We title this post in this manner because what we are about to discuss is a problem in the church and it affects the church’s view on the Bible and biblical instruction. Aside from unbelief and doubt, this problem is one of the biggest headaches for the church because it allows for church members to stray from the truth and leaves the church without a rudder to guide it through the difficulties of modern times.
This problem is stated quite well at Rachel Held Evans’ website though she sides with the problem and is not identifying it as something that needs to be changed. She writes:
To review: In their letters to the early church, the apostles Peter and Paul include what you might call a Christian remix of the traditional Greco-Roman household codes, which detailed the responsibilities of a male head-of-house, his wives, slaves, and adult children (see Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3).
Complementarians like Piper believe these instructions are universally binding, and argue that what makes the New Testament household codes countercultural is their rejection of feminism in favor of male headship. However, Peter and Paul didn’t live in a feminist culture; they lived in a patriarchal one. Noting that wives are to submit to their husbands and slaves to their masters was nothing radical. The authors were essentially stating the obvious about the nature of their time and place in the world and expected social norms (http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/absurd-legalism-gender-roles-submission-piper)
The critical problem for the church is that many believe that the culture of the times dictates what God wrote and this thinking removes all divine inspiration from the Bible and makes its books subject to secular culture and not a product of God or his holiness.This thinking also removes any instruction for the modern church to follow as it removes God’s will for the church, God’s guidelines for its members and replaces them with what many alternative believers accuse the Bible of being– subjective human opinion vulnerable and influenced by current culture.
In other words, people who agree with Ms. Evans here are saying that they get to direct the church and provide its guiding instructions and not God. Not one of these people provide any divine evidence for their alternative views or rejection of biblical instruction. Their opposition comes from their own subjective opinions and failure to humble themselves and obey God. They do not like God’s instructions so they find excuses like what is quoted above to support their rebellion against God.
This is exactly what they are doing. They are not being scholarly or academic or even theological but act in a purely rebellious spirit because they have been influenced either by secular culture a or those who have. They are the ones who have taken their eyes off Christ and listened to evil, not those who humbly stand with God and his divine instructions.
The people like Ms. Evans can feel good about doing so and deny that they are being rebellious because they have removed God from the writing of the Bible and made it solely a human work. Thus they can claim that they are not rebelling against God but some ancient patriarchal culture and influence. They are in error of course because once you remove God from the Bible then the church becomes nothing but a false religion and there is no salvation for anyone..
This leads to identify another problem found in the quoted ideology– cherry picking. Those who make that quoted argument are cherry picking the passages they will or will not accept but that option is not available to God’s creation. The Bible tells us that God said ‘you are either for me or against me’ and those who side with the quoted statement are going against God and not for him. They are not repairing or re-establishing God’s word but altering it to fit what they want to do.
The above quote leads to another problem– misunderstanding God’s word as we read further in Ms. Evans post:
Piper’s post about “what submission is not” contains a glaring omission, then—the fact that “biblical” submission is not meant to be one-way. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul calls both wives and husbands, men and women to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Directing a “how to submit” list to women alone perpetuates the mistaken notion that the deference and humility celebrated in the New Testament household codes are exclusively feminine virtues.
The error in this thought is that Ms. Evans applies the definition of the word ‘submit’ that she wants to see and not the one that actually applies to that word or context.There is nothing in that context or definition of that word that counters the instructions found in those passages calling a woman to submit to her husband. The husband is not giving up any authority in those instructions, he is still the head of the wife as Paul wrote elsewhere but people like Ms. Evans ignore this distinct difference in the use of the word submit because they want to subject others to their will and desires or find some way to get permission to practice their erroneous views.
She and others also forget that one bible verse does not contradict or countermand another. If that idea was true then the church would be full of confusion and God is not the author of confusion. This fact reveals to us that people who hold to those views spoken by Ms. Evans in that post and quotes, are the ones in error as they use one verse to help them disobey multiple others.
The use of that verse in the second quote by Ms. Evans and others demonstrates a dishonesty in their research and biblical views. Dishonesty is also not of God thus we have more evidence that she and those like her are wrong and not those who hold to the truth of the Bible and do not change it to fit their demand or to meet secular culture’s demands.
The church needs to solve this problem in favor of God’s guiding words to us. If we cannot then we have allowed evil to effectively destroy the church as its guiding instructions are removed and easily replaced by false teaching. Culture does not determine God’s instruction to us.The Bible is divine, holy and without error and to say that a patriarchal society influenced God and his instructions is saying that the bible is full of errors and cannot be trusted.
It is also saying that culture reigns above God and that is heresy. God has provided us with his instructions to follow and they come from whom he is. God is providing us the information that we need to follow so that we fit into his kingdom’s culture thus we cannot let those who do not want to follow God’s culture influence or alter God’s words or let them destroy the church because they have opted to listen to and follow evil over God.
This does not mean that men have free reign to abuse women or be tyrants. It means that both men and women need to slow down and take the time to learn God’s instructions honestly and then apply them to their lives correctly. There is no alternative to doing that.
There is more in Ms. Evans post that we will address but that will come in following posts.