By Carl Heinrich Bloch, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons
If you were anywhere near Twitter in the past two days, you may have seen that the Council for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW) recently held their annual conference in Louisville, KY. CBMW was founded by John Piper in the late 1980s to promote “biblical gender roles” within Christian homes and churches–meaning, primarily, that women are not permitted to lead at any time within either sphere.
A couple of my fellow tweeters picked up on the conference hashtag and decided to tweet their own messages to the conference goers. I had a bit of fun with this, too, tweeting messages like, “My spiritual covering comes from Christ, not my husband (1 Tim. 2:5)” and “A friendly reminder that adherence to wealthy Greco-Roman household hierarchies is not a requisite for salvation.”
The truth that struck me as I saw the messages coming from the conference leaders is just how scandalous the cross really is to their doctrine–and, really, all doctrine. You have these men claiming that complementarian marriage is, biblically, the best representation and defense of the gospel, and yet there hangs Jesus–unmarried, exposed, abandoned, humiliated, defiled. There’s no way around it. Anything we proclaim to be the gospel filters through the cross. And the cross shows us something so shocking, so scandalous, that some people still struggle to come to grips with it. Continue reading
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how Christians read the Bible.
I grew up in—and, in many ways, am still part of—a religious community that reads the Bible literally. According to them, the Bible is God’s Word. Every syllable is literal and true and can be objectively verified. They celebrate every time a new archaeological discovery is made that confirms biblical events.
But there are problems with always reading the Bible in this way.
Image found at greythinking.com
I’m still working on my series about church authority. In the meantime, I’m inspired with many other topics that I want to tackle.
Today, I want to talk about the claim that Christians “pick and choose” which scriptures they want to follow. In my experience, it’s not so much picking and choosing verses out of context (which does happen to an alarming degree), but more about picking and choosing what kind of lens we use to interpret scripture. Make no mistake, everyone has a lens. No one approaches the Bible objectively, no matter how much one might claim to the contrary.
What is our purpose as Christians? It is a question often asked in Church, and the answers are varied. Some say it is to worship and bring glory to God. Others say it is to tell the world about Jesus and lead people to Christ. Still others say that we have a purpose unique to each of us that God expects us to fulfill.
While I think those answers are technically accurate, they’re terribly vague and unsatisfying. What does it mean to bring glory to God? How does one effectively lead others to Christ? And if we each have a unique purpose, how do we discover it and know we are living it out?
These are questions that I struggled with for years. I didn’t just need doctrinally correct words; to really answer these questions, I had to capture the spirit of Christ’s message. To be a Christian, to be a part of the Church, means to embody Christ. So what is his mind? His will? His posture? Continue reading
Lately, I’ve been receiving emails and messages from readers, thanking me for addressing the topic of sexual abuse on this blog. Despite being a survivor myself, I sometimes feel woefully inadequate to offer comfort whenever people share their stories (though I very gladly do). These feelings of inadequacy come from the place inside of me that is still wounded, from a pain that occasionally throbs so deep that I wonder if healing is actually a thing. I know that it is. I catch glimpses of it at times. It’s the moments when I sink into the dark that I start to wonder.
Today, a reader messaged me with her story. She said she had reacted so badly to her abuse, she now wonders if God has left her. It is a sentiment I hear often. Survivors carry so much guilt and shame that it’s difficult to believe anyone, especially God, would agree to stick around. Continue reading