Guilty as charged
Biblical Womanhood is one of those topics that more often than not makes women squirm, cringe or maybe even gasp when they consider what women like me embrace as God’s good gift to us. I enjoy co-teaching a Seminary Wives Institute elective with Jodi Ware here at Southern Seminary. I was a bit surprised to hear recently that a woman on our campus was a little leery of our course title, “Embracing Femininity,” since she feared it might be about high neck collar fashion, among other things. Oh, the misconceptions! Be assured that we deal with lots of important topics in our class but dressing as Puritans is not one of them. Of course, I am accustomed to the farcical hyperbole from those outside of our campus who do not understand our complementarian convictions, but I was taken by surprise by the ranting of a woman whom I heard recently. She said this when talking about marriage roles:
“Have we lost our minds? We need to get out of Bibleworld. We live in the real world of today. We need to be trying to better the world that we live in and raise our children in instead of parking ourselves 2,000 years in the past.”
Clearly, her problem is not with complementarianism, but goes much deeper than that. Let’s give her points for honesty. She does not sugar coat her thoughts! Her open rejection of the authority of Scripture is clear. Unlike others, she does not merely insult the Word of God by stating that it is a book with some good but dated advice; she instead deems it irrelevant and unworthy of the attention of the busy woman living in “the real world.”
The very book that radical feminists ridicule warns us about them. Scripture teaches that false teachers will rise up with their slick arguments and will find hearers with “itching ears” who are easily swayed by words and will turn away from the truth. We are not surprised by this. But as women of the Word, we must not be intimidated by their words nor angered by their condescension. Instead, we should be all the more motivated to happily model with conviction what we believe to be biblical femininity. Yet we must also be ready to articulate why we do so in spite of the risk of being held up to ridicule for errant understandings of what things like submission really mean. We rejoice in the fact that God created us as women who are his image bearers in our femininity to his glory. We count it a privilege as we strive to fulfill what he in his infinite wisdom clearly defined as our role in the home by submitting to the servant leadership of our husbands as we model the church submitting to Christ. Our husbands have the daunting assignment to love us as Christ loves the church.
Those who shake their heads in disbelief at the seemingly simplistic stance of interpreting roles for the family based on the clear teaching in the infallible, inerrant, eternal, sufficient Bible will continue to do so. And they will continue to make up their own plan based on their fallible, erroneous, temporal, and insufficient musings until their descendants decide that those too are anachronistic and come up with yet another plan.
Do those who find the Bible to be irrelevant think for a moment that the Lord will applaud their wisdom on judgment day? Will he commend them for not taking all those ancient words too seriously? Will he possibly say that he did not mean for us to be rigid with his plan for marriage to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime? Will he be pleased that his clear plan for roles in marriage reflecting the gospel and the relationship of Christ and the church has been jettisoned in favor of a more politically correct version? Is there any chance that the Lord will say to them: “Well done, I was just being metaphorical when I said that my Word endures forever and that the implanted Word is able to save your souls.” I think not.
We press on with the full confidence that what might appear to be simple is truly profound. We stand on the truth of God’s Word. We shudder at the outrageous suggestion that we need to get out of “Bibleworld.” We are guilty as charged in our stalwart allegiance to the revealed Word. May we dig deeper into it daily knowing we can never begin to understand it fully. May we read, study, and meditate upon it with great expectancy as we prayerfully anticipate its instruction to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We would be wise to “park ourselves 2,000 years in the past” in order to study Scripture — all of which is “breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” according to the God-breathed words to Paul. But we won’t stay there. Anchored to what was given to us in the past as a priceless treasure, we are equipped to face the present and future. God, help us.
Mary Mohler is the wife of Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. and serves as Director of the Seminary Wives Institute.
Find more info on the May 2 Counsel the Word event at Southern with a Confident Parenting theme.