Calvary Road Baptist Church

“The Church Of Jesus Christ: The Roles Of Men, Of Women, Of Children,

And Of Spouses In The Formation Of Families” Part 1

 

It needs to be clearly stated that most men and women do not know how to be men and women, that most husbands and wives do not know how to be husbands and wives, that most fathers and mothers do not know how to be fathers and mothers, and that most sons and daughters haven’t a clue about being a son or a daughter. Mature Christians look around and realize in their own minds what I have just stated. The great majority of people on this planet think they are competent. And with respect to many things people are very competent. However, whenever the issue impacts spirituality and one’s preparation for eternity every individual in this human race is most decidedly incompetent. The authority for my assertion comes from two identical verses in God’s Word, Proverbs 14.12 and Proverbs 16.25, both declaring,

 

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

 

You may hope you have a handle on it. Your house is clean, your spouse is happy, your children are squared away and relatively obedient, and you are well thought of by those who know you. You are even quite confident you have a handle on things. However, based upon the authority of God’s infallible and inerrant Word you do not know what you are doing and you are doomed to failure so long as you rely on your own wisdom and live your life according to the dictates of your conscience by doing what you think is right. Even if you get the kids raised without them becoming criminals at some point or parents before they are married and you make it into the golden years without divorcing and living off of the government dole you have still failed. You see, the goal is to properly prepare for eternity, to get ready for forever, and that can only be done by being reconciled to God at some point and then prayerfully endeavoring to see your loved ones also reconciled to God. Miss that personal goal and all else is lost, for as the Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 8.36,

 

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

 

Have I succeeded in arresting your attention? I sincerely hope so. You and I are experiencing the decline and eventual collapse of Western civilization. It is taking place at an astonishing rate before our eyes. It can be said that from one perspective the explanation that lies back of the decline and eventual fall of our culture will be the inability of boys to become real men, of girls to become real women, of men to become real husbands, of women to become real wives, of husbands to become real fathers, and of women to become real mothers. The standard by which someone becomes a real man, husband, or father, a real woman, wife, or mother, is not some sliding scale by which you always end up giving yourself a pass or redefine your objectives to cover personal failures, but the Word of the living God. How the collapse of our culture relates to end time events and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ I do not pretend to know with certainty, though there is no doubt in my mind that we are living in the last days. Not that I have any doubt about the Bible’s predictions about Christ’s coming and the unfolding of world events that scream for the attention of every student of Biblical prophecy. It is just that I recognize the existence of limitations of my own understanding of Bible prophecy in light of the Spirit’s sovereign work of illuminating Christians’ understanding of Bible truth, and find it difficult to embrace the conclusions of those who with smug cockiness insist they know precisely what is going to happen but will not cordially discuss their views with others or subject their conclusions to the honest scrutiny of others.

Back to my initial comments about men and women not knowing how to be men and women, husbands and wives not knowing how to be husbands and wives, and so forth. Is Bruce Jenner not a classic if extreme illustration of the point I am making, with most others illustrating the same thing but not so overtly or completely? Take the mother with the completely out of control child in the grocery store . . . please. Consider a common scenario in different parts of the world following Noah’s flood and the confusion of tongues that is described in Genesis chapter eleven. Romans 1.19-32 describes mankind’s downward spiral into idolatry and darkened hearts. Zooming in to a personal level, a man returns with his companions from a successful hunt and leaves his fellow hunters to enter the primitive tent-like dwelling where his first child and the child’s mother are, carrying his portion of the slain animal. We might be considering a scene taking place in Africa, South America, North America, Asia, or somewhere in Europe. We are looking in on members of the human family who are not close relatives to Abraham and so cannot be found with any detail on the pages of the Old Testament. These are people who have turned their backs on God, who are left with only the stars in the sky to inform them about God, and their only pretense of spirituality is a crude and vulgar idolatry. The man is the leader of his family. He is the dominant figure of those living in that tent because he is bigger, stronger, quicker, more aggressive, very experienced with violence, and unlike his female mate, the mother of his child, is unburdened by any biology associated with pregnancy, infant child care, or periodic hindrances that affect his ability to fight. Wherever you go on earth following the Flood and prior to the arrival of written civilization the story is much the same. With the exception of those very few places in parts of the world where food was found hanging from trees and isolation from other groups of people made danger unlikely matriarchy played no part in world prehistory. Despite feminist’s attempts to cultivate the notion that men and women in prehistory lived and thrived without anything like a hierarchy in the nuclear family, everything known to archaeology gives evidence of patriarchy.[1]

What do I mean when I use the terms patriarchy and matriarchy? Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines patriarchy as “a form of social organization in which the father or the eldest male is recognized as the head of the family or tribe, descent and kinship being traced through the male line.”[2] Matriarchy is defined as “a form of social organization in which the mother is recognized as the head of the family or tribe, descent and kinship being traced through the mother instead of the father.”[3] Of course, these are dictionary definitions from 1995 and the advance of feminism has somewhat altered the accepted definitions of both terms. As anyone who has ever debated knows, the key to winning an argument is controlling the definitions of the words that are used. The same is true in public relations warfare: “he who frames the terms of the debate almost always wins.”[4] With that in mind let me read a rather typical article written from a feminist perspective updated on March 30, 2016:

 

“Patriarchal Society: Feminist Theories of Patriarchy”

 

By Linda Napikoski, with contributions by Jone Johnson Lewis  Updated March 30, 2016.

 

Definition: Patriarchal (adj.) describes a general structure in which men have power over women. Society (n.) is the entirety of relations of a community. A patriarchal society consists of a male-dominated power structure throughout organized society and in individual relationships.

The concept of patriarchy has been central to many feminist theories.

A patriarchy, from the ancient Greek patriarches, was a society where power was held by and passed down through the elder males.

When modern historians and sociologists describe a “patriarchal society,” they mean that men hold the positions of power: head of the family unit, leaders of social groups, boss in the workplace and heads of government.

Feminist Analysis

Feminist theorists have expanded the definition of patriarchal society to describe a systemic bias against women.

As second-wave feminists examined society during the 1960s, they did observe households headed by women and female leaders. They were of course concerned with whether this was uncommon. More significant, however, was the way society perceived women in power as an exception to a collectively held view of women’s “role” in society. Rather than saying that individual men oppressed women, most feminists saw that oppression of women came from the underlying bias of a patriarchal society.

Gerda Lerner’s Analysis of Patriarchy

Gerda Lerner’s 1986 history classic, The Creation of Patriarchy, traces the development of the patriarchy to the second millennium B.C.E. in the middle east, putting gender relations at the center of the story of civilization’s history.

She argues that before this development, male dominance was not a feature of human society in general. Women were key to the maintenance of human society and community, but with a few exceptions, social and legal power was wielded by men. Women could gain some status and privilege in patriarchy by limiting her child-bearing capacity to just one man, so that he could depend on her children being his children.

By rooting patriarchy -- a social organization where men rule over women -- in historical developments, rather than in nature, human nature or biology, she also opens the door for change. If patriarchy was created by culture, it can be overturned by a new culture.

Part of her theory, carried through into another volume, The Creation of Feminist Consciousness, is that women were not conscious that they were subordinate (and it might be otherwise) until this consciousness began slowly to emerge, starting with medieval Europe.

In an interview with Jeffrey Mishlove on “Thinking Aloud,” Lerner described her work on the subject of patriarchy: “Other groups that were subordinated in history -- peasants, slaves, colonials, any kind of group, ethnic minorities -- all of those groups knew very quickly that they were subordinated, and they developed theories about their liberation, about their rights as human beings, about what kind of struggle to conduct in order to emancipate themselves. But women did not, and so that was the question that I really wanted to explore. And in order to understand it I had to understand really whether patriarchy was, as most of us have been taught, a natural, almost God-given condition, or whether it was a human invention coming out of a specific historic period. Well, in Creation of Patriarchy I think I show that it was indeed a human invention; it was created by human beings, it was created by men and women, at a certain given point in the historical development of the human race. It was probably appropriate as a solution for the problems of that time, which was the Bronze Age, but it’s no longer appropriate, all right? And the reason we find it so hard, and we have found it so hard, to understand it and to combat it, is that it was institutionalized before Western civilization really, as we know it, was, so to speak, invented, and the process of creating patriarchy was really well completed by the time that the idea systems of Western civilization were formed.”

Some Quotes About Feminism and Patriarchy

From bell hooks: “Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and practice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.”

Also from bell hooks: “We have to constantly critique imperialist white supremacist patriarchal culture because it is normalized by mass media and rendered unproblematic.”

From Mary Daly: “The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a [person] trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin’.”

From Andrea Dworkin: “Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice...”

From Maria Mies, author of Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale, linking the division of labor under capitalism to the division of the sexes: “Peace in patriarchy is war against women.”

From Yvonne Aburrow: “The patriarchal/kyriarchal/hegemonic culture seeks to regulate and control the body – especially women’s bodies, and especially black women’s bodies – because women, especially black women, are constructed as the Other, the site of resistance to the kyriarchy. Because our existence provokes fear of the Other, fear of wildness, fear of sexuality, fear of letting go – our bodies and our hair (traditionally hair is a source of magical power) must be controlled, groomed, reduced, covered, suppressed.”

From Ursula Le Guin: “Civilized Man says: I am Self, I am Master, all the rest is other--outside, below, underneath, subservient. I own, I use, I explore, I exploit, I control. What I do is what matters. What I want is what matter is for. I am that I am, and the rest is women & wilderness, to be used as I see fit.”

From Kate Millett: “Patriarchy, reformed or unreformed, is patriarchy still: its worst abuses purged or foresworn, it might actually be more stable and secure than before.”[5]

It is obvious from the terminology used that this article, including the women quoted at the end of the article, that feminism is cast in Marxist terms with some changes. Feminism isn’t really about equality between men and women. Not really. It has never been about equality of the sexes. Whereas classical Marxism views history in terms of a clash between upper and lower economic classes, the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat, feminism casts the struggle as being between the men who oppress and the women who are oppressed.[6] Part of the feminist argument is that the divide between men and women is neither biological nor spiritual (note how the article I read to you dismisses sin as being nothing more than the construct of the patriarchy, not as transgressing God’s will). Feminism must insist the differences between men and women are entirely cultural, are entirely learned by means of propagandizing young children, and are also entirely a matter of politics. It cannot be biological imperative or spiritual composition.

In order to divorce the current and culture-shattering struggle for dominance between men and women as feminists see it from biology or spirituality, there are two requirements: First, feminists imagine that there was once a time in prehistory when men and women functioned as absolute equals and without any hierarchy, because hierarchy requires leaders and followers, dominant and submissive, and all dominance is to feminists dictatorship and all submission is to them slavery.[7] Feminism requires such a prehistorical past and demands that men leading and women following is not a biological necessity so that a perfect future of no male leaders and no female followers can seem to be a plausible utopia. Their claim is that they just want everyone to go back to the way things used to be before men were oppressive. Second, to divorce the struggle against male dominance of women from spiritual considerations most feminists have either abandoned Christian values in favor of militant atheism (which is not a surprise in light of feminism’s underlying Marxist worldview) or have insisted that Christianity has grossly misinterpreted the Bible for 2,000 years to find a functional hierarchy of male leadership in the Church and in the home where no such thing is actually advanced in the Bible.

Let me bolster my claim. How many women know that feminist icon Betty Friedan “was a political activist and professional propagandist for the Communist left for a quarter of a century before the publication of The Feminine Mystique launched the modern women’s movement?”[8] That is just one example showing that feminism from the beginning has never truly been about women, but has always been about politics, leftist politics, Marxism. Here are two more factoids: When a former president of the United States is accused by a dozen different credible and respected women of sexually assaulting them, why is it that no feminist has ever spoken up to defend those women against charges of lying and opportunism? And why is it that one candidate for president of the United States, who maintains that women who are victims of sexual abuse should absolutely be heard and believed, nevertheless remains completely silent when the accusations are leveled against her husband? Again, feminism only pretends to be about equality for women, when it is in fact a facade for Marxism.

The question for self-proclaimed feminists to address is how plausible can an argument about prehistory be that is based upon no facts from prehistory whatsoever? There are no facts that suggest the absence of hierarchy in human prehistory. None whatsoever. Quite the contrary. Because the males of our species are on average bigger, stronger, more aggressive, more experienced at violence, and never saddled with the biological complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing, who would naturally be the dominant figure in any family unit or in a clan whose survival depended on strength, quickness, and fighting skill? Do you know of anyone so naive as to suppose that except in the rarest of circumstances the leader of a group struggling for survival, be it family or clan, would always be a man?

Continuing my construction of a hypothetical family unit of an adult male and his mate of child bearing years, living as part of a larger clan in some part of the world in the centuries following the confusion of tongues and scattering of people to remote regions of the world, consider that they lived in what we now refer to as the Neander Valley in Germany, or near Beijing, China, or perhaps somewhere along the Nile River in what is now Egypt. They are sinners. They are idolaters. Their foolish hearts are darkened. Consider, in light of their relative size, their relative strength, their relative fighting skills, their spiritually darkened condition, and their cultural backwardness, how they would interact as what we would approximately describe as a husband and wife? Do you imagine him washing dishes when he gets home from hunting or giving the mother of his child quality alone time? Or is it more likely that he tosses a cut of meat from the day’s kill in her direction with the expectation that she prepare it for him as quickly as possible? Do you imagine much kindness in the relationship? Or is their relationship derived from his relative strength and position in the clan earning him the right to select for his mate the available female who most attracted him? Do you really think she had much to say about whether they would become a couple? I do not. Do you really think that for centuries young women like her coupled with whomever they chose until there came a time when the women decided to become monogamous and settle down to one man? I do not. I imagine the typical man treating his typical mate with brutality, leveraging his size and strength advantage, and her accommodating his desires in order to avoid the sting of his wrath and the possibility of her being cast aside when she got older in favor of a younger, fitter female to do his bidding. The female curried her man’s favor because she had no alternative in a very cruel and unjust world. That is the scenario I imagine in a Gentile world after the Flood, before technology, and before exposure to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now advance the calendar two thousand years. In the geographical regions I have mentioned you still have couples comprising families, only now there is in each region some form of the rule of law, some civilization that has made life a bit better, and the introduction of agriculture that has stabilized their diet and extended their life spans from about thirty years to about forty years. Do you imagine the hierarchy in their respective relationships has changed very much? Do you think the leader is not still the man and the follower is not still the woman? After all, what would cause a change in the relationship? Life is still brutal and leadership is still based basically on physical size, strength, and one’s capacity to perform work. Women are still saddled with the consequences of pregnancy, childbirth, child rearing, and the more domestic matters of preparing food and clothing. Throughout history before exposure to the Gospel there existed a hierarchy in which men provided leadership and women submitted to them, with the basis for the hierarchy being the typical size, strength, and aggressiveness of the man. There were no other considerations in light of their spiritually darkened state.

Into that kind of world came the bright light of the Gospel of God’s grace. Individual men and women were exposed to the truth that God is, that only God is God, that man is estranged from God by his sinfulness and by his sins, that man is an eternal and undying soul rapidly heading to his eternal destiny, and that only Jesus Christ the eternal Son of the living God, Who died for the sins of others, the Just for the unjust, Who was buried in a rich man’s tomb for three days, and Who rose on the third day a victor and a conqueror, can save individuals from their sins and fit them for eternity through faith. You now have a man whose sins are forgiven and who now has a new life in Christ. You now have a Christian woman. Perhaps you now have a Christian husband or wife, or a Christian father or mother. There are also Christian sons and daughters. There is, however, a serious problem each new Christian must face. How to be a son after so many years a son without any knowledge of how to be a son? How to be a daughter after so many years a daughter without any knowledge of how to be a daughter? How to be a man? How to be a woman? How to be a husband or a wife? How to be a father? How to be a mother?

These are questions of profound importance. However, they are questions that should not be answered until after the sinner has come to Christ. Yet we must still ask who is to answer these questions for the person who has recently come to Christ? Not your father or mother. Not when they do not know the answers. Neither should culture be depended on to answer these questions, since it is abundantly clear that no culture knows the answers to these important questions. The answers to these questions are found only in the Bible, and it is the mission and ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ to provide the answers to these questions as part and parcel of our directive to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Therefore, to address the concerns of a young lad who wants to grow up to be a man, a real man, I would say, “You need to faithfully attend Church. Attend Church until you are converted to Christ. And then spend the rest of your life attending Church and serving God so you will grow into a real man, and become a real husband, and then develop into a genuine father, and help others along the way do the same thing. Young lady, you need to faithfully attend Church. Attend Church until you are converted to Christ. And then spend the rest of your life attending Church and serving God so you will grow into a real woman, and become a real wife, and then develop into a genuine mother, and help others along the way do the same thing.

If at any point you find yourself a Christian without having learned these things along the way following your conversion there is opportunity to make things right. Already grown up? You can still become a real man or a real woman, but not without fully committing yourself to the discipleship and training that only your Church has been authorized to conduct. Already married? Though it is more difficult and sometimes a spouse will resist, Scripture is clear that not even your spouse can be allowed to hinder your dedication to attending every Church service and participating fully in every aspect of Church life. How about if you come to Christ and you already have kids? Then your situation is even more difficult, since your children may resent everything about your conversion to Christ, wrongly and selfishly concluding that they have been robbed of a mom or a dad who now has a ministry mind set rather than a play mind set, and who seeks to glorify the God the kids may choose to reject. Challenging? Of course it is. However, one of the first lessons that should be taught to all new Christians is a verse that is equally applicable to every believer in Jesus Christ, Matthew 6.33:

 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

“Pastor, I have a boyfriend who is not a Christian. What should I do?”

 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

“Pastor, I have a husband who gets angry whenever I go to Church and doesn’t want me to participate in evangelism at all. What should I do?”

 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is the answer to so many of life’s questions for the Christian, boy or girl, man or woman, husband or wife, father or mother. But the assignment to encourage the Christian to do that, and the assignment to show the Christian how to do that, is an assignment that has been given to none other than the Church of Jesus Christ.

 

Next week, by God’s grace, I will take you to those places in God’s Word where those truths are found.

__________

[1] Cynthia Eller, The Myth Of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000)

[2] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1314.

[3] Ibid., page 1110.

[4] David Kupelian, The Marketing Of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom, (Nashville: WND Books, 2005), page 25.

[5] http://womenshistory.about.com/od/feminism/a/patriarchal.htm

[6] For a discussion of the Marxian view of history see Thomas Sowell, Marxism: Philosophy and Economics, (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985), pages 53-71.

[7] When Adam and Eve functioned without hierarchy the result was sin, following Eve’s temptation by the serpent and Adam eating the forbidden fruit Eve gave to him without either of them functioning in the hierarchy God had created them to occupy.

[8] http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/friedan-per-horowitz.html

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org