Men Must Minister to Women

For Lord’s Day, June 5, 2016

Dear Saints,

Jennifer and I recently came across a video (shared below) that I mentioned to you in passing in last week’s evening sermon on the qualifications for elders. There I reminded us that the Hebrew word for “elders” is more literally “bearded ones” as an example that only men are allowed by God to be elders.  As in that sermon, we remember here that our men and elders must minister to our women in a way that men alone are particularly so designed by God.

The issue is not that girls or women are inferior (we are made equal in value, yet different in abilities and assigned tasks), but that there is a vital distinction between them and boys and men.  This philosophy is very controversial in our day of a growing demand for unisex bathrooms and no distinction between the sexes.  Can you imagine — if the logic of the wicked world prevails, mothers and fathers may one day be presented with a birth certificate at the hospital that reads for the sex of their newborn, “To be decided by the child at a later date”?  How that would set up a life of abusive confusion and neglect of duty.

To insist that we are made and maintained as either men or women without our say in the matter is to defend God’s right to create and rule over our souls and bodies and societies in advance and forever.  Further, such commitment to the truth of general and special revelation regarding what it is to be male or female (in anatomical and social functions) will charge our men to be manly in protecting and serving especially our women.  This verse of God’s holy, infallible Word particularly resonates at the moment and it continues to be true about the responsibility of men toward women:

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Peter does not here degrade women and wives, but makes demands on men and husbands to protect them as precious vases of God’s glory.  Considering we just practiced male headship federal representative voting last Lord’s Day in the election of our next Elder, Mr. Malcolm Maxwell (to be ordained and installed in tomorrow’s morning service), and that it was emphasized that he had to be a man, it seems appropriate to again remember what it is to be a man in distinction and on behalf of our women and why it matters.

What’s more, it is also good timing to review God-given gender relations since we will submit to the preaching of the third antithesis in Matthew 5:31-32 tomorrow evening where Jesus corrects the Scribes and Pharisees on their teachings regarding divorce.  These religious leaders emphasized husbands being able to cast away their wives for nearly any reason so long as they went “by the book” with a Scriptural certificate that was actually meant to restrict and restrain divorce so as to preserve a man’s faithfulness to his wife and protect her from abandonment, scorn, and poverty (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).  We will see again how it is profoundly important to have our men know that they are men and what it means to be real covenant-keeping family men of God who lead their wives, daughters, and future men.

While the world will have us believe the fork-tongued lie that there is no difference between men and women, we will not be so deceived because it would prove to be the entire breakdown of marriage and family and church and state (just as it was at the Fall).  And it would mean husbands not showing up to serve their wives as serving their Lord as Christ did the Church per Ephesians 5 (just as was too often the case with the Patriarchs).

Thankfully, young boys instinctively know better before they are perverted by cowardly social patterns of abdication and abuse, as seen by this marvelous video below (in Italian, so read the subtitles).  Wait for the final section when the boys are introduced to a lovely young girl and  commanded (after being instructed to caress her and then make funny faces at her) to slap her.  The countenance of each boy immediately changes from innocent interest to harsh horrification.  Note the reason given by the last young boy for why he will not slap the girl: “Why? ‘Cause she’s a girl, I can’t do it … Why? ‘Cause I’m a man!”  So we see the innate knowledge of God’s design in the distinction between men and women, and how important it is to preserve it to protect everyone we should hold so dear.

Here’s the video:

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

PS: Another good reason one of the boys gives is “Because Jesus doesn’t want us to hit others”.  More on that when we get to Matthew 5:38-39.

Of Men and Manes and Identifying with the Messiah

mezzanine_541.jpg.crop.280x157For the Lord’s Day, January 17, 2016

Dear Saints,

What do you see in this picture: a lion or a lioness?

Ah, looks can be deceiving. If you thought this was a lion (meaning a male), you were wrong. This is a picture of a lioness! She and some other lionesses in the Mombo of Botswana’s Okavango Delta in Southern Africa have a rare birth defect. They are all still treated like lionesses in the pride, but they look like lions to other on-looking lions.

When my family learned of this oddity while watching the latest episode of the PBS Nature program this week, it sure jumped out in relation to what the Lion of Judah preached to us about hair and beards through Leviticus 19:27 last Lord’s Day morning!

You can watch the clip of this Nature episode entitled “Natural Born Hustlers” (showing how some animals survive by behaving or appearing like something they actually aren’t) here:

Watch Full Episodes Online of Nature on PBS | Maned Lioness Displays Both Male and Female Traits

You can read about this hairy situation at National Geographic here: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/10/09/weird-wild-rare-maned-lionesses-explained/.

This manly mutation was called “evolution” in the video, but of course genetic mutation is a loss of information and thus only devolution—and naturally, confusion. It seems other male lions on the outside looking in are less likely to attack this unnatural pride because it looks like it is protected by more male lions than is actually the case: because some of the lionesses have beards, that is, manes, which are normally a natural attribute of masculinity in lions.

Is it not shocking to look at this lioness and learn it is not a male lion? Why did you think this was a male (I trust if I hadn’t asked about gender you never for a moment would have wondered if it could be female)? Because she has a mane (a beard, if you will, which naturally grows on male lions but corrupt mutations of creation due to the Fall can sometimes confuse the situation). A mane on a lion normally communicates, “male”; the lack of a mane naturally communicates, “female”. If male lions some how could remove their manes, would they not likely be mistaken for lionesses?

This illustration of naturally created gender distinctions if left to themselves to grow unaffected by sin’s mutations (or sinful motivations) makes me think of one of the quotes by the early church father, Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), that I accidentally skipped over in last week’s sermon on Leviticus 19:27. He also said, “The hairs of the beard have been numbered … To seek beauty in hairlessness is sheer effeminacy, if done by men.” What does effeminacy mean? It means men baring the physical traits of women (and often, their more natural behaviors).

Like Bruce Jenner parading as “Caitlyn” before the press. Though he preserves (at least for now) his manhood, yet he pretends to be a she. And how does he do this? By growing long hair, keeping a naked face, adding makeup, and wearing a dress. Because though the world more and more insists on androgyny as the new state of normal, everyone knows that women actually naturally have a look, and so do men.

This identity crisis in state (and church) continues to grow. Recently, the YMCA in Seattle Washington created a policy to allow transgender men who personally (although not biologically) identify themselves as women to shower with 15-year old girls, although backlash has slightly amended the policy. You can read about it here.

We need to recognize that these terrible sins are actually symptoms manifesting a more basic problem: Christians fighting what should be basic instinct, the naturally separate identification of men and women based upon a sacred identity with their Redeeming Creator and what He has to say about it. Identification with God is to not identify with the world and its statements through style and fashion (deliberately or naively).

Tomorrow, another text will further challenge us about how we must corporately identify conspicuously with Christ in counter-cultural behavior. Leviticus 19:28 will teach us that tattoos are taboo for the pure in heart.

Remember, Jesus says that Christians will be alienated from this world for they are obviously not of this world because neither is He nor His Kingdom (John 15:19; 17:14, 16; 18:26). Beloved, how we dress our heads, faces, bodies, and skin must communicate, “I am a Christian: I am not of this world.”

Though not speaking on the issue of hair, beards, nor tattoos, a running comment lately on RefNet.fm by RC Sproul is apropos here: “To be with it with the world is to be out of it with God.”

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant