By Joseph Spurgeon
Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Feminism ruins everything. Everywhere that it raises its rebellious head, harm is soon to follow. Whether it was the willful deception of Eve overturning the created order in her rebellion or her daughters trying to smash the patriarchy today, feminism leaves in its wake hardened women, broken homes, murdered babies, and apostate churches. Feminism is one of those deals that comes in a two-for-one combination pack. That is, for every self-deceived rebellious Jezebel, you get a King Ahab enabling her by either his passive submission to her “authority” or his active endorsement and protection of her evil. Feminism can only thrive when men allow it to do so.
This pattern of rebels and enablers is the story of every mainline denomination’s fall into liberalism and open apostasy whether feminism was the primary culprit or not. False teachers infiltrate the church and they begin by asking the age-old question “has God really said?” At first it’s subtle. They just want to highlight abuses of the truth and have a conversation about alternative views that might not be so abusive. They just have questions, ones that have NEVER EVER been asked before or answered in the 2000 year history of the church. Yeah Right. Before you know it, the questions become accusations against the truth.
When someone has some doubts about where all of the “new” “truth” is headed and begins to ask questions of the questioners, that is when the enablers begin their work. Calls for charity, tone-policing, and accusations of divisiveness ensue. Those without a stomach to fight for the truth become enablers of lies. Feminism has the added benefit of its enablers often thinking they are virtuous by being protectors of women. This is how feminism creeps in: by first questioning the scriptural command for women to be keepers of the home while slowly eroding created and natural distinctions between men and women. Feminists might give lip service to the notion that pastors are to be men but once they are done removing all the distinctions by teaching and preaching to many men, that notion will be a quaint relic easily discarded. Rebellion in the home, rebellion in society, and rebellion in the church means that biblical sexual roles are not the only truths that will soon be disregarded. It is a sad sight to see how far once biblical denominations like the PCUSA have fallen.
It is an even sadder sight to see how this very play is being run again in the SBC, PCA, OPC, and other reformed denominations. Women like Aimee Byrd, Rachel Greene Miller, Beth Moore, and Valerie Hobbs have begun the process of asking “has God really said?” At first, they have tried to get beyond submission and authority. And then next, they play the victim card as recoverees from biblical masculinity and femininity. We all know how this has gone in the past and yet it is Deja vu all over again. Once again, we have feminists with their false teaching and enablers like Carl Trueman, R. Scott Clark, and company.
Now if you have read this far, that was just the introduction to my main point which is this: it is one thing to see feminists and their white knights working the game, what is worse is seeing pastors and elders who know and believe the truth unwilling to actually act like pastors and elders. The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus that he was to ordain elders who would be able both to teach the truth and refute error. Furthermore, he told Titus to speak and exhort the things fitting for sound doctrine and reprove with all authority those who would contradict. A pastor must instruct, refute, and warn. They are to feed the sheep good food and keep them away from poison. It is a godly and manly thing for a pastor to warn the flock about false teaching. It is good for the sheep and God may even use it to rescue those who are spreading false teaching.
The problem is that far too many pastors are willing to hunker down in private social media groups complaining about being hated by feminists rather than using their voices to warn the flock about the poison. This is not to say that every person in a private social media group is a coward but rather to say it is time for pastors to be shepherds. Warn the sheep. Sound the alarm. Speak, Exhort, Reprove and Rebuke and do not let anyone disregard you.
One example of how not to do this is Pastor Mark Jones’ book review of Aimee Byrd’s book, “Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.” He had the perfect opportunity as a pastor to refute false teaching, warn both the one promoting false teaching and all those who might be tempted to receive it. As far as I know, Pastor Mark Jones is a man who believes feminism to be an errant teaching that is dangerous. Sadly, there was none of this pastoral work in his review. Rather it reads like a college academic book review discussing the merits of the work in positive language. While Dr. Jones does make a few muted criticisms, one is left thinking that whatever disagreements Dr. Jones has with Mrs. Byrd, they are of minor importance. The review is written like a dispassionate observer debating a work of Greek literature rather than a pastor looking at a book that is dangerous to the soul of both the writer and reader.
Can any of you for a moment imagine John Calvin, John Knox, or the Apostle Paul getting through a book with false teaching and concluding with this? “In the end, we have a bold and provocative book by an author who wishes to liberate the church from what she perceives to be unbiblical views on male–female roles. I admit that I do not write from a female perspective, and some women may feel unjustifiably silenced in their churches in various ways. As a pastor this book makes me think about my own church context and whether women feel valued. Yet, a lot of her views have been already stated in the many books on this topic out there, which means the distinctiveness of this book is perhaps the polemical tone towards CBMW (hence the title of the book). For this reason, I worry this type of book will entrench party–lines more than develop sympathetic understanding.”
Where was the exhortation, correction, or pastoral warning against this false teaching? Where was the love for Mrs. Byrd and all her hearers who will be tempted into further rebellion? Dear Brothers, we are not medical research assistants coldly cataloging a dissected specimen. Biblical doctrine is not merely academic. To treat these topics this way is to use them vainly.
Now someone might say, why attack someone who agrees with you just because they aren’t doing it the way you would. And I say, “Jim, I am a pastor not a doctor.” I am not attacking Pastor Jones. I am merely doing what I want him and all the other pastors to do, which is to engage this battle as pastors, not as cowards, not with passivity, not like a disembodied brain but as shepherds who have the authority of God.
This criticism is not limited to Dr. Jones. Far too often conservative pastors write about and interact with false teaching as if they were college professors grading a homework assignment rather than as a faithful shepherd protecting the flock. At least a college professor might give a paper an F. Go and read through the Pauline letters and see how the Apostle Paul responds to false teaching. It is not with academic cordiality. It is not like a neutral observer. It is like a shepherd who loves the sheep and loves the truth.
I am not saying that every pastoral work must be filled with inflammatory rhetoric. There can be times to point out even helpful things an opponent of the truth may say. But there should be a sense of urgency. There should be strength, resolve, and even a passion for the truth. There should be a hatred for lies and evil mixed with a love for God and the sheep. The only thing I know of that has ever stopped the progress of evil and its enablers was not a weak-knee response but rather a bold man willing to speak truth with fire even when it got him nailed to a cross.
In a time with Jezebels and Ahabs, we need Elijahs willing to face off boldly against the prophets of Baal knowing that it might bring upon them the wrath of Jezebel. Now here is the encouragement, brothers who have suffered from fear, even Elijah was tempted to think he was all alone. God showed him there were many others. May God give you an eye to see there are still men and women not willing to bow the knee to feminism and may God raise up among us today many pastors un-ensnared by the fear of men or women willing to speak, exhort, and reprove with authority.