According to ROLLING STONE magazine (March 10, 2015), Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are going to have to pay the family of Marvin Gaye $7.3 million as part of a settlement due to the fact they borrowed (ROLLING STONE magazine said, “noticeably ripped off”) much of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give It Up,” when they wrote their song, BLURRED LINES. The verdict ends more than a year of legal wrangling between Robin Thicke and the family of Marvin Gaye.
BLURRED LINES, like the song, are nothing new. They’ve actually been around from the very beginning. Back in the Garden of Eden, the devil tried to blur the lines when he said to Eve, “Did God actually say?” (Genesis 3:1); attempting to plant doubt in her mind, twist what God had told her and deceive her into believing she could ignore what He said and somehow be better off for it.
The same thing is happening today and again, the devil’s behind it. Whether the issue is same-sex marriage, homosexuality, abortion, or a woman’s role in society, the attempt is made to get us to ignore what God says believing somehow we’ll be better off for it.
Regrettably, some who claim to be followers of Christ, even leaders in His church, have succumbed to societal pressures, caving in to cultural whims and compromising previously held convictions in an attempt to go along and get along. Others choose to sit this one out or bury their heads in the soothing sands of silence fearing they may be on “the wrong side of history.” Of greater concern should be winding up on “the wrong side of eternity” (Hebrews 4:13). Instead of being a caricature of the culture, Bob Russell has said for years “the church should be the conscience of the community.”
In his new book Counter Culture, David Platt says, “But what if Christ commands us to make these issues our concern? And what if Christ’s call in our lives is not to comfort in our culture? What if Christ in us actually compels us to counter our culture? Not to quietly sit and watch evolving cultural tides, but to courageously share and show our convictions through what we say and how we live, even (or especially) when these convictions contradict the popular positions of our day. And to do all of this not with conceited minds or calloused hearts, but with the humble compassion of Christ on constant display in everything we say and do.”1
It’s not my concern whether or not Hillary Clinton could be president. The issue is should she be president? Her track record with Bill and the blue dress, Benghazi and all that mess, among other scandals, should be enough to give you all you need to know. The issue for me is the role of women in general, specifically in the church.
Common sense used to tell us little boys would grow up to be men and little girls would grow up to be ladies.
Common sense used to tell us women shouldn’t play in the NFL or be on the front lines in combat. Men and women should use different restrooms and men ought to be the protectors and providers for their wives and families. But now all that is changing, and churches are changing right along with the culture, moving from thermostats to thermometers, reflecting the culture rather than regulating it. Even though Jesus said we are to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16).
Common sense used to tell us little boys would grow up to be men and little girls would grow up to be ladies. But now the world sits on the edge of its seat to hear from Diane Sawyer’s TV special tonight whether or not former gold medal, Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner, will remain a man, become a woman or something in between. He’s merely the latest illustration of insanity gone mainstream in America.
As I said previously, the issue for me is the role of women specifically in the church. Dr. John MacArthur said, “Throughout the Old Testament, women were active in the religious life of Israel, but generally they were not leaders. Women like Deborah (Judges 4) were clearly the exception and not the rule. There was no woman with an ongoing prophetic ministry. No woman was a priest. No queen ever ruled Israel. No woman wrote an Old Testament (or New Testament) book. Isaiah 3:12 indicated that God allowed women to rule as part of His judgment on the sinning nation.”2
There were no women kings among the kings of Israel and Judah. There were no women priests in the entire Old Testament. There were no women who authored Scripture and no women with an ongoing prophetic ministry. No women were listed in the minor or major prophets. In the New Testament, there were no women elders, evangelists, authors of Scripture or Pastors.
Dr. Tony Evans said, “Women in the church are very gifted, even more so than men in many cases. And God allows women to use their gifts in the church. In fact, I believe women can do anything in church except be an elder or a pastor. But final leadership in the church is restricted to men.”3
Chuck Swindoll said, “Some expositors point out that Paul wrote this instruction to a church living in a culture very different from our own. They claim the apostle forbade female leadership in that time and place so the church would not compromise its honorable standing in the community. In other words, female leadership might have been seen as too radical, or even subversive, potentially distracting nonbelievers from the real issue at hand: their need for the gospel ... The apostle’s rationale in 1 Timothy 2:13-15, however, anchors his teaching in something far more timeless and permanent than the needs of the community. He reaches all the way back to the first days of life on earth to reestablish a forsaken principle of creation.”4
What was the principle? That God created Adam first and placed him in the Garden to carry out “the ordained purpose of humanity (Genesis 2:15).” But it wasn’t good that man was alone. So, God created Eve to be his “helper.” That doesn’t mean she was inferior to Adam. In fact, she was superior to Adam in being a woman. God created Adam and Eve to complement each other so together they could fulfill His command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28); something physically impossible for two men or two women.
Feminism has devalued and defamed femininity.
Galatians 3:28 makes it clear men and women are equal. But nowhere in scripture does it say men and women are identical. Nor is there any suggestion men and women have identical God-given roles or responsibilities (Ephesians 5:21-6:4).
Dr. MacArthur says, “I contend that women are used and abused more today than at any time in history. Pornography turns women into objects and victims of dirty, cowardly peeping Toms, who leer at them with greedy eyes. Throughout the world, women are traded like animals for sexual slavery. In more ‘civilized’ places, men routinely use women for no-consequence, no-commitment sex only to leave them pregnant, without care and support. Abortion rights’ groups aid and abet male selfishness and irresponsibility, and they ‘free’ women to murder their unborn children. Women are left alone, emotionally scarred, financially destitute and experientially guilty, ashamed and abandoned. Where’s the freedom, dignity and honor in that?
Feminism has devalued and defamed femininity. Natural gender distinctions are usually downplayed, dismissed, despised or denied. As a result, women are now being sent into combat situations, subjected to grueling physical labor once reserved for men, exposed to all kinds of indignities in the workplace and otherwise encouraged to act and talk like men. Meanwhile, modern feminists heap scorn on women who want family and household to be their first priorities; in so doing they disparage the role of motherhood, the one calling that is most uniquely and exclusively feminine. The whole message of feminist egalitarianism is that there is really nothing extraordinary about women. That is certainly not the message of Scripture. Scripture honors women as women, and it encourages them to seek honor in a uniquely feminine way (Proverbs 31:10-30).”5
Dr. Albert Mohler said, “The Bible reveals this pattern of male leadership in the church and in the home as enduring and authoritative. We have no right to reject or to compromise clear teachings of the Bible in order to meet the demands of today’s political correctness. The Word of God is eternal and totally true. Without a firm biblical foundation, the church ceases to be a church in anything but name. It has become nothing more than a voluntary association with a liturgy.”6
With the lines blurred today, what’s a woman to do? I’m well aware there are churches with women elders and women pastors, denominations that ordain women and recognize them as pastors with the same authority and responsibility as men who serve as pastors. But I’m also aware we need to let God’s Word be the ultimate authority for everything we endeavor to do (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12), and cultural accommodation can never take precedent over biblical proclamation. Our guide cannot and must not be the world (1 John 2:15-17), some church or church leader who has been influenced by the world.
If Christians are to reflect the nature and character of God, we must live by His wisdom rather than the world’s.
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
1 David Platt, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans, and Pornography (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2015) xiv.
2 John MacArthur, “The Role of Women,” Grace to You, 2002, 23 Apr. 2015 <http://www.gty.org/resources/distinctives/DD08/the-role-of-women>.
3 Tony Evans, GOD’S GLORIOUS CHURCH: The Mystery and Mission of the Body of Christ (Chicago: Moody, 2003) 182.
4 Chuck Swindoll, Swindoll’s New Testament Insights,1 & 2 Timothy • Titus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010) 50-51.
5 John MacArthur, “The Biblical Portrait of Women: Setting the Record Straight,” adapted from Twelve Extraordinary Women (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), Grace to You, 23 Apr. 2015 <http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A265/The-Biblical-Portrait-of-Women-Setting-the-Record-Straight>.
6 Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr, “Biblical Pattern of Male Leadership Limits Pastorate to Men,” albertmohler.com, 15 July 2004, 23 Apr. 2015 <http://www.albertmohler.com/2004/07/15/biblical-pattern-of-male-leadership-limits-pastorate-to-men/>.
Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Abortion, Persecution, Orphans, and Pornography by David Platt
Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne
Different by Design: Discovering God’s Will for Today’s Man and Woman by John MacArthur
“The Role of Women In The Church” by Barry L. Cameron
“The World Needs Women Ministers” by John Piper
“Should Women Become Pastors?” by John Piper
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.