Thoughts On The SBC And Abuse

What do I think of the recent issues going on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As someone who reads marriage blogs, I have seen several people writing about the events going on in the SBC. These issues have particularly centered around the treatment of women. The removal of Paige Patterson from his position is based on this kind of happening.

Controversies surrounding him have included people like Sheri Klouda and Darrell Gilyard. There was also a statement released concerning other allegations from the chairman of the Board of Trustees. One great concern I had in reading that was that Patterson said he wanted to meet with a student alone who said she had been raped. He wanted no officials there and he wanted to “break her down.” I’m not sure how to take that statement, but anyway I can think of is not good.

Also, some of this centers around women in abusive relationships. Sometimes, women were apparently told to just submit to their husbands. This would often put those women in great risk.

Patterson isn’t an isolated figure in this. Steve Camp who was a popular Christian singer back in the 80’s and today is a pastor got into a debate recently with Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. In the link, you can see Camp made a number of awful statements because Gregoire is a woman and began blocking other women on Twitter defending her. I believe it’s events like this that got J Parker of Hot, Holy, and Humorous to write her own take on this.

So let’s say a few words about all this going on.

I am not a member of the SBC, but let’s be sure that I do not think this represents the majority of SBC pastors and leaders. I think most of them want to be good and God-honoring men and if they are married, they want to love and honor their wives the best they can. Sadly, a few bad apples in any group can spoil the bunch.

As regarding marriage, I am complementarian in my approach. Yet as I say that, I have something important to say along those lines. If a man does think Biblically that he is the king of his castle, well guess what. Your wife gets treated like a queen. There is never any justification whatsoever for abusing your wife verbally, physically, emotionally, sexually, or any other way I might have left off.

I also hate divorce. When Allie and I go to another town around here for something else in the line of medical care, there is a billboard on the way back that says “Undo, I do.” I always reach over and softly pat Allie on the leg or something and just tell her, “Not us.” Because of a divorce culture where divorce is prevalent, though there are myths about how prevalent it is among Christians, there are many good marriages where one person fears a divorce from the other because it has become so easy to get one.

Yet my hatred of divorce can be much like our hatred of war. No one really should really like the thought of war, but sometimes it is necessary because of the evil of other people. Many people who have a concealed carry today carry it to protect their family and I am sure it is their great hope that they never have to use it.

Divorce is sadly a necessity if a spouse is abusive and they will not change. (While this is about women in abusive relationships, let’s not forget that women can be abusers of men too.) I would urge any couple that when abuse takes place, separate for a time being and try to work things out with a licensed professional counselor. If that cannot happen, there is no requirement that you stay with someone who is abusive, doubly so if children are involved.

Even still, divorce should be seen as a necessary tragedy. It is sad that someone who made a promise before God and man to love and cherish someone for the rest of their life ended up breaking that promise. It is a reminder that we live in a fallen world. We need to have zero tolerance for abuse.

So what about Biblical submission? What about wives submit to your husbands. I believe in it, but men, if you have to start quoting Ephesians 5 to your wives in hopes that she will get in line, you’re already not being a leader in your family. More importantly, when we are talking about someone’s spiritual condition, the only person we can do anything about directly is ourselves.

And men, we have a lot that is said to us in Ephesians 5. When I was engaged to my now wife, I remember once when I was visiting her and her family and one day it hit me that I was to be married really and then I remembered what the passage said. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.

As Christ loved the church.

Really.

Look at those five words.

Pause in your reading men if you’re married and think about those five words.

If we’re being honest, we all fall short of that one. Yet that is our calling. We are to be such great husbands to our wives that if they didn’t know better, they could swear they were married to Jesus. The number one person in your wife’s life who should remind her of Jesus is you. If you are not that person, you are doing it wrong.

Paul has many other commandments to us. To the wives, he only tells them to submit to their husbands and respect them. We get far more attention given to us.

Submission is something that should never be used as a whip. Sex is always a big area in a marriage and guys, if you are using submission as a way to get sex, stop it. I suspect many of you are not doing that, but there could be that lone wolf out there. If it’s not happening as often in your marriage as you’d like, then maybe you need to ask yourself how you could be more romantic so that your wife will feel safe and want to make love to you.

Let me offer some bizarre suggestions. Maybe you could take your wife out on dates more. Maybe you could actually talk to her some. Maybe you could do some work around the house or help with the kids more. Maybe you could touch her lovingly and do so other than when you want sex. And maybe all of this could be part of loving her as Christ loved the church.

Now to the women, many of them don’t understand this need in a man, but imagine you wanting to hear your man say he loves you and he says, “Okay. I love you. Are you happy now?” Well, no. Of course not. It was done, but begrudgingly. The same would be if he took you out on a date and acted like it was just a chore for him. Unfortunately, many women don’t realize that this is often how they come across to their husbands in the area of sex. It’s a necessary evil that they put up with. Your man wants not just to have intimacy with you, but for you to want him and want that intimacy with him.

Ideally in a marriage, this will begin a circle of love. A couple that is more loving will have more sex together. In turn, they will be more loving to one another. That will result in their having more sex together. As a result, you get the picture.

And men, our role is to love our wives and always seek to improve. For me, I started a men’s group on Facebook for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry called “As Christ Loved The Church”. Honestly, part of this was for myself. I wanted to be a better husband and I was sure other men wanted to join me on that journey. Nowadays, I am seen by many as a sort of expert in the field, but I realize I have a long way to go.

If any denomination has any issues with how men are treating women, they do need to clean house. By the way, a lot of this starts before marriage. The church needs to be teaching on sex far more often. Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice has said we need at least one sermon a month. Think about it. Our kids in popular culture and all around them are seeing the world’s view of sex everywhere. How often are they going to get the Biblical view? What are they growing up believing about marriage as a result?

This also means that pornography must be talked about. This isn’t just a men’s issue anymore but if you’re engaging in pornography, stop it. You are doing damage to yourself and any future marriage relationship you will have. This can be undone, but it would be best to avoid it to begin with.

We should pray for the SBC in this time and hope the new president will build up the denomination to honor women to be sure, but even more that it will honor the name of Christ. Abuse in any relationship should never be allowed and definitely if you’re dating someone who is abusive, get out now. Husbands and wives need both to seek to honor one another in marriage and definitely get rid of pornography.

This scandal has given the world one viewpoint of how the church treats these issues. Let’s make sure we give them a better one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

Book Plunge: Why Men Hate Going To Church

What do I think of David Murrow’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m someone active in ministry and I strive to live a holy life before Jesus, but honestly, church can seem like just doing my duty often. I sit there and I hear the same thing I’ve heard over and over and think about what’s on TV when I get home or a game I’d like to play. I could often easily go with skipping all the music and going straight to the sermon, but then when we get to the sermon, it can be just as boring for me.

If David Murrow is right, and I think he is, I’m not alone. Men don’t really care for church. Christianity is the only major world religion that has a shortage of men in it. Why is it that we don’t care for church? Is it we don’t really believe in God or we don’t really care about Jesus?

Murrow contends that one of the most important things in the mind of a man is to be a man. A man does not generally want to do anything feminine. If there was something like that, he would only care if he knew he was connected with other men with a similar interest. Being one of the guys is of great importance to a man.

This is also something that is not just shut off. Men are constantly trying to prove themselves and show what they are made of. Challenges are taken very seriously in the world of a man. The problem is that church often doesn’t fit into that. Church has become very feminized.

Please understand. Murrow is in no way saying the Gospel is feminine. He is also not saying we make any change whatsoever in the content of the Gospel. How we present the Gospel and what we emphasize of the Gospel is often what really needs to be changed.

Consider what I said earlier. Men hear the same things repeatedly in a church service. What are they usually about? Relationships. It’s not that men are opposed to relationships. We have plenty of them. It’s that men don’t really define themselves by their relationships. You won’t have two guys out hiding in some trees in the woods hunting deer and one of them says, “Hey man. I think we need to sit down sometime and talk about our relationship.” (And especially not since the other man likely has a loaded gun.)

Many churches become all about the family of God, which is true, but not about the Kingdom of God, which is more outwardly focused. Men who tend to be aggressive want to go out and do things. We don’t just want to be internally focused.

The music is often also not really pleasing to a man. Much of the music relies on an emotional high of sorts and are really songs sung to Jesus that could be sung to your boyfriend as well. Many CCM stations play songs to reach women.

We also have a problem when we present gentle Jesus meek and mild. Jesus was certainly the Lamb of God, but He was also the Lion of Judah. Look at the pictures of Jesus on many covers of Bibles and in Christian bookstores. This Jesus often looks like a wimp to men. Men don’t want to follow a wimp.

This doesn’t mean either that we chase out the women. Not at all. Women need to be in church and when men start going, women start going more as well. Statistically, if you want to reach the average family for Jesus, focus on the father. There is even research that one of the leading factors in keeping a teenager of either sex from apostasizing is if their Dad takes his Christianity seriously.

If you’re looking at this and thinking it’s about the patriarchy or something like that, then you are missing the point. If anything, you’re giving men the picture that to be true Christians, they should cease being men. It’s not going to work to reach them.

Instead, make church a place that lets men be men. The book even ends with Murrow asking a group of pastors how many of their churches had more men than women. Only one pastor raised their hand. Not only that, that pastor had nail polish on her hand.

This was a woman who had read Murrow’s book and took it seriously. She took out feminine decor in the church and removed a lot of songs and got others like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and “Onward Christian Soldiers” and allowed days for guys to even wear sports jerseys to church. She started preaching sermons about guy topics including a series on “God loves sex.” Result? Her church grew among men and women both.

Murrow’s book is the kind of book I wish I could put in the hands of every pastor in the country. It’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed and when I had to interrupt my reading of it, I was always looking forward to getting back into it. It is one of the most important books I think I have read and I highly recommend it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why I Follow The Pence Rule

Is there a reason to avoid contact with non-family women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few months ago, Mike Pence apparently caused a scandal when it was revealed he won’t go out to eat alone with a woman that he is not married to. This was obviously a shock to much of the world that a conservative man might actually live by such principles and that a Christian man might want to honor his marriage. At this point, it doesn’t really matter to me how you vote. I think Pence has an excellent rule.

For me, my Christian walk is first and foremost, but next after that is my relationship to my wife. My wife is the most precious gift that anyone could ever give me. I made sure to be cautious while we were dating to avoid sexual contact. After all, once you’re married, there’s plenty of time for that.

Once you do get married, you have made a promise of sexual exclusivity to that other person for life. When I did that, I said that I would not be intimate with any other woman and I think that includes sharing anything intimate whatsoever, which also means guys that pornography is not allowed.

My wife is all I need for me, but that does not mean that a man does not face temptations. One time I remember being tempted long before Allie came along was heading home alone from my solo trip to the National Apologetics Conference. I passed by one of those “clubs” and for a brief thought I was tempted with the idea that no one would ever know. I didn’t slow down or anything. I kept right on driving.

Now that I am married, I have even more reason. You see, my ministry would definitely be hurt by what I do, but I also know that many other people could do the ministry that I do. My wife is the one who would be hurt the most if I did something, and many other people could do the ministry that I do, but no one else is going to do the job of being a husband to Allie Peters.

I also do this because women are sacred. That’s another reason you won’t see me at strip clubs or engaging in pornography. Women are sacred and are not to be treated like objects. Sadly, this can even happen in marriage as many men have an idea that their wives are objects meant to satisfy their sexual desire. For many of us men, what is more important is not how much our wives satisfy us because, hey, they’re giving us sex and that’s satisfaction enough, but how much we satisfy them.

Too many men today view women as objects to be conquered. That’s why you can say a saying such as hit it and quit it. The goal is to just get the woman in bed. It’s not to build a lifelong relationship with her. It’s not to be a man worthy of that woman for life. It’s just to bed her.

For many men, a woman is an object to verify their masculinity. When you see a woman stripping or naked, it’s natural to be aroused and that leads to the natural feeling that one is a man. No. A physiological sensation does not make you a man. One true measure of a man is how, if he is married, he treats the woman he loves. Watching a girl perform an action at a club or on a video who does not know you at all doesn’t prove you are a man. It proves you can download a video or pay money to get into a club. A real man is one who honors the women that he meets by saying that the woman he wants is worth a lifelong commitment.

So how does this play out? It means that I avoid interacting with women that I am not married to in a private setting if my wife is not around and that woman is not family. I would be fine with my mother, my sister, or my mother-in-law, for instance. For everyone else, I put my guard up.

Now could I be paranoid? Perhaps, but if any woman will be offended by my actions, that woman will not be my wife! You see, most people who fall into sexual sin don’t intend to. They don’t set out to have an affair. It just happens. How? It normally starts with an emotional commitment and then that turns into something physical.

My rule is I don’t even want to give it a possibility. I want to honor my wife in such a way that if anyone did make a charge, the world would look and laugh. “Are you serious? No one questions how much he loves his wife!”

It’s up to you if you want to follow the Pence rule. For me, I do. My Allie is my Princess and she is not worth any risk like that. I promised exclusivity to her and that is a promise I keep for life.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Women, Know Your Worth

What value can be placed on a human? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, Allie and I went to the home of another couple from our church for a small group. We got there early so Allie could fix a pizza. I was in the living room with the father and two of his daughters when somehow, the topic came to one of them talking to her boyfriend and how she hopes to get married. She then said it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon. I asked why.

I got two reasons. The first is that they’re both too young with him being 20 and she 18. It’s not too young, but if that was the only concern, I could understand. The second was that he said he wanted to travel first. That one told me, as I said to her, that this is a guy who is more interested and going and having his fun first and then coming back to you. You are not a top priority then and don’t expect that to change.

This led into a talk on marriage and the importance of honoring ourselves. Many Christians can have an attitude that what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter. This is not a Christian position. Your body is important. It is the place where the Holy Spirit dwells and you have to decide what kind of temple you’re going to give Him. Granted, I’m still not the best at this, but it is something my wife and I are both working on with both of us.

When Paul says this in 1 Cor. 6, he’s mainly talking about sex. Some people were saying it’s no big deal to sleep with a prostitute. This was because for many people in the ancient world, sleeping with a prostitute didn’t really constitute adultery. It was just a way of relieving excess passions. Paul will not agree with this. Sleeping with someone is making yourself united to that someone regardless. That’s why he goes on in 1 Cor. 7 to say that men and women who burn with desire should get married so they do have a place for those passions and when married, they should not withhold from one another except for by mutual consent and even then, only for a short time so they will not be tempted. Blatantly, Paul says one of the reasons to get married is so that you can have sex and that is part of the deal.

So I told this girl about the dangers of our society. If you live together before marriage, you are more likely to have a divorce. When you do that, you’re essentially testing one another and that in an area of immense intimacy. It can’t be a place of freedom and trust then because you know somewhere you’re always being judged. Of course, some people can bring this attitude to marriage and if so, that needs to be eliminated.

I also said that two groups of people were talked to about the idea of living together. One group said that this is a stepping stone and they were working on getting married. The second group said that things are going fine and they see no change in the future. She didn’t get what I was asking when I asked who made up what group. Allie then said, “Which group was the men and which one was the women?” It wasn’t hard to figure out that the women are group one and the men are group two.

You ladies might not have figured it out, but men tend to be very very interested in sex. There’s a saying that women will give sex to get love and men will give love to get sex. Of course, a marriage relationship is a great place for the exchange of sex and love together and in that relationship, it forms an increasing spiral. The more you have sex, the more the love builds. The more the love builds, the more you have sex. On and on it goes. Sex is not the foundation for the marriage, but it sure plays an important part.

Unfortunately, too many women think that if they just give the guy the sex, that will be an incentive to him to marry them. The sad reality is more often than not, it’s an incentive not to. After all, he’s already got what he wants. Why should he give more? This is especially so since he doesn’t want to wind up paying child support and alimony someday. He can get all the thrills he wants without a commitment.

So I told her that she is the one who sets the value in the market. Men are more often than not the pursuers and women the ones being pursued. She determines how much her body is worth before she gives it to a man. Is she worth dinner and a movie? A week of dating? A month? Three months? A year? Engagement? Or is she worth a lifelong commitment and she’s not budging until he says “I do.”?

Now ladies, if your man truly desires you and thinks you worthwhile, he will do whatever it takes. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Too many men will be tempted to view you like their XBox. You’re great to have around when they want to have some fun, but it doesn’t mean they’re interested in a long-term commitment where they genuinely care about you.

And if he cares about you, well yes, he will care about the sex and he will want the sex and he will still do most anything for that, but he will care about you as a person too. He will put your needs and feelings and thoughts above his own. He will be willing to sacrifice. In essence, he will love you as Christ loved the church.

And ladies, you are worth it. You are sacred. You are Princesses. You do not deserve to be treated in a common manner. Every single lady out there is a treasure and if she wants to marry, she does not need to settle. She needs to find a guy who will treat her honorably and be making sure she will treat him honorably as well. I say this mainly to the women because this is largely a woman’s issue. There is plenty more to be said to the men and that’s another blog post.

So if you want to hear something for the men, just wait. There’s plenty my own sex needs to do as well. For now, please don’t let yourself be used at all ladies. You’re worth more than that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Paul Behaving Badly

What do I think of Randy Richards’s and Brandon O’Brien’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Paul can be a very polarizing figure today. Some Christians have the idea that Jesus is really awesome (And they’re right), but we don’t know about that Paul guy. He wasn’t even one of the original twelve. He didn’t meet Jesus in person. Why should we listen to him? Some skeptics will claim that it was Paul who really invented Christianity and took the good message of Jesus and turned Him into a deity and lost sight of His message.

For those of us who do like Paul, we do have to admit there can be difficulties. As the authors ask “Was Paul a jerk?” Sometimes, it looks like he was. They bring this up in a number of areas. First, the general question of if he was a jerk. Then they ask if he was a killjoy, a racist, a supporter of slavery, a chauvinist, a homophobe, a hypocrite, and finally a twister of Scripture.

Each chapter starts with the charges against Paul and they do bring forward an excellent case. You can look at the claims and if you are not familiar with the debates it is easy to ask “How is Paul going to get out of this one?” The authors also grant that Paul is not one behaving according to 21st century Western standards, but he was still just as much behaving badly to his own culture as he was just as radical to them. Paul is kind of in an in-between spot sometimes. Many times he’ll push the envelope further and leave it to us to keep pushing it. The question is are we going to do that.

Many of these questions need to be addressed for the sake of many people you will encounter who raise these objections. (Why didn’t Paul just demand the immediate release of slaves?) I enjoyed particularly the chapter on Paul being a killjoy. O’Brien gives his story in this one on how anything wasn’t to be done because we are to abstain from the appearance of evil so let’s make sure we all go see only G-rated movies and are teetotallers. (While I personally abstain from alcoholic beverages, I don’t condemn those who drink and control their alcohol.)

Some insights I thought were interesting and added perspective. Why did Paul seem to take contradictory stances on meat offered to idols? Why did he have Timothy circumcised when Timothy was from the area of Galatia and Paul had made it clear that if you let yourself be circumcised, then you are denying the Gospel. (If you want the answers to those questions, you know what you need to do.)

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more on the honor and shame aspect of the culture of the time. There is some touching on this, such as talk also about the client/patron system, but a quick refresher would have been good for those who don’t know it. Of course, I definitely recommend that anyone pick up their excellent book Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes.

This book is a great blessing that we need today. Paul, like I said, is one of the most controversial figures even among Christians. To deal with his critics and to help those who would like to support him, you need to read this book.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/10/2016: William Webb

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For those curious about the past two weeks, we recorded Holly Ordway fine except for the last twenty-five minutes or so. We’re going to redo those and then have the whole be released together. After that, I will put up my discussion at the Apologetics Academy. Now let’s go to this week.

We all want to do what the Bible says to do. Right? Yep. Those commands last. Why, we never go to church outings where pepperoni pizza or shrimp is served. Oh wait. We do. That’s odd. When we go to church, we have someone there to wash our feet as our Lord said should be done and…..no wait. We normally don’t. Well we at least greet one another with a holy kiss. (Okay. To be fair, I do that one with my wife and then ask immediately if I greeted her already or not.)

How is it we want to do what the Bible says when so often we don’t seem to do what it says? My guest this week has written on that and he’s used three case examples to make his point. Those examples are what the Bible says about slaves, women, and homosexuals. Hence, the book title is Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals. Who is he? His name is Dr. William Webb.

william-webb

He got his B.A. from Providence College in 1980, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary in 85, and a Ph.D. from there in 90. His further bio says that:

Dr. Bill Webb is married (Marilyn) with three grown children (Jonathan, Christine, and Joel) and a dog (Muffin). Education: Ph.D. Dallas Theological Seminary. Teaching: Professor of New Testament for 20 years (Heritage); Adjunct professor primarily at Tyndale Seminary and occasionally at ACTS and Acadia. Bill has worked as a pastor, chaplain, and professor over a span of twenty some years. In addition to conference speaking ministry, he has published several articles and books, includingReturning Home (Sheffield Press, 1993), Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals (InterVarsity, 2001),Discovering Biblical Equality (two chapters; InterVarsity, 2005), Four Views on Moving from the Bible to Theology (one view and responses; Zondervan, 2009), Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts (InterVarsity, 2011), Bloody, Brutal and Barbaric: War Texts that Trouble the Soul (forthcoming), and Getting Revelation Wrong: Rethinking End of the World Scenarios (forthcoming).

We’re going to be talking about the above problems and asking if we’re being obedient to the text or not and how could we tell. What does the case study of slaves, women, and homosexuals mean for us. After all, it’s quite easily agreed that slavery is wrong today, and even those of us who are very complementarian like myself don’t agree with much of the older views on women. Some people are more in agreement with homosexual practice, but for the most part I think the Christian church disagrees with it, and I am certainly in that number. How do we approach these and other issues?

Be sure to join us this Saturday and be sure to leave a review on ITunes for the show. I love to see them!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals

What do I think of William Webb’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us like to think of the Bible as the moral guidebook. Now to be sure, there are a lot of good moral lessons in the Bible. Hardly anyone would contend that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a bad idea, but there are some ideas that we just don’t do today. There are some matters explicitly commanded that we don’t do today. There are some commands that we think are even not good for us to do today. How do we differentiate?

William Webb’s book is an excellent reference on this looking at three issues as examples. First is slavery, which is pretty much agreed to that we do not practice. Next is women, and this is an area of some debate as there are complementarians and egalitarians. Finally there’s homosexuality as most evangelicals today still condemn homosexual practice, although that number is starting to change.

So what are we to do? Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, but he also told us to wash one another’s feet. We are told in Exodus that we should not murder, but we are also told that we are to keep the Sabbath. Is this just random arbitrariness that is deciding what we do and do not follow?

Naturally, I can’t tell everything Webb says, but his book is a joy to read on this. Webb lays out eighteen different criteria on various themes. He also has what he calls a redemptive hermeneutic. This means that as the story of the Bible progresses, you start to see change. For instance, slavery (While never like Civil War slavery) was a staple at the time and could be called a necessary evil, much like God allowed divorce for the hardness of the peoples’ hearts. They weren’t ready for the advanced lessons yet. Still, even with slavery, the seeds of its destruction were planted early on.

One example is the case of the runaway slave. If a slave ran away from his master, he was supposed to be given safety. He was not to be returned to his master. As we go through the story of the Bible, we see this progressing further with more and more freedom until we get to a book like Philemon where it’s implied in a burning epistle (And yes, Paul is calling out Philemon incredibly in this epistle) that Philemon is to set Onesimus free.

How about women? Women do seem to get a low regard in the Old Testament where they can often be seen as property, but again, the change is right there. You have dynamic women like Deborah, Ruth, Rahab, Huldah, and Esther showing up in the text. When you move to the New Testament, you see more women like the witnesses to the empty tomb who first saw Jesus, Junia, Phoebe, Priscilla, Lydia, and others.

Now this is one part where I wasn’t as forward as Webb is. I am still more of a complementarian, but I think Webb would likely not have much of a problem with my own style since I think that if a man is the king of his castle, his wife gets treated like a queen.

Finally, you have homosexuals. In the Old Testament, the charges are pretty strict. Leviticus I think is a very clear statement. So is this changed in the New Testament? No. Paul in Romans 1 argues that homosexual practice is a shaming practice that is a horizontal example of what has already happened vertically.

What does this tell us? Some practices move forward redemptively and so we are justified in our lifestyles in moving along that route. The Bible has set the standard for us in itself. Some are more negative, so we ought not switch them because the Bible is consistent throughout with how it deals with them.

Unfortunately, I can’t go into a lot of detail, but this is a book that’s a joy to read to see how the author weaves his way through the texts and deals  with challenges to his position. There’s also a section at the end in humility where Webb answers “What if I’m wrong?” This mainly centers on issues involving 1 Tim. 2 and the section dealing with women there.

I think this book is an excellent read. There are issues on hermeneutics that are extremely necessary. If internet atheists would interact with a book like this, perhaps many of our debates could be better. Perhaps they could be even better still if more Christians interacted with it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Do Women Need Theology?

Is it wrong for a woman to study theology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Alyssa Poblete has written a piece at The Gospel Coalition on why women need good theology. I find this piece very important and inspirational, but at the same time, I find it puzzling. Poblete starts somewhere, but I don’t really see the connection in her argument with where she starts. She starts with talking about studying theology and remarking about starting a blog for women on theology to a pastor who told her,

“Just be careful. You don’t want women becoming spiritual leaders in the home or, even worse, wanting to become pastors.”

Now notice the pastor never condemned the blog. The pastor never condemned the study of theology. If he did, Poblete makes no mention of it. What he said was he didn’t want women usurping the role of men in the home or becoming pastors.

Now I happen to be a complementarian and Poblete says she has no problem with complementarianism. In fact, she says that she loves it. I also agree with her that the feminist movement wanted equality in some areas where women should have had equality, but it has gone too far with an effort to eliminate all distinctions between the sexes. This is simply just a denial of the simple reality we see all around us that men and women are different. Yet, I want to point out that I can easily hold to the following beliefs.

Women need to study theology.

Men should lead the household.

Women should not be pastors of churches.

Now could I be wrong about those last two? Sure. I could be. The point is that there is no necessary contradiction between those and a woman studying theology. In fact, Poblete herself says that she holds to those. As she herself says.

So I do not think women should be pastors or spiritual leaders in the home, and I would be devastated if anyone used this article to argue such points.

So since we all agree on that, I cannot help but wonder what the problem is. Perhaps it should be important to state that the reason for the stance that I hold in this regard is that it is a respect issue. Biblically, if a man is meant to lead his household, if the wife usurps on the spiritual matters, that is a lack of respect to her husband, and that is a lack of respect that will burn at his soul and eat away at his notions of his masculinity. A woman can be a great help however even if she has more spiritual knowledge and she can give her viewpoint to her husband, but the respect issue is letting him have the final say.

I definitely however do want to highlight that I agree with Poblete. Women should study and her reasons are excellent. Jesus did encourage women studying and that was something revolutionary about him. He not only traveled with male disciples, but He also traveled with female disciples.

Poblete is also right that it’s for the joy of women. What greater joy can there be for a Christian woman (Or any woman for that matter.) than knowing God? For those who think doctrine and theology should be no part of our study, then what is the point of worship? How can you really worship God if you do not know who He is? Will not having a full and rich doctrine of God lead you to a greater worship and appreciation. Having a greater knowledge of God will help you when difficult times come in your life and it will help you when it comes to raising your own children as well and being the supportive wife you need to be.

Finally, I agree that it is for the glory of God. Our goal in life is to know God and we should be seeking to get started on that. God is glorified when we glory in Him and we can do that more and more if we come to know Him as He is. Men are not the only sex created to give glory to God. Women are as well. Women also give glory to God through ways other than having sex with their husbands, making babies, and raising children. A woman can be single all her life and give glory to God based on how she lives her life. All women, married or single, should be seeking to embrace the reality of God and know Him better.

So in the end, I think Poblete has made some excellent points, yet I wonder why she is upset over what the pastor said. The pastor was not at all condemning the study of theology by women. If he was, I would have had a problem with him as well. The pastor was simply giving a good complementarian viewpoint. Now again, he could be wrong in his viewpoint, but that does not mean that he is being inconsistent.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Genesis and Antis

Is the Christian worldview a discouraging one? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night, I was at our local Reasonable Faith meeting where we are getting ready to do a study through Genesis. In the midst of our discussion on it, I started pointing out that Genesis if we understand it in the way I believe that we ought, it really does dispel many of the myths that we have today. Some could argue that the Bible later on upholds these myths, but I’d like to go to the world when it was not fallen and see what we have. We’ll do this by looking at the claims of how Christianity is opposed to something good.

Christianity is anti-human.

Some of you might have seen this meme.

whichisdamaging

Yes. So is this what Christianity really says? Let’s look at Genesis 1:26-27.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Now in the account, everything else has been made and the final aspect is humanity. Only humanity is said to be in the image of God and only humanity involves dialogue in the divine council. The creation of humanity is described in poetic terms as well. If we go with John Walton’s idea from the Lost World of Genesis One, humanity is there in order to be God’s representative and to have dominion. We are to rule on His behalf. True, we are fallen later on, but we still are meant to be what we were in the garden, and even better.

But that ruling over the creation? That could lead to another charge.

Christianity is anti-environment!

I oppose the New Age movement naturally and think they can go too far with environmentalism, but many of us don’t go far enough. Christians sadly do have a reputation of wanting to destroy the environment. A lot of this has to do with some ideas that can be around that this world is not our home and we’re just passing through so why be so focused on it? God’s going to destroy this world anyway.

This is not a view I hold. I prefer the old hymn “This is my Father’s world.”

The Genesis account says in 1:28.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number;fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

We are told to rule, but we also know in Genesis 2 man is placed in a garden and given the task of controlling it and caring for it. Still, man is to recognize his place in the environment. He is not just one of the animals. Whether we came from the animals would be for the scientists to answer. The point is that we are unique in our capacities and our nature and if we hold to Christianity, we hold a special place. If you want to find a good Christian group to help you care for creation, I recommend the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

So what’s next?

Christianity is misogynistic! 

When we get to the second chapter of Genesis, we read this:

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.”

 Keep in mind that in the first chapter, the man and woman are both equally in the image of God. While we know that they are distinct, there is no ranking there as if one is superior to the other. A lot of people make the mistake that saying because men and women are different, that that means one is inferior to the other and the other is naturally superior. This does not follow.

“But woman is described as a helper!”

Yes. The same term is used to describe God Himself in relation to man. The woman is a helper and in fact, she is just the very helper that Adam needs. Also, the language of describing creation means that it is not just good, but it is beautiful. The woman is the last one created and as such, I interpret her to be the jewel of creation and the best representative of the beauty of God on Earth.

As we men definitely know, nothing beats the beauty of the woman. You can go to the Zoo and see several animals. You can find beautiful mountain ranges. You can find waterfalls that will hold you captive. You can watch a sunset going down in the evening. In all of this, you will not find anything that is more beautiful than the human female form. As I have told my own wife, “You are the most beautiful thing my eyes can see until I see Jesus one day.”

Woman is to be celebrated and any man who is dating or married should be treating his woman as a princess. She is to be honored. But talking about the woman leads to the next step.

Christianity is anti-sex!

Really? Seriously?

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

I know several married men. I do not know any that are anti-sex. I have heard men give sermons on sex before. They want to make it very clear they are not opposed to it and it is always hysterical when they do. They are so emphatic that the congregation definitely gets the message. Of course, we place sex within one context, that of a man and a woman united in marriage, but that is because we are pro-sex, not anti.

A man and a woman’s body are not to be viewed as cheap. They are not shared with just anyone. They are shared with people who are worthy. Putting sex in one environment is the way of honoring it by saying that you have to make a real commitment to be ready to handle it. Sex is like nuclear energy. If you use it properly and with the right procedures, you get a great result. If you misuse it, you can get Chernobyl.

So let’s lead that into the final one.

Christianity is anti-pleasure.

With all of these, we should know Christianity is not opposed to pleasure. We are opposed to some things deemed as pleasures and we are opposed to pleasure that can be good but not in the proper place, but God made us to enjoy what we do. Look at it this way. As OT scholar David Lamb has said, in the creation account, the commands given to man were simple. Eat a lot of food. Have a lot of sex. All he had to do was tend the garden and he would be cared for and there was only one tree he could not eat of.

Christianity is not a religion meant to kill one’s joy and frankly, we need to hear more about that. Sometimes we hear so much about the work that we have to do that we hear nothing about the pleasure we were meant for. When was the last time you heard a sermon about play for instance? Even a great theologian like Thomas Aquinas said play is essential so that we can recharge our minds.

In all of this, we must realize that if we have these ideas that Christianity is opposed to these things, we have a false idea. Unfortunately, we might need to watch ourselves to see if we are in fact giving out that viewpoint. Too many times, we’ve done things that fit with this stereotype. If we’re Christians, let’s seek to be living in a way where we are embracing the good things in this life, remembering another passage. This time from James 1:17.

 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

This Is A Man’s World

What goes on in the life of men? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’m a member of a number of groups on Facebook. One is the Christian Apologetics Alliance whose main web page can be found here. The other group is a group I will not link to, but it is one for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or just really hoping to be married someday so we can learn how to love our wives as Christ loved the church.

I think my writing here is important for both groups. For the apologetics aspect, part of good argumentation is not just believing right, but living right, though that living starts with right beliefs, and it certainly can be difficult in our day and age to live right in this world, particularly in a period of great sexual license.

As blog readers know, I am writing this from a perspective of a Christian man, though it could just as well apply to anyone who happens to think ideas included in the Christian ethic, such as sexual fidelity within marriage and reserving sex for marriage, are good ideas worthy to be upheld. My method of handling this could be different from yours, but we agree on the idea.

What I will be describing is what it’s like for a man in this world. Some female readers could say “That’s the male side, but you have no idea what a female side is like and how temptation is for us!” That’s true. That’s why I’m not covering that side, although I would say I think I have a good idea on how the world views women and unfortunately, women can often allow themselves to be treated that way.

At the start, it’s no secret that men think about sex and think about it a lot. Does that mean we’re always actively focused on it? No. But it is always on the backburner. It is always looming there in the shadows and most anything can bring it out again immediately. Many women don’t really have a problem with doing something to attract a man or turn a man on. It’s usually pretty simple.

And that puts men in a tough situation.

In our world, there are women all around us who are wanting to do just that. Not only that, there are women who are not wanting to do that, but inevitably do so, and that’s not even just women who dress in a way that’s necessarily drawing. It could be that they just possess enough natural beauty on their own.

One illustration I’ve told men about what it is like in our world is a time that I was walking in a mall by myself. Heading towards me on my left was a female. I don’t mean she was heading towards me as in directly aiming at me, but was going my way. In order to avoid any temptation, I decided I’d to the look away that most men know about. I’ll just look to my right instead.

Which happened to be where Victoria’s Secret was….

And that’s the kind of situation a man can find himself in.

In a man’s world, when a man sees a woman, it’s quite difficult to not notice immediately that she’s a woman. We do have to work on making sure our thoughts do not wander where they shouldn’t. It is the natural male tendency I think sadly to objectify women in some way and treat them as just bodies. That’s part of the nature of the flesh and something we have to work on, and that’s something also that marriage helps you work on when done right.

It can be even more difficult especially in the way women are used in advertising. Sex sells. Many women know it and advertisers know it.

To go back to being at the mall, I was there again last Sunday. I’m looking at various tables that have been set up in an open area and there is one I pass for a spa. Perhaps I can look into something that my Mrs. might really appreciate. I think my wife is a beautiful woman, but hey, we guys all know that a lady loves to get something like a makeover.

Instead, I find a picture of a girl lying in an alluring pose and wearing a top that was leaving very very little to imagination.

You know what? We men who wish to be faithful to our wives? We hate to see something like that. We really do. We want our minds to be in only one place, but in our culture, we are constantly presented with challenges. Again, I am not denying women can face similar challenges, but this is a perspective from men.

Marriage really helps a man out in this area who is someone who burns. Still, there can also be other temptations. I tell men who are single that once you get married and you go on your honeymoon with your wife, everything changes. You never look at anything else the same way again. The way you think and align your priorities will change drastically. If you’re a man reading this and you’re single and waiting for marriage, don’t say you understand. You don’t.

Oh there are several nice things you can do before you marry. which I see as steps 1-8 on the twelve steps of intimacy. My wife and I did kiss on our first date. In fact, since I was visiting her at her parents house, we have a funny story that we were in the living room on the couch watching Beauty and the Beast. This room was adjacent to the kitchen. Her parents and her brother’s bedroom was upstairs.

We have been told that her brother was wanting to come down and go into the kitchen and get a snack. Her parents told her “Nick and Allie are downstairs on the couch and they’re cuddling. You might not want to go down there.” Of course, we weren’t doing anything immoral. Had we been, her parents would have been taking care of the problem. We can say we never saw her brother come down the whole night.

When we drove together, I would drive with one hand and hold her hand with the other. We would walk arm in arm wherever we went. If we pulled up to a red light, it was a good chance to kiss each other some more before the light turned green. In fact, I can safely say it was a time in my life when I was very thankful for red lights and bad traffic.

I encourage young men to enjoy that when they can before marriage instead of having the idea of the first kiss at the altar. We are physical creatures and we should not deny the physical entirely. Besides, I think that can be a difficult switch especially for the women to make. Just save steps 9 through 12 for the wedding.

You see, as good as all those physical pleasures are, and they certainly are, nothing beats what comes on the wedding night and that changes everything. Some women can think that a man could have a hard time adjusting and going from this not being allowed to this suddenly being allowed.

I really don’t think that’s a problem for men.

But also, this opens us up for temptation. Again, it’s not the fault of our wives! It’s the fault of our sinful nature! Once you have this great experience, a man can be tempted to wonder what else he’s missing elsewhere. Women can be the great unknown for us and the sexual union with the woman is in many ways, the ultimate validation of our masculinity for us. Women. There is no louder way for you to tell your man that he is your man than this.

And this sadly is why pornography is such a draw for men.

Again, I know there are women who struggle with pornography, but I’m talking about the men. For the man, pornography can give the feeling of being a man without the work of being a man. You don’t have to work to approach a real woman and learn how to romance and love her and sacrifice for her. Nope. You have a woman who is willing to give you everything and demand no effort on your part other than just showing up.

And yes, many a man will do that just for the sensation of masculinity that he gets. How deep does the desire for sex run with a man? For a humorous look, consider this clip from Steve Harvey’s edition of the Family Feud. Something to consider. Every woman who is asked gets it wrong! Every time a man is asked without coaching from the women, he gets it right.

When the women are asked, they say what they would like to see the man do such as cook and clean. When the men are asked, they say to the extent of what this means to them. Now do I mean to say a loving husband will go out and kill a man just to get sex? No. What I mean is that a man will use such strong language because the desire is that strong.

And women, please realize this. Your man most often desperately wants to be the man for you. He wants to get to adore you and he wants to be yours exclusively. It is hard in a man’s world where many a woman can be locked into the visual memory banks forever.

But to get back to the men, I suspect one reason many struggle with pornography who are married can also be a lack of being grateful. I have been thinking about this more and more lately. (Not because I struggle with internet porn. I don’t.) I think it’s a privilege I have that I get to kiss my wife. I get to drive everywhere I go with her. I get to sleep in the same bed with her every night. Throughout the day, I can pull her close and just hold her. I can run my fingers through her hair. I can do so much. Note I haven’t even included sex yet! All of these things are things I am immensely grateful for!

And these are things to give thanks for in themselves. Yet when it comes to sexuality, that is something incredible to give thanks for. If your wife is faithful, she is sharing something that she shares only with you. She is doing something for you that she doesn’t do for anyone else. You also get the privilege of getting to love her in a way no one else does. She loves you in a way that no one else does.

Give thanks. Follow Proverbs 5. Draw water from your own well. Why be enchanted by another? God gave you a good gift. Enjoy it and celebrate it.

For the women, please understand how important this is. Now some of you might think “Well I can show a bit more affection to him when he starts helping me around the house.”

You know, he should do his part to help you. That’s absolutely right.

But to make a statement like that is really selfish. Marriage is about giving 100% of yourself to the other and there’s no clause in Scripture that says “You are exempted from this if your spouse does not give 100%.” In fact, I would challenge you in this. If you are willing to give to your husband and let him know he’s your man, then when you say “Sweetie. Could you please vacuum for me today?”, he’ll be running to get the vacuum.

Also, sometimes, some women, and even some men, can struggle in this area due to past situations. (Yes. There are men who struggle) Please do get counseling. Your husband will thank you for it if you do.

So have I been too hard on the women with that statement about being selfish?

Then let’s turn it on the men.

Some of you might say “I’d help out around the house if she’d show me a bit more affection!”

You’re being just as selfish.

In fact, your position could be even worse. You’re meant to lead your household biblically. Start being a leader. Part of that is being loving and giving. After all, your role model is Christ. Do you think Christ stops showing love to His church even when His church isn’t loving Him back? He doesn’t. Then you have no excuse. You are to go and do what you can to help your wife out and by the way, when you start doing this, you might find she’s also more willing to open up. Even if she isn’t, you are required to give 100% and you have no exemption clause.

But women, if this role is met in a man’s life, you can be guaranteed you will have a happy happy hubby.

But men, regardless of what happens, it is up to you to manage your thought life. There is no justification for pornography. None. Some of you can think it might spice up your marriage. It won’t. The best way to increase your love for your wife is to do just that. Love her. No other woman belongs in your bedroom, not even a virtual one. Make it your aim that all your dreams and fantasies and such are about your wife.

If you stray men, you can say others contributed perhaps to what you went through, but the ultimate blame comes with you. Sure. That other woman shouldn’t have tempted you to have an affair, but it is your fault if you are the one who does it. You do not accidentally have an affair. It is a decision on your part to break the vows that you made to your wife. If you are watching pornography, you are having a virtual affair. You need to repent and make it right. If that includes getting a filter on your computer such as one from XXXChurch, then do it. If that means counseling, do it. After your relationship with God, your marriage is the most important relationship you have.

Life in a man’s world is not easy. Again, I am not commenting on it in a woman’s world. I can’t speak to that. I am just saying what it is like for the men, at least from my perspective.

But life like this is livable and faithfulness is possible. It will start with faithfulness to Christ. Be faithful to Him, and you will be faithful to your wife as well. That I think applies to women as well. If you are being faithful to Christ, you will be faithful to your husband. Also, if any of you are unfaithful to the other, you are not being faithful to Christ.

Please take that seriously and remember, I am one often convicting myself trying to remind myself how serious I need to take matters too.

In Christ,
Nick Peters