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.

Walking Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Valley ShadowFor Lord’s Day, June 28, 2015

Dear Saints,

With the egregious Supreme Court decision about gay marriage now forced upon our land, here are a few things to be thinking about.

First, while some of the rhetoric of the LGBT movement is to no longer be held back by the past, this is nothing new or socially revolutionary (or evolutionary). From ancient times, homosexuals have tried to force themselves and their ways upon the righteous: revisit this sermon.

Second, the obsession with being accepted as “equal” is obviously absurd (where do such get their children? not from their own biological union, even now that it is formally legal).  Still, the issue is not so much equality as identity: revisit this Pastor’s Post. The audacious baiting of approving applause and authoritative sanction is really a desperate drive to drown out the unaccepting voice of The Supreme Judge still speaking to the conscience (Romans 2:15) that one is truly identifying with the Devil in such abominations.

Third, we should not be talking so much about God’s judgment soon to be coming upon our nation but God’s judgment having just been further manifested upon we the people. Read Romans 1:26-32. And read this post. While we should wonder how God might respond to the White House boasting of this new law coming upon our land “like a thunderbolt” as it illuminates itself in the colors of His covenant sign, the greater national sexual context against God’s Biblical Law has cultured such corruption. And it is particularly our fault. The Church throughout this nation has long been lukewarm for her first love and His marriage expectations. We just go with the flow cowardly and unthinkingly. Consider these words from my readings this week while wondering about the Church’s state of the union:

Men are more ready to follow the bad examples of evil men than to follow the good example of righteous men. The example of the ungodly is like a mighty stream and it requires both determination and effort to swim against such a current. Most men are like the dead leaves of autumn that simply float wherever the stream may take them. As the saying goes, ‘even a dead fish can swim downstream.’ (Richard Bacon, The Visible Church and the Outer Darkness)

Our culture is an amusement culture. I have at times pondered the word ‘amusement.’ ‘Muse’ means ‘to think.’ The ‘ment’ at the end of the word means ‘to be in the state of.’ And to put an ‘a’ in front of it makes the word mean ‘to be in a state of non-thinking.’ That’s really where our [church] culture is. (John Armstrong, “Preaching to the Mind”, in Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Please for Preaching)

… people shun serious thoughts: ‘My people doth not consider.’ Hence it is they do not look after pardon. (Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer)

Luke 13:24 says to Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. John MacArthur points out that “strive” in the Greek means “to agonize”. We must agonize over our ethical steps to influence the direction of our country!

Notice that Psalm 23:3-4 speaks of our walking in paths of righteousness within the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Christian’s straight and narrow pilgrimage must not meander off into moral darkness on either side.

The horizon of our walk through this one nation refusing to be under God’s Law just got dimmer. But our Good Shepherd will comfort us with His crook after correcting us with His rod, and He will still lead us. He and we are the only hope for light at the end of the tunnel. Hold His Word before your path and feet, That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15)

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant

Marital Fidelity and Genes?

Cups Cuddle 5x7

For Lord’s Day, May 24, 2015

Dear Saints,

Yesterday, the same day that Mike and Erin (now the Delgados!) vowed before God and all of you to live in exclusive, life-long covenant faithfulness to one another, the New York Times ran an opinion piece that suggests it may not be biologically realistic to expect them to keep such a commitment, at least sexually.  That is, like laboratory animals, some people could perhaps be at a genetic disadvantage to keep conjugal covenant with their spouses.

In his opinion piece, “Infidelity Lurks in Your Genes”, Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, writes:

“We are accustomed to thinking of sexual infidelity as a symptom of an unhappy relationship, a moral flaw or a sign of deteriorating social values … But during my career … it turns out that genes, gene expression and hormones matter a lot.”

While Mr. Friedman makes many responsible disclaimers throughout the article, like all psychology, his speculation is built on a faulty foundational understanding of the origin of man, morality, and immorality:

“… We have long known that men have a genetic, evolutionary impulse to cheat, because that increases the odds of having more of their offspring in the world. But now there is intriguing new research showing that … Women who carry certain variants of the vasopressin receptor gene are much more likely to engage in “extra pair bonding,” the scientific euphemism for sexual infidelity … it is important to acknowledge that we live our lives on a very uneven genetic playing field.”

Here revealed is psychology’s anti-scriptural paradigm: the theory of evolution which denies humanity as made in the image of God, the idea of sin, and the reality of natural corruption passed down to us from fallen Adam as our real genetic problem that we all share.  As well, psychology (notice I give no adjectival nuance: see here) caters to the suggestive notion that we are victims and incapable of ultimately and objectively being held morally responsible and accountable. Slap a label on us so we can slap you with slander and slither by consequences if you say we have done something wrong (especially in court).

The truth is, according to the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we are not only physical but spiritual and moral creatures. God holds everyone accountable to His moral standards and enables Christians to be faithful by Him Who is Faithful and True to us. The solution to our sinfully corrupt nature is salvation in King Jesus, and the theme verse commitment that Mike and Erin chose for their married life can and will keep them faithful: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

Christ the King expects our fidelity not only to Him but to our human relations and commitments, especially marriage, because His Kingdom is holy. The Lord Jesus says elsewhere, … Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female … For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6).

Christ calls us to faithfulness to our spouses as He is faithful to His Bride the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).  And so He calls on us to pray that we all would be faithful moral subjects of His Kingdom when He teaches us in the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”. As we will learn by the guidance of the Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 191 tomorrow evening, this petition includes asking “that Christ would rule in our hearts here.” Fidelity in body comes by fidelity in our hearts. May Christ rule there indeed that we would rule our deeds not by sinful impulse excused by the latest “science”, but by God’s holy, infallible, inerrant, enduring, eternal, Word, the only rule for faith and life.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant