Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. – Jude 3
Two weeks ago my “social media activity” was called into question. Specifically, I was told that honey draws more flies than vinegar, and perhaps I needed to be less critical and more, open-minded, shall we say, to the “fact” that there are different ways to interpret Scripture. That if I continued to be critical, I was only going to draw like-minded people, and I was not going to exert any sort of change at all, in anyone.
It’s been a hard two weeks at our house, full of much prayer, Scripture reading, more prayer, and seeking wise counsel. And we certainly aren’t done seeking the Lord in regards to many, many issues in this area.
But in one area, I am certain: I will never stop contending for the faith. Today I am presenting just a few reasons that I contend for the faith, which was once for all handed down to the saints.
Truth is not subjective. The Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.
It is de riguer in our society, and unfortunately even in our churches, today, to claim “what is true for you isn’t true for me.” Well, sisters, that isn’t true. There is Truth, and it is found in the written Word of God. There are not multiple ways to interpret Scripture, and what it means to one teacher shouldn’t mean something different to another teacher. Scripture, read in context, thoroughly studied, guided by the Holy Spirit, and interpreted by other Scripture, will always come to the same meaning. D.A. Carson says in his book Exegetical Fallacies, “When two equally godly interpreters emerge with mutually incompatible interpretations of a text, it must be obvious even to the most spiritual…that they both cannot be right” (page 16).
We also do not need ancient church fathers, cool up-and-coming best selling authors, new-age mystics, or secular businessmen to tell us how to interpret Scripture, evangelize, love other Christians, or solve church dilemmas. It’s all in Scripture, and that is all we need. Sola Scriptura = Scripture alone.
Women are being sold a false works-based system of grace, daily.
sola gratia. sola fide. sola Christus.
We are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Period. End of discussion. There is nothing you or I can do to save ourselves from the fiery depths of Hell. We do not have to do a good work to make up for every sin we commit, praise God! Christ’s death on the cross, burial, and resurrection paid the penalty for our sin and imputed His righteousness onto us. When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are saved by grace through faith in Him. The end.
But today’s most popular female Bible teachers present a very subtle works-based system, one in which you need to do in order to be. And I know a lot of you reading this don’t believe me, but compare what they say with what Scripture teaches. Seriously, next time one of the cute little memes pops up on Facebook, dig a little into the Scripture given (if one is even given), and see if it holds up. Nine times out of ten, the Scripture has been completely yanked out of context.
One of the most popular misconceptions is that God speaks to women audibly. Hebrews 1:1-4 tells us that in the Old Testament times, God spoke to His people via the prophets in many ways, but in these, the latter days, He has done His speaking to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word. Many, many popular female Bible teachers tell glorious stories of God or Jesus appearing to them, speaking to them, whispering to them…and then thousands upon thousands of us wonder what’s wrong with us because God doesn’t talk to us like that.
Nothing is wrong with us – God doesn’t speak to His people like that anymore! He speaks through His Word! Private revelations are a thing of the Old Testament, but many modern teachers make them a litmus test of your salvation. Where is the grace?
Another popular false teaching centers around gratitude and simplicity. Now listen, I am all for being grateful and minimalism (ask my son how often we purge things around here!), but when you tell hundreds of thousands of women that they need to keep track of things for which they are grateful, or limit their wardrobe because otherwise they appear greedy…I need Scripture that tells me exactly how and where those things tie into my salvation and spiritual growth.
Christianity has become a competition, especially in suburban America. Who can give away more, get up earlier to post the first picture on Facebook of their “morning date with Jesus,” who has a stronger “tribe,” who sold their house the fastest “because God’s blessings never stop pouring out on His faithful”? It is no longer about grace – real, bloody, nailed-to-a-tree-while-naked-and-ripped-to-shreds grace. It’s about what I can do…and that is not what it’s about. It’s about sola gratia – grace alone, sola fide – faith alone, sole Christus -Christ alone.
Holiness is the goal, and we seem to have lost sight of that.
soli Deo gloria
My favorite book of the Bible is Leviticus – for real. I love how God specifically tells the Israelites exactly what to do in order to “be holy for I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Holy means to be set apart. God was SO concerned that the Israelites be like Him He even wanted them to LOOK different than surrounding nations: hence laws about what they could eat, what they could wear, how they were to treat people.
American Christians, on the other hand, on the whole, do not look any differently than atheists. In fact, I know atheists that are quicker to help people and treat people much more kindly than some of the evangelicals I know. But the evangelical church is terribly preoccupied with “spiritual growth,” which isn’t even in the Bible. It’s a concept derived from years of playing around with new-age mystics, secular business practices, and seeker-friendly church growth pioneers.
The Scriptures define spiritual growth this way: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 17:8). “But the fruit of the Spirit is this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).
Spiritual growth = maturity in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Spiritual growth IS NOT marked by how much you “be still,” meditation, contemplative prayer, journaling, fasting, how often you pray, random acts of kindness, or tithing.
Notice the difference? Biblical spiritual growth isn’t a checklist, AND people will notice when you start to grow and mature. It’s also terribly, horribly difficult. It will take an enormous amount of help (thankfully we have a Helper). Popular church culture spiritual growth is something you can check off of a “to-do” list every day, and you can lie about it.
Do you know who changes Christians and makes them more holy? Who our Helper is? The Holy Spirit. And He does it for one purpose – the same purpose we should be doing everything in this life: for the glory of God. soli Deo gloria – to God alone be the glory.
I love Jesus. And I love His Church.
You will be hard pressed to find someone sitting in the pews of the local church who loves it as much as I do. I went to Seminary because l love it, and I was working at a church that was terribly unhealthy at the time. I needed to know why, and how to serve churches so they lead people to Jesus – the real Jesus. Sitting in the pews of churches all across America today are hundreds of thousands of women who think they are saved, but they are not. That should be a terrifying and sobering thought to any woman who qualifies as a Titus 2 woman.
Your friend sitting next to you might think she is saved, and she might think she is “doing” all the right things, but in reality she has never met Jesus. My husband and I already left one church because mysticism, postmodernism, and liberal theology crept in and changed their focus from Scripture to being popular. I want to fight to stop that from happening again, but “Christian” culture is big, and powerful, and the Father of Lies is controlling the wolves.
I contend for the faith because I have the faith. I know Jesus, and I love Him, and I love His women. While I was being systematically torn apart for my social media activity, not once did anyone ask me why I blog. No one asked me why I offer up theological teachings on the verses most commonly misused by women and female Bible teachers. No one asked me how I feel when women from our church attack me on social media (“You should expect it when you post such things,” I was told.). I contend, even when it’s painful, lonely, and I can count probably a dozen friends I have lost already this year, because “the popular girls” disagree with me (and because I link to articles about Beth Moore being a false teacher – apparently you don’t touch her. ever. ever! be forewarned if you want to share my blogposts 🙂 ).
I contend because when you know the Truth of God’s Word, and you see people swallowing the lies of the enemy, it’s what you’re supposed to do, according to God’s Word itself. And I would rather obey God, and please God, than obey man, and please man.