By Jeff Smith | PREVIEW Columnist
Each generation of Christians applies timeless truths to issues unique to their time. Sometimes we see flaws in our grasp of those truths in the process. The rift between Beth Moore and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) last year exposed one of them. We need to change it soon.
When God began His flawless world, He allowed His first couple to sin. They changed themselves and the world He created. What they were meant to be darkened. Their world became unsafe. Adam’s strength and courage became thuggish, and Eve’s beauty and insight allowed her to beguile and deceive. They could see the flaws in the other and miss their own. So, to stay together, the command from God for him to rule her made sense. He would protect her, and she would obey him (Genesis 3:16). Since then, all cultures, in all times, one way or the other, have returned to this basic order of things. It was not the best idea, but given the flaws in both, it was the one that worked the best.
Bible truth does not change, but our insight into it does grow and deepen. Jesus spoke to a woman at a well and she went from outcast to village leader (John 4:4-42). Jesus was equal with God, but could submit to God, showing equals can submit and remain equals (Luke 22:42). The Apostle Paul told church members to see each other as “better” than themselves (Philippians 2:3). He told women not to “usurp” or topple male teachers (1 Timothy 2:12).
The modern feminist movement sought to change the basic, second-class status of women and we can now see women as able leaders in areas once closed to them. Therefore, it was easy to foresee the coming rift between Moore and the SBC. Pointing to the verse “I do not allow a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man” (1 Timothy 2:12), the SBC does not allow a woman in the pulpit. They are right to see the bad ideas in feminism, its disdain for marriage, encouraging single parenthood and contempt for the unborn, nested in their good ones. Moore was guilty of none of those. Faithful wife and mother, she was also an able speaker, teacher and leader.
Moore has shed some welcomed light on this wooden view of this scripture, which sees only the letter but not its spirit. When we come to Christ, we begin an inner change. We become more like Him. The genders become more like what they were meant to be. The first couple ruled the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:28). God will rule His world someday with His bride (1 Corinthians 6:2, Revelation 5:10; 22:16,17). In the book of Proverbs, Lady Wisdom was a teacher (Proverbs 1:30) who taught men (Proverbs 9:9). Priscilla was a female teacher and leader in the early church who taught a man named Apollos (Acts 18:26). The early church proved its new members as deacons or servants before they became elders or leaders. This was true for Philip (Acts 6:5, 8:12, 26-40). It is implied for Phoebe (Romans 16:1,2) and for other tested and proven male and female co-workers with Paul (Romans 16:3-16, 21-23). John wrote to a woman church leader (2 John 1). Thus, leaders in the Christian Church after Paul and John should have been both male and female all along. The premise was a leader, often a man but not always, must succeed at home before they lead in church (1 Timothy 3:4,5). We Christians do many things right. This is not one of them. We need to change this soon. This is why.
Bad ideas kill good ones. Feminism has killed itself. The angry, brutal man is waiting to return to center stage. He will get his woman off welfare and in her place. He will correct his sons and protect his daughters. Feminists are right to fear him. They have no right to blame him. They did this to themselves. This thug will want us to approve of what he is about to do.
We need to be one step ahead of him.
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