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).