Thursday, October 30, 2008
By James McDonald
As a pastor, I’m increasingly saddened by the failure of the Christian family.
Yes, I said failure. I know that may seem like an extreme statement, but consider the proof, starting with a quote from Christian statistician George Barna:
The typical worldview of a person in their early twenties promotes self-centeredness, the right to happiness and fulfillment, the importance of personal expression in all forms, the necessity of tolerating aberrant or immoral points of views, allows for disrespect of other people and use of profanity, and advances forms of generic spirituality that dismiss the validity of the Judeo-Christian faith. Largely propelled by postmodern thought, the typical worldview of young people does not facilitate respect for life, acceptance of the rule of law, or the necessity of hard work, personal sacrifice, paying the dues or contributing to the common good. Barna noted that only about 2% of today’s teenagers possess a biblical worldview that acknowledges the existence of God, Satan and sin, the availability of forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ, and the existence of absolute moral principles provided in the Bible. – The Barna Group
Sadly, Christian teens don’t fare much better than secular ones. Modest estimates from conservative denominations show that 70% of children from Christian households are leaving the faith! Just imagine if 70% of your church dropped dead today. Would this get your attention? But, the trends show that 70% of the children in our churches are spiritually dead—and somehow we failed to notice.
A recent survey showed that 50% of Christian men are addicted to pornography, “abstinence programs” are a failure, and Christian couples today divorce at the same rate as the world, yet we wonder why we’re losing our children and why the world views Christians as hypocrites. Are most of our churches making a difference?
Too often, the church shamefully adopts the position of the three monkeys – hear no evil, see no evil – speak no Gospel. The modern evangelical mantra is too often, “Come as you are; stay as you are – just make sure your gift is in the offering plate.”
What is desperately needed is a true God-powered change in the family—a genuine family reformation! The Christian family must line up with the Word of God to be effective in the church. Husbands and wives, and sons and daughters must hear and obey the Word of God (1 John 5:3-4; John 14:21).
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord gave the famous illustration of the wise and foolish men who constructed houses (Matthew 7:24-27) on differing foundations. As you may remember, one man built his house upon the rock and the other built his house upon the sand. The house built on the rock withstood the storms and winds that came, while the house built on the sand was destroyed. Christ told us the man who heard and did His words was the one who built his foundation on the rock. It is time we stopped building our houses on the shifting sands of the world.
So, what is a family reformation? To reform something means to “form anew” or to “rescue from error and return to a rightful course.” Many Christian families are in error. We have churches full of “out of order” families where men are not leading, wives are disrespectful, children are rebellious, and everyone acts and reacts selfishly. Families need to be “formed anew” – reformed into the order God prescribes in His Word. Allow me to briefly present to you a few key points on what family reformation means.
1. While individualism has become one of the attributes of the modern man, God designed man to be relational:
a. The first, and most fundamental institution created by God, was that of the family–society’s basic unit (Genesis 1:27-28).
b. God designed two other key organizations for the benefit of man: the church (Ephesians 2:19-22) and the state (Romans 13:1).
c. All three of these organizations must work together until such time as all Christ’s enemies have surrendered to His Lordship (Psalm 110:1). When the family decays the church is wounded and eventually, society crumbles.
2. In order for the family to succeed, a husband and wife must both submit to God’s order in the home. If we believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, then we should strive to follow its precepts for life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3). To properly understand God’s creative order in the family, we must realize the following:
a. Both man and woman are created in God’s image and are of the same worth and value (Genesis 1:28, Galatians 3:28).
b. Yet, men and women have distinct and crucial roles within God’s economy—roles that were established for them at Creation, before sin entered into the world (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 1 Timothy 2:12-14).
c. By God’s own decree, He ordained the husband as the head of the home (1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The man was to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). He was to love his family as a servant-leader who rules well his own house. This is an act of submission to God and is the highest achievement of a biblical husband (Colossians 3:19; 1 Peter 3:7). It is also one of the marks of a godly leader (1 Timothy 3:4, 12; Titus 1:6).
d. God has ordained the wife to be her husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18) and to bear and nurture their children (Titus 2:4). She is to keep the home and productively manage her husband’s affairs with wisdom (Proverbs 31). As she submits to her own husband, she submits to God (Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6). Together they are to take dominion and bring life to a lost and dying world for the glory of God!
3. Children, as they are given from God, are considered blessings from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). In addition:
a. Children are to be brought up with the expectation that they will be Christians (Genesis 18:19; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4).
b. Teaching children to honor their parents (Exodus 20:12) will help them to comprehend the Fifth Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother” and to understand their responsibility to honor God and those He has placed in authority over them (Hebrews 13:17). We have a world full of adults who were never trained to obey their authorities; therefore they are in bondage to the lusts of the flesh (2 Peter 2:8-10; 1 Peter 2:18).
c. Our Sovereign God controls the womb (Genesis 29:31; Genesis 30:22) and we should accept God’s blessing of children wholeheartedly and with gratefulness. Christian children are the heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127:3)–they are the godly seed (Malachi 2:15) of the Kingdom. The use of abortion and abortifacient birth control are grievous and murderous sins (Exodus 20:13); they are a curse on our land (Leviticus 18:21; Jeremiah 32:35). Our covenant children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior (Psalm 127:4); and when properly sharpened and aimed, they are to be shot into the world to fight against ungodliness.
d. While the Word of God does not designate a particular method for the education of children, parents are responsible, before God, to insure their children have a thorough Christian worldview (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:6-9; Romans 13:3-5; Ephesians 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:15). We believe the best way to accomplish this goal is by educating and discipling our children at home.
e. Age-segregated philosophies in both organized schools and in some churches have no basis in Scripture and have actually worked to harm the church (Mark 3:25) and weaken its effectiveness (Luke 11:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33). The biblical training of covenant children is best accomplished within a wholesome, age-integrated setting (Deuteronomy 29:10-11; 2 Chronicles 20:13; Joel 2:16; Matthew 19:14); therefore we encourage a setting that unites the people of God into an age integrated group allowing the older and wiser to disciple and fellowship with younger members of the church.
4. As there are differences between a husband and wife, there are likewise differences between sons and daughters.
a. Sons are often sent out from the home to learn a trade and to prepare for their future family (Exodus 30:14, Numbers 1:20). Parents are to counsel their older sons, but their protection is limited as they grow up.
b. Fathers have a particular duty to prepare their sons to be successful future leaders, in the home, the church, and society. (1 Kings 2:1-4; Proverbs 3; Titus 2:6-8) Fathers accomplish this task by being examples godliness, gentleness and courage (1 Corinthians 16:13, Philippians 4:8-9).
c. There are no positive examples of daughters leaving the protective oversight of their fathers (Genesis 34, Numbers 30:3-5). We believe it is a biblical model for a daughter to remain under the protection of her father until she is married. This way, his responsibility to protect and guide his daughter into marriage can be properly carried out. In Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Corinthians 7:38, he teaches the following on a man giving his virgin daughter in marriage: Children should be at the disposal of their parents, and not dispose of themselves in marriage. Yet, parents should consult their children’s inclinations, both to marriage in general and to the person in particular, and not reckon they have uncontrollable power to do with them, and dictate to them, as they please. It is our duty not only to consider what is lawful, but in many cases, at least, what is fit to be done, before we do it.
d. Young ladies should be educated and equipped to be godly helpers to their future husbands. Since women are called to be keepers at home (Titus 2:5), they should be well trained in domestic skills. However these skills should be augmented in ways that fully complete her education. Her personal giftings should be considered, encouraged, and developed in the expectation that God will use them to enhance the giftings of her future husband, thus completing a one-flesh union that will better glorify God. (Proverbs 31:10-31; Titus 2:4-5).
e. The Christian father should endeavor to see his children married in Christian unions (Jeremiah 29:6. Malachi 2:15, 2 Corinthians 6:14) and produce generations of godly offspring.
5. The family does not supplant the church or the state, but is a unique government that is to work in consort with the others with the goal of the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
a. Each person in a family should be a member of a local church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:24-25; 13:17); should seek to serve the church with their unique abilities and gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-26); and should obey church leadership, recognizing that it is a gift from God (Heb 13:17).
b. Each family should obey the civil magistrate, unless their dictates prove contrary to the Word of God, and should work for the peace of the society in which God places them (Jeremiah 29:7; Acts 5:29; 25:11; Romans 12:18; 13:1-7).
c. We should recognize that the family is God’s love letter to the world and that as families, we are to live holy and blameless lives before an unbelieving generation (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:22-33).
6. The successful Christian family is one that sees faithfulness passed down from generation to generation; ever expanding the Kingdom of God, and thus fulfilling the mandate to bring His Word to all nations and all tongues (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 78:1-8; Isaiah 59:21; Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17).
I pray this gives you a little glimpse into the heart of family reformation. As Christians, we have a call to live out the Word of God in season and out of season, without compromise and without fear, trusting that the Lord will be honored and the Kingdom of God increased. May you hear and act on this clarion call—remembering the words of Jesus, “If anyone loves Me He will keep my Word…” (John 14:23)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I am pouring out the milk, we ended up with 12 ounces, it made a wonderful base for our carrot, celery, apple smoothie, we used the coconut meat for another smoothie.
FYI-did you know that the coconut milk is the closest food to mother's milk available from nature? Isn't God great!!!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Finished cake for Hezekiah's baby shower
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Parents: Be sure you homeschool for the right reason. Just because the public schools have failed spiritually, morally, and academically is only a minor part of the reason. God desires that you do it. In addition, only in the loving, dedicated environment of a home will the great leaders (as youths) be nurtured; those who’ll be re-supplying a world devoid of leaders. Try to name a nationally respected, inspirational, God-honoring leader today. Men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Jonathan Edwards, Patrick Henry, Washington, William Wilberforce, William Carey, Charles Spurgeon. Even our young women have been “feminized” to their own and to our hurting nation’s peril.
These verses will give you resolve, direction and comfort as you go through the daily challenge of homeschooling. Demonstrate their importance to your children by having them memorize them. As parents themselves (all too soon) they’ll be passing these “messages” on to your grandchildren. Remember that you’ll eventually be judging your own parenting record based on how the grandchildren turn out. These will help.
Matthew 12:30 & Luke 11:23: Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
Comment: Are the public schools for Jesus? If not, they are against Him.
Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
Comment: Per Hebrews 11:6, the government schools cannot please God because they do not believe nor do they teach students to believe that He exists.
Romans 14:23b: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
Comment: The government schools are not teaching from a position of faith in God.
Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
Comment: John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 declare that Jesus made the world. Government schools refuse to acknowledge this fact. Therefore they are disowned by Christ.
Matthew 18:5-6: “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But, if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Comment: Studies show that 65% to 88% of all churched youth who attend public schools leave the faith by their freshman year in college. There is a direct connection between a godless education and a godless life. There will be a judgment for those who turn children away from Christ.
Jeremiah 10:2a: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen.”
Comment: What part of “Learn not the way of the heathen” do we not understand?
Luke 6:39-40: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Comment: A Christian parent must not turn the leading of their child over to a system that is spiritually blind. Education is discipleship and students will become like the teacher. Do you want your children to become like their (often atheist) teachers?
Psalm 1:1-2: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Comment: Children and their parents are blessed when they avoid the ungodly counsel in the government schools. The same is true for the sinful socialization with sinful classmates and the mocking, scoffing attitudes invariably picked up at school. How can a child meditate day and night on God’s law in a government school? Contrast “blessings and cursings” in Deuteronomy 28, and see which one you want to receive.
2 Corinthians 6:13-18: “I am talking now as I would to my own children. Open your hearts to us! Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: ‘I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
Comment: We are forbidden to partner with unbelievers in the education of our children.
Proverbs 9:10: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.”
Comment: Government schools lack the fear “of the Lord,” and therefore cannot teach wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
Psalms 34:11: “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”
Comment: How can are children supposed to learn the fear of the Lord? Parents teach it to them by instruction and example!
Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
Comment: Education must be predicated on the foundation of Christ, not on humanistic thought.
Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other Gods before me.”
Comment: Evolution and humanism are substitutes for the true and living God.
Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and mother.”
Comment: Government schools dishonor parents (and, by example, teach children to do the same) by claiming the State can nurture children better than the parents.
Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”
Comment: Government schools take money forcibly from property owners (who often have no children left at home) to pay for other people’s education. This is legal plunder and is immoral. It’s hypocritical that schools expect Johnny not to cheat on a test (taking answers that belong to Billy), while pretending to see nothing wrong with taking money from Billy’s dad (who may be wealthy) to pay for Johnny’s education. Public schools do not operate on a biblical ethic which states that giving is to be voluntary. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says that “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Comment: This describes a full-time, 24/7, daily, 365 discipleship paradigm.
Proverbs 1:8: “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Comment: It is assumed that the father and mother are doing the teaching. No one else is mentioned in scripture as having that role.
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Comment: It is the father’s job to train and instruct his own children.
Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is grown, he will not depart from it.”
Comment: There is a way a child should go. Parents need to be training the child in that direction, not in the world’s sin-attracted direction.
Proverbs 13:20: “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Comment: Children should not be allowed to have foolish companions.
Proverbs 22:15 tells us that foolishness is “bound up” in the heart of a child. Ecclesiastes 4:12 states that a “chord of three strands is not easily broken.” It is hard to break a bond of foolishness once friendships are made.
Isaiah 54:13: “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
Comment: Children who are taught of the Lord will be peaceful. The converse is also true.
Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Comment: This pretty much speaks for itself.
James 4:17: “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Matthew 7:6b: “Neither cast your pearls before swine lest they trample them under their feet and then turn again and tear you to pieces.”
Comment: The swine is the secular humanist foundation of the government schools in combination with those who knowingly deliver it to the innocent. The pearls are your children. Torn to pieces are the children, the parents, the family and the nation.
Dr. Richard A. Jones - contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, October 20, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I’m confident that many Christians have not slept well these last few nights. I suspect that tonight they won’t do much better. Over the last several days, as I write, the stock market has not performed well. It has reached a five year low, having lost over forty percent of its value since its peak. It is not difficult to muster sympathy in these difficult economic times. Forty percent is rather much to lose, though only slightly more than half of seventy percent.
I lose sleep at night not because Christians have lost forty percent of their investments. I lose sleep at night because Christians are losing seventy percent of their children. They spend their days in institutions where Jesus doesn’t matter. Seven hours a day, 180 days a year, Jesus doesn’t matter. I am not surprised that when they graduate Jesus doesn’t matter to them. The children of professing Christians who are schooled by the government are more likely than not to reject the faith. And we’re worried about our stock portfolios.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be as well (Matt 6:21). Our treasure is in our treasure, rather than in our children. We lose our children by the millions, but only cry when we lose our millions. The Christian church is a willful band of idolaters. We send our wives off to work because we worship mammon. We send our children off to “free” schools rather than private schools where Jesus is honored because we worship mammon. And we mourn at the death of our mammon, rather than the death of our children’s’ souls.
Every time tragedy hits, Christians fall back on this same chestnut of wisdom- we pray that so and so will learn something important from all the suffering. My prayer is the same. My hope is that as God destroys the idols in His church, as He shows that He is almighty, rather than the almighty dollar, that His people will repent and turn to Him. My prayer is then that He might turn our hearts back to our children, that we might in turn raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. God could do this. Or, He could lead us into physical starvation, even as we have starved our own children of His Word.
The more likely scenario is this. Professing Christians will continue to cry out to Washington to be their savior. Washington will continue to fail. And some, a very few, but some will in their financial pain turn and repent. Narrow is the path of life, and wide is the way of destruction. Before you get on your knees, asking God to deliver us from financial calamity, confess your sins. Confess that all of us, even those who homeschool, value too much that which bears Caesar’s image, and to little that which bears His image. Then, do not ask Him to fix your portfolio. Ask Him to help you invest in the only investment that bears dividends into eternity, your children.
by RC Sproul Jr. of
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I will start with the beginning. Why did God create me, or why did He create women? In Genesis 2:18, 21-22, God said “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone I will make him a helper suitable (corresponding to) for him.” “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned (built) into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” So we see that the woman was created to be a suitable helper, she was equipped, prepared, perfect for supporting her husband in his work. And because God has not rescinded that purpose for creating women, we can reason that that is the still why women are being created, because it is not good for the man to be alone and he needs a suitable helper (help meet).
In Ephesians 5:22-24, we see that it says “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, (notice it doesn’t say you are to be subject to other men, just your OWN husband) as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Saviour of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” (Surely God doesn’t really mean we are to be subject to them in EVERYTHING, He must mean only in some things, or the things I feel like being subject to or just the things that I agree with, or, or, or…) We are also shown in 1 Corinthians 11:3, how God ordered humanity, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”
If that isn’t enough, it is also mentioned in Colossians 3:18, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
We find in Timothy a lot about being a wife and women of the Lord. In 1 Timothy 2:9-14, it says “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, (does God REALLY care what I wear?), modestly (with modesty, bashfulness toward men) and discreetly (self controlled), not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim of godliness. (it doesn’t mean that we can’t braid our hair, but that we shouldn’t spend a good deal of our time doing our hair and making ourselves LOOK good, but we should spend our time and energy more on what we do for others, then with how our hair looks). Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. (Here again we see that submissiveness is complete, not partial, but ENTIRE.) But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” 1 Timothy 3:11, says “Women must likewise be dignified (honorable, honest), not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.” We also find in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper (disgraceful) for a woman to speak in church.”
Titus 2 is quite explicit on what God wants women to be doing and how they should act. Titus 2:3-5, “Older women likewise are to be reverent (holy) in their behaviour, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, that they may encourage (train) the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored (blasphemed).” Is there any doubt that God wants women to be at home taking care of their husbands and loving them, loving their children, taking care of their homes and training their daughters to do likewise?
I have a long way to go, but I am understanding more and more what God expects of me and I am attempting to put into practice what I am learning from His Word and training others to do likewise.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer October 1, 2008
In a white-steepled church along a stretch in picturesque canyon country, the preacher laid out the basic blueprint of a godly marriage: Husbands lead, wives submit.Speaking recently before hundreds of worshipers at Placerita Baptist Church in Newhall, guest preacher Chris Mueller affirmed the view that loving male headship and gracious wifely submission are God's plan for spouses.
Placerita, like many conservative Christian churches, teaches that a wife's role is to be her husband's helpmate (Genesis), "workers at home" (Titus) and submissive to her husband in everything (Ephesians).So how do these congregants square such teachings with their support for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the conservative evangelical Christian who is aiming to become vice president while her teenage daughter is pregnant, her infant son has Down syndrome and her husband took a leave from work to serve as "Mr. Mom," as People magazine put it?" It's probably presumptuous of us to figure out how she is going to balance all of this," said Pat Ennis, a Placerita congregant who heads the home economics department at The Master's College, a Christian institution in Santa Clarita. "The most important thing is that she can do it in God's strength."
Ennis reflects nationwide polling showing widespread support for Palin, Republican Sen. John McCain's running mate, among evangelical Christians.
Earlier this year, some evangelicals criticized McCain for not speaking as openly about his faith as some candidates.But according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, his standing among white evangelical Protestant registered voters has risen from 61% in June to 71% in a poll conducted Sept. 9-14.
Evangelical Christians form the bulwark of the Republican voting base. And many, like Ennis, see no conflict between Palin's candidacy and biblical teachings on women's roles.Many say that biblical restrictions on women's leadership apply to church and home, not the secular world -- clearing the way for a woman to run the nation but not a congregation. And so long as Palin's husband, Todd, approves, they say, her career conforms with teachings on wifely duties.
But to others, this view contradicts biblical teaching."The Palin selection is the single most dangerous event in the conscience of the Christian community in the last 10 years at least," said Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum, a Texas-based ministry. "The unabashed, unquestioning support of Sarah Palin and all she represents marks a fundamental departure from our historic position of family priorities -- of moms being at home with young children, of moms being helpers to their husbands, the priority of being keepers of the home."
Voddie Baucham, a Texas pastor who has criticized the Palin selection as anti-family in a series of blogs, said that the overwhelming evangelical support demonstrates a willingness to sacrifice biblical principles for politics. "Evangelicalism has lost its biblical perspective and its prophetic voice," Baucham wrote. "Men who should be standing guard as the conscience of the country are instead falling in line with the feminist agenda and calling a family tragedy . . . a shining example of family values."In an interview, Baucham said the hundreds of responses he's received are running 20 to 1 in his favor. But he said he has also been castigated for "breaking ranks" by some, who argue the election is too important to raise divisive issues.He and other like-minded pastors disagree. "It's more important for us to truthfully represent the priorities of Scripture than it is for us to win an election," Phillips said.
Palin may have taken center stage at the moment, but the evangelical Christian world has been buffeted for years by growing tensions between those who support egalitarian roles for men and women and those who promote "complementarianism." That's the view that God values men and women equally but granted them distinctly different roles.Some of the debate centers on whether the Bible allows women to serve as civil leaders. Vision Forum leaders argue that it does not. They cite passages in Genesis, Isaiah, Ephesians and elsewhere that they say establishes male headship over women and are critical of female leadership.Others counter that restrictions on female leadership apply only to church and home. They include Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky; and Randy Stinson, whose Kentucky-based Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was established to combat growing feminism in evangelical churches.
Most of the debate on Palin, however, centers on whether a mother with young children is violating Scripture by running for such a demanding office as vice president. The key biblical verse at issue is Titus 2:5, which many evangelical Christians believe lays out God's command to younger women to be workers at home subject to their husbands.Although many conservative Christians agree that women should place homemaking over working outside, many are hesitant to apply those views to Palin.
Christian author Martha Peace, whose book "The Excellent Wife" tells women to submit to husbands and be good homemakers, said she would not make the same choice as Palin.Ditto for Richard Land, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and recommended Palin to the McCain campaign. He also would not do as the Palins have done. "I'm not hard-wired to be the 'First Dude,' " he said.But Peace and Land are two of many who say the public should stay out of what is a matter between the Palins and their pastor. "I wouldn't presume to make that judgment for another family," Land said.
Others cite biblical passages they believe affirm Palin's decision to join the GOP ticket.Take the woman at Placerita Baptist Church, where the women's ministry offers classes on "Heavenly Homemaking" and Bible classes on the apostle Paul's epistle that declared husbands are the head of wives, as Christ is the head of the church.Eighteen women gathered recently to discuss Palin. They included stay-at-home moms and home-schoolers, small business owners and nurses, some with high school diplomas and others with doctoral degrees. All of them expressed support of Palin, particularly for standing against abortion and embracing her infant son.Janice Hodgson, who worked in the mortgage business until recently, said Proverbs 31 offers a positive view of working women with servants -- suggesting, she said, that it is fine for Palin to hire nannies to help care for her children.Barbara Barrick, the women's ministry coordinator, said she looks to Deborah, a prophetess and judge, as a biblical example of a female leader. Ennis cited Abraham's wife, Sarah, and Queen Esther as other women called by God for special missions.