston, we have a problem!

Just this week (February 4th), Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show posted a video that portrayed the reunion of the cast of Saved by the Bell – a popular teen sitcom from 1989-1993.  What was more troubling than 40 somethings playing high school characters in this reunion scene was perhaps one line by “Zack” – “I got Kelly Kapowski pregnant.”  It wasn’t “Oh no, I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life, I got Kelly Kapowski pregnant,” but rather, “Guess what everybody, I’m the real deal…I’m the big man on campus, I got Kelly Kapowski pregnant.”  Just since it was released yesterday, it has already had more than 6 million views on  In what seems to be a big sweeping success on social media, the whole idea of sleeping with your high school girlfriend appears to be the normal acceptable practice of today’s culture, not to mention the wink at homosexuality that slid its way into the scene as well.


Think about your entertainment outlets.  What television programs are the normal diet of your family?  What do your children perceive as acceptable based on what you approve to be viewed in your living room?  What do your children see you liking and sharing online?  What are you communicating to your struggling teenage son who is considering losing his virginity this weekend after he takes his girlfriend to an early movie?  Wisdom and prudence are essential in making decisions about entertainment outlets, but we have no room for laziness as we teach our children the truth about life.  We must not lose sight of the responsibility we have as parents to raise our children under the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6).

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) – “Teen Pregnancy in the United States. In 2012, a total of 305,388 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a live birth rateof 29.4 per 1,000 women in this age group. This is a record low for U.S. teens in this age group, and a drop of 6% from 2011.”  God has a better plan for sex and it’s always within the confounds of marriage.  When we tamper with God’s plan for sex, the results will be harmful for the entire society.  God has rightly declared, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4).  Sexually immoral is the Greek word – πόρνος – one who practices sexual immorality – a fornicator.  This involves a male prostitute, homosexuality, beastality, and various other sinful deviations.  Within our culture, and our culture is not alone in this, we see an improper reflection of marriage. Marriage is intended to do something.  It’s intended to communicate a message.  At the foundational level – marriage is intended to show a picture of Christ and His bride – the Church.  It exists to bring God glory.  When we alter marriage – we alter God’s intended plan.  R. Kent Hughes writes, “Anyone who imagines that unrepentant adultery and sexual immorality will go unpunished is in La-la Land.”[1]   This type of outlook toward sexual sin lowers the value of women and cheapens the sanctity of marriage in our culture.

The Bible teaches us in Ecclesiastes 9:9, “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love.”  In other places we see the Bible make statements such as, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).  Our children need to hear more than “be good” and “do better” messages.  They need far more than that from the pulpit of their local church and from the instruction they receive in their living room.  Moralism will not change the heart.  Our children need to hear messages that point them to Jesus.  As they bow their knee to Jesus Christ as Lord, their outlook on marriage, sex, and life as a whole will be changed.

Before you celebrate the pregnant truth of Kelly Kapowski – think about it.  Your son is watching you and learning from what you think is acceptable.  Point your son to Jesus Christ – not Zack Morris!

1.  R. Kent Hughes, Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, vol. 2, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), 219.

Spraying Graffiti on Biblical Womanhood

Spraying Graffiti on Biblical Womanhood

I find myself amazed that the most successful shows on television are often filled with a shallow and disrespectful view of women.  Television is deceiving us.  Facebook is deceiving us.  The selfie culture is deceiving us.  The celebrity culture is deceiving us.  Are we really that easily deceived?

In a day when top reality shows include Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette, we know we have a big problem.  The problem with shows such as The Bachelor is in how they define women.  Often they are portrayed merely as items on the shelf for men to look at, examine, hold, and try out.  If at any point he isn’t happy with the item,  he can simply return it to the store where it’s restocked and he can continue shopping.

True biblical womanhood is under attack.  This attack began when Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is God honoring, the devil will seek to spray his graffiti upon it.  Biblical womanhood is a pure and holy thing.  When put on display in the life of a Christian lady, her home will have the aroma of godliness and holiness.  That type of atmosphere affects her children and benefits her husband.  However, we are raising a younger generation to ignore biblical womanhood and to pursue the decadent and immoral lifestyle publicized by Hollywood and the reality television culture.  The television screen is often used as a center stage for the devil’s empty talk and perverse lies.  Consider the following lies about women that are portrayed by popular mainstream television.

Lie #1 – Reality Show Obviously Means It’s Real 

One of the biggest problems with reality shows is that they are heavily scripted.  If some popular reality shows were genuine reality, they would likely never make it to your living room.  It often requires a staff of writers and publicists to make a reality show work.  The false portrayal of a man dating multiple women and “trying out” a few before he settles down with his top pick is less than real and it cheapens marriage, relationships, intimacy, and yes – women.  The devil would have us all believe it’s real, but it’s not.  It’s really a lie.

Image is a big deal and the pressures to conform to the ideal image is overwhelming to many.  One article that recently appeared in the Metro out of the UK stated the following:

The relentless rise of the mobile phone pictures, coupled with a fixation on celebrity culture, creates unrealistic expectations, they say.  It has led to one in three plastic surgeons in the US reporting a rise in requests for procedures from ‘patients being more self-aware of looks in social media’.  More than half have seen a rise in cosmetic procedures on the under-30s.

When the shallow world of social media selfies and celebrity culture is contributing to cosmetic surgeries among 20 somethings – we know there is a massive problem brewing in our culture.

Lie #2 – Women Must Wear Less to Impress

Let’s be honest.  Advancement in screen driven marketing has changed the dress code of society.  Modesty has been lost in the wilderness of depravity long ago.  June Cleaver has been replaced by the short skirt wearing career woman of American culture.  However, more than June Cleaver’s job has been left behind in our television culture.  June Cleaver was known to be modest in her dress.  Today, not only has the length of dress changed, but in many cases, it has almost disappeared completely.  Women are wearing less in order to impress.  This can be traced to the pursuit of job advancement, self marketing to available men, and in the case of younger ladies it’s often as simple as popularity points on campus. In many cases, this behavior was learned through the television screen.  Not only in movies and sitcoms, but news anchors and marketing advertisements have all contributed to the lack of clothing women are wearing in public.

God expects His daughters to live out the gospel in simple ways – including how they present themselves in dress.  It doesn’t matter what the culture says is cool or attractive.  What matters is what God thinks.  The way women (and men) dress reveals much about their heart.  Where do you think styles of dress originate?  They appear in magazines and on television screens.  We look at it while waiting in the doctor’s office and it appears on the television screen and then we go to the stores and purchase it.  We are easily influenced.  Dressing with less may impress a depraved mind, but it doesn’t impress God.

Lie #3 – Faithfulness is Folly

We have been hearing doom and gloom statistics for years regarding divorce rates.  It seems that the divorce statistics are fairly consistent between the church and unchurched populations.  Presently, there is a divorce every 13 seconds in America.  That totals over 6,000 failed marriages every day in our nation.  As we continue to examine these statistics, we find that 41% of first marriages end in divorce and that number drastically grows to 60% of second marriages and 73% of marriage number three.  What is fueling this horrible problem?  One of the great catalysts for divorce is the perverse culture that surrounds us.  The entertainment world has been dumbing down marriage and denying the sacredness of the marriage bed for many years.  Behind this madness is a message.  Satan hates Jesus.

Marriage is often compared to Jesus’ relationship to the church.  In Ephesians 5:25-28, the apostle Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [26] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [28] In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

One way that Christ loves the church is that He never leaves her!  Our culture continues to claim that remaining faithful to one person for life is a crazy idea that should be written off as archaic and unnecessary.  However, the gospel is rooted in faithfulness.  God instituted covenants with His people and proved Himself to be a covenant keeping God from Old Testament to New Testament.  Therefore, as we view marriage and faithfulness to our spouse, we should not allow the culture to redefine the boundaries of such gospel rooted commitments.  Marriage matters.  Why else would it be under such heavy attack in our present day?

Lie #4 – Cheating is Winning

If the culture of the selfie has taught us anything, it has certainly proven Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  John Calvin referred to the human heart as an “idol factory.”  As the selfie culture continues to expand, it causes us to want to see ourselves in specific places with specific people doing specific things.  The human imagination is powerful – for good or evil.  In the case of our modern entertainment through the television and movie screens, the human imagination will often seek to place ourselves in the context of the main characters.  When young women are engulfed by the decadent shows of American culture, it often causes them to applaud sin and view adultery as an avenue to success.  The devil would like to make women believe that cheating is the way to more fun and a truly exciting life.  He paints that picture through shows like Desperate Housewives and Jersey Shore where women adorn themselves in garish attire as a lure to men.  The continual glamorization of such lewd acts through comic sitcoms and reality shows is one way the devil sprays graffiti upon the gospel.

Proverbs 6:32 says, “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.”  We know the commandment that says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14), but do we really believe that it’s a true line in the sand for our modern culture?  Does God really care about cheating in marriage?  Do we make too much out of this ancient commandment?  The fact is, God’s commandments never grow old and God’s Word is immutable – never changing.  Therefore, it’s a serious indictment on our church culture when many women who sit on the pews in the average church are watching shows like The Bachelorette and Desperate Housewives.  In doing so, they give credence to such depraved entertainment, applaud sin, laugh at debauchery, and open up their own heart for sinful influence.  Cheating is no way to win in marriage.

Lie #5 – Courtship is Crazy

Courtship is the idea that a man pursues a wife and his “dating” her is merely preparation to marry her.  Recreational dating in America denies the necessity of marriage, commitment, and often rejects the sacredness of intimacy between a man and his wife.  Americanized recreational dating cheapens our view of women as men enter the marketplace for their Friday night companion.  The typical American dating routine insists that men “try out” different women in search for the one they are most compatible with.  This idea is played out in high definition through shows like The Bachelor.  Is courtship crazy?

The fact is, nowhere in the Bible do we see recreational dating.  We see marriage emphasized and a true commitment between one man and one woman for life.  God places a sacredness upon marriage and demonstrates the need for a man to take leadership seriously as he plans to care for his bride.  This picture is played out all through the Old and New Testaments.  If courtship is crazy, why are so many 30 something men sitting in their mother’s basement playing video games instead of looking for a job?  If courtship is crazy, how many fathers want that type of man to ring the doorbell and ask to take his daughter out on the town?

According to John 8:44, the devil is a liar and the “father of lies.”  In our present day culture, the devil will use entertainment outlets to preach his dirty lies.  As American girls continue to follow him, he will continue to pervert the gospel with his graffiti.  The devil knows the gospel of Jesus Christ is the source of biblical womanhood.  It’s time for an army of older women to sit over coffee with their daughters and granddaughters and tell them the truth about Titus 2.  It’s time for the older women to warn the younger women about the dangerous traps of the devil.

If the temptations are overwhelming – just turn off the television and don’t allow the magazines into your home.  Jesus said it this way in Matthew 5:29, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.”

Whatever happened to the modest woman of society who didn’t find it necessary to market herself through lewd dress?  Does that woman still exist?  I pray this elusive woman will be found not only in the sanctuary of our church buildings but in the marketplace of our culture as she illuminates the gospel through modesty as opposed to lurid and sexually explicit clothing.  From dress to faithfulness in marriage – our culture needs to see the gospel on display through women.  What an opportunity women have to shine for Christ.