Evangelicals & Familial Erosion

On social media, I recently posted my concern and my angst about the State of Christianity in America. My published concern was an Eagle-eye’s view, but I want to look at the matter from a Worm eye’s view in today’s blog article. Part One of my two-part analysis will delve into the female perspective, and Part Two, Lord willing, will cover the male perspective.

My thesis is the State of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood is at an all-time low in the Church’s history and surely deconstructing increasingly more: qualitatively and quantitatively. For most professing female Evangelicals, I would submit that the word submission is a “cuss” word, figuratively and even more tragically for some, literally.

As a male blogger, one could reasonably wonder why I would not first deal with the male perspective. I do so to mimic the biblical model. Every time, without exception, whenever the Bible explicitly addresses familial concerns, it always begins with the women’s submission mandate.

Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now, as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Colossians 3:18

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-5

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands.

I want to emphasize yet again my commentary is always directed primarily to the Evangelical community. When I employ the word Evangelical, I do so with the traditional understanding of what it means to be identified with the moniker Evangelical.

There is no reasonable expectation for a non-believer to embrace and submit to what God reveals in His Holy Word; thus, I never direct my concern nor write with the larger culture in mind (1 Corinthians 5:12-14, see below)

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the Church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

After a two-year collaboration, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the Christian research organization LifeWay Research have developed a standard definition for what it means to be an Evangelical.

Tired of numerous surveys and polls holding inconsistent definitions of what they consider to be Evangelicals, NAE announced Thursday that its board of directors adopted an “Evangelical beliefs research definition” at its Oct. 15 meeting in hopes it will lead to researchers using an accurate definition to define Evangelicals.

“Evangelicals have been misunderstood and categorized incorrectly so often, and much of that is due to inconsistent identification in research,” NAE President Leith Anderson said in a statement shared with The Christian Post. “Now we have a way to measure Evangelical belief with confidence.”

NAE called on LifeWay Research to help develop an accurate manner to define Evangelical beliefs. The organizations gathered input from a “diverse group” of theologians, Evangelical leaders, and sociologists, who designed and tested 17 questions that would help define Evangelicals.

The organizations were able to narrow down the 17 questions into four fundamental statements that believers must hold to be true in order to be considered real Evangelicals.

Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, said the four statements closely match David Bebbington’s classic four-pronged definition of Evangelicalism, but with more of an emphasis on belief rather than behavior.

Those statements are:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.[1]

It is frustrating and utterly tragically sad that I have to define and defend the employment of the perfectly good word Evangelical. You would be amazed at the hostility I encounter from theologically naïve and immature Evangelicals. They believe they are morally superior and above the fray by rejecting the Evangelical moniker. As if the term Evangelical was only first coined to define the Donald J. Trump era.

Bring up the topic of submission to the average believer, male or female, and you will hear many “yeah, but” responses, becoming ever increasingly dominant in the Evangelical Community.

Evangelicals are never Yeah, but Evangelicals about first-order and clear explicit biblical teachings.

For three examples of many which could be advanced:

  • Evangelicals do not believe they can personally be against abortion but accept someone else biblically can
  • Evangelicals do not believe they can personally be against same-sex marriage but think someone else biblically can
  • Evangelicals do not believe they can personally be against gender fluidity but think someone else biblically can

I challenge you to do a short survey. Talk with five professing female Evangelicals and ask them to respond to the biblical topic of submission with their Evangelical worldview. Then just sit and observe the hemming and hawing that will occur. I am supremely confident you will not find many, if any, who will speak forthrightly and embrace the biblical definition of submission without the death of a thousand qualifications

Instead, you are far more likely to hear the following retorts or some close facsimile;

I would submit if I had a husband who did his part
I would submit if my husband were a Godly man

I would submit if my husband loved me like Christ loved the Church

I would submit if my husband submitted to me like the Bible teaches (more on that later)

I would submit if “blah, blah, blah,

In response to these feeble attempts to justify their refusal to bend their knee to God’s Word, I need only direct your attention to 1 Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22

1 Peter 3

A careful (which should describe every believer) Bible student notes that the Apostle Peter wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit fully and explicitly acknowledged that husbands (at least some) will surely fail in their individual biblical role.

so that even if some do not obey the word,  they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands. (emphasis mine)

Well, so much for the I would submit if foolishness. The Biblical expectation for the wife to submit is never contingent on how well her husband masters his responsibility to love her as Jesus Christ masterfully loved His Bride, the Church. Let me quickly remind the reader I will cover the male perspective in my next post, Lord willing, so this is not a case of me cherry-picking select verses of Holy Scripture to spotlight the woman’s failure. Let me again state I believe both Biblical Womanhood and Biblical Manhood are regrettably anemic and on life support. Sorry, I am not hopeful or biblically naïve enough to think things will change dramatically before the return of Jesus Christ.

I never cease to interject out that neither side, male or female, can use the other to justify their failure to carry out their marital responsibility. Accordingly, I will not be able to point to any of my wife’s actions or failures to act as my justification not to love her as Jesus Christ loved His bride. Conversely and specifically to the point of this blog post, my spouse will not be able to list my failure as her justification to not live in biblical submission to my male headship.

As this blog’s narrow focus concerns the wife’s responsibility, it is not difficult to understand God’s expectation for wives when the Evangelical filters the matter through 1 Peter 3 (1 Peter 3 is a didactic passage).[2] Even if the husband does not display obedience (please note the standard is obedience, not perfection, just simple obedience), God does not biblically authorize the wife to mitigate her responsibility whatsoever.

But what about Ephesians 5:22? Many use this verse to advance the position husbands and wives are biblically obligated to submit to one another. Talk long enough about submission, and you will inevitably hear someone interject Epheshian 5:22.

Ephesian 5:22 says, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

So, what are to we to make of a passage like this? Does or does not this passage teach a man and a woman are to submit to one another in a marital context. As I repeatedly say, a text without a context is nothing more than a pretext. Of course, the passage enjoins the concerned principals to submit to one another. Yet, the prevailing question is who are the concerned principals.

Thankfully, we can allow the biblical passage to speak for itself and follow the Apostle Paul’s flow of argument. In that case, it is easy to understand that in verse 21, Paul is continuing a dialogue directed to the entire body, not the family.

It is imperative to remember Paul’s wrote his letters were to Churches, not individuals, so when Paul commanded the concerned principals to give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lour Jesus Christ, the recipients of Paul’ letter would have understood that command to apply to all members of the Ephesian Church.

Yet, what do we see becoming more and more prevalent in the visible Church?

We are seeing more and more people in the visible Church, male and female, laity and ordained, educated and non-educated, rejecting Complementarianism and embracing Egalitarianism.[3] While I do not believe this particular doctrinal difference impacts one’s salvation, I posit it remains a first-order doctrine position.

For example, let’s take the doctrine of the Virgin Birth; it is quite conceivable a believer could not fully embrace the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth for a myriad of reasons yet still enjoy salvific felicity. Salvation is solely by faith in Christ, not mastering a theological examination. Yet, the Church would express serious reservation, and eternal concern for any believer did not affirm the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth.

Hence, the reason for this blog article. I am 100% confident that a believer can hold the Egalitarian position and remain a genuine believer, yet I reserve serious reservation and eternal concern if one does so. I do so because the biblical revelation (refer back to the Scriptures advanced: Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18 & 1 Peter 3:1-5) is plainly written for all to understand easily.

The reasons for rejecting the biblical mandate for women to embrace a subordinate position are not intellectual; instead, I submit they are spiritual. I would propose the rebellion is the fulfillment of Genesis 3:16

I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain, you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.

Thus, we are witnessing the fulfillment of God’s curse upon Eve for her disobedience. A Woman’s desire is contrary to her husband’s in far too many cases, especially when it manifests itself in the professing Church. Still, it does not have to be thus because this rebellion was due to the Fall, but Jesus Christ has come to deliver His glorious bride from the shackles of the curse of the Fall.

Exactly why I am gravely concerned when I witness professing Evangelical women recoil at the notion of biblical submission, but my utter bewilderment is the increasing acceptance of men’s embrace of Egalitarianism. The Church is eroding, right before our very eyes, and sadly it is an inside job.

The Church has embraced the ways of the world. Instead of being transformed by the renewal of our minds, the Church mirrors the world. The world shouts, “no role should be denied to a woman,” and the Church capitulates. The world cries, “women can do anything a man can do,” and the Church capitulates. The world boasts, “women are just as capable as men,” and the Church shrinks back.

My rejection is neither misogynistic nor biological, ontological, philosophical, or pragmatic. My rejection is solely biblical and theological. God’s revealed means of human flourishing entails a distinction between the sexes, and let me state most emphatically, there is and there will always be only two sexes, decreed by the Creator at birth. The relevant passages (Ephesians 5:22-24, Colossians 3:18 & 1 Peter 3:1-5) are not difficult to understand. They are straightforward and easy even for a young believer to grasp. If the family (God’s first ordained human institution) is to flourish according to God’s design, it will only do so if the man functions as the head. This status is not earned or merited; God has divinely decreed it.

My bewilderment is why the alleged people of God shrink back from what God has so clearly revealed in His divine Word with increasing frequency. It has infiltrated my own family, and it breaks my heart.

Again, do a poll. Ask ten of your friends whether a woman can serve as a local church pastor. I believe you would be astounded as the number of people who profess to yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ embrace the Egalitarian position.

I close with my repeated affirmation of the equality of women in essence. Both men and women share the same ontological value in the eyes of God. Yet as all three Persons of the Godhead are equal in essence, they still retain differences in function. What we witness in the vertical realm is the same in the horizontal domain. The wife is equal to the husband in essence, but she is subordinate to him in function.

The Church will continue to fail miserably in its mission to be Salt and Light. She will continue to experience being trampled upon and increasingly lose relevance. I believe one of the chief reasons is the Church’s failure to hold the line concerning the role of men and women.

I close with this biblical truth I believe enables us to understand why the Church is anemic and dying on the vine. It is found in Mark 3:27

No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house.

More and more, The Church suffers from a lack of men; strong men, biblical men, courageous men. Sadly, many women feel they must assume a headship role solely due to the man not stepping up. From a human standpoint, I could readily understand this line of thinking. Yet, the Bible does not permit me to see things from a human standpoint. As a professing Evangelical, God only authorizes me to weigh the matter through His lens: His revealed Word.

While many believe I am too fixated on women’s slights and foibles, I direct my strongest condemnation will forever be to males. When I stand before my Maker, and God takes inventory of my family, He will hold me, as the man, chiefly responsible, not my wife and certainly not my children. Now, it is beyond the ability of a blog post to delve into all of the doctrinal issues behind such an assertion so let me just say when humankind fell into sin, it was not because Eve ate. The entire human race fell into sin because Adam ate.

Part Two will look at the radical capitulation of Men. God’s Word will never be made void. So as it reveals, society will get progressively worse. Yet, society’s regression should deteriorate in spite of our best efforts, never because of our insipid efforts. Thus, God most certainly will not grant Man a pass.

As always, let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.


1 Real Evangelicals Believe These Things. Josh McDowell Ministry. Accessed on January 11, 2002, https://www.josh.org/real-evangelicals-believe-4-things/

[2] A didactic passage is a biblical passage where the reader is expected to do something as opposed to a descriptive passage that informs the reader what has happened. Didactive passages are prescriptive (command) and not descriptive (informs the reader what has taken place only)

[3] Complementarianism is the theological view in Christianity that men and women have different but complementary roles and roles in marriage, family life, and religious leadership. Thus, while men and women are equal in essence there is a difference in their functionality. Thus The leadership role is restricted to men only.  In contrast, the Egalitarian position argues there is no distinction in function and roles regarding man and woman.

1 Comment
  1. I appreciate what you wrote about Biblical submission. I teach a Sunday school class in which I prepare very brief chapter summaries from Scripture as we read through the Bible on a 3-year plan. Interestingly, when we looked at I Timothy 2 this week, particularly verse 12, it became apparent that no one had ever thought about whether women should be pastors in light of what Scripture says; the good news is, they were open to what I had to say. I will probably write a post about this issue at some point.

    Like

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