Sunday, April 29, 2007

CDG Recap: My Top Ten

The Children Desiring God conference exceeded all of my expectations. And though it would be quite difficult to capture all that went on in one post (since I am not, nor am I equipped to be, a live blogger), I have decided to post my top ten. Some pertain directly to the conference sessions, and some pertain to other things surrounding the event. So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Talking with people and making friends, especially my dear, new found friend from Hong Kong. I pray that God blesses her ministry to children richly.
  2. Fellowship, upon fellowship, upon fellowship. Some with people from my church, others from all over the world. But the fellowship that was had at this conference left me full of joy in our Christ.
  3. Wayne Grudem’s theology laden messages. Who says theology is not important in children’s ministry? I love learning about election and justification, especially when it pertains to our children. I also would like to mention that this was Dr. Grudem’s first speaking engagement at a children’s conference. He was fantastic.
  4. Pastor John’s unbelievable explanation of the Gospel—floors me every time. It also made me rethink how I tell my conversion story. The message in one sentence—your salvation story started 2,000 years ago, at Calvary. Listen to it, if you can. Amazing.
  5. Pastor’s John’s quote on why we teach hard truths to children: “You don’t hide truth because of its potential dangers.” This should be a guiding principle in all of our lives.
  6. The fact that there are at least 1,100 people out there who think and believe that theology-driven ministry matters for little ones. It makes my heart sing with gladness to God in the ways He works in people’s lives. May God be pleased to bless their ministries.
  7. Mr. Tomaszewski telling me what “HT” means in the blogosphere. I had been dying to know for some time, but was too scared to ask. Now I know. (And for those of you still in the dark, it means “hats off to”.)
  8. Knocking over the impressive and large flag display right next to my table. Apparently my bag was too big and when I turned around it was a massive domino effect that resulted in many flags on the floor and many eyes on me, and a laughing Kristi Michael. I knew that there was no way I could make it through an entire weekend without making a fool of myself.
  9. C.J. Mahaney telling me that he wished there was a way he could let me see Dr. Mohler’s personal library. That was very kind of him.
  10. Leaving with a greater appreciation for my church, my fellow believers in Christ, and for the Church of God in the world.

Pastor Sam left of us with a very encouraging verse, which reminded me of why we are doing ministry. Often times if feels like the words we say aren’t getting through and that are labors are in vain. But God sees our labors; God sees our tears for the souls of those under our care. This verse greatly encouraged me to keep fighting the fight of faith in my own life, and in the lives of others. No matter the circumstance, God knows. God has an appointed time for all things, even answers to our prayers—and when that time is right, we can rest assured that it will come quickly and with power, because God keeps all of His promises.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Battling Fear

Growing up I would occasionally watch the Peanuts cartoon, and one segment that sticks out clearly in my mind is when Lucy is trying to diagnose Charlie Brown’s reason for fear. As she sits at the booth, charging her gullible patrons for disorder diagnosis, poor Charlie receives the sad news—he has the fear of everything.

We all experience fear, some more than others. But whether we are prone to excessive fear, or rarely are faced with it, we still must admit that when it comes, it comes in full force.

“I’m afraid to be myself around him, what if he thinks I’m stupid?”

“I’m scared to go to youth group. What if the kids don’t like me?”

“I’m afraid to talk to my parents about my past, what if they are angry with me?”

“I’m afraid to go outside in my neighborhood. I don’t know my neighbors. What if they hurt me?”

Fear manifests itself in many forms. As these statements will attest, it ultimately stems from a disbelief in God. If we believed that God really is who He says He is, then we would have no reason to fear. Fear also can come from guilt over sin, which causes a fear of exposure (Genesis 3:10). We are fearful of being found out, our sin causes great fear.

We have allowed culture to tell us that our fears are simply a disorder that must be medicated and treated with therapy, when in actuality our fears must be dealt with at the Cross. There should be great fear in the one who is still under the judgment of God, but if we have been redeemed, God is on our side because of the blood of Jesus.

But we are not left without hope. The Word of God reminds us that, in Christ, we have nothing to fear. The entire chapter of Isaiah 41 is showing us that God is our strength. God is our shield.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

All of our fears, and primarily our fear when things aren’t going as we would hope, are rooted in our understanding, or misunderstanding, of our Creator. Not only does the Bible tell us not to fear man, or fear judgment, but the Bible also tells us to fear something far greater—God, Himself.

Proverbs 1:7 tells us “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” Our only fear should be a fear of our Creator, a reverent fear that displays and magnifies His holiness. Any other fear places God below the thing that we fear most. It is essentially saying that God is not bigger than the thing that we fear.

So often we go about life as if we are orphans, as if we are not kept by the sovereign, omnipotent hand of God. God really does have the whole world in His hands, and He has your life too. Redemptive history shows us, in every page of Holy Scripture, that God keeps and orchestrates every event for our good and His glory. There is no cause for fear—only hope. We are always in need of more faith, more of Jesus (Matthew 6:31-34).

There are countless verses in Scripture that tell us not to fear. Why must we always be reminded of this truth? We are fearful people. We scare easily. We stress easily. But as I have been writing about godly women who hope in God, I am reminded of the fact that they had great cause to fear. For some of the women, there very lives were at stake, and for others, the outcome of their lives was very uncertain. So often our fears are so trivial (Will he like me? Will I get this job? Will I be accepted?), and yet we do not grasp the simple truths spelled out for us clearly in Scripture. Don’t despair, dear Christian, God hears your cries and He will deliver you—do not fear, hope in God. And as my toddlers have learned recently, Jesus is the Boss! (Matthew 23-27). In one utterance, He calmed the seas as the fearful disciples sat back in amazement. If the seas obey Him at one word, He truly does hold the power to work all circumstances out for good. Let this great truth guide your life and calm your fears.

“You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22).

Here is a link to the Girl Talk blog. They have talked also on the topic of fear, and they do a much better, and more thorough, job than I.

(p.s. I figured out how to link things on my blog, actually Ellie did. But, nonetheless, I can link now.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Children Desiring God

There are many reasons why I love my church, one of which is the children’s ministry that we have. It’s very innovative actually—they teach the Bible from infants on up. Contrary to sociology and societal norms, children respond to, and desperately need, the Bible, and I feel very blessed to hear that vision week after week.

For the next three days, I have the privilege of attending the Children Desiring God conference, sponsored by my church. The three plenary speakers will be Pastor’s David Michael and John Piper, Dr. Wayne Grudem, and C.J. Mahaney. And the theme? Standing on the Truth: How Great a Salvation. Amazing!

The overarching vision surrounding this ministry is that the next generation may put their hope in God, and they do not shrink back from proclaiming biblical truth to even the littlest ones. In a day where our churches treat our children’s and youth ministries as a form of “holy daycare”, this curriculum and conference is a beacon of great hope affirming that teaching the Bible matters.

It is my greatest joy to teach this curriculum to the toddlers at my church. In the Easter Sunday lesson we learned that “Jesus is Alive” and as I was telling the story, I was at the part where Jesus had died. To my amazement, one of the little ones screamed out, “He’s not dead, Jesus is alive!” Here is an excerpt from that lesson:

But Jesus said, “I will let them hurt me. I will not stop them. I will not get down.” So Jesus stayed on the Cross…Jesus came back! They talked with Jesus! They walked with Jesus! Jesus is back! Jesus is alive again!

There have been times where I have learned more in my times in nursery with these little ones than I have in any theology class. Every time I hear a two year old say “Only God is Big” or “God is Good”, I am reminded that God works in the hearts of toddlers, but most importantly, He is working in the heart of their teacher (me). There are no theology books or in-depth discussion in the Beginners room, just little souls, who desperately need a Savior. The deepest discussion we have is whether “my mommy bought me new shoes” or “I get a sucker for going potty in the toilet”, and occasionally we will hear a glimpse of the Spirit working in their lives, like when one little girl asked why Jesus didn’t come down from the Cross if He was God. But it is joyful and simple nonetheless, because I know that there are seeds of the Gospel being planted in their hearts that maybe will one day grow into unshakeable hope in our great God.

So, needless to say, I am really excited to spend the weekend sitting under the teaching of these great men. I’m excited to be equipped, encouraged, and to fellowship with like-minded believers. It will be a blessing to my soul, I am sure. Theology matters from the two month old to the eighty year old. And if the two year old gets it, then so can the twelve year old, and even the eighteen year old. May God be pleased to raise up the next generation to hope in God and delight in knowing their Christ.

(Steph, Andrea, and I are going to try and meet C.J. Mahaney. The excitement over him speaking has been all the buzz in our house these past two weeks! It was discussed that maybe a cake would be baked for him, but it was quickly decided that that would be a little too uncomfortable, and could be perceived as slightly unstable.)

Merry Christmas, JR!

Christmas came a little early this year for our dear friend Joseph Randall. A roommate of ours, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave JR some much needed training wheels while his bike waited for him at church. It had become readily apparent to many in the 2520 house that the bike needed a little bit of love, and love it got. Lots of it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rethinking Esther: The Most Important Part!

Late Saturday night a thought came to me that I forgot the part that most exemplified womanhood in Esther's life--the fact that she sought the Lord (Esther 4:16)! Like I previously said, the text never actually mentions the Lord, but based on what we know about fasting in the Old and New Testaments, we know that biblical fasting almost always included seeking the face of God because the purpose of it is to draw closer to Him by abstaining from food, and substituting prayer (Matthew 6:16-17; Acts 13:1-4; 2 Chronicles 20:1-23). So even though reference to God is not explicit we can still infer that Esther was fasting and seeking God. Why? Because Esther is an inspired book, put in our Bible by God for our good and edification. It is important and helpful in our study of God's Word to look at the whole of Scripture as we read. Not only does it protect us from error, but it also gives us a great and broad view of the grace and mercy of God in redemptive history. Our names are written all over the pages of the Old Testament if we are in Christ, that should floor us.

So, as we read the book of Esther, let's remember that she was not amazing because she was brave, nor was she amazing because she was beautiful (though God certainly used her beauty for good), she was amazing because she had a great God who was powerful and sovereign enough to give her strength and the ability to stand for her people--God's chosen.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Qualities of a Godly Woman, Part 4: Learning from Esther

I have always loved the book of Esther. Maybe it’s because I liked the idea of risking your life for people and for God. Or maybe it’s because I liked the idea of bursting into the palace and exposing the truth (although that didn’t really happen in the Bible, only in that cheesy movie about Esther).

But in all honesty, I think there is a lot to learn from her regarding biblical womanhood. The book of Esther doesn’t get a lot of lip service, yet there is still an example for us to follow in her life. A misconception about Esther can be that she was a sort of pioneering feminist, rising up and liberating her people from the Persians. She did rise up and save her people, but she did not do so in a grassroots movement, rallying-up-the people-type- of way. She did it by listening to Mordecai, her familial head. Mordecai found out information, and then relayed it to Esther, always advising her of what to do. In essence, Esther was never relieved of the headship of her head, Mordecai. He figured out the plot to kill the Jews, he advised her of what to do—even when at first she was not so keen on the idea.

Esther, in the providence of God, was made Queen of Persia, and as Mordecai told her, she had an obligation to save God’s people—yet even if she did not, God would find another person to do the job.

The most telling part of the book, and the part I think we could learn a lot from, is in chapter 4 where Mordecai tells Esther what the consequence will be if she does not help:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4: 14-16).

As we looked earlier this week at Ruth, we can ask the same question of Esther. What makes a woman willingly risk her life and comfort for other people? What makes a woman choose to be a life-giver in this way? Hope in God. Knowing that God is sovereign, He does not make mistakes, and He is the most supreme treasure. Although the book of Esther never actually mentions the word God, we see His providence in every page. Esther did not say “If I perish, I perish,” because she hoped in her own capabilities—she did it because she knew that there was, and still is, an all powerful God up in heaven who will not allow His will and purpose to be thwarted.

That is where our courage comes from. Not in our own strength, but in resting in God.

In closing, notice Esther’s way of bringing the truth to her husband, the King. She does not do so in a militant, “give me my rights” way, nor does she do so in a nagging, tattle-tailing way either. She was smart. She got all of her facts, and she did so with humility, thought, and poise. Through her gentle and quiet spirit she gained the respect of the King and was thus able to bring her knowledge to the table—with boldness. A gentle and quiet spirit does not mean mousy and wimpy. It means discernment and wisdom to know when to speak and when not to speak, and actually requires much more thought and sanctification than a passive and timid spirit ever would.

So as we look at Esther, let’s remember that being a godly woman takes work. It requires us to be discerning, to be aware, and to be willing to stand for truth no matter the cost. In all things we should remember that there is a sovereign God in heaven who is orchestrating our life for our good and His glory. Let’s not be inclined towards the world’s empty praise, but seek to live with a gentle and submissive spirit.

And let’s face it. That’s way cooler than bursting into the palace and falling breathless into the arms of the King of Persia. (I guess you’d have to see the movie…)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Qualities of a Godly Woman: Part 3 (Just for Tommy)

As we have been looking at the qualities of a godly woman, I was encouraged by a brother to share this visual with the reading world. Here is how we as women can affirm the men in our life--profess our undying love for them in the public arena (in this case, the Metrodome).

In my worldwide Youtube debut, if you can't hear, I am screaming that I love Michael Cuddyer, a player for the Minnesota Twins. It was a bet, and Steph lost. Another example for us to learn from--don't lose bets, stand your ground and be brave!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How to Deal with Tragedy: by John Piper

Like most of America, I watched the events of yesterday's tragedy unfold with horror and shock. As I sat glued to the television set last night, listening to students recount the massacre that occured I was reminded of how short life actually is. In the wake of Columbine, and then September 11, John Piper wrote 21 responses to tragedy which I find quote helpful as we seek to make sense of what happened at Virginia Tech. You can find the full article here:

(I still don't know how to actually link things)

Here is a shortened version:

How Shall We Minister to People After the World Trade Tower Terrorism of September 11, 2001?
21 Ways to Comfort Those Who Are Suffering
By John Piper September 12, 2001
1. Pray. Ask God for his help for you and for those you want to minister to. Ask him for wisdom and compassion and strength and a word fitly chosen. Ask that those who are suffering would look to God as their help and hope and healing and strength. Ask that he would make your mouth a fountain of life.

2. Feel and express empathy with those most hurt by this great evil and loss; weep with those who weep.

3. Feel and express compassion because of the tragic circumstances of so many loved ones and friends who have lost more than they could ever estimate.

4. Take time and touch, if you can, and give tender care to the wounded in body and soul.

5. Hold out the promise that God will sustain and help those who cast themselves on him for mercy and trust in his grace. He will strengthen you for the impossible days ahead in spite of all darkness.

6. Affirm that Jesus Christ tasted hostility from men and knew what it was to be unjustly tortured and abandoned, and to endure overwhelming loss, and then be killed, so that he is now a sympathetic mediator for us with God.

7. Declare that this murder was a great evil, and that God's wrath is greatly kindled by the wanton destruction of human life created in his image.

8. Acknowledge that God has permitted a great outbreak of sin against his revealed will, and that we do not know all the reasons why he would permit such a thing now, when it was in his power to stop it.

9. Express the truth that Satan is a massive reality in the universe that conspires with our own sin and flesh and the world to hurt people and to move people to hurt others, but stress that Satan is within and under the control of God.

10. Express that these terrorists rebelled against the revealed will of God and did not love God or trust him or find in God their refuge and strength and treasure, but scorned his ways and his Person.

11. Since rebellion against God was at the root of this act of murder, let us all fear such rebellion in our own hearts, and turn from it, and embrace the grace of God in Christ, and renounce the very impulses that caused this tragedy.

12. Point the living to the momentous issues of sin and repentance in our own hearts and the urgent need to get right with God through his merciful provision of forgiveness in Christ, so that a worse fate than death will not overtake us.

13. Remember that even those who trust in Christ may be cut down like these thousands who were in New York and Washington, but that does not mean they have been abandoned by God or not loved by God even in those agonizing hours of suffering. God's love conquers even through calamity.

14. Mingle heart-wrenching weeping with unbreakable confidence in the goodness and sovereignty of God who rules over and through the sin and the plans of rebellious people.

15. Trust God for his ability to do the humanly impossible, and bring you through this nightmare and, in some inscrutable way, bring good out of it.

16. Explain, when the time is right, and they have the wherewithal to think clearly that one of the mysteries of God's greatness is that he ordains that some things come to pass which he forbids and disapproves of.

17. Express your personal cherishing of the sovereignty of God as the ground of all your hope as you face the human impossibilities of life. The very fulfillment of the New Covenant promises of our salvation and preservation hang on God's sovereignty over rebellious human wills.

18. Count God your only lasting treasure, because he is the only sure and stable thing in the universe.

19. Remind everyone that to live is Christ and to die is gain.

20. Pray that God would incline their hearts to his word, open their eyes to his wonders, unite their hearts to fear him, and satisfy them with his love.

21. At the right time sound the trumpet that all this good news is meant by God to free us for radical, sacrificial service for the salvation of men and the glory of Christ. Help them see that one message of all this misery is to show us that life is short and fragile and followed by eternity, and small, man-centered ambitions are tragic.

I would encourage you to go and read the whole thing if you get a chance. Lets continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are among the community at Virginia Tech.

Qualities of a Godly Woman, Part 2: Being a Life-Giver

In their book, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church, Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt describe a godly woman as a one who is a “life-giver” and not a “life-taker”.

Being a “life-giver” in today’s culture poses many challenges to the woman seeking to live biblically. Western culture has so distorted womanhood, and personhood for that matter, to the point of thinking that the world revolves around one thing—me. If I’m sick of my husband—divorce. If my baby is an imposition—abortion. If I don’t like my hands—plastic surgery. Relativism has created a society that views the self as autonomous and authoritative in all matters, therefore, what I say goes and no one can question me. We live in a world of life-taking, when the Bible commands a world of life-giving.

As women who desire to seek Christ and know the Word, how do we know what it means to be a life-giver? In our quest to unpack godly womanhood, let’s look at a true life-giver depicted for us in the Word of God—her name is Ruth.

Consider Ruth, a Moabite woman who married an Israelite. In Ruth 1 we see the first glimpses of her life-giving in response to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Upon the death of Naomi’s husband and sons (Ruth’s husband) she embarks to return to her people the Israelites. Ruth and Orpah (the other Moabite woman and daughter-in-law) are faced with a decision, follow Naomi with no real hope of remarriage or comfort, or stay in Moab, where remarriage is likely and comfort is a given. Orpah stays in her homeland, while Ruth resolves to go with Naomi. Notice Ruth’s life-giving response to Naomi:

“For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD to do to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you” (Ruth 1:16-17).

What makes a relatively young woman leave her homeland, leave her family, leave her friends, leave the hope of marriage behind? Hope in God. John Piper, in talking about submission, says that a truly godly woman can submit because she hopes in God. Biblical womanhood, and godliness in general, is a life of sacrifice. It requires a daily dying to self and a daily hope in God.

If you follow the rest of the book you will see that not only did Ruth go with Naomi, but she also provided for Naomi. Chapter two tells us that Ruth went and gleaned grain in the fields in order to provide food for Naomi and herself. In a day where young people live only for themselves, where changing diapers and bearing children is seen as subhuman, and where our elderly people are dying lonely deaths in nursing homes, Ruth is a beacon of light to a depraved culture of self-worship. Putting our hope in fleeting things, such as fame, prestige, careers, and power will only amount to death. But putting our hope in God, the giver of life, will sustain us and enable us to give our own lives for the sake of others—even our ailing parents, elderly grandparents and church members, and the little children. In order to be godly women we must renounce any semblance of life-taking in our lives, and seek to be life-givers.

As we seek to live in the Spirit of Ruth, let’s follow first the footsteps of our Christ, who was the supreme of all life-givers.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is It Good for Man to be Alone?

Are you single and loving it? According to an article in today's issue of USA Today, “Free as a Bird and Loving It: Being Single Has It’s Benefits”, there are many adults, young and old, who are bucking tradition and retaining their singleness. This is not a new finding and it has been written about in many different venues in recent years. And it’s not something that is foreign to the Christian environment either. We are seeing a host of young people in our churches who are postponing marriage in pursuit of prolonged “fun”. Singleness just offers more freedom.

A friend of mine recently wrote about the “marriage culture” on a Christian college campus that has freshmen women toting bridal magazines in quest for “Mr. Right,” yet he addressed the problem that this offers for these women because their hope is resting on a marriage partner’s arrival—not on their Savior. This is true, but I think it is addressing a very real desire in these women’s hearts—a desire that was placed there by God. But in contrast to that, there is another very real aspect of this culture on campuses that has many young people bemoaning marriage, and treating it as a mere lifestyle choice—and not necessarily an institution ordained by a sovereign Creator.

Bella DePaul, a social psychologist, was quoted in the article saying, “What I love about my single life are the nearly limitless opportunities it offers.” The people in the article were choosing singleness because freedom was worth far more than settling down and sharing life with another person. Our American quest for independence and personal autonomy has left us with a warped view of what it means to live in the world. The supposed “benefit” that we receive by being single is rooted in a rebellion towards any form of commitment and dependence. As the article states, the singleness revolution started blossoming in the 1960’s—and so did the sexual revolution and feminism—which declared war on any semblance of moral virtue and values.

So what does this mean for us as Christians? How can we fight for the sanctity of marriage in legislation if we don’t fight for the sanctity of marriage in our own churches? All of the correct and biblical legislation in the world will mean nothing if we do not first model and practice what we preach. The Gospel is displayed in godly marriages. Even our precious Savior died in order to redeem His Bride, the Church. Marriage matters. It shows to a dying world the image of a perfect Savior leading, dying for, and pursuing His Bride. We should want that. It should not become an idol, but it definitely should not become a source of cynicism.

Our culture does not need anymore Christian twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, and so on, capitulating to their values. Our culture needs redemption and a Savior—and it must begin with us. Maybe what we need to do is to find the bride magazine toting young women and not condemn them, but actually teach them that their desire for marriage and children is right, and then teach them what it means to live how their Creator created them. The fight for marriage begins in our churches—in our Sunday school classes and in our women’s ministries. That is counter-cultural—and it is definitely not “independent.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Learning From a Fellow Passenger

It’s quite common, as my family and friends will attest to, that I make a new friend while traveling, or walking down the street for that matter. True to form, on a recent flight I struck up a conversation with a mortgage broker as he was traveling back to his family. As far as I could tell, he was not a Christian, but what intrigued me most about this man and his family was how they operated.

The last thing I expected to do at 40,000 feet was talk about, or think about, gender roles. I had my book in hand and was ready to tune out the world. But I listened as he shared with me how much he enjoyed providing for and protecting his wife and young daughter, and how much his wife truly enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, which he emphatically called “work”. (To which I say “amen”!) Their reasoning for operating biblically in their roles is not stemming from a hearty approval and desire to live according to God-given gender roles, in fact, I doubt they even know that God has ordained gender roles, but I did find it interesting nonetheless. Secular feminism, and now evangelical feminism, will try and tell us that gender roles are a result of a backwards, oppressive ideology rooted in male domination and quest for power. But this man, who by every other definition was secular, was not backwards. In fact, he was relevant—affirming the goodness of his personhood, and squirming if I made any mention of an almighty Creator who demands perfection, or to a great Savior, Jesus Christ. He wasn’t an out of touch, evangelical male—he was your typical American, living his life with his family. I am simply taking my brief conversation with this man at face value, but I think it deserves some attention. What does this mean for us as Christians living in a post-feminist America?

Gender roles will not go away. They are much deeper than the feminist revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s. They have roots in Genesis, and were established by a sovereign Creator who knew exactly what He was doing when He formed Adam and commanded him to lead, and formed Eve and made her the mother of all living. There is a reason why unregenerate people live with husbands as heads and wives as mothers, and do so happily—and it’s not because they don’t know any better and are uneducated. The man on the plane was a graduate of the Citadel. He was smart. Something inside of him was leading him to say “I want to provide for my wife.” Regardless of regeneration, our culture is crying out that there is a difference, despite all futile attempts to explain away distinctions. God is God, and His created order will stand. In the feminist’s quest to preserve the ontology of women, they actually destroy the very personhood they seek to protect.

As Christians we must not capitulate to culture and accept blindly every wave of doctrine. We must also not blindly listen to our lost neighbors talk about their family lives without calling attention to the very real truth that biblical manhood and womanhood is a picture of the image of Christ and His Church. When we abandon that we abandon the Gospel. So, as I think about the conversation that I had, my prayer for this man is that he would see that he is living this way not because he and his wife picked the “best choice” for their daughter, but that their desire for this type of family structure was created in them by a holy and righteous Creator, in order to lift high His Son Jesus Christ—and to bring them to repentance.

That is something that won’t go away—no matter how much you deconstruct the language and culture.