The Happy Gospel: The Wrong Jesus

Satan delights to disguise himself as “an angel of light”.  He is king at cloaking deception underneath truth.  And that is why the Bible tells us to “study to show ourselves approved unto God” and to “rightly divide the Word of truth”.

“…the Jesus I follow demands my allegiance, obedience and death to self. He has some things to say about the way I live, and I am delighted to obey Him.”

“Jesus is all you need”.

True or false?

The statement is true.  But if the statement is used to suggest Christ’s disciples have no obligation to live out the gospel in real life (or to attack those who advocate that living out) it becomes a lie.

The statement is cleverly used because it’s safe; and that disarms us, makes us feel relieved and relaxed and open to receive anything that comes next–the deceptive part. (Lies are always “almost true”.)

Jesus IS all we need…..if it’s the *right* Jesus, and not one we have fabricated to suit our natural desires.

The real Jesus motivates us to love His Word, to search out His wisdom, to delight in His commands and to savor His will.

It’s easy to see how rampant this new Christianity is.  We have tens of thousands lifting hands claiming to love Jesus, with zero life transformation. If Jesus doesn’t transform us, and we claim Him as Savior, we trample His very death on the cross.

Many, many are being deceived by this new “freedom” that is perverted.  And they are, in turn, deceiving many.

The lie that comes behind this truth is, “I am not subject to obey, to submit my life to the Jesus in whom I believe, to follow His teaching and to uphold His truths–especially the ones that don’t feel right to me.  I can make up my own rules and mainly, I just want to ‘hang out’ with Him.”

But that is contrary to what Jesus Himself said.

Jesus delighted in complete submission to His Heavenly Father, EVEN when that submission brought bitterness and agony!

“If you love Me you will obey My commands”.

Members of this new gospel stand with dagger in hand ready to slash anyone who proposes they must submit to a Higher authority, anyone who “teaches” (unless the teacher tickles ears), or anyone who expounds on the practical application of Scripture for our lives.

The bravest ones even re-martyr saints of the past.

Be prepared for the daggers.  If you suggest that God has indeed given us guidelines for how to live, you are in danger of the daggers.

“To obey is better than sacrifice.”

If you suggest, for example, that God has laid out an order to family life, that God has something specific to say about marriage roles, if you are, in obedience to Scripture, teaching others to love their husbands and children and manage their homes,  you will probably be labeled as a “family worshiper” instead of a “Jesus worshiper”.

You will even likely be accused of being in a cult.

Cause now you’ve gone to meddlin’.  Yep, you’re a bona fide “false prophet”.

(Never mind the fact that marriage is THE VERY PICTURE of the gospel; one would think that makes family a pretty important issue for the follower of Christ to get right.

Never mind the fact that failure to “teach these things” could result in blasphemy of God’s Word.  Nope, we better just stick to “Jesus is all you need”, and stay away from all that other stuff in the Bible.

If you suggest that God says “children are a blessing”, you are probably a “child worshiper”.  Why do you keep losing focus???

“but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

Oh, and don’t dare quote from the Old Testament; that will move you to the rank of “raving lunatic”.

Satan is clever indeed and has enlisted a whole army of deceivers to try and sway God’s people from speaking truth about anything.

“Jesus is all you need” is a safe, happy statement with no strings attached. We can be anyone, do anything and no one can touch us because if they try, we’ll just call them “judgemental and legalistic” and retreat back to our “happy place”.

But the Jesus I follow demands my allegiance, obedience and death to self.  He has some things to say about the way I live, and I am delighted to obey Him.

The Jesus I follow is gracious and merciful to those who LOVE Him, who demonstrate that love by obedience.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Does He know you?  Do others recognize you as a follower of Christ because you “do the will of the Father”?  Can YOU recognize a true follower of Christ?

“Blessed  rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey and practice it!”

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147 Responses to “The Happy Gospel: The Wrong Jesus”

  1. Ben Woods says:

    Kelly…this is refreshing to read. When I see something like this…I always have a concern though. My wife and I thoroughly conservative…and I think if we were to sit down and talk about our belief with you, we would agree on almost everything.

    But, unfortunately, it seems like there really ARE those who are “family worshipers” among us…and I totally understand where someone would get that misconception. I know conservative Christian stay at home mom’s that know more about organic food than they know about Jesus….and I know fathers who can quote more from books on Christian headship from Vision Forum than they can Scripture. I know families that spend WAY more time trying to “convert” other Christians to Quiverfull theology or home schooling than they do talking about Jesus…to believers and unbelievers alike. Heck, I have even seen a family that won’t attend various fellowships or outreach opportunities at the church because they have to have their “magic table dance” (as I call it, a term that I came up with after seeing the video I mention below…not something derogatory towards this family), which is a 2-3 hour dinner that they have together EVERY night, no exceptions….an idea that came from a video (available on Vision Forum, actually), that uses exegesis so terrible it would make the professors at Harvard Divinity school blush…something about how God walked through the garden at night looking for Adam and Eve…therefore we grieve God when don’t “do” dinner together, in an extended manner, and “correctly.”

    Think about how many churches do men’s/women’s ministry…the meetings in conservative circles are, may times, nearly totally about the man/woman’s role in the family in some way. Men talk about being fathers, providers, etc. Women talk about motherhood, children, cooking, etc. But how often is the name of Jesus even mentioned? How ofter do we get together and weep with joy about what Christ has done for us? Talk about how we can introduce Christ to the men/women in the community? Pray for Jesus to give strength to the persecuted brother/sisters we have all over the world. How often do we confront others with opportunities to take their family and skills to another place so that the gospel might be heard somewhere in the world for the first time…so that others might know the wonderful grace given to us by our Savior!

    I have to wonder sometimes…if Paul or really any of the ancient Christians that have gone before us would even realize I was a Christian by what I pay the most attention to and talk about? Of would they just think it sounded like I had a well ordered family?

    Would they call me a “family worshiper?”

    I’m not trying to be disparaging towards anyone in particular (and, especially not you, Kelly)…I have just been processing a lot of this myself lately…and trying to find a balance when surrounded by a Christian culture that is SO given to polarity.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Ben,

      I agree with you that there is a danger in losing our focus and no doubt, some have done that in sincere attempts to follow after what is right.

      But I think there’s an answer to why it can appear there is an “over-emphasis” on family and children…

      For centuries, Christians have not questioned the design for family, marital roles and the blessing of children. I think in Bible times people clearly understood what the Scripture said about these things and there wasn’t such a need for emphasizing, though it was spoken of plenty.

      Now, however, we are seeing an absolute crisis in these areas. Given that the health of the family is of major consequence to almost every other area of our lives, authors, ministers and teachers have answered the crisis by feeling compelled to “focus” attention to the practical living out of these areas.

      Families are so broken and have so lost the basic understanding of God’s design, it has become necessary to go back to the basics and reteach the simplicity of that structure before we can begin to address all the precipitant factors that come from broken homes and the rebellion against God’s design.

      Granted, there will always be those who fall into a ditch and get sidetracked, forgetting that JESUS CHRIST must be the center of it all, but I think the efforts to mend the family are needed, and noble in a day when so many have gotten lost.

      Nutshell: If we are people who claim “Jesus is Lord”, that truth should be clearly evident in our homes. And because it is not the benchmark of so many professing Christians, it has been moved to the forefront by those who understand the crisis. This certainly doesn’t and shouldn’t negate the underlying truth that Jesus is the answer to our problems.

      The warning should always stand: Jesus is the cornerstone. But somehow even the followers of Christ have lost the meaning of that and have not allowed that truth to govern their homes and lives and for that reason, it seems necessary to “shout” about what our families should look like if we are to communicate the true redemptive work of Christ.

      I hope that makes sense.

      • Taunya says:

        Kelly I SO understand that in our world family has not been the main priority but can you not acknowledge that it is possible to OVER CORRECT? Everything Ben put in the first comment of this post is what my husband and I have seen over the last 11 years of homeschooling, and after my husband started and co-pastored a family-integrated church. In an attempt to come out of the world and grow closer to God many have created a new God centered around quiverfull theology, family, family-integrated churches, stay-at-home daughters, courtship, baby wearing, wheat grinding, multi-generational visions, etc. Where is God in all this? What does any of this have to do with the fact that Jesus spilled His blood on the cross for us? ALL of these things are EXTRA-BIBLICAL lifestyle choices that have NOTHING to do with salvation. In fact many Mormons and Catholics adopt these same practices.

        Our experience is like Ben’s we see so much about what dictionary to use (1828); what our women should wear (skirts and dresses; how we should conduct church services (no Sunday school, two hour dinner afterwards); and how many children we should have (never ask that question just keep having them).

        The focus is no longer on Jesus. It is now on how close to perfect we can make our families. The family has become the idol in a new works based theology set to produce the most godly kids the world has seen since Jesus Himself was a boy.

        Listen, my husband and I are conservative homeschool Christians but enough is enough already. When do we admit we have gone too far, this thing has gotten out of hand and we are losing sight of what REAL Christianity is.

        It is time to wake up before things get out of hand. The focus is not on God anymore, the Holy Spirit is being replaced by a list of rules and the family has replaced God the Father. Jesus is the only way and it seems like in an misguided attempt to correct some real ills in our society many have over corrected and missed the mark as much as those from whom they are trying to differentiate themselves, just on the other side of the spectrum.

        • The specifics you mentioned, in and of themselves, are devoid of virtue or evil. It is the reasons behind the choices a family is making that either glorify Him or are used to glorify man.

          If, in complete surrender to the Lord, a family is asked to _________ (fill in the blank with any of the things you mentioned), then that choice if full of Life and brings balance and restoration to our culture. If a family makes those same choices in a Pharisaical mindset, one that is defined not by what the Lord thinks but what others think, then it actually damages the Lord’s Reputation. It is a destructive counterfeit.

          In the same way, viewing a family and judging their hearts simply by whether they have chosen to walk a path that looks so different from what the world considers “normal” is absolutely wrong.

          The fact that our culture is in such a horrible state should bring all of us to our knees. We should be repenting of the sins of our nations and praying for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of those sins and move us, as nations, to repentance. Whether or not someone chooses to have 47 children is the least of our concerns. If the Lord asks, will we obey? Whatever He asks? Whatever it looks like? Even if we are completely misunderstood? Mocked? Ridiculed? Accused? DO WE FEAR MAN OR A HOLY, JUST GOD???

          • Taunya says:

            Antbed let me clarify a few things for you. First you are correct if a specific family feels called to say homeschool or have 47 children that is their personal conviction and that is fine. The trouble comes in when that family begins to define their Christian walk by these extra-biblical convictions. They begin to talk about them more than other more important aspects of the faith and they begin to include them in the essentials of the faith.

            A problem also comes about when this family begins to join with other “like-minded” families and begins to feel as if they can only worship or be in close association with others who also hold these extra-biblical convictions. Perhaps even going so far as to say those who don’t believe limiting the number of children is wrong, or who choose not to homeschool, etc. are some how in error, or not as far along in their faith. At that point these families begin to hold these extra-biblical convictions up as idols. They have created a new religion a sort of quasi-Christianity based on rules not laid out in Scripture. This is troublesome and this is what I am speaking of.

            I don’t feel that just because a family holds some of these convictions they are in error. But when they begin to segregate and identify themselves by these convictions as much or more than by Christ I see a problem. When they insist that all Christians must uphold these ideas it has become an idol. Many of these families are even willing to part ways with adult children who refuse to submit to ideas like courtship and the stay-at-home daughter concept, going so far as to call such adult children rebellious against God.

            So you see this is much more than one family simply feeling that God has called them to live a certain way. This is a large group of people choosing to redefine what it means to be a Christian and feeling that other Christians who don’t choose these extra-biblical practices are somehow either not of the faith or not as far along in their faith. In a nutshell they are adding to the Word of God, a very serious offense indeed.

            • The Pharisees were condemned by Jesus for binding on men what the Lord had not bound on them. I am perfectly clear about that point.

              What you are describing is a Pharisaical attitude. And it is always rejected by the Lord. As it is by His Body. That’s what I mentioned above.

              But, there are also times when a family simply walking out the holiness they are called to by the Lord without binding it on anyone else, are accused of judging others or binding their calling on others. In those cases, it is easy to see why they would want to gather with “like-minded” families simply as a support system. As they grow in maturity, that support is not as necessary. If exclusivity develops, it should be addressed.

              Holiness is intended to convict us and move us more toward the Lord. Receiving judgment from someone who is truly operating in personal holiness because of complete obedience to the Lord and only for the Lord is a lie from the evil one.

              • Taunya says:

                Antbed it looks like we are both saying the same thing, if a family chooses to adopt extra-biblical convictions because they feel called fine. But if they begin to believe that somehow makes them superior and if they start stating that all “good” Christians must adopt these convictions as well they are a pharisee. We are both in full agreement here. That is what many are saying is the problem among some in the conservative Christian homeschool community. We in that community need to work to make sure this type of teaching is rooted out.

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Kelly,

        You know that I like you, and though I’ve not personally met you, we are sisters in Christ, and His blood bonds us in Him. We’ve had some fine discussions through your blog, and while I agree w/a lot of what you write, I don’t have the same mindset w/regard to family life. I am, though, conservative, and Reformed in doctrine, so that may be a commonality.

        I have to agree w/Ben and Taunya. I have been astonished reading blogs written by those with the Vision Forum mind set (that isn’t meant to be a pejorative). I actually enjoy reading the blogs of those writers, but many of the folks writing them have a cookie cutter mentality, and are in lock step w/each other. I’ve often wondered (as I wondered about you, and stated it some months ago) if any of those said blog writers would even eat lunch w/me knowing that I disagree w/many of their formulaic premises. I love them in the Lord (again, though never having personally met them), but I do find homeschooling, stay-at-home daughters, endeavors of those daughters, no college, etc., discussed a lot on those blogs. I have no doubt that they love Jesus, but the issues that I’ve described have zero to do w/the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

        You stated that the culture in Christendom has caused pastors, authors, etc., “…to ‘focus’ attention to the practical living out of these areas.” Is that the role of the pastor? To “focus” on what he deems to be a “crisis?” From my reading of Scripture, pastors are to preach the whole counsel of God. There are so many dangers facing the Church right now, but I don’t think that whether women should go to college or not is one of them. The Emergent Church, the “seeker-sensitive (is there such a thing?)” church, etc., present more dangers theologically than do the issues about family (certainly this is from my perspective). When I read that fellow believers “love” certain books (I won’t name the books) that are so far afield theologically, that is more of a concern to me. BUT, if pastors teach good doctrine, then believers will recognize bad doctrine when they hear it. I am also a fan of expository preaching, i.e., go through a book of the Bible, and teach good doctrine.

        I must ask you, too, why is it that SO many of the “followers” of family-integrated churches, etc., “look” the same? They make their own bread, they wear khaki or denim skirts, young women don’t attend college, they dance only certain dances (ones that have been subjectively approved by THEM–I don’t dance at all, so I have no skin in the game), approve of hymn singing (preferably centuries old ones), and bluegrass, but NOT rock, farm and are agrarian, among a myriad of other things. I have never noticed any of those whose wedding pix appear on their blogs wearing a strapless (for the record, I don’t like strapless, but not because I’ve deemed them to be immodest) or spaghetti strapped wedding gown. I daresay that most of the women don’t wear makeup (on their wedding day they do, however). What do these things have to do w/the Gospel of Christ? Will following these trends make me a better Christian? I’ll answer that myself. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

        I was raised in a legalistic home. My dad was a Baptist pastor, and we weren’t allowed to do “worldly” things, like dance, go to movies, etc. I think these kinds of beliefs may cause you to look your nose down at other believers who love Jesus just as much as you do. One time, when I was a kid, I thought that some girls walking through our neighborhood on their way to school were “worldly” because their shoes were worldly. Shoes! Believers that are fixated on whether women should or shouldn’t wear pants (and I defy anyone to prove that Scripture speaks to that issue), for example, are myopic in my view. Externals are important to some degree, but God sees the HEART, and while I may look good on the outside, and do all the “right” things, my heart may be a “whitewashed tomb (Matt 23:27).” And, even if I raise my kids by homeschooling them, and do everything “right,” my kids may still turn out to be rebellious. There are no guarantees in the business of raising kids, and God is only one who can turn hearts to Him.

        I could go on and on (and I usually do), but I will stop and read the rest of the comments. As always, I have come to this late (as in 66 comments late).

        Cathy

        • Jennifer says:

          Right on, Cathy. I’ve stated my knowledge that Kelly’s not legalistic (and note that she doesn’t look like a cutout from any group) and that I’ve also seen one-size-fits-all legalism in the exact kind of groups you mention. It’s often nastier and more harmful than it looks.

        • Word Warrior says:

          Cathy,

          Read your comment and have been thinking about it a while. I *get* what you’re saying, but I see a number of problems with it, and I wanted to talk about some of the points. You said:

          “I must ask you, too, why is it that SO many of the “followers” of family-integrated churches, etc., “look” the same? They make their own bread, they wear khaki or denim skirts, young women don’t attend college, they dance only certain dances (ones that have been subjectively approved by THEM–I don’t dance at all, so I have no skin in the game), approve of hymn singing (preferably centuries old ones), and bluegrass, but NOT rock, farm and are agrarian, among a myriad of other things. I have never noticed any of those whose wedding pix appear on their blogs wearing a strapless (for the record, I don’t like strapless, but not because I’ve deemed them to be immodest) or spaghetti strapped wedding gown. I daresay that most of the women don’t wear makeup (on their wedding day they do, however). What do these things have to do w/the Gospel of Christ? Will following these trends make me a better Christian? I’ll answer that myself. ABSOLUTELY NOT.”

          OK…now Cathy, let’s think about it: I see 2 blaring errors with this comment. One, while there are similarities among groups of people (always have been, always will be, as there are similarities among “your” kinds of groups) none of them are cookie-cutters. Among every family I know, not one of them holds to all the same practices/habits, whatever. Most wear make-up, very few wear head coverings, there are all variations of music styles–both in worship and private preference–different standards of movies, books, etc. You can NOT lump them together. Among our very close-knit community groups there are differences in alcohol preferences, dress vs. pants, college vs. no college, and even in the way we approach dating. And we all still love each other very much 😉

          The second problem, and bigger one is, so what if a family bakes his own bread? Why do you assume that they are, by default, declaring “it will make them a better Christian?” That store-bought bread is less holy? LOL! We do both. When we do bake our own bread (and yes, grind our own wheat) it is strictly due to the fact that I believe it’s healthier and NOTHING to do with spiritual matters. How could that practice possibly be criticized? I could just as easily say, “why do all those working moms buy Lunchables for their kids?” (I used to be one ;-)) Are they saying that my homemade lunch isn’t as good as theirs? That’s silly.

          Strapless dresses? Well, is it really necessary to criticize one for covering up their shoulders? It’s not as if they’re wearing a sign that says “I’m holier for covering my shoulders”, yet that’s what people presume. Why would it be acceptable to wear strapless, but it’s questionable not to? And if you wanted to get into a modesty debate, there would be a pretty good argument for “covered shoulders”. Not too long ago, a woman might have been arrested for such. My daughter would feel terribly uncomfortable in a strapless dress. We’ve never even discussed the issue. But why would this even be questioned? People love to say regarding modesty, “You can be wicked on the inside but modestly dressed on the outside” as some sort of “excuse” to not dress modestly. But think how silly it would be if I said, in some kind of attempt to mitigate infidelity, “Well, you can be faithful to your spouse on the outside, but you could be having an affair on the inside”? That sounds like a guilty person trying to relieve his conscience. That’s a TRUE statement, just like the one about modesty. But does that truth mean I’m supposed to “act unfaithful” so no one thinks of me as a hypocrite? No, I’m supposed to strive to be faithful in BOTH regards, beginning with the inside, spilling over to the outside. That’s how I view what our approach to modesty should be.

          There are just as many trends among non-homeschooling groups that don’t make the groups good or bad, just “similar” to each other. That’s a very normal thing. Why is everyone getting tattoos? Why does everyone have a cell phone? Does that make them good, bad or better? Does that make me condemned if I don’t?

          I just think it’s silly to even question. I know the assumption: you feel like families who do these things are simultaneously condemning anything else. Right? And still, that’s silly. Everyone chooses something. If I eat chocolate ice cream, that doesn’t mean vanilla is bad, just that I prefer chocolate. A lot of these things fall in that kind of analogy.

          And some things ARE chosen because a family has a good reason for choosing that thing. We have reasons for being careful about music, books, movies, etc., though it may shock you that we aren’t as strict as some might assume. Some reasons are spiritual, some are just preference. But very few families I know are stating that “their practices are holy and yours are not”. (Of course there are the debatable issues like I talk of here about public education, etc., that I think Christians DO need to think carefully about and talk about them in light of the principles of Scripture, but I’m mainly talking about the smaller things you mentioned.)

          I don’t know if that made sense, but I’m hoping to convey the idea that every family is different, and practicing a particular habit doesn’t mean that family is guilty of self-righteousness.

          On the side, you mentioned believing in “expository preaching”–we do too. But doesn’t that automatically condemn any other kind? And if so, is that OK? I just think we have to be careful about what “irritates” us as matters of preference, and what convicts us, and what we criticize and why.

          • Kim M says:

            Amen to that, Kelly!!!

          • Cathy says:

            Hi Kelly,

            Now it is MY turn to take your reply, line-by-line, and rip it to shreds! I’M COMPLETELY JOKING. But, I will answer as comprehensively as I can.

            First of all, I don’t think that I was being critical–at all–and am sorry if I came across that way. Rather, I wrote that I agreed w/Ben and Taunya w/regard to the kinds of issues that are often discussed in patriarchal circles, and on the blogs that I read. I mentioned some of those issues. My point was/is that those issues have absolutely nothing to do w/the Gospel of Christ, and do nothing to change hearts.

            I merely mentioned baking bread in a litany of issues that are commonplace w/the bloggers that I read. I did not cast aspersions, nor did I paint all patriarchal “adherents (quotes intended)” with the same broad brush. I said that while I enjoy reading those blogs (and continue to read them), “many” of that persuasion, i.e., family-integrated churches, look the same. In my mind, I didn’t state that they all act the same way. Admittedly, I don’t read a ton of blogs, but I believe that I depicted the blogs that I do read, accurately. To restate, it isn’t a matter of criticism, but it IS a matter of whether or not it has ANYTHING to do w/the Gospel. I submit that it does not.

            Kelly, my point about strapless dresses was missed. It was (again) an effort to show that the bloggers that I read talk about modesty a lot, and when they write about getting their wedding dresses (or making them), it is in that context. The dresses are never sleeveless or strapless. What is wrong w/what I said? I didn’t condemn them. The definition of “modesty” is subjective (one blogger wrote that she needed to get her pastor’s approval to wear her dress–doesn’t that stun you at all?), and when there is a one-size fits all mentality, there IS a danger of becoming judgmental. Frankly, if someone tells me that isn’t a danger, then I would consider that naivete. My daughter is getting married in two months, and I just do not like strapless dresses, and I would prefer that my daughter not wear one. I told her so, as well. She isn’t wearing one, BTW, but, I am not the arbiter of all that is “modest”–no human is. I believe that one of your arguments, i.e., “not too long ago, a woman might have been arrested for such,” is, from my perspective, irrelevant. I mean, for goodness sake, in TX, it’s against the law to be in possession of a pair of pliers (just an example of an antiquated law still on the books). In the 1800’s, women only wore dresses. So what? I just don’t see the relevance.

            As to expository preaching, if you remember, you answered a comment, that because the family unit was in crisis, pastors and authors are focusing their attention on it. I said that I was a “fan” of expository preaching. I think that it eliminates preaching against pet peeves. How was that “automatically” condemning topical preaching? What did I say to condemn it? I didn’t say that it “irritates” me at all.

            I just reread your statement about public schools, and this is an example of exactly to what I am referring. While you say that this is one of the many “debatable issues,” you quickly add the caveat that “Christians DO need to think carefully about and talk about them in light of the principles of Scripture.” Should the reader assume that you believe that Scriptural principles prohibit Christians from sending their kids to public school? I think I already know the answer to that. What, however, do you do w/solid believers who believe otherwise? I try to use Scripture as a sieve for all I do, but I do not see eye-to-eye w/those that would label sending kids to public schools as sin. There are a whole lot of cancers in the church that we should be concerned about, but I’m not sure that public schooling is among them. BTW, I’ve read some of the more militant blogs written by guys who love Jesus (ones who support Doug Philipps, and I promise, I am not demeaning anyone, but it helps to identify how people believe), but they sure have a harsh way of getting their ideas out there. I definitely admire their zeal, but love is nowhere to be found. When I read them, I wonder if I’ve somehow missed something in my orthopraxy.

            As to the people w/whom you hang, I know I nothing about them. I don’t know you, either, but I think that you’re a smart girl (I use the word loosely), and I like what I know of you. BUT, I’m just sayin’ that the blogs that I read (if I could change the font, it would be a 36) aren’t always open to different ideas. One time, I challenged one of those bloggers (in a private message) about his taste in music. The guy wrote a dogmatic response that was explosive. But it wasn’t just a matter of what he believed, but he gave me a recitation of what constituted “godly” music. I have/had a difference of opinion, but there was no room for that. I’m happy that you travel in circles where love transcends the differences, and you can enjoy true fellowship.

            And, what about two bloggers whom I read regularly (I read about ten blogs w/some regularity) that are major proponents of the KJV, and believe that it is the “only true Word of God (that is a direct quote)?” I don’t agree w/that, and it frustrates me to no end. I believe that it is misleading to weaker and younger Christians. But, I still read their blogs, because they often encourage me in my faith. And, it’s nice to get a picture of what others believe, and the cultures in which they live (somewhere other than CA where I live). I’m also fascinated by the whole blog world of believers who adhere to the Vision Forum mind set. I think that it spurs me to reconsider my own positions, and to take stock of what I believe. I love the recipes, and household tips, too. : ) Sometimes, though, it would be nice to read a post solely dedicated to the greatness of God, to His power and to His awesomeness w/out it being shrouded in a personal belief system. How often do you see that?

            Here is where I stand (not to sound Martin Lutherish or anything): if you (“you” being generic) don’t want to wear pants, or you want your adult daughter to stay at home until marriage, then cool. I will draw an analogy for a fuller understanding. For example, if you don’t believe in Halloween, fine. Just don’t tell my kids that it’s the devil’s day (that actually happened years ago), and I promise that I won’t push Halloween on your kids. One of my adult daughters and I were discussing the fact that we didn’t promote Santa Claus in our family. I wasn’t raised to believe he was real, and my husband and I didn’t raise our kids that way. My daughter told me that many of her friends were shocked that she doesn’t teach her kids about SC, and that she wasn’t raised that way. They believe that SC is part of Christmas. Her friends attend our VERY solid church–I mean John MacArthur spoke there two weeks ago, so we’ve been given a stamp of approval by him (I’m saying that w/tongue firmly protruding from cheek). From my perspective, Santa Claus diminishes Christmas, and takes away from the One who gives us gifts Because of that, it would be wrong for me to teach my kids that St. Nick is a real dude. But, as my daughter also mentioned, she appreciated that I always told my kids not to spoil it for other kids whose families believed differently. Other families can do what they want w/their kids, and how God leads them.

            I will close w/an illustration that I may have used in a past comment. Forgive me if I’m being redundant. Before I married my stud of a husband, who is a Godly guy, I learned that he liked beer. We’re talking one beer in one sitting, and two a week, at most. He likes to drink one after working out. Because I was raised to believe that drinking was sin, I said to my now-husband, “I can’t believe that you drink beer. I thought that you were a good Christian.” He replied, “What about drinking a beer makes me not a good Christian?” I couldn’t answer that. AND, I think that therein lies the problem. So many times, these kinds of issues trip us up, and divide us, rather than uniting us in Christ.

            YIKES. I’ve written several mouthfuls, so I will close. I again apologize if I seemed to be critical or judgmental in my earlier comment. I meant to be neither.

            Cathy

            PS For the record, I am baking rolls from scratch tomorrow, as I did last week, and the week before. You think your homemade bread is more holy than my rolls? Uh, not a chance! And, BTW, I have begun to use the cinnamon roll recipe from your blog instead of mine. And, yeah, it’s because you’re more holy than me, and I’m hoping that, somehow, by osmosis, that will seep into my pores. Kelly, I’m teasing ya, and I really do love you in Christ. One day, in Heaven, this discussion will be a blur, and we’ll be celebrating Jesus together. Won’t that be awesome?

            • Jennifer says:

              Cathy, I know precisely the types of groups and behavior you’re describing. And you’re 100% right.

            • Word Warrior says:

              Cathy,

              LOL…sorry I misunderstood you. For the record, based on the “absurd” misconceptions some people make about “us”, I have a friend who might say to me if I organize a closet or something…”Wow, you’re so much more godly than I am”. We have a sense of humor, also 😉

              You make many good points that I get. I just told my daughter that just because we don’t “do Santa” she doesn’t need to spoil other kid’s traditions. That, while we’re belting out to the radio in the car, “Ya better watch out, ya better not pout”…

              And yet, there are some subjects where you and I will diverge on “what’s meddling” and what is needful for Christians to admonish each other about. I’m OK with that. Hard line to draw.

              • Cathy says:

                I didn’t mention that, years ago, when my sons were little guys, and one of them was misbehaving in the car, I began to sing, “You better watch out…” in a sincere, conversational style as a way of tweaking my little guy. He asked, in earnest, “Mom, is Santa Claus real?” There was no way that I was going to tell him that he was, so I told him that it was just fun to pretend.

                Like you, I am totally comfortable w/moving on w/out agreeing w/you.

                However, I just wrote another comment (w/which you may take issue) toward the end of another thread that Courtney started, because, honestly, I was fired up.

                C ya on the flip side.

                C

    • Jennifer says:

      You’re absolutely right, Ben. I’ve been reading testimonies from people suffering from this very thing: people who make fathers priests, tell women they can’t even hear God on their own, make a one-size-fits-all for every woman (motherhood is the highest calling and there’s no calling outside from the father/husband’s vision) and especially scathingly bad theology. This horrific junk is what makes people wary of those conservative families who DO put Jesus first and live rightly, according to His commands. Satan’s excellent at thwarting balance and tilting humans too much to one side.

    • Kim M says:

      Ben,

      I just want to make a quick observation:

      Even though it’s not funny, I admit I did chuckle a little. This is not a new problem, and it is not just a problem within the Reformed Calvinist or home-schooling crowds (both crowds of which I have deep respect and admiration…. and I home-school my kids too).

      We have this issue in my type of churches (Wesleyan), except it’s over different sticking points/standards and I am sure other denominations and groups have this same struggle.

      Yet, I think those standards are important, and I am thankful for those ministries who are calling us back to rebuilding the family (Vision Forum is one!).

      The Corinthian church had the same problem, and they would even take on the name of the godly leader they preferred:

      1COR 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

      1COR 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

      1COR 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

      1COR 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

      1COR 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

      Just an observation I have made. I admit there are times I lose focus too, but I hope I always realize it right away and turn my main focus on Jesus.

      • Kim M says:

        oh… and I must say, the name “Wesleyan” and “Baptist” is pretty telling isn’t it? Too bad we can’t all be of one mind and just be “Christian”.

        Yet unfortunatley there will always be those who say, “It’s all grace” and use it as an excuse to completely conform to the world and choose a lifestyle of sin and then others who de-Christianize you if you don’t grind your own wheat. 🙁 We are messed up!

        1COR 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

        1COR 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

        1COR 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

        • Jennifer says:

          Actually Kim, for the kind of groups that Ben described, it is a new problem. It’s a new problem for homeschoolers and many who believe in the patriarchal mindset, and actually has nothing whatsoever to do with denominational disagreement; nothing remotely. It’s sharp legalism, shaming, and very meticulous idolatry; efforts to “build up the family” are worthless if the ones doing so (or claiming to do so) only bring more harm, an all-around deadly spiritual condemnation system, idolatry of the family and uplifting of the father as God, or mediator. Chuckling and saying “it’s been around forever” does not either negate it or lessen it.

          • Kim M says:

            Jennifer,

            The general tendency of people to grativate towards losing focus is not a new problem. Not at all. I know how nuts people can get (I never heard this preacher, but there was a preacher who came to our church back in the 70s that thought it was a sin for men to part their hair a certain way. I’ve heard of people who think a lady is filled with pride if she wears her hair down…. the list goes on.)

            However,
            I appreciate leaders calling people to the restoration of family life. This is a good thing and we need it in our culture!

            I will say that I appreciate someone who gives practical advice. There is a good quote out there. It says, “Chew the meat and spit out the bones”. That’s what I do. If something sounds silly or something is just too much for our family and it is just plain old advice like “Have devotions at the dinner table”, then I let it go in one ear and out the other. My family prefers them on the couch, but
            I am not going to call someone a legalist because they advise people to do it at the table. Who am I to judge? We can’t see people’s hearts. And frankly, I got some good tips from the family table talk. But some of it, well, I overlooked.

            No matter how godly a leader may be, there will always be people who lose focus and go nuts. (Just like in the verses I posted in the comments to which you responded. Goodness, they even did it with Paul!)

            And we must be very very careful about calling others legalists. Have you ever considered that people who choose to live more carefully are actually “weaker brethren” and need a more rigid line?

            Romans 14
            1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

            2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

            3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

            4Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

            5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

            6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

            7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

            • Jennifer says:

              I like your answer, Kim; your points are good. And I agree with this: “we must be very very careful about calling others legalists. Have you ever considered that people who choose to live more carefully are actually “weaker brethren” and need a more rigid line?”

              In response to this point, I’m going to note something that I’m not totally sure anyone else has yet: it is not, for me, the rigid families that are the root problem or the biggest one (so long as they don’t hurt their children with expectations and commands outside the Bible, they’re not a “problem” at all, necessarily). The big problem, the root problem, is the groups of people who call to them, who LAY OUT the legalistic and rigid lines. The ministries who sell and exhort this stuff as the only true way.

              They pour fear, acidic fear, into any old wounds these “weaker brethren” might have and lure them into thinking that they have a better way, the “only” way in fact, to heal sin for good and avoid it in the future. How? Using all the methods I’ve described elsewhere on this blog. And here’s another way: they tell you ALL kinds of things are wrong, from numerous movies to even popular Christian authors. I’ve even seen Beth Moore put down by some of these thinkers! And the solution? Buy THEIR material instead; read their books, watch their movies, listen to and quote from their CDs. Warnings from them about “bad” things are often actually clever marketing ploys.

              When it comes to these leaders, wolves in sheep’s clothes, we CAN see their hearts: they’re in their words.

              • Kim M says:

                Jennifer,

                I guess it depends on what type of “message” you are talking about.

                The only fear-mongering I have heard actually came from the messages where those who preach were actually preaching the gospel. People’s consciences need to be pricked when the gospel is being preached or true repentance doesn’t happen. (I’m thinking… Stephen…John the Baptist, Jonah….)

                As far as fear mongering when it comes to whether or not one has devotions at the dinner table or whether one wears skirts only:
                I have never heard it at all. Quite the contrary, I have heard it said that those things should be worked out in one’s own conscience in one’s own family. Perhaps there was an audio or a book I missed.

                Hmmm….

  2. Lena says:

    I agree with you, its so superficial in ‘this age and time’, our church life has become just a thing we do on a sunday, or which ever day. Instead of living a Christian life, we say that we are Christians, and thats about it. Just saying that you are a Christian and believing in Jesus is not enough to make you a true believer. We need more people who would say the hard truths, preach the true gospel, who would live in Jesus, who would walk like Jesus walked, and try to live holy, like God is holy. Then maybe someone would wake up from this dream we are dreaming and start seeking the truth in the bible himself, maybe that would reach his heart, and start a fire for the Lord. Its easy to say ‘I am saved’, but its hard to BE saved. Oh, may the Holy Spirit burn inside of us so we would become Holy.

  3. Hayley Ferguson says:

    All I have to say is this is probably one of the single best posts I’ve ever read, ever. Thank you, for being so bold as to poor out your feelings and obvious experiences of living a perculiar life set apart. Jesus did not come to bring peace but a two-edged sword. Even the Devil and his angles believe and tremble. Let us not be found wanting in the great and terrible day of the Lord, Amen and Amen.

    • Jennifer says:

      “Thank you, for being so bold as to poor out your feelings and obvious experiences of living a perculiar life set apart. Jesus did not come to bring peace but a two-edged sword”

      Another truth that needs so much balance. God brings peace, but He was not interested in letting the world be peaceful as it WAS. He didn’t want to let us sit content in our flesh, but be stirred up and challenged. He doesn’t care in the least about ruffling feathers. He tells us to defy our families if they don’t worship Him, but He also exhorts tight families and sacrifice to loved ones. We have to sacrifice comfort for Him, but at the same time realize that His burden is light and He brings us rest. I pictured myself explaining this to someone last night; there’s SO much need for balance and in so many aspects of our faith!

  4. Lori says:

    Kelly, this is brilliantly stated. Thank you so much.

  5. Kelly,
    Thank you for always speaking the Truth in Love for the purpose of exhorting the Body.

    Your ministry is that of prophet:
    “There is a prophetic way to deal with problems, but before we can understand what that way is, we first must understand the role of the prophet. His job was not, first and foremost, to foretell the future. He wasn’t a godly version of the carnival fortune-teller. Neither, however, was the prophet merely an itinerant preacher. He was a specialist of sorts, in a proper sense. His job was to bring the Word of God to bear on problems, almost always problems within God’s covenant community. Just as the priest speaks to God on behalf of the people, so the prophet speaks to the people on behalf of God. The prophet is God’s mouthpiece, his lawyer. He lets those in covenant with God know that they are not keeping covenant and have a duty to repent.” Excerpt from When You Rise Up, by R. C. Sproul, Jr.

    It’s not easy. It invites criticism and attacks. But it must be done. He is Glorified when you obey Him. When you speak the Truth, knowing that you will be vilified by those who don’t actually want to “die.” None of us actually want to “die”. But He is either our Lord, or He isn’t. There is no middle ground. There is no “working up to it.”

    You are so very right that Jesus is not interested in us “hanging out” with Him. He wants us to crawl up on the altar (only possible in Grace) and allow Him to slay us. Daily. He wants us to hold our family with an open palm, allowing Him to use any and every resource we have been entrusted with however He sees fit. There is no middle ground. He is an ALL or NOTHING God. And if we are not completely emptied of ourselves, we had better reexamine our relationship. It requires a constant choice to submit. He is Merciful and Patient, but there is no compromise in the dying.

    Our relationships with our family are to be sacrificial, too. We are to allow the Lord to use us to help sanctify and purify our children and we are to glory in our role as helpmeet to our husbands. The roles are defined by His Words. All of them.

    Ben,
    There are families that are out of balance in regard to their children. But I believe the balance is struck in understanding the season we are in as families. The foundation laying that must be done is intense. It requires our undivided attention. But that does not mean we are focused exclusively on our homes. It means as we go about the Lord’s Business, our children are included. They need, as part of their training, to see us serving the Body, ministering to the lost, building up the Body, blessing the poor. This is part of parenting. And every bit of it HAS to be focused on Jesus.

    • Word Warrior says:

      This is very encouraging to me, Antbed.

      • I’m very thankful. I know the Lord sustains you as you speak the Truth, day in and day out. I also know, because I am wired in the same way, that it costs you a great deal. Thank you for being poured out as a drink offering (the only offering completely used up) so that the Body may be built up and purified. Thank you for being willing to ONLY concern yourself with His Reputation, not your own. I am praying that He will continue to renew your strength and that you will not grow weary or faint.

  6. Charity says:

    I agree with Hayley…best post I’ve read! Keep putting it out there Kelly; God bless you!

  7. Taryn says:

    We raise our children according to Ephesians 5- the dinner table is what Christians who don’t watch TV tend to do- a good book is Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. We also teach Genesis literal 6-day Creation, no tatoos(Lev. 19:28-KJB), no pork products etc.-Lev. 11 and Deut. 14(KJB), no Christmas tree(Jer. 10:2-4-KJB), etc. We did attend a Messianic church in South Florida years ago. It is about Jesus. We tell our children that Jesus followed these Scriptures. We even tell them that Jesus knew Habakkuk 2:15-“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink and Proverbs 23:31(KJB)etc. so we don’t drink alcohol and attend a Baptist church.

    • wannabegodly says:

      Whoa! This seems to be kind of thing against which Ben Woods is warning us – the making of rules and regulations and interpreting the Bible according to our own preferences or definitions of “godliness”. If you read the entire verse and context of Habakkuk 2:15, you’ll see that it goes on to say “pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness!” Having a drink and sharing it in moderation is quite different from drunkenness or encouraging drunkenness and debauchery. Search the whole of Scripture.

  8. Donna Hebert says:

    After reading your first commenters post, I wanted to share a great book to read as a family is Ten Peas in A Pod-the Arnold Pent story, this is a family that was all about Jesus and also kept their family tight and together and serving the Lord together. Family evangelism…nothing like it. Visit our blog and see the evangelism section as we go out as a family to share the Gospel of our dear Savior.
    Churches are built up of families and if the family unit isn’t strong, most likely the church won’t be either. I am not saying this is every church’s case, but having strong families certainly does help theh health of a chruch. We are seeing this more and more as the hearts of the children are drawn to youth ministries, youth pastors and peers and entertainment, and not to their fathers and mothers. Families don’t sit and fellowship together at the table and are therefore strangers in their own homes. Families behave more like roomates. It’s a sad state we are in and we must strengthen the family.

  9. Heidi says:

    Great post, Kelly…You speak the truth and I like that…God bless you…Heidi

  10. Avaya says:

    I was born in a poor country where Christians were in a minority. I, along with many others, admired and respected many Christians (and by extension Christianity)because of how much they gave of themselves to charity, caring for the weak and helpless by providing healthcare, shelter and education, while living in humble circumstances themselves. Many who converted to Christianity converted because they saw in Christ’s followers an example of compassion and selflessness they did not see in others.

    It may be that the design for how family life needs to be lived out has to be retaught in America. But this seems to be at the expense of everything else. The focus is almost always on birth-control, homeschooling, modesty and submission. Perhaps these are the burning issues of the time and a lot of Christians feel compelled to address them. But, the idea of serving others, which appeared to me to be one of the central tenets of Christianity, seems to be limited to an idea of a)serving family in a particular way and b)teaching others how to serve/redesign family life. Now this may not be the only focus of Christian teachers, but this is often how it comes across.

  11. Kristi says:

    Thank you for this straightforward, bold post. 🙂

  12. Joy Horton says:

    As someone who is now being called judgmental and legalistic and “out there” (all by “Christians, mind you) b/c we read and obey the Commandments, i.e., keeping the Sabbath, keeping the Feasts, eating clean, and calling “Jesus” by His real name (Yeshua) I thank you for posting this encouraging word. Your blog has been a real blessing to me. It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones dodging the daggers!

    • Jennifer Peacock says:

      Joy:

      Considering the New Testament including Matthew was entirely written in Greek, and the Greek name of our savior is Ioseus, how do you know his real name is “Yeshua?”

      Why does this matter?

      Well, because there is an entire Messianic Jewish movement that believes the “Greek Jesus” is not the “Hebrew Yeshua” and that the Christian church is an aberrant if not heretical perversion of HaShem’s true religion. The idea of the Trinity, Sunday worship, and even calling the savior Jesus is offensive, and rather than following God’s Word through Paul’s hand that there is neither Jew nor Greek, a wall is erected, and Christ’s servants are labeled heretics by Judaizers.

      So I do not know where you fall on the Messianic spectrum, but the quotes around “Jesus” did not give me the warm fuzzies. And considering this post is about worshipping the true Jesus, it’s curious you would find this post encouraging.

    • Cathy says:

      Do you “obey the commandments” fully? I sure don’t. Do your kids always honor you and/or husband? Do you EVER put anyone/anything before God?

      Just wondering…

  13. Mrs. S says:

    I agree there are a lot of people who are obeying their flesh and not Jesus and calling themselves Christians.

    Like any other problem in the church, the solution is more of the gospel–Though I am a sinner, Christ dies for me and gives me his free righteousness and I am set free to love and obey Him.

    The other danger is there is too much focus on the dos and (mostly)don’ts which is also presenting a different gospel because my works cannot justify me. Galatians says, “walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.” Somehow we need to point out each other’s ( many culturally imposed) blindspots without pointing to laws as the solution but to Christ’s liberating work on the cross for us. We have been set free from the bondage of sin and can obey Him now! Then when we are abiding in Him the fruit of obedience will grow in our life not the other way around. (Hope that made sense!)

  14. This makes me think of the Iraqi Christians who won’t be kept from their churches. Many have left Iraq, and it would be hard to blame them. But after the recent terrorist shooting spree in a Catholic church there, many of the parishioners, along with non-believers who stood with them in solidarity, returned to worship, before the church had even been cleaned of the blood. This spoke volumes to me. One man said it was because he had been in the middle of his prayers when the gunfire started, and he wanted to finish. (gulp)

    Feeling good about Jesus is a by-product of worshiping Him. It transcends circumstance. Getting that out of sync is only worshiping good feelings. Following Him means following Him, in spite of what we might – or might not – be feeling.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the encouraging post. It was exactly what I needed today. I have been so discouraged as we decided we needed to leave our church and search for a new home. We were chastised for “preaching homeschooling” (we only answered questions about it if people asked, but we didn’t say that it was one option as good as any other), criticized for not serving (we were serving the body twice weekly but not in an official ministry that received recognition), challenged on having our children not participate in Sunday School, told to never mention the holiday we don’t celebrate after God convicted us (so we had to skip church that Sunday to not offend), and have been told others are worrying that we will become one of “those crazy” type Christians. It has been heart wrenching to feel more comfortable in the world (where people just figure the weird way we are is how Christians are), than on Sunday morning (where Christians call us names, and find us to be offensive as we try to obey Christ). Thanks for reminding me that I am not the only one out there.

    I agree with Ben in that some may take the concept too far, elevating non-Biblical practices to be equitable with scripture, and I may not agree with all of the eschatology preached from Vision Forum, but Kelly is certainly right that we have fallen so far. These topics must be emphasized because as of now we are clueless as to what obedience to Christ looks like. We are over-entertained, overly self-focused (myself included), and eager to make Jesus a comfortable homey instead of a holy God. May we please God and be His bond-servants.

  16. wannabegodly says:

    Thanks again, Kelly, for putting out good and necessary food for thought. It makes me think of Steven Curtis Chapman’s song which asks, “What about the change? What about the difference? What about the grace? What about forgiveness? What about a life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change?”

  17. Candace says:

    Thank you so much for speaking without sugar coating the truth. I think that a huge problem is that we try to be nice and sugar coat everything. Then slowly the gospel turns into, as you say, the ‘nice gospel’.

  18. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Candace C, Achtung Aeon. Achtung Aeon said: The Happy Gospel: The Wrong Jesus | http://ow.ly/1a4bH3 […]

  19. Dede says:

    A few thoughts on this:
    I agree with Ben. And I am thankful that a man had the presence of mind to comment in and bring some things that need to be deeply considered. I am also grateful that Avaya was kind enough to comment in. Her words speak so much “wisdom” into this forum — and she is not a “Christ-follower.” My deepest prayers for you Avaya. God has wonderful plans for your life.

    Kelly,
    I pray that you have spent time in prayer for Avaya. Have contacted her to share the marvelous message of the Gospel. Have committed her salvation to your highest priorities. And will not rest until her soul is in the eternal care of our Savior. For God does not just bring people into our lives (blogs) for no reason. There is no greater call for any of us but to serve the Kingdom as messergers of the Gospel

    I also feel as though I need to “call you out” for the purpose of making a point. Your blog is so very good about about “calling out” Truth and holding feet to the fire regarding the Word as you understand it. I beleive that most of your readers are very aware that you embrace the very, literal, understanding about marriage roles, children, women in the home and leadership in the home/church. So it is with that understanding that I ask you to explain how it is that you felt it okay to “teach” and “instruct” a male commentor in your blog? Your comment to him is one of instruction, clarification, and disagreement. Is this okay by your understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12: I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man. She must be quiet. Why would you not have asked your husband to address this man? Or just ignored his commentary?

    I guess, I am now, holding your feet to your own fire — the understanding of God’s Word that you put forth here.

    Respectfully submitted.

    • Word Warrior says:

      I agree with Jennifer’s answer and will just add that there is a big difference in “teaching a man in spiritual matters” and having an intelligent conversation–it’s another one of those catch-22 with people who enjoy opposing…they scold for your “strict interpretations”, actually putting you in a box you’re not in, and then pounce when you get out of said box 😉

      I don’t believe it’s wrong for a woman to converse on spiritual matters with a man.

  20. Taunya says:

    Kelly I SO understand that in our world family has not been the main priority but can you not acknowledge that it is possible to OVER CORRECT? Everything Ben put in the first comment of this post is what my husband and I have seen over the last 11 years of homeschooling, and after my husband started and co-pastored a family-integrated church. In an attempt to come out of the world and grow closer to God many have created a new God centered around quiverfull theology, family, family-integrated churches, stay-at-home daughters, courtship, baby wearing, wheat grinding, multi-generational visions, etc. Where is God in all this? What does any of this have to do with the fact that Jesus spilled His blood on the cross for us? ALL of these things are EXTRA-BIBLICAL lifestyle choices that have NOTHING to do with salvation. In fact many Mormons and Catholics adopt these same practices.

    Our experience is like Ben’s we see so much about what dictionary to use (1828); what our women should wear (skirts and dresses; how we should conduct church services (no Sunday school, two hour dinner afterwards); and how many children we should have (never ask that question just keep having them).

    The focus is no longer on Jesus. It is now on how close to perfect we can make our families. The family has become the idol in a new works based theology set to produce the most godly kids the world has seen since Jesus Himself was a boy.

    Listen, my husband and I are conservative homeschool Christians but enough is enough already. When do we admit we have gone too far, this thing has gotten out of hand and we are losing sight of what REAL Christianity is.

    It is time to wake up before things get out of hand. The focus is not on God anymore, the Holy Spirit is being replaced by a list of rules and the family has replaced God the Father. Jesus is the only way and it seems like in an misguided attempt to correct some real ills in our society many have over corrected and missed the mark as much as those from whom they are trying to differentiate themselves, just on the other side of the spectrum.

    • Jennifer says:

      I am very happy and relieved that you and others brought this to light, Taunya. The generational planning is especially prideful and extra-Biblical. Please just know, again, that Kelly doesn’t promote family worship. Her point was in warning us of the danger of going too far to the other side.

      I know personally, however, of the people you describe who do. Their doctrine spreads fear, legalism, man in place of God, fleshly fathers over the Holy One, and even strips women of their unique, individual purposes by claiming we all have but one role. And of course, it consists of one’s entire existence living underneath a male “covering”.

    • ellowynne says:

      Taunya, your words echo my heart and experience. Some of us have been blungeoned to death with these vain philosophies.

      A simple statement like “All we need is Jesus” is translated differently for everyone. For me it naturally and quite automatically includes the service/obedience/sacrifice part. A phrase in and of itself is not wrong. Just as this phrase trips some up, and leads to others tripping up, likewise does quiverful/wheat-grinding/family business/homeschooling propoganda trip others up. If we could relax and allow our pride to be diminished, we might see that many of us are only considering and narrow-minded in our own, flaw-ridden perspectives.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Dede, if I may say so you have some rather strange thoughts. The question about teaching men is not something that, even for complimentarians, usually dictates that a woman can’t instruct a man period. It’s generally believed that if a woman has ANY limitations thus at all, it has to do with being in church (or, as I believe, that Paul was addressing one woman and NOT all women). It doesn’t apply here anyway: Kelly made a post about Biblical rules. Period. A man responded, and she’s supposed to ignore him? Or say “WOMEN ONLY READ THIS” at the top of the page? What you’re suggesting is nonsensical, and part of the reason why claiming women can’t teach men is ridiculous anyway (how far does that go?). I don’t think such an objection, or holding Kelly’s feet to the fire or any such correction of her, is remotely necessary.

    “And will not rest until her soul is in the eternal care of our Savior”

    How is this supposed to occur? Should she track Avaya’s spiritual journey and be restless until she’s sure it’s Christian?

  22. Sherry says:

    Dear Kelly,

    Wonderful job! This was so wonderfully written that I actually am taking time to comment! It is important to note that we follow Christ, not trends! After 28 years and 15 children we continue to simply follow the Master.

    Sherry (Largefamilymothering)

  23. R. F. says:

    I want to address all the people who are posting warning about “over correcting.”

    Perhaps this post wasn’t for you who are already living out the scripture for Jesus. But for many of us, we need to hear this. I am not surrounded by families that homeschool, mother stays home, father is the provider, children court instead of date, no birth control, quiverfull crowd. Instead the churches in our area are filled with two income families, children in public school, dating teens, very feminist thinking among the women and the men, and the families are small (we are considered very large with 4 children.)
    I would have to say the message has not reached everyone yet. Christians around here are claiming all you need is Jesus. But are not allowing him to change them. They are attending church with hangovers, sending their wives to work so they can have more, stop at two children, and basically live like the rest of the world.
    Perhaps in your area over correcting is the problem. But I would argue that the rest of our country hasn’t even started correcting yet.

    • Taunya says:

      R.F.
      I would agree with you I have families just like you described around me. The fact of the matter is that both sides the over-correction side and the families living in the world have replaced God with idols. They are equally lost and equally in need of a Savior. Narrow is the gate and on both the right and the left is barren wasteland. I attempt to evangelize both sides of the coin in my life. I will not stand by quietly and allow worldly families around me to live their lifestyle with out speaking out and I will not allow those who have over corrected and replaced Jesus with fundamentalist idols to either.

      It does not matter what lifestyle is chosen if Jesus is replaced with an idol the penalty is Hell my friend. We need to reach each and everyone who is not following the one true God whether they look the world or whether they look like the Amish matters not. Only Jesus can save and all our good works are as filthy rags without Him!!

  24. Katie Grace says:

    I agree that the danger that Kelly speaks of in her post is characteristic of many in the church today. They are Christians but look so much like the world it is hard to tell. God does call us to be set apart, in the world and not of it, and to pursue a life that sanctifies us so that we become more Christ-like.

    The challenge that we can face is reconciling our call to become more Christ-like with our work of disciplining others. Many draw so much into themselves that they forsake the world – a world that desperately needs Jesus – the real Jesus. I also see many family- oriented families who become so focused on their family that they fail to serve and disciple others. This is swinging too far in the other direction.

    We are all called as Christians to shine our light into the world. This can be challenging when, as a SAHM with small children, my “world” is not very big. I have to actively seek opportunities to broaden my world so that I can encounter those who are not just like me.

    I believe my children should be first when it comes to disciplining but many families believe that their children are all they are called to lead to Christ and disciple. They build a wall around their family for their children’s sake. They attend a home church that is family integrated and seems very exclusive. While the church is there to provide a place for Christians, it should also be open to those who are seeking God.

    My husband and I host a family bible study in our home twice a month. There are a variety of families who attend that are in various stages of their walk with Christ. We seek to help teach these families more of God’s word and what it means to live a life that honors Christ. We have one family that only recently became Christians. The entire family is hungry for more of God and always arrive early and stay late. They still look a lot like the world. God is working in their lives and we believe he is using us to help them on that journey.

    I think we need to be mindful of the position that God has placed us in and not forget, as we focus on our own families, that there are people who could greatly benefit from some time and energy invested in their lives.

  25. Dede says:

    Kelly and Jennifer,
    My personal belief regarding how Kelly responded is not compromised. I, personally, believe that the interaction was completely biblical. But, my beleif is not in question because I am not blogging about my belief and claiming to be prophetic in my blog and encouraging people towards my understandings of Scripture.

    However,

    If one will go and read the archives of this blog, one will see that Kelly’s own assertions on family, marriage roles, etc are in conclict with her response in this situation. I am not suggesting it is wrong. Kelly has done so herself with her own words and own posts through out the years that she has blogged here. It is a catch 22 Kelly: It seems as though you espouse paticular ideas that are very distinct, but then when it is convenient for you, you abondon them. And then use red herrings and ad hominem to negate your critics.

    With regards to Jennifer’s comments about women instructing men, again, according to previously stated beliefs, the intepretation of said Scripture is not open to discussion. Kelly has, herself, inidcated that she believes in a strict role of patriarchy — both in the church and at home — according to her own belief, this Scritpure must be taken literally. And that was not the case here. Yes. If Kelly is to really exercise what she puts into words in the blog — she should have ignored him. But, she was not going to miss a chance to disagree with any commentor that suggests that she may not be correct in her posting — man or woman. I appreciate that you have such a passionate need to defend Kelly, Jennifer. It further characterizes the problems here. Kelly should defend herself. And we should let her. But, as with most “followings” the followers get very upset when the leader is criticized and feel the need to respond. Clever leaders provide opportunities for this and encourage it. As is done here. You are just one of many who follow this leader and follow well.

    As for the coment about Avaya’s soul — that is just blatent unconcern for the eternity of a womn. And that you would feel the need to respond and defend such a thing leaves question to your own understanding of the message of Jesus. And for Kelly to respond that she agrees with your comments — and I can only assume that she includes that one, too — is EXACTLY the problem I am referrring to. This site is not about Jesus, loving God or loving people or longing for the lost to know our Lord and Savior. It is about how to be a “good” mom and wife. And there is no such thing as a “good Christian” mom or wife who has no regard for the eternal damnation of the lost.

    But, I know too well that these are all wasted words. There is only one “gospel” preached here. And it’s not the one that Jesus preached.

    • Kelly says:

      Dede,

      I really shouldn’t leave your comment up because it is inflammatory, accusatory and assuming on a number of levels.

      I am not going to “defend” it, because it’s clear that you *see* what you want to see, even if it means ignoring the truth.

      I was agreeing with Jennifer’s summary of “teaching a man” versus having a conversation…nothing to do with Avaya, but characteristic of YOUR type (those who come here to find fault and misinterpret everything I say). Which is why it’s pointless to rebuttal.

      Further comments like these will not be published.

      If you’re bold enough to make a statement such as your last sentence, you will need to provide evidence of such an accusation. Your word can’t stand alone.

    • Charity says:

      “… as with most “followings” the followers get very upset when the leader is criticized and feel the need to respond. Clever leaders provide opportunities for this and encourage it. As is done here. You are just one of many who follow this leader and follow well.”

      I love Kelly’s blog and agree with much, if not all of what she says here, but, I do not “follow” her. I follow Christ! And Kelly does nothing mmore than encourage others to do the same! You need to think before you take the time to type such harsh words here.

    • Avaya says:

      Dede, I am sure that you, Kelly and Jennifer WILL pray for me despite the disagreements amongst yourselves. I attempted once to explain my spiritual path here (a long time ago), quite badly. At that time, I also criticised the behaviour of some Christians in my country (again without making my point too well). However, despite any criticisms, I have always loved Christians, and love Jesus even more. I have no wish to argue theology or my spirituality at this time, but prayers are always welcome with deep gratitude. The rest is, as always, up to God. I thank you for your concern about me.

      • Dede says:

        Avaya,
        Thank you so much for your grace and sweetness. We do not deserve it. If only we as members of Christ’s church would be ONE in spirit as He called us to be. Our sins are not to be confused with His perfection. His love. And His desire to call you one of His own. My prayers are so deeply with you. I have not stopped praying for you since you first commented in.

        And your comment represents exactly the minsitry of Jesus that we are called to. I am so thankful that you saw this first hand in your home country. And I pray even now that God will send someone to you to continue that ministry in your heart. I thank you for your comments because it reminded me of the minstiry of Jesus that I was called to — and living out that ministry is so affectively used by my Lord to draw people to Him.

        God’s presence and drawing to you, my friend.

  26. Jennifer says:

    Howdy, Dede.

    “With regards to Jennifer’s comments about women instructing men, again, according to previously stated beliefs, the intepretation of said Scripture is not open to discussion”

    It isn’t? When did she ever say that she doesn’t think women can talk to men about spiritual matters? I said before that the different levels of interpretation for this passage are varied, so yes, Kelly’s individual interpretation of it would very much be open to discussion, especially since it appears you’re incorrect about it.

    “If Kelly is to really exercise what she puts into words in the blog —she should have ignored him. But, she was not going to miss a chance to disagree with any commentor that suggests that she may not be correct in her posting — man or woman. I appreciate that you have such a passionate need to defend Kelly, Jennifer. It further characterizes the problems here. Kelly should defend herself. And we should let her. But, as with most “followings” the followers get very upset when the leader is criticized and feel the need to respond. Clever leaders provide opportunities for this and encourage it. As is done here. You are just one of many who follow this leader and follow well”

    Now I have to laugh a little. You think we’re blind followers here? You think I’M a blind follower of this blog and automatically agree with everything here? I’ll let someone else set you straight about that one if they care to. This is not a blog for blindness, Dede. I’ve disagreed with Kelly and others here before, some would even say too often, but yes I did see the need to defend her because she’s not guilty of what you say she is. And because I’m tired of people pulling extremes in regards to the whole “women teaching men” stuff. The ironic thing is that your concern of blind leadership and following is a valid one in general and with many, as SEVERAL “followers” have already stated here in response to this post, but it’s not a problem on THIS blog. Honestly, there are so many blogs you can pick on; this isn’t one of them.

    • Charity says:

      Jennifer,
      I am now sure that you are the Jennifer that used to have the blue box by your name. 😉 And that is why I am snorting with laughter after reading that comment to you! You are certainly no blind follower (of anything I would imagine). You certainly think for yourself! Guess she should have been reading some of the comments on those archive posts 🙂

  27. Taryn says:

    wannabegodly- I almost didn’t add Habukkak to my comment. My son married a Catholic girl and they had the first birthday party for my granddaughter. I quoted that Scripture to my son and asked him to protect his guests(driving home etc.). The other grandmother became drunk- slurred speech etc. It was sad. I was raised Catholic and grew up around alcohol- we had a bar in our house. I chose to be married in the Baptist church that preached against alcohol. I even used Abeka for homeschooling. Their high school health book says that alcohol is the most widely abused drug in the world today(page 255). You are welcome to see if that is in context.

  28. Taryn says:

    Abeka’s high school health book quotes Proverbs 20:1(KJB)-Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” I don’t know what the other versions say. That’s another Scripture that I quote to my children. I’m sorry if anyone disapproves- I don’t want to upset anyone.

  29. Taryn says:

    I just found a tract called Sipping Saints by Christian Light Education/Publications that has Habakkuk 2:15a in it. If I remember correctly David Wilkerson’s book by the same title quotes Habakkuk also. I like Christian Light Education’s hardcover readers and history books- especially the 7th grade text- God’s World His Story.

  30. SavedbyGrace says:

    Jennifer a blind follower????? Snorting with laughter here too! 🙂

    Someone really needs to go back and thoroughly read more of Kelly’s blog. I’ve had some of my most spirited and challenging debates with Jennifer. God is a wonderful teacher and many women grown and stretched their faith through Kelly’s blog. If you don’t agree that’s fine. Always go back to Scripture to find answers, God will will show the truth Himself. He is gracious to provide wisdom ( see James ).

    I agree that over correcting is in many cases necessary. When something gets skewed too far in 1 direction it’s hard to bring it back to acceptable territory. That’s 1 reason I went to dresses only. That’s 1 reason why any movie that contains witchcraft or anything similar to it, even “Christian” movies, are not something we watch in our home. It’s also a reason why I purposefully submit myself to my husband in public ways. When things are so messed up and we want to correct them, then sometimes, we must over correct to bring it back. Sometimes very strict obedience is the only thing that will get the “world’s” attention so that people can see their need for Jesus Christ, which is our job as Christians!

    I also agree that many people have the “wrong” Jesus. For some churches, Jesus is boxed up very prettily as Love and that is all He is. These churches forget that Jesus is a Holy God and that we, His church, are supposed to be holy as well. Jesus said, “If you love me obey me.” It’s as plain and simple as that — OBEY!

    I don’t care if: your hair is down to your knees, you keep your head covered 24/7, you attend church every time the door is open, you have a quiver full (or not), you fully submit yourself to your husband daily, your children can recite Psalm 119 from memory or any other spiritual thing you can come up with. If it is not done out of obedience to Christ because you love Him and desire to obey Him then you are being fruitless instead of fruitful and you are building with wood, hay and stubble instead of gold, silver and precious gems. (see cor.)

  31. Taryn says:

    If you google- did the pilgrims drink beer- you will learn that they used low-alcohol beer to purify the water and gave it to their children. It was a water purification process. They used a type of grape juice/ low alcohol wine during Jesus’ time to purify water. There were lots of children at the weddings back then. Good articles about Thanksgiving and beer, the Mayflower and beer, etc. Our family drinks reverse-osmosis purified water. Reading about beer and colonial legislation of the different percentages of alcohol in beer are interesting to read about in the encyclopedia. The Abeka health text goes into the history of fermentation and distillation.

  32. Taryn says:

    Matthew 15- when Jesus reproves the scribes and Pharisees it is about tradition(KJB)-the Talmud.

  33. Becky S says:

    Kelly, I appreciate your insights and pray that you will continue to encourage us! I also live in an area that is very “churched” – a church on every corner, but it is hard to see the true believers because many look so similar to the rest of the world. I would argue in the discussion of over correcting that a pendulum swings and settles in the center, but it must first pass center to get there.

    Dede, I wonder if you have so little respect for Kelly and her viewpoint, why waste your time reading here? Just wondering…

  34. Taryn says:

    Cathy-crossdressing(Deuteronomy 22:5-KJB) for men and women- and if you look up breeches in the King James Bible you will see that Jewish men wore pants. Research the history of women wearing pants and the agenda behind it. kingdombaptist.org in one of his articles/videos speaks about ancient Gnostic writings concerning women wearing pants being a future agenda. When we are conditioned to think something is normal-like our education system with its student loans etc.- it is difficult for us to see the truth. So many see sodomites(old dictionaries define it as the act for both-including lesbians- new dictionaries have changed it-see libertytothecaptives.net) as normal-it’s sad.

    • Cathy says:

      Taryn,

      I just saw your comment about cross dressing. Am I the “Cathy (the one that she thinks she knows everything?)” to whom you referred?

      Taryn, truly I don’t want to offend you, but your comment is way over the top. I said that I wasn’t going to engage in any more of the discussion unless I was mentioned, or unless it gave me a headache to read a comment, so since this one named me, here I am again.

      Seriously, you cannot use the Deuteronomy passage as a proof text for women not wearing pants. If you do, then do you also follow the rest of the passage? Do you, for example, ever wear clothes that have linen and wool woven together? Do you make sure to make tassels on the “four corners of the cloak that you wear (22:11, 12)?”

      And, have you EVER, I mean, ever worn your husband’s shirt when you painted, or slipped on a pair of his shoes to walk outside because they were by the door? Have your daughters ever done so? By your definition, then they (and you) are guilty of cross-dressing. Cross-dressing is wearing clothes that are intended for the opposite sex, and it is usually a lifestyle. I suppose that means that believers could never go to a costume party and dress like the opposite sex. Cross-dressing is a heart issue. Don’t carelessly toss around that term.

      Embarking on this stuff is just plain tedious. You must look at context. A case can be made (from the Bible) for almost anything if you look hard enough, and if you take it out of context. But, we are to be students of the Word, and take care w/it. I teach a 1st grade Sunday School class, and I want to handle God’s Word w/care. We all should have that as our goal.

      Then, you add a blurb about student loans. What do these things have to do w/Scripture? You may prefer things one way, but they are preferences. And, if you are convicted about such things, and practice them anyway, then you’ve sinned. But, you cannot foist your belief system on other believers, and then try to find verses that back up your views.

      And, your speech is to be seasoned w/salt, and to be “apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:1).” You don’t HAVE to use “sodomites,” do you? Would it be wrong to just use the common parlance “gay?” Of do you think that unbelievers should be called out? What do you expect from unbelievers? They’re unredeemed sinners like you were at one time. I submit that the Gospel changes hearts. Give them the Gospel, and let God transform lives. Rules and the law won’t do either of those things.

      Cathy

  35. Kim says:

    Kelly,
    I really appreciated this post. I thought it was so right on the mark.
    Truthfully, I was shocked as I started reading through the comments. Then I became sad. This is the condition of the “church” today. I believe that the negative comments that were posted only solidify the point that you made.

    • Jennifer says:

      Any negative comments trying to disparage Kelly herself are one thing, but “negative” comments bringing to mind the dangers of going the other way should not be shocking at all. I admit, I was surprised that so many brought it up here, but I guess this is because more than me have been witnessing this stuff lately. Perhaps it’s timely; I’ve JUST been reading a book by a woman who suffered from it. I just want it to be clear that Kelly, and her readers, are not among the people spreading extra-Biblical doctrine, nor is there anything wrong with Kelly’s post at all. I guess it just reminded lots of folks about the dangers of the other side, too.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Well, in response to Kelly’s original point, I’ll post something that I was going to post on the article about church debauchery (I’d still post it there if I thought it would get the attention it deserves). Here’s a prime quote about the importance of true Christian discipline:

    “If you’re looking for a church, find one that realizes that it is the basic school of discipline and training for Christians. Pick a church where you will best equipped for the spiritual battle raging around us. It’s a battle for eternal souls. And no Christian can afford to be just a weekend warrior.”

    Charles Colson

  37. Dede says:

    As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (From Romans chapter 15 — lest you think that this passage deals exclusiviely with food and celebrations — read chapters 1-14 to truly understand)

    I am responding with Scripture. I will not busy myself with “studying” this blog. It is clear that many of you spend a great amount of time here. Time that, perhaps, should be studying the Scriptures for yourself and not someones elses explanation of them. The “values” that are offering here are not in and of themself “bad”, but they are not “absolutes.” They are extrapolations of a person’s belief about paticular Scriptures. And to embrace such beleif’s may work for the author and others that read here. But, to suggest that they are absolute Truth – that is, Truth that applies to ALL people in ALL places at ALL times, is simply not true. I suppose that I should quantify the paticular teachings that I am thinking of:
    1. Quiverfull: Children are a blessing therefore we should not prevent the conception of children; to do so is sin.
    2. Homeschool: It is the only, godly and Deut 6 correct method to educate children.
    3. Family Integrated Worship: Families must worship together and to separate them in worhsip is unbiblical and even humanistic.
    4. Modesty: Anything other than the author’s personal conviction is deemed inappropriate.
    5. Girls and Homemakers: The only appropriate occupation for our women — and therefore our daughters — is that of homemaker. And so, the education that we give our daughters prepares them for this occupation alone.
    6. Courtship: Dating is unbiblical and sinful. Courtship under the complete authority of parents is God’s way to find your mate.
    7. Patriachy: Children remain under the authority of parents until they take a spouse. At no time is the child outside of the authority of the parent — paticularly the father.

    Okay. I think that is list enough. There are many good arguments for the above ideas. And many reasons why a person would embrace them to some degree. However — however, to suggest that to NOT embrace these as biblical mandate is sinful (and the author suggests this — even in the current post — by offering Scripture to “prove” this) is not within the scope of Scripture. As the above Romans passage depicts very clearly. As does the “TOTAL SUM” of Scripture.

    AND TO PLACE SAID IDEAS ABOVE THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEEKING OUT AND PREACHING TO THE LOST IS UNFORGIVABLE!

    Sweet Avaya was so precious in her reponse to me and Kelly and Jennifer. And here we are “arguing” “disuputable matters” (the NIV trnaslation of Romans 15:1) while this young woman is telling us what truly draws men to Chirst. Go back and read her first comment. Our hearts should burn withing us for this mission. And if we embrace these other things for our families — fine. Great. BUT — they should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER be placed above the message of the Gospel.

    I confess, I DO NOT read here everyday. Perish the thought to those of you who do. Not anything against Kelly, but really…where are your priorites? If this is where you come to be taught Scripture — your teaching is very narrow in its scope. And that is very dangerous. But, for the last 4 or so years I have checked in here every few months — just out of curiosity mostly — and it is ALWAYS the same message. And it’s her blog and that is her perogitive. Again, my agony in all of this is the very little consideration the message of the Gospel is given — and these other “opinions” are given such precidence. So much so that when a woman comments in that she is not a Christian, instead of the comment thread recognizing an unbeliever in the midst and shifting towards the ministry of that soul — it continues on with its intent to discuss the intial post. That is shameful. Shameful. Becuase there is nothing in the original post that is going to provide opportunity for this woman to TRULY KNOW Jesus Christ.

    I think that is why I finally commented in. I am still in shock as I reread the commentary. It goes “blah, blah, blah, Hi everyone, I’m not a Christian but I believe in Christ, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I mean really, I hate to sound like a cliche here: But what would Jesus have done? I cannot imagine He would have completely igored this woman and continued on with commentary that has no saving message.

    And the belife in election or predestination or any of the like does not excuse this neglect. Even for those who subscribe to those doctrines recevied the same commandment from our Lord: Go! Make disciples!

    Kelly can write as wants. You all can read and subscribe and comment. But take a hard look at your hearts in this situation. Really. What is truly important? Paul calls all of these issues (list above) “opinions” or “disputable matters”. So if that is what they are — then we are trivial to spend so much time on them. Especially when we completely ignore the cry of the lost in our midst. I cannot tell you how grieved my heart is over this. Especially since I see this overwhelming trend among people who subscribe to these opinions. Their concern, like Ben said, is more with their positions that with the total message of Christ. One that was blatently ignored even in the context of this post and comments.

    And if you wish to argue that these are “not opinions”, be preapred to go head to head with the Word of God. Jesus and Paul make it very clear. The OLD has gone. The NEW has Come. The NEW Covenant of freedom and grace is better than the OLD Covenant of law and bondage. It is not a license to sin by any means. BUT, it is the freedom to live out a life lead of the Holy Spirit’s guidence in mature Christian faith without subjecting Believers to rule and opinions that not all Beleivers are called to.

    And, I won’t return with anymore commentary. I am quite sad I spent this much time here. But maybe, just maybe, the truths set forth in this commentary will make at least one person think about the point of their platform and opinion. And more importantly create a very sober and repentful spirit for the neglect of a soul that needs to KNOW Jesus our Lord.

    • Jennifer says:

      Dede, I think you’ve said more than enough here. You have no right to presume that any one of us place Kelly’s words on a level with Christ’s; God forbid we take what wisdom we can from a sister who’s lived and struggled as we all have and has faith in the Lord. The women here welcome Avaya and certainly pray for her, but nothing says we should forget all about the original message or focus everything on one person. It would be a little overwhelming to her if we all zeroed in on her and hounded her steps, until the moment she finally..what, said “Ok, I’ve been delivered!” We’re supposed to be in a state of unrest until then? Your honey sweet praises of Avaya and woe-begotten words towards the rest of us don’t disguise the fact that you did, in fact, come here to cause trouble and not in the least to cease arguing “little” matters. How dare you put such a preening look on your own motives and accuse the rest of us of ignoring someone in need. Your heart is clear, and it needs as much help as anyone else’s.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Dede,

      As I said before, you presume things, assert things, declare things that aren’t true. So many, in fact, that I don’t have time to address them all, but discerning readers of this blog know how clearly mistaken you are.

      Many of the things you’ve listed as “my gospel” I have never stated as sinful to those who don’t practice them. I challenge (as I have been challenged) other readers to think about things that our culture has hindered us from thinking about (the blessing of children, for example). I have never emphatically said that to prevent children is a sin–I’ve been careful, in fact, to state that that is NOT what I believe. It just makes you feel better to hem me in.

      You “scold” us for arguing; you are the one who came here with the absurd “holding my feet to the fire” over answering a man. Again, it only takes a discerning reader to know that I advocate the biblical role of women in authoritative/teaching positions within the church; only those looking to criticize would say it’s a “double standard” if I answer a comment that a man leaves on my blog. It really makes your whole presence here lose credibility.

      This statement:

      “AND TO PLACE SAID IDEAS ABOVE THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IN SEEKING OUT AND PREACHING TO THE LOST IS UNFORGIVABLE!”

      Slander. I have never placed ANYTHING above the ministry of the gospel, and it would behoove you to provide evidence (my quotes) of such an accusation.

      I thought about the silliness of such a thing as it relates to my writing here on the blog. Blogs are slivers–they are never a complete resource for anything. Some people write about chocolate; it doesn’t mean they elevate chocolate above carrots.

      I have a particular interest (partly due to my season of life) in family, specifically in the way of encouraging women (Titus 2). I write a lot about those things. But writing about a certain topic more than another doesn’t mean that I “worship” that topic or place it above. I’m writing to Christian women, though non-Christians are free to read. The assumption is that most readers already have the “milk of the word”; they are already believers and so the fundamental elements of the gospel are a given.

      I choose to write about specific areas that affect a Christian’s life; that doesn’t make me negligent to the importance of the gospel. And to assert so is really, forgive me, a dim-witted conclusion.

      I would suggest that because you don’t read here often you not be so presumptuous in your comments. Re. Avaya: We’ve have conversations before, here, about her spiritual condition. We’ve already “been there” and I’ve expressed my deep concern and you have no idea how and when I pray for my readers, or what kind of private interaction I may have with them, so enough of that.

      I’ll leave the rest alone and certainly hope you find a blog that is more palatable for you.

    • Mandi says:

      Hi Dede,

      I don’t want to beat up on you, but I do want to gently admonish you. In your admirable vigor to have the gospel preached, perhaps being a little more discerning of when to be still and quiet would draw more to the family of our Savior. I would argue that you allowed your emotions and words to diminish the winsome life-giving gospel over the last few days to those who came here searching for it.

  38. Avaya says:

    Dede,thank you for your kind words and prayers. I trust God fully. If I am to become a Christian, I will become one. And if I am to become one, your prayers, and those of Kelly’s and anyone else here, will count.

    MATTHEW 25:31-46 has emblazoned itself on my brain, and even if I do not become a Christian, I hope I will spend the rest of my life learning how to achieve that level of service and love (I am nowhere close).

    Kelly, perhaps I should not have commented to begin with. I read here because I like reading people who have views opposed to my own, and the www allows people with vastly standpoints to learn about each other.

    To get back to your original post, where you spoke of transformation and recognising the followers of Christ: We used to recognise Christians, in our very poor country, by the way they lived-transforming the lives of others, lifting them out of despair. The lesson of treating the “least” of the earth as if they were God Himself, is taught in my non-Christian culture too, but everyone seemed to have forgotten it. Only a few Christians seemed to remember it, in their love and devotion to Christ, lost in the love of God. These were Christians who did not need to open their mouths to preach the gospel, because they lived it and automatically attracted people to their faith. And now, living in the West, I see Christians forgetting this lesson, forgetting about the suffering around them, turning inwards and quarrelling amongst themselves. It is a matter of deep and abiding grief and I felt the need to express it.

    Jennifer, you are right, I would be overwhelmed if everyone zeroed in on me and I never intended for the focus to shift away from the original post. So I shall stop here, be quiet and say no more.

  39. Courtney says:

    Wow, I wasn’t expecting this level of disagreement on this post. This blog is about family. Kelly writes about what she’s passionate about and you would think that her readers would be those who share that passion and want to be encouraged by her words. I’m amazed at the number of people here to debate. Debate and disagreement are not bad and we should always question advice and compare it to Scripture ourselves, but the debate here is more like antagonism.

    Blogs like this one were not as necessary in the past because women had mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who taught and encouraged them in godly ways. With the shift toward immediate gratification (i.e. using credit and needing to send mom to work to cover it) and the deemphasis of the ministry of motherhood, too many babies are being raised in day cares and later nurtured and guided by peers instead of family. Homemaking and parenting have become lost arts and we now have a generation of women who have no one to teach them basic skills or to guide them in child-rearing and such. I believe this is one of the reasons there appears to some to be an overemphasis on matters of the family. Combine this lack of knowledge and skill with the feminist agenda to alter the design of the family and you have a NEED for a spotlight on family.

    All of those categories like-minded believers are sometimes placed in and defined by simply share the common goal of the pursuit of living in obedience to God. The Bible teaches my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit and I am to treat it as such. Therefore, I choose healthy meals for my family. In the past, everyday ordinary people ate whole, real food, but with the shift toward processed, synthetic fake food products, we have to, for the first time in history, TEACH and talk about going out of our way to prepare REAL food. So, this “movement” to grind your own wheat is not a new thing by any means. It’s simply something that we must now educate each other on in order to preserve the real food that is going out of style thanks to greedy conglomerates like Monsanto.

    I believe dresses are viewed by most as an easy way to look and feel like a woman, not a legalistic prerequisite for a godly woman (although some make that claim). In an androgenous culture that skews the roles of male and female and narrows the gap in their unique differences, dressing femininely is one way a woman can feel more confident in the role God designed her for. I wear dresses, skirts, jeans, capris, sweats, but there’s no doubt I feel more feminine and comfortable in dresses and skirts. On the topic of dress, I find it odd that modesty is set apart and considered a legalistic mindset. Our culture has sunken so deep into this pit of lust and dressing provocatively to feel good about oneself and the vicious cycle that links these two that it’s now considered strange to encourage dressing appropriately. Kelly makes a good point. “Why would it be acceptable to wear strapless, but it’s questionable not to?” We’re simply trying to protect what the culture is taking away here.

    Dating and courtship… It’s the idea of dating (going for a practice run even if you have no plans for commitment) that is the newer trend here. And dating has become even more and more casual in recent years that it’s crucial we warn of the dangers of this odd practice.

    Ah, babywearing. Personally, I don’t like that label, just like I don’t like the term “cloth diaperer”. I carry my babies in wraps and slings and use cloth diapers, but I don’t define myself accordingly. I will admit these terms are proudly stamped on some as status symbols, but it seems those who claim these labels are more often than not the more liberal moms. The denim skirt-wearing, wheat grinding, modest clothes wearing homeschoolers who wear slings and wraps aren’t making up any new trends. They’re following a common sense tradition that dates back thousands of years. It makes sense to nurture your baby and keep him close to his primary source of comfort early on, but maybe this “lifestyle” is more pronounced because of those of us who speak out against and fear the destructive trend toward the “crying it out/put baby in one of your 20,000 soothing contraptions so you don’t have to tend to him or nurture him/babies are a burden not blessing and bring you stress and not joy” kind of thinking that the feminist movement successfully instilled in our culture.

    My goal in touching on all these issues was not to defend them, but instead to point out that the things some consider new trends or overemphasized among a particular like-minded group of people are really just things that are emphasized today because of a recent shift in a bad direction in these particular areas.

    I absolutely agree that family is the root of the culture and we must challenge the family to return to God’s design, a design that IS the perfect illustration of Christ and the body. I also believe that the family must be strong in order for the church to be strong, so in a society that is waging war on the family, it’s more important than ever to bring attention to God’s design for the family and his command to obey Him and what He has to say on family matters. Our society, Christians no exception, has shifted so far into this tolerant, lenient, “feel-good gospel” mindset that teaching, blogging, and encouraging Biblical convictions and a godly lifestyle is seen as extreme. That’s sad. I am reminded of that book The Shack that came out a few years ago. It was widely accepted even amongst Christians, despite the fact that it completely disrespected our Lord and removed any requirement in obedience or any suggestion that God does have something to say about HOW we live. I thank you, Kelly, for standing up and speaking the truth at the expense of yourself.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Courtney,

      Praise God for your common sense 😉

      • Cathy says:

        Kelly, I was about to leave the computer for the night, but read Courtney’s comment. Honestly, I cannot understand how you think her comment is an approach to “common sense.”

        Courtney, your comment makes sweeping statements about a “common sense tradition” and then contrasts it w/the feminist movement. Your comment about food then goes on a mini diatribe about “greedy conglomerates like Monsanto.” That sounds more like environmentalist speak. According to you, dating is an “odd practice.” To whom? Moms who don’t use slings and cloth diapers are following a more “destructive trend” because they’re using “…20,000 soothing contraptions” instead of soothing and nurtuing. Really, Courtney? Really? What gigantic leaps.

        The irony of all of this is that we discourage casual dating among our kids, and I am not of the persuasion to let babies scream their lungs out. I’m not a feminist, and I rarely, if ever, wear pants. BUT, I don’t think that my way is the ONLY way, and neither should you. Because, simply put, it isn’t.

        When you write about “REAL” food and wanting to take care of your “temple,” what does that say about others (like me) who don’t grind their wheat? Does that mean that we don’t care about our families, or our temples as much as you do? Does that mean that you love Jesus more than I do?

        If you read my comment to Kelly, then perhaps you will understand that I talked about strapless dresses for a reason. Yet, you’re trying to “protect what the culture is taking away here.” What is that? And, if I have no objection to strapless dresses (for the record–to restate, I don’t like them, but that’s a personal preference), does that mean that I am not trying to “protect the culture?” What does even mean, anyway? Come to think of it, I’m NOT trying to protect the culture. It is a sinful one, and one that I can’t change, but I can teach my kids (who are all nearly adults) that Jesus is the ONLY way, and that He calls us to die to self daily, and follow Him.

        The comment is so steeped in generalities and hyperbole that it makes my head spin.

        I read it to my husband, and after I read the part about “REAL” food, etc., he asked, “Yeah, but WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE BIBLE?”

        Courtney, you have set up straw men and then knocked them down. And, as my husband observed, your comment isn’t about Godliness, but about behaviors. Are you equating your lifestyle w/theology? Are you saying that Christians who don’t observe such practices are worldly-minded, or, even worse, in sin?

        Satan may have waged war on the family, but he has waged war on society at large. I think your observation about The Shack (I have no idea how to underline, so I can’t underline the title) is more accurate. But, I mentioned those kinds of issues as being more apt to destroy the church than whether or not we have to, “for the first time in history (see what I mean about sweeping statements?), TEACH and talk about going out of our way to prepare REAL food.” This isn’t theology, and I find little mention of God in your comment. I have learned a whole lot about your lifestyle, but I have learned nothing about Jesus and the greatness of God. How ’bout writing about our great salvation? How ’bout writing that the creation is part of God’s handiwork (that He used his finger to create nature), but that when He save me, that is when Isaiah refers to Him figuratively rolling up His sleeve to save mankind? That is the kind of stuff that thrills my soul, and makes me appreciate the greatness and grandeur of God.

        Your comment about your lifestyle spoke to a list of how you do life.

        It served to me give me a headache, and wonder if these things can become distractions in our Christian walks.

        What you wrote, Courtney, struck a chord w/me, as well.

        Good night. Sorry if this is convoluted, but I am not going to proof it, if it’s OK.

        Cathy

        • Courtney says:

          Cathy,
          In reference to these lifestyles and behaviors I mentioned, I was actually trying to make the point that these labels placed on a group of like-minded individuals are not doctrinal statements but lifestyle choices they have in common. There were numerous references made to the “denim skirt wearing, wheat grinding, courtship adhering, babywearing homeschooling family…” (generalities) and the idea that there was an overemphasis on family among this stereotype. I was refuting the idea that these lifestyle choices are indicative of one’s faith or religious maturity. These lifestyles are not trends; they are often brought up and discussed because of the recent shift away from them.
          For the record, I don’t usually grind my wheat, either, but hope to when I can afford the right tools! I do think there needs to be an emphasis on going back to real food, though. I didn’t suggest that grinding one’s own wheat makes one holier than one who doesn’t. I suggested that those who love the Lord and obey Him want to be good stewards of their bodies, and this is sometimes seen in their choice to grind their own wheat. The emphasize on grinding one’s own wheat arises from the lack of availability of wholesome grains elsewhere today. While being good stewards of our bodies is obedience to God, grinding wheat is just one way this is done. Same with modesty and femininity (obedience)/ dresses (one way this is displayed), avoiding lust and pursuing God’s design for marriage (obedience)/ courtship (one way this is played out), receiving and perceiving children as a blessing not a burden (obedience/belief)/ “babywearing” (one way we can nurture our little ones).
          I didn’t say anything about protecting the culture. Like you said, why would we want to protect the culture??? I did say that by choosing appropriate dress, we are trying to protect what the culture is stealing away (i.e. modesty, innocence, respect for the female body as God’s wonderful creation designed with a purpose not an object to lust over). Our behavior is a reflection of our thoughts, which are a reflection of our hearts. The Lord IS concerned about matters of the heart.
          I believe Satan has waged war on society, but his war on the family is gaining much success in recent decades. Strengthening the family, the root of EVERY other issue out there, should be our strategy in this battle.
          I am amazed every day at how glorious and wonderful my God is, but my focus is on bringing glory to Him and not Him bringing glory to me via the “happy feel-good gospel”. One way I bring Him glory is by studying His Word and learning what He has to say about how we should do life. I am humbled every day by His amazing grace, but I also know that He wants me to live my life a certain way and that I should be in this world but not of it.

          • Cathy says:

            Courtney,

            I reread your statement w/regard to the culture, and, you’re right, I misread it the first time around. Mea culpa. Sorry that I misunderstood.

            I know that God IS concerned w/matters of the heart. That was my point. All of the practices that you mentioned are externals, and have zero to do w/theology or soteriology.

            Unless there are more comments that give me a monster headache, or mention something that I’ve written, I proclaim my part in the discussion over. On to another post, and/or another thread.

            Have a good day. It looks to be another nippy, rainy day where I am–in “sunny” CA.

            Cathy

            I stand by my assertion that your initial comment is given to innuendo, hyperbole and exaggeration.

    • Courtney, I love ya…I refuse to babywear, cloth-diaper, co-sleep, breast feed past 6 months, or grind wheat – I live in S Texas, all of that stuff is too sweaty…but you are so right – our love of Christ isn’t expressed in breast milk or skirts. Although I would love for it to be so simple, it just isn’t. Labels are only labels.

      “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

      I am no more than the thief on the cross, except I have the benefit of The Water and The Word….you said it all, perfectly.

    • Jennifer says:

      “Wow, I wasn’t expecting this level of disagreement on this post. This blog is about family. Kelly writes about what she’s passionate about and you would think that her readers would be those who share that passion and want to be encouraged by her words”

      Oh for pity’s sake. Courtney, I don’t recall a single one of Kelly’s readers (not counting Dede, who’s new) disagreeing with Kelly’s post. What many were doing was pointing out the harm that’s been committed by those who place things like family before God. And I’ll tell you something else: these people, these rule-worshippers, never preached what they preach to “correct the swaying” or belittling of family in this culture. They do what they do with an agenda from the start. Did you see my earlier comment about their marketing ploys? The primary reason they say “don’t watch this” or “don’t read that” and “don’t live this way” is to limit others’ options so their own products, books, movies will stand out. Their statements consist of “Don’t purchase from American Girls, they support PP! Buy our group of historical dolls instead!” and “Don’t watch Avatar, it’s BAD! Watch our documentary about Creationism instead; in fact, it’s now on Blu Ray for a great price!” (A ministry literally said this; after an inflammatory article about how evil Avatar and James Cameron are, they actually pasted an advertisement for their nature documentary and its reduced price RIGHT below it). Or “All this stuff about women going to college is BAD! Check out our college at home resources!” It’s so painfully obvious, I’m mystified as to how anyone misses it.

      • Courtney says:

        I would never gather, from Kelly’s posts, that she somehow exalts the family above God. I see it as her desire is for the Lord and seeking His ways and strengthening the family is crucial to living for God’s glory.

        Why the attack in Vision Forum? One doesn’t have to adhere to everything they publish. It wouldn’t even be fair to suggest that your very own pastor has all the answers and never gets anything wrong. And, by the way, if I were Vision Forum, I’d want to promote my products, too. Isn’t that the point of running a business?

        • Jennifer says:

          “I would never gather, from Kelly’s posts, that she somehow exalts the family above God”

          Nor should you gather from my comments that I said this about HER.

          Clearly you don’t understand what I’m saying if you see nothing wrong with promoting your own lifestyle as a rule, and your products in an all exclusive and shameless way, even when you’re supposed to be focusing on a serious issue. Explaining something that’s allegedly spiritually dangerous, than tacking “check out our piece instead, btw the price has just been reduced!” is tacky and obviously an advertisement more than an effort to spiritually counsel. (I’m glad you automatically knew I was describing the VF, since I never named them, though they are by far not the only ones). The isolationist tactic is also familiar and around more than the VF (the “all these things are bad” attitude). But you did get one thing: they’re far more of a business than a ministry. And it goes way beyond “not having all the right answers”. What you’re describing is a mere surface view of things.

  40. Courtney says:

    Whew! I must say that was the longest comment I’ve ever written or SEEN. I’m sorry but this issue struck a chord with me.

  41. Deborah says:

    Thank you, Kelly! Your heart for the Lord, and your calling to encourage others in regards to family is much needed. I am new to reading but am being blessed. I am a follower of Christ, a wife,and a mother of 6 seeking the truth in a world where that is hard to find. Thank you for sharing! May the Holy Spirit guide you as you continue to write. Be encouraged!

  42. Kim M says:

    By the way, Kelly, I replied to someone else in the comments section before I thanked you for such a truthful, needed post. Thank you! Don’t doubt for a minute (or … let Satan tempt you to doubt) what you are doing is an awesome ministry.
    The Lord has worked on my heart so much through your blog. Thanks again!

    • Word Warrior says:

      Kim,

      You make the point I’ve thought all along. I hear so many “Vision Forum naysayers” talk about the pressure to wear skirts or whatever thing they pick, and yet I have NEVER once heard Doug say such. (I’m not saying someone somewhere hasn’t said it,) but I read a lot of material in that genre and I’ve never seen anything that suggested we must wear certain clothes. Emphasis on femininity? Yes. It should be so. But I’ve never seen/heard/read a dress code though so many love to suggest there is one. I get lumped in all the time by those who assume, and I’ve said over and over that although we love wearing dresses, we don’t have a “rule” and we don’t not wear pants. Modesty is always a heart issue and I think if we are being careful there, then our choice to wear all dresses or to allow pants still enables us to dress modestly. Neither camp should be criticized for what the Lord has shown them there.

  43. Jennifer says:

    If anyone’s interested, I realized why my box changed colors: my email address disappeared from the ID posting slot here when the computer lost a little memory and then, instead of refilling the email slot with my own address, I did my mom’s without thinking. So, I’ve got a new identity. Contemplating going back to blue for lesser confusion, at least in the next post. Choices, choices..

  44. Cathy says:

    Jennifer,

    Please! Your identity is in Christ, NOT in your box color. Obviously, you haven’t read the Bible. And, yeah, I’m joking.

    Cathy

  45. Jennifer says:

    Idk, I’m trying to find out if the Holy Spirit seems blue or green..

    lol 😛

  46. Mary R says:

    Here’s a thought. Why is it when a christian feels they should do something that the majority are not doing , they are considered legalistic ? and over Biblical? A hundred years ago no one would think you were weird for nursing past six months because your baby would have needed to be fed .

    Just because I grind my own wheat, baby wear and nurse long and you choose not to; doesn’t mean I condemn you . On the other hand why are you so defensive about my choices ?

  47. Marita says:

    I think we often fail to differentiate between justification & sanctification. If we fail to differentiate, we will miss one another in discussion.

    Justification= saved by grace
    Sanctification – the outworking of justification.

    I.o.w. we now live a different life, which would include our cultural mandate as stated in Gen 1. (have dominion, be fruitful, multiply)
    We should therefore consider how we have dominion, i.e.
    – living sustainably,
    – having children and seeing them as blessings,
    -live the way the Lord has created us, men being men, ladies being ladies.
    and a host of other issues.

    The fact that the previous generation has failed in their cultural mandate is evident, for example, the Green peace movement, because they saw that the Christians failed to have dominion, and Christians instead waited idly for the coming of the Lord, focusing only on the justification, forgetting the sanctification and outworking of our walk with the Lord.

    I have put this very simply. This is but one small part of this.

    As my husband puts it: If we have an eight cylinder motor vehicle, why should we let it only fire on one or two cylinders, why not on all eight?

    Humbly
    Marita

  48. Mary R says:

    Jennifer,you said,

    ” No one’s defensive about grinding wheat, Mary. That was merely an example of a practice that some might uplift.”

    Your missing the point. Why is one offended by a choice that “some might uplift” . If you don’t believe that it is biblical then why be upset about it?

    We live in a world where lots of people are offended by other people’s choices .They want those people to say my choice is for me and not you , so they [ the offended one]doesn’t feel convicted and guilty about their choice.

    • Jennifer says:

      No Mary, it’s you who miss the point. We care about the harm that’s done when people publically, spiritually uplift their choices and lifestyles as the only way. You’ve clearly never seen the harm such groupthink can do to others.

      “They want those people to say my choice is for me and not you , so they [ the offended one]doesn’t feel convicted and guilty about their choice”

      Um, no. Good Lord. We’re not talking about the GOSPEL, or “your” way indeed might be the only one. We’re talking about things like homeschooling, single people being missionaries, women attending college vs. staying at home, things which do NOT have the Bible commanding them but which are treated as though they’re the only way any real Christian would go.

  49. Mary R says:

    Jennifer,
    “We care about the harm that’s done when people publically, spiritually uplift their choices and lifestyles as the only way. You’ve clearly never seen the harm such groupthink can do to others.”

    I care also which is why I commented. Your being just as “groupthink” as the side .

    “You’ve clearly never seen the harm such groupthink can do to others.”

    That statement isn’t true. I’ve lived it and know first hand. Change comes with dialog not sarcastic comebacks.

    “We’re talking about things like homeschooling, single people being missionaries, women attending college vs. staying at home, things which do NOT have the Bible commanding them but which are treated as though they’re the only way any real Christian would go.”

    I understand the issues. Have you tried disproving the arguements with scripture references ? or examples of people in the Bible who for example are single missionaries ? That way you can show what the Bible actually does say about those issues.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes Mary, I’m aware that the Bible does not call the husband prophet/priest/king, that women are not ordered to obey their daddies as adults, that it does not condemn/restrict women or men in missionary work, that homeschooling and zero birth control are not commanded, and that churches are not ordered to group all ages together. Yet large groups are proof-texting Scripture and have actually ruined the lives of those who disagree: parents terrorizing their children, coercing their adult offspring, limiting women, people throwing others out of churches.

      “Your being just as “groupthink” as the side”

      How so? I couldn’t care less if you or anyone throws away birth control, lives at home as a grownup, homeschools, or courts. But if I find out that a group, pastor or parent’s hammering this into vulnerable people’s minds as the only way to live, I’m going to shred it for the lie it is.

  50. Mary R says:

    You make sweeping generalizations.That is what makes you a “group think person”.

    If the other side is using scripture in the wrong way , where is your rebuttal from scripture ?

    I read all your comments on this thread and you use emotional words and arguements but no scripture.

    Here are your words:

    “But if I find out that a group, pastor or parent’s hammering this into vulnerable people’s minds as the only way to live, I’m going to shred it for the lie it is.”

    “Oh for pity’s sake.”

    “And I’ll tell you something else: these people, these rule-worshippers, I said before that the different levels of interpretation for this passage are varied, so yes, Kelly’s individual interpretation of it would very much be open to discussion, especially since it appears you’re incorrect about it.”

    “Dede, if I may say so you have some rather strange thoughts”

    “Kim, there are tons of audios and books you’ve missed. There are hundreds of silent cries many don’t hear.”

    “Actually Kim, for the kind of groups that Ben described, it is a new problem. It’s a new problem for homeschoolers and many who believe in the patriarchal mindset, and actually has nothing whatsoever to do with denominational disagreement; nothing remotely. It’s sharp legalism, shaming, and very meticulous idolatry; efforts to “build up the family” are worthless if the ones doing so (or claiming to do so) only bring more harm, an all-around deadly spiritual condemnation system, idolatry of the family and uplifting of the father as God, or mediator. Chuckling and saying “it’s been around forever” does not either negate it or lessen it.”

    “Cathy, I know precisely the types of groups and behavior you’re describing. And you’re 100% right.”

    “You’re absolutely right, Ben. I’ve been reading testimonies from people suffering from this very thing: people who make fathers priests, tell women they can’t even hear God on their own, make a one-size-fits-all for every woman (motherhood is the highest calling and there’s no calling outside from the father/husband’s vision) and especially scathingly bad theology. ”

    “Their doctrine spreads fear, legalism, man in place of God, fleshly fathers over the Holy One, and even strips women of their unique, individual purposes by claiming we all have but one role. And of course, it consists of one’s entire existence living underneath a male “covering”.”

    “No Mary, it’s you who miss the point.We care about the harm that’s done when people publically, spiritually uplift their choices and lifestyles as the only way. You’ve clearly never seen the harm such groupthink can do to others.”

    Not one word from scripture, only your opinion and what you’ve read and heard about.

    Change comes with dialog not sarcastic comebacks and caustic words that put people down for their beliefs.

    • Jennifer says:

      You’re using some awfully flimsy tactics to try and fault my position, and why should that even be, Mary? Do you disagree with what I’ve said is NOT part of mandatory Christian living? If so, it falls on you to prove why you think it’s mandatory, not for me to disprove it. I haven’t quoted Scripture because there is NOTHING IN IT that supports what people have made into laws; you don’t quote something that’s not there. You actually imply my argument isn’t valid because I’ve stated FACTS, and not Scripture? Everything I’ve said is based on what I’ve witnessed, not just heard second-hand. Your side-stepping is stunning to me and your reason quite mysterious.

    • Jennifer says:

      “caustic words that put people down for their beliefs”

      Perhaps you should explain this to the people who have ruined lives, not those who speak strongly against them. Hurting their feelings is not high on my list of concerns.

      “You make sweeping generalizations”

      About who? I repeat nothing that I haven’t seen to be true.

      “Here are your words”

      I know what my words are.

      Mary, what exactly are your objections to these words?

      “I said before that the different levels of interpretation for this passage are varied, so yes, Kelly’s individual interpretation of it would very much be open to discussion, especially since it appears you’re incorrect about it”

      “efforts to “build up the family” are worthless if the ones doing so (or claiming to do so) only bring more harm, an all-around deadly spiritual condemnation system, idolatry of the family and uplifting of the father as God, or mediator”

      “I’ve been reading testimonies from people suffering from this very thing: people who make fathers priests, tell women they can’t even hear God on their own, make a one-size-fits-all for every woman (motherhood is the highest calling and there’s no calling outside from the father/husband’s vision)”

      What are your problems here? Do you disagree with my rebuttal to Dede, for example? Do I need Scripture to back up the point that she’s wrong about Kelly’s personal position? What on earth does Scripture even have to do with that?? Do you disagree that actions claiming to rebuild family are worthless if they only bring more harm? Do you disagree that women don’t all have the same purpose, that they can’t hear God apart from their main male, that a man is mediator between his family and God? If so, where’s the Scripture for that? If not, why are you complaining? And why did you even bother to quote this post in its entirety: ““You’re absolutely right, Ben. I’ve been reading testimonies from people suffering from this very thing: people who make fathers priests, tell women they can’t even hear God on their own, make a one-size-fits-all for every woman (motherhood is the highest calling and there’s no calling outside from the father/husband’s vision) and especially scathingly bad theology”

      That was an observation, Mary, not an opinion or even a belief; it’s what I’ve SEEN. What does Scripture have to do with what I’ve seen other people do? How is that post faulty? You need to give an awful lot of explanation if you hope for me to even slightly understand your objection.

      • Jennifer says:

        I’m sorry if you found me too caustic to you, Mary, but I hope my cause for concern is very clear now. It’s almost Thanksgiving and I want to leave this behind before I go to the mountains tomorrow with family. Have a good holiday.

  51. Kim M says:

    James 3
    1My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

    2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

    3Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

    4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

    5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

    6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

    7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

    8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

    9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

    10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

    11Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

    12Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

    13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

    14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

    15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

    16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

    17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

    18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

  52. Mary R says:

    Excellent post Kim M.

  53. Mary R says:

    Jennifer,
    In fact I did find you to be caustic. Your words do have consequences.

    Saying your sorry ,”but”, isn’t an apology. It’s just more of the same.

    If your right then there is no reason to want to put this behind you before the holidays. Your simply enlightening me.

    • Jennifer says:

      Since you’ve decided not to accept a thing I’ve said, I guess you’re right, it was pointless. Very well, do what you wish with my words. Your reasoning is vague again; there’s a way to tell truth without being sharp, and sharpness was what I apologized for, not the truth. I don’t care in the least to put the TRUTH behind me, just any debate or hard feelings. I hope you are enlightened, whether from me or someone else, I don’t really care.

  54. Rachel says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I had some thoughts that were inspired by your blog and wanted to let you know that I blogged about them. 🙂 No insult intended at all, just want you to know that I linked this page and let you come and comment/reply to clear things up if I misunderstood you at all.

    Thanks!

  55. Ivory says:

    I can agree with the author’s original post almost entirely. Nothing really to set off alarm bells.
    However, having now been blindsided by two different Patriarch/Courtship families and being accused myself of being worldly, wicked and sinful because I do not hold their beliefs I can tell you that they use buzz words to mask the real meaning of things in their families.
    I’m sorry to say that because these have been close friends and family and only when you get close enough do you find out what they really are believing and thinking.

    I am Reformed in my Theology, conservative, fully complementarian in the sense of Piper and Grudem, but I cannot bow to the worship of family and daddy….and that is what is being promoted in a large majority of these Patriarch circles.

    Frankly, I think it is a preference people are free to make for themselves, but not to impose on others.

    We’ve had many young couples and families in our churches get caught up in the extrabiblical legalism fostered by these types and it has ruined relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ.

    What’s godly about that?

    The fact is, this is a mindset where if you don’t agree, you are labled as less than godly, and in my case, wicked and worldly.

    Why? Because I don’t think God created girls to worship their fathers and bow to his every beck and call and desire.
    I think God created people with minds and hearts and as He saves and sanctifies He is more than capable of leading a couple through dating/courting without help from sinful daddy.

    Sadly, tragically, Patriarch/Courtship families do not believe or teach that God is absolutely Sovereign and all Powerful—-they would never say it, but their teaching istructs that God needs daddy’s help to get the right people together and married for His glory.

    Strange, we have hundreds of couples in my church, many celebrating multiple decades of marriage who never had daddy’s help…and never needed it!
    Praise be to God for their faithful testimony of God’s power and goodness to us!

    Period!

    • wordwarrior says:

      Ivory,

      My only problem with your comment is the same problem in every conversation about “patriarchy”:

      “but I cannot bow to the worship of family and daddy….and that is what is being promoted in a large majority of these Patriarch circles.”

      If the teaching is that we are to “bow to the worship of family and daddy”, that is not true patriarchy. True, biblical patriarchy doesn’t replace God with father; it merely restates what the Bible itself says about the father (husband), that he is the “head” of the wife and by definition, the leader of his family, sinful as he is.

      True patriarchy doesn’t add or detract from what the Bible says.

      • Bethany says:

        If that is the case, patriarchy seems to be particularly prone to distortion. I disagree with so many of patriarchy’s proponents: and they almost ALL say what you said, Kelly: ie, ‘the father is the head of the family, but we don’t worship the father!’

        When so many patriarchy supporters speak the same way, it is very hard to distinguish between those who are adding to the Bible, and those who are not. And no patriarchalist is going to say that they are ‘adding to the Bible’: they are merely drawing logical conclusions, or even following clearly stated precepts.

        So, MY problem with your comment is that you are speaking just like so many patriarchy supporters. I have been deeply and negatively affected by the teachings of many patriarchalists who you would probably say are in the right [the Botkins, Stacy McDonald, etc]: I have no reason to believe that your underlying beliefs are any different from theirs.

        • Jennifer says:

          Mcdonald’s and especially Botkin’s teachings veer off to the more extreme, Bethany, and the Botkins particularly commit paternal reverence that goes beyond Biblical commands. Bethany, I do believe that spiritual patriarchy is not correct and can be harmful, especially if you look at the extreme negativity of people like Wayne Grudem. I’ll say that right now: I am not complimentarian and oppose it totally, believing we’re all servants with the same opportunities and that spiritual hierarchy, whether male or female, is unBiblical (I also believe in egalitarian government, absolutely). But I’ll also say that there’s a difference between basic complimentarianism (which can be very mild and have no hindrance on the hearts of the Christians who practice it [many of whom are simply amazing human beings]) and the type of patriarchy you describe. There’s even a difference between severe complimentarianism, like Wayne Grudem’s, and the type you describe!

          I’ll give you an example: Grudem believes in total male headship, both marital and churchwise, and gives all sorts of obnoxious rules about what women CAN’T do in spiritual leadership and teaching; the man practically strains his forehead vein. But his restrictions on women reside in spiritual matters; uber-patriarchy extends to all areas of life and is more narrow, more unforgiving, more cruel. Grudem has stated that he believes women can vote and have jobs outside the home, and the website that espouses almost all of his beliefs says the same (CBMW). The CBMW site has no problem with women missionaries, women governors, or women country-leaders, for that matter (though some more extreme comps try to claim that the latter is an exception made by God). Folks like the type that have hurt you, on the other hand, say women are not meant to be missionaries (except perhaps if they’re married), should never be governors, were not meant to be leaders, should refuse college and all jobs outside the home EVEN when they’re single, because they’re meant to be their father’s ambassadors, princesses, and obedient offspring. Even as grown adults. Since you’ve been hurt by their teachings, I know you must already know this. All patriarchy centers on the father as head. But the difference is, the severe ones lift him as prophet and king of his female line even when they’re grown up. They live under his will and fulfill his dreams, not theirs. Many also treat the father as priest and claim a daughter can’t hear from God without Daddy’s help, or that if she does hear God tell her to do something Dad doesn’t want, she couldn’t really have heard from Him because He wouldn’t contradict her God-given authority (I’d like to clarify that I’ve never heard the Botkins say THIS; others in their belief system have). When you look at such families, they look accomplished, happy, some even brilliant. But they’re living in an unGodly reign.

          Kelly does not live in an unGodly reign. She loves the Botkins, and you may not have reason to believe she’s any less severe than those who lift the father too highly, but I do. I’ve spent an extended period of time here and I’ve seen an honest and God-fearing family. Kelly is a complimentarian, so you’re bound to disagree with her on that, but please know that there are differences in patriarchy and they must be acknowledged. I’m so sorry you’ve been hurt by bad teachings and thank God you’re free now. Heal with God; only He decides your path.

          • Bethany says:

            Jennifer, thank you for your response. I’ve appreciated your input here for a while 🙂

            You are right: it is essential to acknowledge the differences within complementarianism and even patriarchy. I have certainly experienced those differences: a family, dear friends of ours, would seem to follow many traditional patriarchal teachings, but they are neither legalistic nor father-centric. One of the daughters has no interest in college, and plans to remain at home: the other is interested in writing and hopes to go to college. Their parents support both daughters’ choices.

            When I first heard of complementarianism/patriarchy [at about the age of 12], I thought I would line up with ‘soft’ complementarianism. Actually I think I still might: but it seems complementarianism has been what I can only call corrupted, by its meshing with patriarchy. I once heard it described thus: complementary angles are any two angles that add up to a certain amount [ie 45 and 45, or 30 and 60, to make a 90-degree angle]. This is a beautiful picture of what I would say marriage is designed to be: two people working together to complete and complement each others’ efforts. However, many complementarians tend to squash all people into, let us say, 30 and 60 degree angles: there is no allowance for any variation.

            I am ashamed that my response to anyone who supports ‘patriarchy’ is beginning to tend towards intolerance and blind disagreement. This is not acceptable, nor really excusable: though I can try to explain it. When all of your experience tells you one thing, it is difficult to keep an open mind.

            • Jennifer says:

              Dang it! Kelly, I hope my second reply to Bethany’s in the spam folder.

            • Jennifer says:

              You’re welcome Bethany, and thank you 🙂 Don’t be ashamed, I understand your feelings exactly. You’re absolutely right about marriage and how the severest Christians put everyone in a narrow category. An amazing woman and writer who escaped this kind of system said it perfectly: “What God makes unique, (uber) patriarchy makes mandatory”.

              “One of the daughters has no interest in college, and plans to remain at home: the other is interested in writing and hopes to go to college. Their parents support both daughters’ choices”

              That is awesome! 🙂 It’s all in the fruits, isn’t it?

          • Word Warrior says:

            Jennifer,

            “I’ve spent an extended period of time here and I’ve seen an honest and God-fearing family.”

            I sincerely appreciate this.

          • Word Warrior says:

            Jennifer,

            Jennifer,

            “I’ve spent an extended period of time here and I’ve seen an honest and God-fearing family.”

            I sincerely appreciate this.

        • Word Warrior says:

          Bethany,

          Perhaps not. You said: “And no patriarchalist is going to say that they are ‘adding to the Bible’: they are merely drawing logical conclusions, or even following clearly stated precepts.”

          The division between all Christians regarding any doctrine is the simple interpretation of Scripture. If you don’t like the way I interpret something (and it’s more conservative than what you believe), you’ll accuse me of “adding to the Bible”. And if you interpret too loosely, I’ll say you’re interpreting to loosely 😉

          Lots of things influence the way we interpret the Bible, but we all need to be very careful about reading it in its clearest meaning without using our feelings or emotions to guide our interpretations. I like to think that when Jesus said, “Unless you become as a little child you will not see the Kingdom” he wants us to come to His Word and read it like a child-not adding or reducing it. Obviously there are times we must dive deeper, study, do word analysis, etc., but not if it’s just to make it say what we want it to say.

          Example of what I believe and why, and then you can be content to agree to disagree.

          When Eve was created in the garden, the reason given was “because there was not a helper found for Adam”. We suppose, then, that Adam needed help *with* something. What was it? Further on we read that it is basically to “subdue the earth” and “take dominion” over everything.

          Therefore, it doesn’t offend me to believe that God created me to “help” my husband in “his” mission, which becomes “our” mission. But if I’m a helper, that makes him the leader, as is reiterated in the NT and in numerous passages throughout Scripture.

          What would be the logical conclusion if there was a man who owned a castle, and he said, “Hey, I need a helper”. And so a helper was given to him. She wouldn’t come in and say, “OK, now we’re going to be partners and if I don’t like the way you run things around here, I’m changing it”. No, she would understand (especially if she were CREATED for the very purpose) that her job was to support him, help him, encourage him in whatever he leads them to do.

          This is what I believe Scripture clearly teaches and have found it to be a beautiful design, both in my own family and in all the families I know who believe like myself. Mostly my life is probably lived very much like yours, with only our terminology different. That is to say, as my husband’s helper, he defers to me often, respects me as I respect him, desires my counsel on everything, asks me my opinion about everything from a purchase to whether we should ask someone over for dinner. But I acknowledge with my heart and mind, regardless of the deference he gives me, that he is my head. It’s a simple acceptance of what the Bible says–I don’t see this as adding anything.

          • Jennifer says:

            That’s a good explanation Kelly, and naturally I won’t challenge it since it’s a statement of your own beliefs. But I do have to say this: being a helper doesn’t necessarily mean the other person’s a leader. God has been our Helper many times.

            • Word Warrior says:

              But that poetic use of the word “helper” doesn’t define God’s role, as Scripture DOES define ours. God has never been commanded to “submit to us” or to “reverence” us. 😉 All of Scripture points to husband-leader except for the one “proof text” of mutual submission.

              • Jennifer says:

                Nope, God certainly doesn’t submit to us (though one writer unbelievably said He does when He helps us; that’s how badly they wanted to prove that helper ALWAYS means something subordinate). I think submission’s more about love than authority, though it can come close; your spouse is basically meant to be the ruler of your heart (romatically, not spiritually, as God is).

                • Jennifer says:

                  Hm, maybe saying the spouse should be “king/queen” of your heart would have sounded better than “ruler”, since the former could imply simply that they’re #1 rather than “ruling” you. Oh well, you know what I mean..

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