Frustrations Of A Christian Female Blogger (Probably Not The Frustrations You’d Expect)

Pink flowers

Normally, professing Christian women chafe at the idea of limiting their teaching ministry to other women and small children. They follow the world in insisting that we have a contribution to make to the whole church, and that our female perspective must be heard. As they see it, the Word of God cannot be fully represented without the female voice.

Huh?

Where does Scripture ever say such a bizarre thing? If the Word of God is breathed out by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16), why would a female perspective be necessary? Shouldn’t we scratch our heads in bewilderment at the suggestion that men need to hear female voices before they can fully understand what the Bible says?

I can’t help wondering if some men — even Reformed men — have started buying into the idea that female voices need to join the conversation. Logging on to my Twitter Notifications today, I found two tweets by Reformed men, proudly proclaiming that they read The Outspoken TULIP.

Continue reading

Keys To Discernment: Bible Study Of Colossians Reboot

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Many Christians desire to have discernment, which is good. Many, however, maintain a narrow understanding of Biblical discernment, limiting its scope to simply calling out false teachers and/or identifying erroneous practices within the Church.

Biblical discernment most assuredly includes those activities, and we must never ignore the importance of exposing deception (Romans 16:17, Ephesians 5:11). But in order to identify false teaching, we must first have a grasp of sound theology. Going after Beth Moore or Joel Osteen takes more than reading a few discernment blogs; we need to know Scripture well enough that we see their errors readily.

I’d been excited about doing this Bible Study series on Paul’s letter to the Colossians precisely because it demonstrates an approach to discernment that very few Christians emulate today. Yet Paul refutes two major First Century heresies without even naming them. In both cases, he does so by pointing his readers back to Christ.

I said a moment ago that I’m excited about teaching this Bible Study on Colossians. At the same time, I’m nervous about doing it. As I studied it this past summer and fall, I saw how much Paul packed in to these four short chapters. I know how valuable this epistle is in giving us keys to discernment, and so I want to handle it carefully, accurately and reverently.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ~~2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)

Today, however, let’s begin with some housekeeping to prepare for our study. First of all, you’ll probably remember that I’d started this study six months ago. In fact, those of you who began going through this study with me in January probably recognize what I’ve written so far in today’s post. (Well, you should!) Copy and paste is my friend.

But why, you ask, am I reposting the studies I already did? Rather than picking up where we left off in February, I’ve decided to repost the installments I’d already written in order to bring everyone back up to speed. My back injury occurred right in the middle of a crucial passage, and I think we’d sacrifice a lot of context if we didn’t go back to study the progression of Paul’s letter. I believe that reviewing — and occasionally expanding on — the past installments of this study series will better serve to help us study the letter as Paul wrote it.

Next, I need to remind any gentlemen who read my blog that I really intend to teach women exclusively. Unless you’re my husband, an elder at First Baptist Church Weymouth or a man vetting a handful of my posts to make sure they’re suitable for women under your leadership, this blog isn’t for you! The Lord has charged me not to teach men (1 Timothy 2:12), and I want to be obedient to His command.

The limitation of my writing to women is especially important when I present actual Bible Studies. Guys, I’m flattered that so many of you appreciate my writing (why couldn’t I get so many men to follow me when I was single?), but please don’t put me in the position of violating Scripture. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Also,  I plan to post these studies on Mondays. That said, remember that I’m still healing from my back fractures, and therefore have days when I stay in bed. My schedule may demand slight variations here and there. So, although I’ll try to keep on schedule, life might get in the way. Please be patient when I have to deviate from posting these studies on Mondays.

Finally, I really want to encourage you ladies to submit comments. Not “what this verse means to me” subjective comments, but questions or answers to questions from each other. Have you read a relevant commentary bringing out a point that I neglect?  Is my interpretation faulty? Please offer correction. Has the Holy Spirit used the text to challenge you? Let’s talk about it. You can also post comments to The Outspoken TULIP Facebook page.

The Lord wants us to be discerning. Studying Colossians can help us develop real discernment that will honor Christ. And honoring Him must be the ultimate goal of discernment

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That Nagging Awareness That Something Doesn’t Line Up With Scripture

c5fbb-psychologyIt wasn’t only in the Women’s Ministry. The church at large embraced psychological models to help us identify the root causes of our besetting sins. I just noticed the problem more during those women’s meetings.

One evening in particular stands out in my memory. The women leading the meeting instructed each of us to think of an instance when our parents wounded us. They explained that we couldn’t properly forgive them unless we first “worked through” the pain that we had suffered at the hands of our moms and dads.

One lady found the exercise to be perplexing. She honestly couldn’t think of anything she held against either of her parents. Instead of admiring her purity, however, the leaders accused her of failing to deal with her past. I could see their frustration as she continued to maintain that she had wonderful parents — that she couldn’t remember anything they had done to hurt her.

The leaders finally let her alone, concluding that her denial would Continue reading

They Taught Him To Love Jesus

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, the apostle prepares his young disciple to assume the role of pastor to the church at Ephesus. In encouraging Timothy, he makes a tender appeal reminding the young man of his spiritual heritage handed down from his mother and grandmother.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.~~2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV)

Further on in the letter, Paul specifies what Timothy learned from these women.

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~~2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

Lois and Eunice, I believe, taught young Timothy more than a mere academic knowledge of the Old Testament. Their faith in Yahweh prepared him to receive the Gospel and to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whether or not you were raised by a godly mother, knowing Scripture will reveal Christ to you. The more you see Him in His Word, the more you will never love Him as Timothy’s grandmother and mother did. Truly, they taught him to love Jesus.

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Don’t Feel Guilty For Being A Stay-At-Home Mom

Mom and KidsThe pressure began in the 1970s with a reaction to Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique. Friedan asserted that society had conditioned housewives against recognizing their boredom and “quiet desperation.” Women, she said, should want more.

All too quickly, succeeding generations of women came to frown upon the idea that stay-at-home moms could possibly be fulfilled. No, society now said, women need outside careers — in addition to being wives and mothers — if we want to have satisfying lives. Stay-at-home moms deserve pity. Or scorn.

Usually scorn.

As the daughter of a single mom, I certainly understand that some women have to work outside the home. Others may believe that, in order to maintain their standard of living, they can’t afford to stay home (an attitude that should demand serious questioning). If a husband wants his wife to contribute to the household income, that wife may need to submit to his wishes by getting a job. As Christians, we should Continue reading

A Mother’s Satisfaction

Jen's first Easter

My sister’s first Easter

In 1953, she joyfully walked out of her office for the last time. Her fondest dream had come true! At age 37, she finally would carry a baby to term, softening the pain of her three failed pregnancies.

Even though the baby was born with severe disabilities, she rejoiced to be a mom. When a second baby came two-and-a-half years later (this time perfectly healthy), she happily settled into her role of stay-at-home mom. Sure, she served in United Cerebral Palsy and March of Dimes, as well as local women’s groups. She even signed up to lead her older daughter’s Girl Scout troop. But she loved being home with her little girls. It was all she ever wanted!

Late in 1963, she accompanied her husband on a working vacation to San Diego, leaving the girls with they grandmother for the week. It was the first time they had gone anywhere without the kids. After her husband’s conference, they took a day in Tijuana, Mexico — of course, buying Continue reading

When We Wish Mother’s Day Wasn’t A Thing

Pensive Woman04Later this week I plan to write a couple articles celebrating Mother’s Day. More accurately, I plan to write about the ways women can glorify God through motherhood. As our culture shames  women who stay at home to nurture their children, such ladies need encouragement and reassurance that they please the Lord by their devotion to their children.

Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

At the same time, Christians can get so wrapped up in extolling motherhood that we  forget the ladies who feel acute pain on the second Sunday of May each year. Often, those hurting women avoid attending church services that week. Hearing sermons about the joys of raising godly children or the importance of honoring mothers who may not be all that virtuous can sting. Mother’s Day has Continue reading

Flashback Friday: Displaying The Pearl

Originally posted November 24, 2015:

All humans love the idea that we have something inherent in ourselves that pleases God. We firmly believe we bring something to the salvation table. In dealing with the presumption that we can contribute to our salvation, I’d like you to think of Jesus as a perfect Pearl. (I love pearls.) That image, of course, should remain limited to the analogy I present here–I don’t mean to start a new teaching about Jesus being a Pearl! But consider, for this moment, how your life would best show off His beauty. What about you best displays Him?

Perhaps you might immediately think of your good deeds. You’ve given to charitable causes, worked in Christian ministry, raised relatively well-behaved kids, driven elderly neighbors to doctor appointments, sent Christmas cards every year, all while maintaining good health habits to show everyone that you know your body is the temple of the Lord. Your organization and efficiency dazzles everybody. How much you do for Him.

Against such a backdrop, the Pearl can be seen, but you compete with Him for attention.

Or maybe He’s given you talents, such as a good singing voice or the ability to paint beautiful landscapes. Your blog has over 500 followers, most of whom gush endlessly over your knack for “turning a phrase.” Your signature cherry pie is always requested at church potlucks, or people flock to the women’s Bible Study you lead because your sense of humor is legendary. How creative you are for Him!

Against such a backdrop, the Pearl can be seen, but you compete with Him for attention.

Ah, but it’s possible that your piety impresses Him. You were a virgin until your wedding night, and would never flirt with anyone but your husband. You have filters on your computer, you refuse to be alone (even in an elevator) with a member of the opposite sex, and you don’t buy underwear at Victoria’s Secret. Furthermore, you avoid products that exploit workers in Third World sweat-shops, you never drink so much as a glass of wine, and you would  never dream of jay-walking…even in downtown Boston. How moral you are for Him!

Against such a backdrop, the Pearl can be seen, but He barely shows up against your image of purity. Consequently, His glory becomes almost indistinguishable from your own. Once again, you compete with Him for attention.

Actually, I see my own attention-grabbing attitudes in all three of these pictures. Hopefully, you see yourself as well. If we choose these backdrops of self-righteousness, we may convince ourselves that we best display the Pearl, but the reality demonstrates otherwise. As long as we claim anything good about ourselves, we minimize the Lord’s role as Savior.

Jesus is a Pearl, not because our “goodness” displays Him, but because He turns our wickedness into a backdrop for His mercy, grace and love.

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Throwback Thursday: The Negation Of Reason By Sensuous Minds

Originally published September 29, 2017

49575-before2bthe2bcrossThrough a variety of circumstances, I’ve recently been exposed to young women in the Millennial generation. With one notable exception, I don’t really like what I see. The irresponsibility and self-centeredness appalls and saddens me. This generation, from what I see, exchanges reason for experience and pragmatism, paying little attention to long-term ramifications of their decisions. They pay even less attention to how their behaviors affect others.

In short, they possess poor reasoning skills. As a result, they exercise poor judgment, and then cast themselves as innocent victims when they face the consequences of that poor judgment. Between the immediacy of social media and the indoctrination of liberal colleges and Hollywood, Millennials have never learned to think for themselves.

To be fair, those attitudes have definite roots in Continue reading

Do We Really Need More Articles Exposing Beth Moore?

Martyrs Bible

Yesterday I wasted an hour slogging through a blog post promising more information about Beth Moore. It was, to my disappointment, only a badly written regurgitation of the same charges against her that Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata and I have made for several years. The spelling errors made it miserable to read. Frankly, I should have found more productive uses for my time.

Much has been written about Beth Moore’s deviations from Biblical Christianity. Elizabeth Prata is probably the foremost authority on Moore, and offers a vast archive of carefully documented essays detailing various ways that Moore violates Scripture. If you seriously wish to research Beth Moore, Elizabeth certainly supplies more than enough material to educate you.

In that respect, it’s needless (and a bit silly) to write the sort of post that I bothered with yesterday. Nothing new came to light, and the poor quality of writing would only convince Beth Moore followers that the writer isn’t credible. Sadly, the writer added nothing noteworthy to the conversation.

And yet, many people Continue reading