Monday, August 16, 2010

Is it Wrong for Men to Listen to Women Teachers?

Men's and women's roles within the church, as well as the home, are unfortunately often an area of controversy.  I say "unfortunately" because we have God's Word that spells out for us God's "mind" on the matter.  One great resource that lays a solid exegetical, biblical foundation is The Center for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood - and in particular the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which is available free in PDF format by following the preceding link.

I am also posting below the transcript of a question posed to Pastor John Piper and his answer.  He articulates well and succinctly what we should understand from the Scriptures.

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

The Question: I'm a guy. Is it wrong for me to listen to Beth Moore?

John Piper's Answer: No. Unless you begin to become dependent on her as your shepherd—your pastor.

This is the way I feel about women speaking occasionally in Sunday school. We don't need to be picky on this. The Bible is clear that women shouldn't teach and have authority over men. In context, I think this means that women shouldn't be the authoritative teachers of the church—they shouldn't be elders. That is the way Rick Warren is understanding it, and most of us understand it that way.

This doesn't mean you can't learn from a woman, or that she is incompetent and can't think. It means that there is a certain dynamic between maleness and femaleness that when a woman begins to assume an authoritative teaching role in your life the manhood of a man and the womanhood of a woman is compromised.

What I just said is unbelievably controversial. There are thousands, even millions of people that think this idea is absolutely obscene. That is the language people used back in the 70's when I was fighting battles over biblical manhood and womanhood. It isn't obscene. It is recognized profoundly in a lot of young people today, as well as older people.

To the question of whether men should listen to a woman like Elisabeth Elliot—who was the Beth Moore of my generation. Elisabeth Elliot provoked students to be lay down your life missionaries. I love it! Sock it to them Elisabeth! She was so in your face about laying your life down and being radically obedient and totally committed. She was not a pastor, and she didn't even preach on Sunday mornings. She is my kind of lady. I can learn heaps from her.

I want to learn from my wife and I am happy to learn from Beth Moore. But I don't want to get into a relationship of listening or attending a church where a woman is becoming my pastor, my shepherd or my authority. I think that would be an unhealthy thing for a man to do. I could give reasons for that biblically, experientially and psychologically, but I have given the gist of it.

So the answer is, no it is not wrong for you to listen to Beth Moore, but it could become wrong. I think Beth Moore would be happy with that answer. I've talked to her about this, and I think she would be OK with what I've said. Our paths cross at the Passion Conference every now and then, and we talk.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Should the Church Entertain?

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

by Charles Spurgeon (edited)

An evil is in the 'professed' camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel'.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The 'concert' has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? "You are the salt of the world", not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When "many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him," I do not hear Him say, 'Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!'

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the 'gospel of amusement'. Their message is, "Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them... Don't touch their filthy things..." Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, 'Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are'.

No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today's church.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God's link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today's ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Date Night Tips

Some great date night tips from pastor Mark Driscoll. 
  1. Parents, if you can’t afford a sitter, is there a way to set up a rotation with three other families to take turns each week watching kids for date night?
  2. Husbands, when is your date night? Your wife needs it. You do, too. Grace and I have enjoyed Friday date nights for about 20 years.
  3. Husbands, don’t waste every date night at a movie where you can’t talk. Use the time to visit with your wife, draw her out, and study her like you do the Bible.
  4. Husbands, plan out your date nights. Ask you wife in advance what sounds good, see what your options are, and make a plan. She’ll be thankful.
  5. Date night killers: no plan, selfishness, laziness, letting technology keep interrupting, and doing the same old predictable thing.
  6. Time with other couples now and then is OK, but if most date nights involve other people, there is likely an intimacy disconnect in the marriage.
  7. Dads, moms who stay home all day with the kids need to get dressed up, taken out, and have some adult conversation with their husbuddy.
  8. Husbands, what can you do to find some creative ways to make date night fun and endearing even on a tight budget?
  9. Husbands, what can you start doing days or hours before date night to build the expectation of connection with your wife? Flowers, cards, calls, texts?
  10. When life gets crazy, the kids are sick, etc. is there any way to sneak in a bit of a date night at home with say a soak in the tub together, glass of wine etc. after the kids go to sleep?
  11. Sometimes sending the kids out to someone’s house and having a date night at home can be cheap and fun if planned right.
  12. Men, you don’t pursue a woman to marry her and stop pursuing her. You pursue a woman to marry her and pursue her with more passion and creativity than ever. How’s it going husbands?
  13. Men, you don’t need to understand women. You will be doing better than most men to understand just one woman. Date nights are to ask inviting questions, listen, and learn about her. It’s also a night to open up and let her do the same.
  14. Men, if you don’t date your wife, someone else may eventually volunteer for the job.
  15. Ladies, sometimes it’s a great gift to go into your husband’s world for a date night by doing something like putting on a jersey going to a game and eating a hot dog. His love language may just be hot dog.
  16. Men: find a shirt with buttons, try two eyebrows instead of one, find a breath mint or 20, show up with a gift, don’t ogle other women, and go to a restaurant that does not have a spork.
  17. Sometimes the best date night is date breakfast, date lunch, or surprise pick up your spouse from work for an hour at a hotel.
Another resource I'd highly recommend for men is C.J. Mahaney's Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God.  We need to remember that our marriages were designed by our Lord to be a picture of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33), therefore the health of our marriages is truly tied to God's glory.  Let's constantly pray and work to be pursuing our spouses for our joy and God's glory!