Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Stratification of Submission

How feminism, broken homes, new age parenting and the multitude of other cultural home structures go against God’s plan for a healthy family unit.

Submission has become a dirty word in today’s cultural climate. As with many things, when we take a word or concept out of biblical context and view it through a cultural lens, we pervert the true meaning. This is the case with the word submission. When we hear the word submission, many of us think of things like being a doormat or the slavery of the early years of this country. In church life, we typically go to the scriptures which tell wives to submit to their husbands. However, there is so much more to biblical submission than just wives submitting to their husbands.

To begin, we must understand and believe in the core principles of the Gospel message; that we are created by God, created for God, and accountable to God. We must also have a belief and an understanding that the holy scriptures are inerrant and profitable for teaching.  If you reject these fundamental principles, then there will be no foundation for the truths in which I will be discussing and the family design that I will be breaking down.

To fully understand and appreciate God’s design of the family unit we need to go all the way back to Genesis and take a look at creation. “In the beginning” as many of us can remember from our childhood Sunday school classes God created all things. He created them one by one, he reviews His work and finds that it is “Good.” In Genesis 1:26-31 we find ourselves in the midst of the sixth day of creation:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in his own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth – everything having the breath of life in it – I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good indeed.

We have just witnessed the first of the three principles we discussed earlier, that God created us. We also see the bibles first depictions of submission and dominance, as God gives man, whom He created, dominance over all the living elements of His creation. Digging a little deeper we can see that in this creation the Holy Trinity is already being introduced when the Father says, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” Even the Godhead has roles of dominance and submission which we will discuss later in this article.

Skipping ahead a little we witness the very moment of the first temptation of sin and the fall of man. Eve is persuaded by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit and also feeds it to her husband, Adam. I believe that two things are often overlooked here. First is that Adam is present while Eve is being tempted as scripture reads, “…she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it…” and he did nothing to stop her.

Second, we see God directly holding Adam accountable for both his and his wife’s sin. Genesis 3:9 “So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” It is important to note that God did not need to ask any of the questions that He did in Genesis 3 because He already, being omniscient, knew the answers. I believe it is important to recognize that God first approaches Adam not Eve regarding this first act of disobedience even though it was she who initiated the act that led to the fall of humanity. This begins to build the case that scripture dictates the wife is to submit to the husband as well as to God because the husband is accountable to God for not only himself but also his wife and children. God further clarifies Adams authority over Eve in Genesis 3:16: “He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.” Looking ahead into the New Testament in the book of Ephesians Paul touches heavily on the roles of wives and husbands. Paul begins in chapter 5 verse 22 as follows: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.”

Before we go any further, I want to point out that it is what Paul says next that disassembles the cultural misinterpretation of submission. In verse 25 Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides care for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”

Paul also pens these words to the church of Corinth, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of every wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” To relate the submission of a wife to her husband as being a doormat we would then have to relate the submission of man to Christ as such and even the relationship between Christ and God in this very same way. Going back to Paul’s description in Ephesians we see a deep and unconditional love being described as Jesus submits to God for His love of humanity and as husbands, we are told to have this same love for our wives and wives are told to have this same submissive attitude toward their husbands. To recap before moving forward, so far scripture has laid out that wives are to submit to their husbands. Husbands are to submit to Christ. And Christ submits to God.

So what about a husband who does not love her as Christ loves the church? Is she released from this biblical submission? I believe we find that very answer in Peters first Epistle. In chapter 3 Peter writes, “In the same way, wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure, reverent lives.” Our culture has created this attitude and false belief that respect must be earned which often leads us down a very dangerous and slippery slope especially when it comes to our family life. Divorces become acceptable, children’s bad behavior justified, and a husband’s duties and responsibilities to his family become unnecessary. This all becomes possible when we focus on what we think we are deserving of rather than the reality which is that we all deserve hell and everything we receive above that is by the grace of God. Now I feel I need to clarify that these things are not unforgivable as Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. However, we do need to recognize that these things are sin and stand in opposition of God's will.

Just as wives are to submit to their husband scripture also tells us that children are to submit to their parents. From the book of Exodus in the Old Testament, “Honor your father and mother…” to the book of Ephesians in the New Testament where Paul says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right.” God is clear that children are to submit to their parents and not the other way around. In today’s cultural climate we see an epidemic where children are running households rather than parents. This new age parenting style where not only is it appropriate but necessary to give your children free rein over their decisions. Where their privacy is a right and punishment is non-existent and where their feelings are held as the utmost of importance more so than their safety or future. Where raising happy children is the goal rather than godly children who are taught to serve the Lord. Many parents, even those in the church, are more concerned with being their child’s friend than their parent. We also see a cultural belief that has crept into the church that the child is the most important part of the family. This is not biblical, and many marriages crumble because the emphasis is placed upon the children rather than the marriage.

When we look at the biblical model of submission, we can clearly see that when you break a link in the chain of submission devastating effects can occur. If Jesus had not submitted to the Father, humanity would be doomed and in similar, although much less severe, fashion if we do not submit according to scriptural models our family units are also set up for failure. Fatherless and/or motherless homes, same-sex parents, wife dominant households and children run homes are all examples of deviations from the biblical model that God has set forth for a healthy family unit. Does this mean that God cannot work in these situations, absolutely not! I grew up with divorced parents one of whom was married three times the other seven, my grandparents also played a huge role in my upbringing, even living with them for a couple of years. However, children who grow up in a biblically modeled home, that is one man and one woman in a monogamous union with a dominant God-fearing father and a nurturing and submissive mother, have far fewer obstacles in life and a much healthier upbringing.

In conclusion, submission is simply an act of obedience and reverence to God and not the bad word society would like you to think. We must not allow the world to form our views on the things which belong to God. While unpopular in today’s cultural climate we must stand firm in scriptural doctrine. We must remember it is God whom we are accountable to and not the world. We as the church focus on so many things that Jesus would say belong to Caesar yet the things that are His we allow the world to dictate our decisions and beliefs.

In The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine, A.W. Tozer wrote, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”

Is this not true of the church, or a family unit as well? If each member is devoted to drawing closer to God will they not be unified amongst themselves? Through the proper execution of the biblical chain of submission, we are aligning ourselves to God thus bringing ourselves closer together simultaneously.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

From Transfigured to Transgendered

How the modern day church has let progressivism transform the definition of morality.

To begin, I believe it is crucial that we understand the biblical definitions of a few important words. To biblically define morality we must first biblically define ethics and to do that we must first believe and understand fully that we are created by God and that because of this we are accountable to God. From there we must also understand that we are created in the image of God and that as born-again Christians the Holy Spirit lives within us thus making our bodies a temple of God.

By secular definition, ethics is defined as, moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. Therefore by biblical standards ethics would be the moral standards of the Holy God and morality would be conducting ourselves in a way that glorifies a Holy God through righteous decision making and actions. If we look to Colossians 3:1-11 we see Paul addressing this type of living:

 “So if you have been raised with Christ, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in the knowledge according to the image of your Creator. In Christ, there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.”

With this, we must understand that sin is simply a rebellion against God. You can further break that down, but often in doing so, we unintentionally add to or subtract from that basic principle of rebellion against God. We must then understand that God is Holy which means He is perfect and completely righteous and is deserving of our complete devotion. Anything short of perfection is a rebellion against the Holy God which we are incapable of achieving thus the need for a savior who we find in Jesus Christ. The gift of salvation through Jesus Christ does not, however, relinquish us from striving to live righteously.

So now that we have some things defined, we can dig into the very “UnPC” topic to which this article is about which is “transgenderism.” Notice I put that in quotes, I did this intentionally because this is a relatively new term for a psychological condition called gender dysphoria that has been around for a very long time. I believe that it is important to recognize that this is a psychological, medical condition just as is depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or substance dependence, etc.

By failing to acknowledge the fact that gender dysphoria is a mental illness we take away any accountability to both the individual and society. By normalizing this condition, we not only avoid encouraging treatment, but we also demonize it and label it “Transphobic.” More importantly, we discontinue the study and research of the disease which could lead to potential treatments and cures.

As the church, we do not and would not normalize a suicidal person’s disease (depression) and say that they have the right to end their own life because that is what they feel inside. We encourage them to seek treatment and get professional help. As the church, we classify suicide, not the root cause (depression), as a sin because it fits the definition of rebellion against God. Similarly, gender dysphoria, the root cause of the transgender lifestyle, is not sin in of itself. However, the manifestation of the disorder, the lifestyle that is now socially acceptable, is a rebellion against God and therefore is a sin. I believe the saying, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” although it is easily perverted, is very relevant in this situation. We are called by Christ to be loving to all people and all sinners, just as he loves us even as we are sinners. However, just as it is an unloving and hateful attitude to not share the gospel message of salvation with the lost, it is also hateful and unloving to help a sinner justify their sin away rather than lead them gently to repentance and in this case medical treatment.

Currently, we are seeing the transgender movement explode reminiscent of the sexual revolution in the 60s and in a similar fashion to the sexual revolution we see many young people falling into this movement who are simply following the popular trend who do not actually have gender dysphoria yet are living out the transgender lifestyle. If we consider the “Free Sex” agenda of the sexual revolution in the 60s as birthing the homosexual movement of the 80s and 90s, then we must recognize it as the grandparent of the transgender and gender fluid movement we see today, and the great-grandparent of whatever sexual movements are yet to come. All of these ideologies are simply rebellion against God and thus sin. God created us with two distinct sexes, man and woman as described in the book of Genesis. Scripture also tells us He created us to be in monogamous opposite-sex relationships designed for reproduction.

I believe it is abundantly clear why God describes sexual immorality as abhorrent in scripture when you recognize that these types of sexual revolutions oppose everything that God has created and challenge not only our identity in God but the actual identity of God. If we are created in God’s image as scripture says, then by identifying as anything other than what God has created us to be we are redefining who God is and opposing His authority over us. Any time we go down the path of believing we know what is best for ourselves over what God has laid out for us, we are rebelling against Him and making an idol of ourselves.

The church has continued to allow our definition of morality to be watered down by way of progressives. Many of which probably have good intentions, however, there is another old saying about where good intentions lead. When we began accepting and justifying divorce and unwed lifestyles in fear of chasing away members of our congregations and family members rather than lovingly rebuking and leading them gently to repentance, we laid the groundwork for doing the very same for homosexuality, transgenderism, and anything else that is headed our way. We have to replant our feet firmly on scripture and call sin exactly what it is, rebellion against God. We must stop sugar coating sin and justifying sin away for these are the tactics of the Father of Lies as Satan is described in the Gospel of John. We must stand firm upon God’s word when defining sin. We must treat sinners as Jesus commands with love and gentleness. We must be faithful in prayer, trusting God to work in their lives. If we do these things, I believe we will see many more examples of Prodigal Sons instead of the multitudes of brothers and sisters going to hell with a clear conscience because we have justified away their sin for them.

Goldilocks, Hotel California, and the Dangers of Liberal Theology

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