Where have all the Reformers gone to?*

The next post will be October 18, 2010

The following is an excerpt from the book Does God Really Prefer Men? By Leslie and Gary Johnson.  This is reprinted with their permission and comes to you with their desire that we get the word out that women are equal.  The whole book will be available free and in .pdf format in a few weeks on my website at www.bwebaptist.com

Where Have All The Reformers Gone To?

Throughout the history of our beloved Church, there have been times—critical times—when the stage was set for reformation. When the saints had become discontent with status quo Christianity and spiritual unrest could no longer be silenced with religious rhetoric. Then, and only then, did God raise up men and women of valor to accomplish his divine purpose. Men like John Wycliffe and William Tyndale who risked life and limb to return the Word of God to His people. Men like Martin Luther, the former monk who brought the Church back to justification by faith alone. And men and women who cried out against the mid-Atlantic slave trade which had flourished for more than 400 years.

But please don’t conclude that reformation is only found in history books. There have been powerful movements of God in modern times as well. The 20th century witnessed a mighty return of the gifts of the Spirit. And in the last few decades, this very generation has had ring-side seats to the total reformation of worship. Yes, throughout it’s nearly 2,000 year history the Church has grown in leaps and bounds, quite literally— experiencing radical growth spurts after years of apparent stagnation. Much like a teenager that shoots up three inches over the summer, reformation always brings phenomenal periods of increase and development. And the stage is now set for at least one more reformation: the complete restoration of biblical gender equality.

Noting our admiration for the reformers and our reluctance to take a stand beside them, Revivalist Charles Spurgeon once challenged Christians to imagine what would have happened had Luther, Calvin and their compatriots said to themselves, “The world is out of order; but if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row, and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps, and sleep over the bad times, and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.” Dear Christian, taking a stand for gender equality in the Body of Christ today will cost you something. But is it not better to risk unpopularity among your peers than disapproval from your God?

We offer no disrespect to the powerful and anointed ministers of the Gospel who adamantly preach women are to be under men in all matters of importance. Why, many of these Christians have labored for years, winning countless souls to Christ. Yet the Church cannot afford to automatically assume everything they espouse is straight from heaven. It is entirely possible to have clarity and insight in one matter…and be woefully blind in another. Why, Martin Luther—the father of the Protestant Reformation—urged Christians of his day to burn down the homes of Jews! What a foolish and hateful belief. And yet his stand on justification by faith alone really did change the course of church history.

Too wise to throw the baby out with the bath water, we have overlooked Luther’s shortcomings, as with all heroes of the faith. Combing the scriptures, we have held to that which is true, and disregarded that which didn’t line up with the Word. Noble Bereans, we have allowed the Bible to be our guidepost, not the popularity of any preacher. We must display the same wisdom with our Christian leaders today, granting them honor and respect for years of service, yet unapologetically examining the scriptures to determine the legitimacy of each and every doctrine they preach.

Biblical gender equality will be restored to the Body of Christ before Jesus returns. Women of God will take their place in pulpits because “the Lord gives the command; the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host.” Wives will once again stand beside their husbands as Christian marriage is restored to its original, glorious state. And the Church will again preach a Gospel that is not contaminated by racial bias, social preference or sexism. These matters are without question, because our Lord is coming back for a Church without spot or blemish, mature, and abounding in every good work.

There is only one issue yet to be resolved: Will you be among the millions, or do you have the courage and discontent to take your place beside the thirty? You see, millions of Israelites eventually honored David as king, but only thirty stood with him when he took to the caves. As this powerful wave of equality sweeps through the Church, millions of Christians will eventually recognize the legitimacy of this reformation, rejoicing in the freedom that it brings. But the ability to recognize God’s hand before coronation is what earns one the status of “mighty man.”

 Do you have the courage, discernment and valor of a reformer? Will you, dear Saint, be a “mighty man”? We urge you—no, God urges you—take up the cause of gender equality in the Body of Christ that His Kingdom may come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

To contact Leslie, email her LeslieNeedsJesus@comcast.net

(Many thanks to Leslie and Gary Johnson for allowing me to use their words for this powerful message).

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Does God Really Prefer Men and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Where have all the Reformers gone to?*

  1. Paula Fether says:

    Amen. But I would only say that instead of looking to put women in pulpits, I’d look to take men out of them. There is no “pastorate” office, no chain of command between the parts of this one Body. Let those who teach or preach be known by their gifts and use them just as all other gifts are used: on a level playing field.

    So I would urge egals to be true revolutionaries, not just reformers, and spread the good news that the ground is indeed level at the foot of the cross, and also in the Kingdom. Let’s just follow Jesus and help each other along the way. That’s why I recently wrote about an ultra-simple Christianity.

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  2. Leslie says:

    There is actually a growing movement embracing what Paula is advocating. In fact, it is a present-day movement grounded in Christian history. Mennonite Brethrens is what I believe they call themselves nowadays. Historically, they were the anabaptist (do not believe in infant baptism) and then the Mennonites sprang up from that, as did many other Christian sects. My husband has been listening to some Mennonite Brethren preachers via podcast lately and he loves them. Passionate, intelligent, and wildly egalitarian. Paula, check out Bruxy Cavey in Canada at The Meeting House. He sounds right up your alley. I’m not sure if he’s Mennonite himself, but his church is in constant fellowship with Mennonite Brethren churches. You’d love their podcasts. Be blessed – Leslie

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  3. territippins says:

    Weren’t the Quakers egalitarian in thier beliefs? They would sit in silence until the Spirit gave someone a word to speak, whether if be a (child, man or woman.)

    I thought you might want to read this woman’s post………typical. You might even want to comment. 🙂

    http://jenniferharrisdault.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/making-a-fashion-statement/

    ” Your husband should be wearing that shirt.”

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  4. territippins says:

    That would be great Paula! And I am beginning to wonder if fullofgraceseasonedwithsalt might be men posing as women………sometimes I wonder.

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  5. Lydia says:

    The problem I see is that many are tired of supporting a building and salaries of staff. We have made church the building when it is really the people who are the church.

    Why are we buying new carpet and building more buildings while some in the Body are suffering? It is the idolatry of the whole building and system that is starting to bog some of us down. I find it nauseating when they praise a single mom who can barely make it for “tithing” while the pastor lives quite comfortable. I have seen it for years and knew in my heart it was wrong. When I really started studying, I realized it was sin! And there is NO tithe in the NC at all. And no paid pastors, either. A total misinterpretation of scripture.

    Give to your fellow brothers and sisters in need. Do it anonymously, only in the name of Jesus. That is the giving of the NT!

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  6. Lydia says:

    Paula, give everyone a link to your summary of the Reformers and their Stepchildren! This book is a real eye opener for those who “reformed” but are not famous like Luther or Calvin. Instead, they were hunted down and drowned by guys like Calvin, and other big R Reformers.

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