A Biblical Response to the Feminist Agenda
Written by: MacArthur Jr., John Posted on: 04/01/2003
The following message was delivered at Grace Community Church in Panorama
City, California, by John MacArthur Jr. It was transcribed from the
tape, GTY-44, titled "A Biblical Response to the Feminist Agenda." A
copy of the tape can be obtained by writing, Word of Grace, P.O. Box
4000, Panorama City, CA 91412 or by dialing toll free 1-800-55-GRACE.
I have made every effort to ensure that an accurate transcription of the
original tape was made. Please note that at times sentence structure may
appear to vary from accepted English conventions. This is due primarily
to the techniques involved in preaching and the obvious choices I had to
make in placing the correct punctuation in the article.
It is my intent and prayer that the Holy Spirit will use this
transcription to strengthen and encourage the true Church of Jesus
A Biblical Response to the Feminist Agenda
John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All rights reserved.
Let us open our Bibles to Titus, chapter 2. In our study of the second
chapter of Titus we are considering it under the title, "The Character of
a Healthy Church." In this chapter the Apostle Paul gives instruction to
the church as to how it is to conduct itself. He directs his instruction
to older men, older women, younger women, younger men--selecting every
category within the church and giving basically some direct and specific
instruction to them. This is very crucial to the life of the church, not
only for its own internal well-being, but for the sake of its witness.
He says, in verse 5, that "This instruction is so that the Word of God
may not be dishonored." Verse 8, "So that the opponent may be put to
shame, having nothing bad to say about us." And verse 10, "So that we
may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect." Those are
evangelistic matters. We want the Word of God honored; we want the
opponents of Christianity silenced; and we want God our Savior adorned.
Let's look at verses 3, 4, and 5,
Older women likewise, are to reverent in their behavior, not
malicious gossips, not enslaved to too much wine, teaching
what is good, that they may encourage the young women to
love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible,
pure, workers at home, kind. Being subject to their own
husbands, that the Word of God may not be dishonored.
One of the responsibilities of the older women, which we noted when we
discussed that, is that they are to teach the younger women, and here it
is very specific what they are to teach, as indicated in verses 4 and 5.
God has designed, very clearly, His own order for the conduct of young
women, just as He has for young men and older folks as well. If there is
anything in our culture that is being attacked more viciously than any
other, it is this matter of the role of young women. In fact, if I were
to title this message alone, I might title it "The Feminist Attack on the
Divine Order for Women." We are going through that right now. No matter
what I would say about verses 4 and 5 it would be controversial. If I
just read it--it would be controversial.
One of the most devastating, and debilitating, and destructive movements
in our day is the "Feminist Movement." It is changing not only the world
but sadly it is changing the church, and as a result the Word of God is
being dishonored; opponents are having plenty bad to say about us and God
our Savior is being dishonored and shamed. Radical feminism has
brainwashed our culture. It has brainwashed our culture to the degree
that even the church has fallen victim to this. Church leaders,
theologians, professors of theology who are supposed to be profound in
the Scripture, as well as lay people in the church have bought the
feminist lies. There was even an organization in America called "CBE"
having to do with Christians for Equality, and this is an evangelical
group advocating a feminist agenda.
Marriage and the family, the primary building blocks of social and moral
order, are in shambles in our country and the future is even worse than
the present. Unthinking Christians, unthinking believers, not just in
liberal churches but in evangelical churches, unthinking, untaught
Christians are falling prey to this agenda. The sad thing is that most
of us have no idea where it is coming from. Most of us think that this
is just a lot of women who really just want some liberation and some
freedom and they're tired of cleaning floors and washing dishes, and they
want equal pay, and they want equal jobs, and they want to get out from
under the mundane duties and express themselves in more grandiose ways
than they think they can in the home--that may be a contemporary
component--that isn't even remotely related to the reason for this.
The real feminist agenda is frightening. The real feminist agenda is
Satanic and you need to understand that, so I am going to do something
this morning that is a bit unusual. Rather than diving right into the
text this morning, I want to give you some understanding of where this
movement today has come from, so that you will see that text in its
What the public sees is women who want to be free. In fact, there is
even a book published by a Christian publisher written by a Christian
woman, called, "Woman Be Free;" and we think that this is a movement
about freedom for women, freedom from strictures that bind them to their
husbands and their children and their duties in the home. We see it as a
cry for equality in a society that is preoccupied with life and liberty
and the pursuit of happiness; a cry for opportunity and privilege to use
their abilities and their skills unhindered and unrestricted; and
sometimes the rhetoric does sound reasonable. But the real agenda is not
reasonable--it is frightening.
Let me help you to understand some of the philosophy that is behind this
movement, by giving you some quotes from the recognized leaders of the
Gloria Stimenn (sp.) says, "By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our
children to believe in human potential, not God."
Radical feminist leader Sheila Cronam (sp.), who is oft quoted by the
way, says this, "Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is
clear that the women's movement must concentrate on attacking this
institution. Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of
The "Declaration of Feminism" goes back to November of 1971 when they
laid out their agenda and this is what it says, "The end of the
institution of marriage is necessary for the liberation of women;
therefore, it is important for us to encourage women to leave their
husbands and not live individually with men. All of history must be
rewritten in terms of oppression of women. We must go back to ancient
female religions like witchcraft!" Mark that, "We must go back to
ancient female religions like witchcraft!"
Anne Lori Gaylor (sp.) writing an article called "Feminist Salvation" in
the "Humanist" in 1988 says, "Let's forget about the mythical Jesus and
look for encouragement, solace, and inspiration from real women. 2,000
years of patriarchal rule under the shadow of the cross ought to be
enough to turn women towards the feminist salvation of the world."
Dr. Mary Jo Bane, feminist, Assistant Professor of Education at Welsley
College, and the Associate Director of the school's Center for Research
on Women, writes, "In order to raise children with equality we must take
them away from families and communally raise them."
And that well known name, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned
Parenthood, writing an article called "Women in the New Race," says this,
"The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant
members is to kill it."
We cannot think lightly about this agenda--we have to think deeply about
it. The fact that you may feel in your heart some need to be free
because you become victimized by the current agenda, doesn't really mean
that you really understand the agenda. You don't know that behind this
entire feminist movement is some very Satanic religious philosophy, and
it runs very deep in the people who are influencing our culture, the
people who have influenced deeply and provided the whole agenda, to say,
Hillary Clinton and many others. And we have to take these ideas very
seriously because they are in the White House, and now they will be
creating laws that we have to live by. They are obliterating our
culture. They are being taught through every avenue to our youth, and
even Christians are falling under the spell of the feminists.
Sheila Croonan (sp.) again, writing in the National Organization of Women
Times, in January of 1988, said, "The simple fact is, every woman must be
willing to be recognized as a lesbian to be fully feminine!" Now, some
people might think that this is some kind of a 20th century phenomena,
that this is some kind of a new thing connected to American democracy and
egalitarianism--it is not--it is old; it is very, very old. Though in
our time, in our century it is an expression of the anti-male, homosexual
women who generated it, it is not a human creation at all; it is
Satanic--absolutely and utterly Satanic. I want to take you back to some
of its origins so that you can understand it.
Feminism with all of its assorted features and its unique companionship
with homosexuality is an old, old heresy that is meant to destroy God's
design. It really started in the Garden when Eve, the original feminist,
stepped out from under Adam's authority and thought that she would act
independently and led the whole race into sin; and thus the first act in
Satan's feminist agenda was successful.
Let's go back, say, to the time of the New Testament. We won't go all
the way back into ancient, ancient time; we can learn enough by going
back into New Testament times. When we get back into the time of the New
Testament, before the New Testament, running through the New Testament
and after, we have a religion that is generally known as Gnosticism. It
comes from a Greek word "gnosis" which means "to know." Gnosticism was
the religion, the mystical religion of superior knowledge. You could
experience mystical, intuitive, spiritual knowledge, which was higher
than the Bible--that was the whole point of it. It was an anti-God,
antichrist, anti-Biblical religion designed by Satan to lure people away
from Scripture. What you see today in the feminist agenda is a
repackaging, a reincarnation of ancient Gnosticism. In fact, the
parallels are very striking.
Peter Jones, writing in his book, very interesting book, "The Occult
Empire Strikes Back," says, "Gnosticism is a broad term to describe
false, anti-God religion developed before the birth of Christ as the
meeting of the mysticism of the Eastern religions and the rationalism of
the Greek West." That's just a broad definition. Gnosticism took Greek
Rationalism (i.e., the musings and the mind of man) and Eastern Mysticism
(those intuitive, esoteric, fanciful, imaginatory experiences that
mystics supposedly have), and wed them together and said, "This is the
higher knowledge, this is the lofty knowledge, this is the superior
knowledge." It is very hard to pin down specifics in the Gnostic
religion because it is a kaleidoscopic mixture of all kinds of mystical
things, and anytime that you have a mystical religion it is somewhat
amorphous or shapeless because it tends to ebb and flow in the minds and
the imaginations of its adherents.
Today, Gnostic religion is called the "New Age Philosophy," but it's
Gnosticism--it's the same thing. It's a new kind of mystical, higher
level of knowledge that is supposedly shows the weakness, the mundane
character of Biblical Christianity.
Now, let's look at Gnosticism and get some idea of what it is. The best
way to define it is by what it attacked, rather than what it is, because
as I said, it is so amorphous, it is so subject to imagination and
intuition that it can spin off in all kinds of ways. But the one thing
you do see in Gnosticism is that it continually blasts everything the
Scripture affirms. So you can know it by what it attacks.
At the heart of ancient Gnosticism was a central myth, and that central
myth drove the whole heresy. Here is that myth: the myth was that the
physical universe was never intended to exist--it's part of that old
Greek dualism "That matter is evil and spirit is good." But the idea was
we were all supposed to be free spirits, and free spirits with full self-
knowledge would be divine, and we were just supposed to float around in
the mystical free world of spirit life, unencumbered and uninhibited by
physical definition and confinement. But, the physical universe came
into being, and it came into being, they said, because a foolish sub-god
created the universe.
If you read ancient Gnostic literature you will see that they attack the
Creator God, they mock Him, they disdain Him with a disdain that even has
components of hatred in it. They hate the Creator God who made matter
because to them matter was evil, and it becomes the prison of the free
According to one recently discovered Gnostic text, God the Creator is
presented as, "Blind, ignorant, arrogant, the source of envy, and they
call him the 'Father of Death.'" Gnostics believe that this fake god
somehow (and they have to believe this or their whole thing would fall
apart)--this fake god somehow, when he created the universe, accidentally
infused into humanity some spark of divine life. They would have to say
that or they would have no way to fan the spark of divine life that they
want to believe that is in them. So that man is divine: there is a
little component of divinity in him which he needs to fan until it just
consumes him and he becomes fully divine. But here is this man with the
divine spark, or this woman with a divine spark imprisoned in evil
matter, and he has to find, or she has to find, a way to escape.
Gnostics taught that there is no such thing as sin, because there is no
such thing as right and wrong in the human realm; therefore, there is no
need for a Savior, there is no need for a death on the cross, there is no
need for an atonement. What they needed to do to be saved was (listen to
this) "Throw off the God of the Old Testament--this evil God." Throw
off the God of the New Testament with all of His laws and all of His
threats, and all of His so-called punishment. Throw off the whole Old
and the whole New Testament and free yourself from the encumbering of
this subgod, this bungling creator who did what he never should have done
and created a prison for us in doing it.
So you can see that the first tenet of their system was a blasphemy
against God--calling God evil, bungling, ignorant. The system also
included (listen to this) lies that elevated women. Ancient Gnosticism
focused on women, this is what it said, for example, "Eve was a spirit
endowed woman who saved Adam." They said, "Final salvation for the whole
world from the imprisonment of matter will come through female power, and
the key is female self-actualization, self-realization, self-knowledge,
in which a woman becomes so fully in tune with herself and so well knows
herself, and actualizes, and realizes and fulfills herself that she
becomes fully divine, and as she becomes divine she will rescue the rest
of these lame men just like Eve, fully divine, rescued poor Adam."
In fact, convoluting the creation account, Gnostic texts tell us that
Dame Wisdom was the heavenly Eve. There was a mystical heavenly woman
named "The Heavenly Eve" who is the same as Dame Wisdom (she is the
source of all wisdom). She entered the snake in the garden, and she
taught both Adam and Eve the true way of salvation. The snake then is
not called the "Tempter," the snake in Gnostic literature is the
"Instructor." The snake is ultimate wisdom, the snake was wiser than
anybody else. The snake, it says in Gnostic literature, is the redeemer
because the snake is the incarnated woman who comes to heavenly Eve and
teaches the truth about self-realization, which is self-fulfillment,
which is making yourself divine, which delivers you from being encumbered
They also say this, "The serpent in the garden is the true Christ, the
true reflection of God." So, they take redemptive history and stand it
on its head like a Satanist cross in a Black Mass. God is evil, the
serpent in the garden is the true Christ, Christ in the New
Testament--the reflection of God--is equally evil. Now, again I say, it
is hard to pin all this stuff down, it's mystical stuff, but you can see
not so much by what it is, the clarity of it, but by what it attacks.
Right? It attacks God, Christ, the Bible, Creation.
"Though caught in matter," they say, the Gnostics, "humanity once again
can become part of the universal whole by a process of self-realization."
They say in the Book of Genesis, "The lack of self-realization is really
the problem that man has." The Bible says that man's problem is
sin--sin! And the root of his sin is his self-preoccupation, so they
flip that completely around.
So the heart and core of Gnostic religion then is the "consubstantiality
of self with God;" you make yourself into God. You are the only God that
exists: you get in tune with yourself, you elevate yourself--self-esteem,
self-knowledge, self-actualization, self-realization, self-fulfilment;
whatever your self wants that's how you become God--you just give
complete sway to your own self-desire.
[The Gnostics say] "So the human plight is not because we have moral
offenses against God, but we are ignorant of human potential." Listen to
this, according to Gnostic writing, "The real Christ's spirit actually
sat on the branch of a tree watching the Christ on the cross and laughed
at Him." Let me read to you from the Apocalypse of Peter (one of their
ancient documents), this is from that Apocalypse,
He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the
living Jesus, but the one in who's hands and feet they drive
the nails is the fleshly part, which is the substitute part
being put to shame, the one who came into being in His
likeness. Be strong, for you are the one to whom these
mysteries have been given to know them through revelation,
that he whom they crucified is the firstborn and the home of
demons, and He who stands near him is the living Savior.
The earthly Christ is a demon; the spiritual mystical Christ in the tree
laughing is the true Christ. Further, they said, "Since the true Christ
never died, there is no resurrection." Redemption, then, is not a
gracious, miraculous transformation of a person through the sacrifice of
Christ. Redemption is self-understanding, self-actualization, that is,
giving sway to anything your self wants: getting out of the strictures,
getting out of the limits, getting out of the prison, being free. Peter
Jones writes that, "The Gnostic believers are saved when they realize who
they are: a part of the divine, processing within themselves the kingdom;
capable of anything; untrammeled by human traditions, creational
structures, or divine laws. It follows that part of self-redemption is
the rejection of Biblical ethical norms and the promotion of the
distortion of Biblical sexuality." In fact, they say, "That when a
person comes to full self-knowledge he becomes another living Christ, and
since the serpent had that knowledge; the serpent who was the woman is
also the true living Christ." Everything twisted and perverted.
Gnosticism is the blasphemy of Satanic distortion of God's truth:
The Bible says, God is a good God and He is the sovereign God--the
Gnostics denied it and blasphemed His name.
The Bible says, Christ is the Living God incarnate in flesh--the Gnostics
blasted it, blasphemed His name.
The Bible says the snake was the tempter--they say the snake is wisdom
personified who is the instructor.
The Bible says Jesus died on a cross for your sins--the Gnostics says
that the Jesus that died on the cross was a joke.
Obviously, this is Satan's lying heresy to confound God's truth. This
blasphemous stuff the Apostle Paul wrote against, even in his epistles in
the New Testament. It is the doctrine of demons from seducing spirits.
This wasn't invented by Gloria Steinem (sp.) and Bella Apsburg (sp.),
this was invented in the pits of hell millennia ago.
Now, to the very central element in this; and that is the issue of
"Feminism." What role did feminism play in Gnosticism? Well, it played
a very, very important role, as I told you already. Eve was the savior
of Adam; and furthermore, the spiritual or heavenly Eve was the
personification of wisdom in the serpent who became the instructor, and
by thus, his instruction sets out to save men. But let's take a look at
some other things.
In the Gnostic system, Eve dominates Adam and sexual roles are totally
altered. And you can understand this, because Satan wants to totally
tear up God's created order. They wrote (the early Gnostics did) that
The divine revealer was feminine. The divine revealer said,
"I am Androgynous. I am both mother and father, it is
through me alone that the all stands firm. I am the womb
that gives shape to the all by giving birth to the light
that shines in splendor. I am the aeon to come. I am the
fulfillment of the all, that is, the glory of the mother."
Now, all of that doubletalk is the talk of the Androgyny of Gnosticism:
that means the wiping out of all sexual distinction. There are Gnostic
texts where God the Creator is castigated by a higher feminine power.
That's that heavenly Eve called "Sophia"--Dame Wisdom. And, "God the
Creator," the Gnostics said, "finally learned that the fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom." In other words, He learned to fear the
feminine "Sophia," so that the God of the Bible is now in fear of the
feminine god "Sophia." The feminization, then, of this higher God
"Wisdom" led directly to the ordination of women. The ordination of
women flows out of the feminization of deity.
The early Gnostic, well known to church history students, named
"Marcion," was excommunicated from the church in A.D. 150. He then
established his own church, in which he appointed women as bishops and
priests. In the Valentinian Gnosticism, women functioned as teachers,
evangelists, healers, priests, perhaps as bishops. This movement in the
church to put women in the roles of spiritual leadership is simply
reflective of this same kind of religious attitude. In sum, Gnosticism,
then, rejects the Creator God of Scripture as blind, and envious,
malicious, not hesitating to commit the most heinous blasphemy of all.
The Gnostics even called the God of the Bible "The True Devil." For the
true Gnostic, the real God, whoever this force was, was unknowable,
impersonal, untouchable--some kind of unified sum of separated parts--a
sort of pantheistic force. But they said this, "The divine being,
because he is all and all, impersonal, untouchable--just this big
force--is best expressed by 'androgyny,' that is, the erasure of male and
The ideal for the Gnostic was to become sexless--a radical refusal of
sexual differentiation, and a complete confusion of sexual identity and
God's intended role.
See, this is how Satan has always tried to tear up God's moral order in
the world, and attacking the family, of course, does the greatest damage.
Diabolical reversal of everything--is Satan's approach. Destroy God's
created order; destroy the integrity of Scripture; destroy the character
of God; destroy the name of Christ.
Beloved, I am telling you this is what is behind today's feminist
movement. This is not some whimsical deal that popped up in the 20th
century by a few women who wanted to take off the apron and buy a
briefcase--this is not that. This is not something that was invented by
women who wanted to abort their babies and get into the corporate halls
and the executive washrooms. This "New Age" thinking (that's what it is
called today) is nothing but "Gnosticism." "New Age" is a new way of
talking about age-old Gnosticism. The heart of it is that female power
is the key to salvation. The "Goddess Cult" is back!
Shirley McClain wrote a book called "Going Within," and in her book she
writes this dedication, "Dedicated to Sachi (sp.), Mother Kathleen Anbila
(sp.), and all the other women and men who seek the spiritual feminine in
themselves. Male is matter, matter is male, matter is evil, male is
evil, feminine is spirit, spirit is feminine, and that's good."
Radical feminism today is being moved along by the idea that women must
be liberated and they can redeem humanity--they can save humanity. These
are the philosophers that are driving the movement--the religionists:
"Creator God of Genesis has to go, He is male, tyrannical, he denies
basic human liberties, He demands total obedience, He threatens
punishment for evil deeds." Consequently, "Original sin is not to be
found in man," they said, "but in God. Feminist liberation releases us
from God, and from all His evil male values--like marriage, fidelity,
family, authority, and morality. The serpent Eve wants to set us free!
The God of the Bible is a jealous tyrant who wants to stand in her way."
So when you hear about the Methodists, or the Presbyterians, or whatever,
or the Episcopalians, deciding to change the Bible and put in "She"--you
know that this is not some human contrivance to make ladies feel better
about themselves--this is a Satanic religion, as Satanic as a "Black
Mass!" And, as with ancient Gnosticism, the New Age movement today, the
goal of liberation, is total reversal of all God-ordained values! That's
why it is so unthinkable that Christians would get sucked into this!
"I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely," said Roman Catholic
theologian Carol Krist (sp.). "I found God in myself and I loved her
fiercely,"--there you have in one simple statement the whole deal. Where
is God? In myself. What is God? Feminine! And, I am one with God.
And she found God in herself with liberation from all Biblical
The path to the New Age involves destroying the Biblical male and female
differentiation--that's New Age feminism. Take for example New Age
author Charlene Sprentnack's (sp.) book, "The Politics of Women's
Spirituality," published by Doubleday, (by the way the same publisher
that published the Anchor Bible Commentary series; they are publishing
God's Word and Satan's at the same time). This book, "The Politics of
Women's Spirituality" is a book that calls for an end to Judeao-Christian
religion, and the call is that we will end Judeao-Christian religion by a
feminist movement nourished on goddess-worship paganism and witchcraft
that succeeds in overthrowing the global rule of men. Feminism wants
Their real ideological goal, because it's Satan's goal, is to absolutely
erase any recollection of creational structure and Biblical
morality--wipe it out! And they are after it! You wonder, don't you,
two generations from now whether anyone will know what Biblical morality
is. Well, they might be able to read the ancient Bible and see what it
looked like, but they certainly are going to have a hard time looking
around town to find it. And here, witless Christians jump on this
feminist bandwagon as if it were some harmless thing: "Well, we have a
right to work, and we shouldn't be confined at home, and I have a right
to express fully myself." Silly women who fall prey and silly men who do
George Guilder (sp.) is a prominent writer. He makes no claim to be a
Christian, but he does understand the agenda. He was once a feminist
thinker, but since 1973 he has realized what their agenda is and he's
written about it; this is what he says,
The revolutionary members of the "Women's Movement" say that
sexual relationships are fundamental to all our other
institutions and activities. If one can profoundly change
the relations between the sexes (they contend) one could
radically and unrecognizably transform the society.
[He is] dead right! The Satanic agenda is to destroy human society, to
just rip the family to shreds and to destroy marriage, so that God has no
means to pass righteousness from one generation to the next. Right?
Which was always the role of the family. There is no more order
maintained in society. There are no more ethical values left, and the
way you do that is sexually--you just shred all standard norms sexually,
so nobody knows how any one is related to anybody, but everybody is free
to do whatever they want to do and that is how they become divine.
Guilder rightly affirms that "Sexuality is not simply a matter of games
people play, it is one of the few matters, truly, of life and death to
society." He warns that if the feminist agenda, even in it's most
moderate version, is carried through, "Our society is doomed to years of
demoralization and anarchy, possibly ending in a police state"
Our society is doing exactly what I told you in Romans one happens to a
society when "God gives them over." What does it say? "God gave them
over," and what did they do? "Women with women doing things which aren't
even imaginable, and men with men doing things which aren't imaginable."
that's what happens to a society under God's wrath--God lets them go--and
they're going the way of the Satanic lies.
Playing right into the hands of the Satanic lies is our own
government--working hard aren't they? What are they working so hard?
Our government, the government of the United States, State of California,
the City of Los Angeles, are doing everything they can do to eliminate
all gender differences. That is not an issue of constitutional liberty;
that is an issue of Satanic religion.
Homosexuality is the companion of feminism because of androgyny.
Homosexuality running rampant--no society can survive that. The Roman
Empire didn't survive it. This entire system is going right into the
"pit"--tearing up God's order--sexually; tearing up families; tearing up
marriage; blaspheming God; blaspheming Christ; exalting the Serpent. I
read one book this weekend where one man suggested that the Antichrist
might be a woman if we keep going the way we are going. Satan is very
successful with this; Vice President Al Gore has written a book called,
"Earth in the Balance--Ecology and the Human Spirit." Peter Jones writes
about that book, "Gore's involvement in ecology is an expression of his
belief in the connectedness of all things, in the great value of all
religious faiths, and in his hope that ancient pagan goddess worship will
help bring us planetary and personal salvation." It is inconceivable
that these people call themselves Baptists--no it is not inconceivable!
Undiscerning Christians falling victim to these hellish heresies. The
destruction is not restrained by the church--the church has joined it!
There is no doubt about what a woman's role is; there is no doubt what a
man's role is. Look at our text again. What has God designed for a
woman? Verse 4, "To love their husbands, to love their children, to be
sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own
husbands that the Word of God may not be dishonored." That's very clear.
You can get into a lot of trouble by suggesting that kind of stuff. Try
standing up in this culture and saying, "Women you are commanded to love
your husband, and to love your children, and to work at home, and to be
subject to your husband." You'll get screamed down--I mean you could be
in deep trouble just reading that, let alone commenting on it!
It's been amazing since people knew that I was approaching this text,
they been telling me, "What are you going to say about this? This is
going to be very controversial. Boy, we can't wait until these tapes
come out--what's going to happen then?" Well, just to mitigate that a
little bit, I have said what I have said this morning so that if you get
upset--you'll know whose side you are on! God has laid out His
standards--they are not negotiable. I will tell you this, if the Church
doesn't wake up soon and obey the Word of God--all is lost! We don't
need to fall victim to this stuff. You don't need a master's degree to
figure out what it means "to love you husband, love your children, and to
work at home!" How hard is that? By the way, there are no qualifiers
there, no caveats, no footnotes--it is just what it says. "Go home,
submit to your husband, have children, raise them in godliness, take care
of your house." And that's what older women are to teach younger
women--they are to teach it not only with their mouth; they are to teach
it with their life.
I'm telling you what I said a few weeks ago is now is becoming so vividly
true. We are living in Romans one--aren't we? What's wrong with
America? God let us go, and we are plunging down the path and the
evidence of it is this reversal of sexual roles that Paul talked about in
Now before we look at verse four, let's go to verse three for a moment
because it's connected. One of the duties of the older women into which
we looked a few weeks back, one of the duties comes at the end of the
list in verse three, "teaching what is good." Older women have as their
responsibility--"teaching what is good." Literally, the Greek word here
could be translated "teachers of what is good," "kalodidaskalos" (Greek):
"teachers of good." "Good" being a word that means "noble, excellent,
and lofty," and the idea in the word is not some kind of formal thing.
It's not conducting seminars, writing a book, making tapes, holding
formal classes--it is the idea of "the very life they live becoming a
model of a pattern of goodness."
Older women, when their children are grown and gone and they reach the
senior years, are not supposed to just wander away from the church and
travel around as if they had no responsibility. In their older years
they are responsible to become teachers of the next generation. They do
that by mentoring, by disciplining, by modeling, by setting the example
of godly living with regard to marriage, and the family, and the home.
Now, they are then to be "teachers of good" and the primary ones they
teach are the "young women;" and that's the transition into verse four,
they are to be teachers of what is good, in order that they may encourage
the young women. The primary responsibility of "older women" is "younger
women." Their children are raised, the children are gone, hopefully they
have raised up a godly generation of their own. Now, within the
framework of the church, the older women are to give themselves in a very
informal, personal way to the modeling of godliness that only a woman can
do to pass on to the next generation. They are to demonstrate virtue as
wives, and virtue as mothers, and virtue as humble, loving, patient,
kind, generous servants to the next generation. Verse four begins with
the word "That;" it's a purpose clause "In order that" with the purpose
or the result "that young women will be encouraged."
Now, the word "encouraged" is probably not translated the best way. It's
a very interesting word: the root of it "sophra" (Greek) is used all over
the Pastoral Epistles; in fact, hardly anywhere else--I think I may have
found one or two uses of the root somewhere other than the Pastorals, but
it appears in the Pastorals many places, and it has various, different
endings which change the form of the word, and we will see it several
times, even in our discussion this morning. But, the form of it that
appears uniquely here, "sophronizo," (Greek) which is a verb ending,
means "to train." To say it another way, "to teach someone self-
control." Some lexicons translate it "to make someone soberminded,"
"to make someone balanced," "to make someone steady," "to provide someone
guidance." But the best translation is "to train someone in self-
control." There are other forms of this word, in 1:8, 2:2, and we will
see even in 2:5, and in those cases it is translated "sensible," but it
is a little bit of a different word, the root is the same but the form of
it is different. One form of it is translated "discipline." In Titus
2:12 it's translated "sensibly," in 1 Timothy 3:2, "prudent," and we will
see later in 1 Timothy 2 it's translated "discrete"--it has the idea of
being "discrete," or "chaste." But the best way to understand this term
is the idea of "training in the art of self-control," "Learning self-
restraint;" in fact, a form of it is translated "self-restraint" in
1 Timothy 2:15.
So, the "older women" then are to teach the "young women" the self-
discipline that trains them to be able to do their duty, which is to love
their husbands, love their children, etc. "Older women" are engaged then
in a training process--to raise a generation of sensible, disciplined,
prudent, wise, discrete, restrained women who are committed to doing
God's will. This is a tremendous challenge: it's not easily done. A
training process implies relationship, ongoing relationship and
responsibility, confrontation, and affirmation. You older women who no
longer have the responsibility of your own children, now have the
responsibility of training the next generation of women.
Now, let's talk about the idea of the "young women." How young is young?
Now, what I am going to say is going to make some of you very happy. To
what age does "young women" refer? Well, in a general sense, we would
say it refers to women who are able to bear children, or are still
rearing children. We would say, generally speaking, that it is sort of a
pre-menopause category of young women; those who are still able to have
children. A good way to understand this is to go back to 1 Timothy 5. I
would add even to that, women who are able to have children or are still
rearing their children. And if you think about it, women can bear
children well into their forties, and consequently for the next, say, "10
to 15 years" even after that, they are going to be raising children, so
that would push the sort of child-bearing, child-rearing responsibility
up to, maybe, sixty. If you are still having children at 46,
47--remember in ancient times without the means to prevent pregnancy, as
we have them today, and with a devotion to bearing children--(that was
very different than a society like ours that has been clobbered with the
idea of reducing the population), people had children and they continued
to have children. The home was the center of life. They bore children
well into their forties, normally, and so as approaching sixty they would
still be raising their own children. Now that is consistent with what we
see in 1 Timothy.
In 1 Timothy 5:9, it says, "Let a widow be put on the list." There was a
list of widows, whether cared for by the church or not, who were official
servants of the church, and they would serve the church, they had a
number of tasks, if you go back into the history of the church, they had
fairly defined responsibility: they would visit the church's younger
women, that was a priority obviously drawn from Titus 2. They would
visit these "younger women" to teach them, to instruct them, to help them
in daily tasks, to show them things about being wives, and about being
mothers, and about being homemakers, and they had an ongoing
responsibility to be available to those women in the church who needed
They were also used to provide teaching and counseling when women had
needs that were specific and problematic. They also visited the sick and
the afflicted and those in prison. They provided hospitality to
travelers, such as itinerant preachers, evangelists, and missionaries,
and traveling Christians, who may be coming into town because they were
being persecuted in another place. They had responsibility also to help
with their own grandchildren and their extended family and whatever needs
These women were to be models, then, of virtue. Their qualifications to
be put on the list are quite interesting, look at it in verse nine.
First of all, they had to be at least sixty years or thereabouts, and
they had to have a reputation of being the wife of one man. That doesn't
mean that they only had one husband--it means a one-man woman in the
Greek. I could only wish that they had translated that right because
every time it appears it is misleading. In the Greek, they were a "one-
man woman;" that's the idea. That is to say, they were totally devoted
to their husband. They may have been married a couple of times, perhaps
widowed earlier in life and would be instructed to marry again. It may
have been that they had an "unbeliever depart" and left them, and they
then were free to remarry. The issue is not how many times they were
married--the issue is: were they known as a wife devoted to the man who
was her husband? They were virtuous in that sense that they were loyal,
faithful wives. That would be the moral qualification.
And then, verse 10, if she had a reputation for good works. That is to
say, she has done those kinds of things that have demonstrated her
excellent character: she is a noble woman, she has a unrelenting pursuit
of doing good for others, she is unselfish. She is devoted to others,
like the woman of Proverbs 31, or like Dorcas, who was always making
garments for the poor.
And then, additionally, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she
has washed saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, if she
has devoted herself to every good work, and then that one I skipped which
is really the heart of it--if she has brought up children. This
particular duty was for someone who had a godly reputation, who had cared
for strangers, who had humbled herself to wash the dirty feet of those
who had walked in the dust or the mud (it was either one). She was known
because she had devoted her whole life to every good work, utterly
selfless, but she had brought up children, and the implication is they
are godly children. She had lived in, as 1 Timothy 2:15 says, "faith and
love and sanctity with self-restraint," and so she had preserved herself
from the stigma that woman bears for having led the race into sin, by
raising up a godly generation of children.
Now, on the other hand (let's follow this text a little bit), verse 11,
"Don't put younger widows on the list." Why? They will want to be on
it! Some will lose their husband and they will be so distressed and so
bereft and mourning so deeply, and they will say, "There will never be a
man like him. I never want to marry another. I don't want another man.
He's the only man I ever want." And in the emotion of that moment, and
the devotion to that love that was there with that man--they will devote
themselves to Christ and say, "I want to be on the list. I'll give the
rest of my life to Christ. I don't ever want to marry again."
"But," verse 11 says, "when they feel sensual desires," when the normal
sex drive rises, "in disregard of Christ, they want to get married." And
they will have made this public promise (and apparently there was some
public forum in which this actually took place), and they will then incur
condemnation because either they will reluctantly keep their vow, or they
will break their vow, and in either place they will be condemned because
they set aside their previous pledge. Don't let the younger women do
this. They have a normal desire which results in the bearing and the
rearing of children and the need for a husband and all of that.
"At the same time," he says in verse 13, "younger women who might be a
bit immature will go around learning to be idle, going from house to
house; and not merely idle, but they'll gossip and be busybodies, and
talk about things not proper to mention." They will just go around
talking and instead of going and helping and teaching and instructing and
counseling, they will collect information here and more it over here,
collect more information here and move it over here, and pretty soon the
thing will be all over the place. So, don't let younger women do that.
"The younger women you must instruct," verse 14, "to get married, bear
children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for
some have already turned aside to follow Satan." That's sad, if they
don't get married, their physical desire will lead them into sin. You
need to get married and bear children and keep house. That's their
domain, that's their area, that's their responsibility, that's their
calling, that's their place--and that allows the enemy no occasion to
bring reproach on those women who name the Name of Christ, and go out an
scandalize the Name of Christ by their sin. So, don't put the younger
women on the list.
Now, what we have learned from that passage is that, there are younger
women and older women, and the older women are kind of in the sixty and
up category, and the younger women are below that, at least at the point
where they are still bearing children, capable of bearing children, or
rearing children. Now, let's go back to Titus.
Here, with that as a background, in Titus, chapter 2, we hear some very
familiar words. The young women were encouraged, you remember, in 1
Timothy 5, "to marry and bear children," and all, and here is the same
thing, "encourage young women to love their husbands, to love their
children, be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to
their own husbands." And again I remind you, that there is always a move
against this, and it rises out of the fallen flesh of a woman who wants
to lord it over her husband, who wants to express herself, who wants to
run independent of the plan and purpose of God--that's what the sinful
flesh does and it's exacerbated by Satan as he develops the culture to
call its siren call to the woman outside the home.
Verse 4, "Encourage these young women (that is train them in the matter
of self-control) to love their husbands." That's one word, "philandros"
(Greek), to be "husband-lovers." That's what it means in 1 Timothy 5, as
we read, "to be a one-man woman," totally devoted to your husband.
Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the
church." That's the key--you love your wife like Christ loved the
church. How did He love the church? He loved the church when the church
was sinful; He loves us when we are not worthy of His love; He loves us
sacrificially; He loves us protectively--that's how husbands are to love
their wives--and that's how wives are to love their husbands. You are to
be a "husband-lover," you are to love your husband.
You say, "You don't know my husband! I don't love my husband. My
husband is not lovable. He has turned me off. I don't love him anymore.
I don't care for him anymore." My response to you is, "That is
disobedience!" That is disobedience to the clear Word of God, "You are
to love your husband." Listen, that doesn't mean that you are going to
feel the rockets and hear the bells and whistles. I read Newsweek
magazine two weeks ago, and in their edition they said that goes in about
two years, because of chemical changes. Isn't that amazing! Marriage
isn't all rockets, and bells, and whistles--it's a contented commitment
with an occasional rocket, and maybe a bell and a whistle now and then.
It goes beyond that, it goes beyond that to a devotedness, to a level of
friendship that runs deep and satisfying. And I will tell you how it
works: if you don't love you husband then you need to train yourself to
love your husband, and the way you train yourself to love your husband is
to continue to serve and serve, and do every good thing and every kind
thing, and every gracious thing, and every magnanimous thing, and you
will make such a massive investment in him, you will say, "I have got too
much in this guy not to love him!"
It is a sin to disobey this command. It is a sacrificial love. It is
not necessarily the love of emotion, it's the love of will and a deep
commitment, and that's where healthy relationships begin. It's the kind
of love Philippians 2 talks about when it says, "If there is any love
then do this, let no man look on the things of his own life but the
things of others, let each esteem others better than himself." It's that
sacrificial, humble, condescending, self-effacing love.
Secondly, he says, "Teach these young women to love their children."
That's one word, "philoteknos" (Greek) to be "children-lovers." Women,
this is your highest calling, "to raise godly children" (1 Timothy 2:15),
we have been mentioning it all along. You will reverse the stigma of the
curse by which women are stigmatized because a woman led the race into
sin, you will be preserved from that stigma when you rear a godly
generation--that's your highest calling. Your greatest contribution
comes in motherhood--that's generally true. Now, let me hasten to say
there are some women that God wants to be single, and they are the
exception--He doesn't want them to be married. They have what the New
Testament calls a "gift of singleness," 1 Corinthians 7 says that women
who are single should remain single if they can do that; so should men,
so they can devote their whole life to Christ and not be encumbered by
having to care for a life partner, and a family, and children, and all of
that. I understand that. I understand what immense freedom a man could
have if he wasn't married and didn't have children.
Now, God hasn't made me that way, obviously, but some are, and some women
are designed by God to "be single for the Kingdom's sake." And there are
some women who are barren for the Kingdom's sake, for God's divine
purposes. There are some men who cannot produce children and therefore
their wives will never bear children; God knows that and in His purpose
and His providence that is a glorious and a complete and total
fulfillment for that individual woman. But, those are the unique
exceptions that God designs--the general rule is that women bear
children, and love the children they bear. Certainly, in ancient times,
this would even go for those women who though not bearing children would
have adopted some of those children that the widows had scooped out of
the market place, and would therefore have the same responsibility for
loving children who had been adopted.
Obviously, God doesn't want all women to be mothers or they would be.
God has designed some women to have the uniqueness of singleness, and
others not to have children for His own purpose. We can thank God for
what single women mean to the Kingdom, and we can thank God (and I do
daily) for what women who have no children mean to the Kingdom because
God has given them freedom to serve in unique ways. But, generally
speaking, women are mothers and they are to bear children, and in bearing
children they have then the responsibility to love those children--that
means to sacrifice their life on the children's behalf. Again the love
in not an emotion, it's not standing in the corner gloating when your
little child is all dressed up, at how handsome or how beautiful she
is--it is the responsibility of pouring your life sacrificially into that
little life so that that child grows up to love Christ.
"Women are to be taught," according to verse 5, "to be sensible."
There's that "sophron" (Greek) root again: to have sound judgment, common
sense, right thinking, right priorities--very basic. The older women
come along and they teach the young women the common sense stuff of life,
just the normal processes of knowing your priorities, thinking right,
making sound judgment, applying wisdom. You know, so many young women
today don't understand this, Patricia and I have talked about this
through the years. We can't imagine ever going to a marriage seminar.
We can't imagine ever going to some kind of a child raising seminar.
People say, "Why can't you imagine that?" The reason is simply this: we
were both raised in families where the Biblical pattern was modeled. I
will tell you something that will shock you: I have never in my lifetime
have seen my father and mother argue. It's hard to pick a fight with me.
I have never seen my parents argue. I seen a model of commitment to one
another. I watched my parents raise children. My wife watched her
parents raise children. Nobody needs to give me a book on how to do
this, there is something that is built into the fabric of a home that
becomes reproductive in the next generation, and when that gets severed
you have a major problem of trying to undo the bad modeling and
restructure the whole thing. That's why the Old Testament says where you
have wickedness in the family, it takes three or four generations to turn
it around--it's not easy and it will take a long time before it gets
turned around in our own culture.
But where we are living today, in this society, it is desperately
needed--that some women come along and teach the young generation how to
think right--what we think is common sense parenting. That's why the
whole parenting process is taught with such zeal in our church, because
we have to fill in the gap here. With the second generation of women
exposed to a "Feminist Agenda" and coming out of broken homes, devastated
marriages, some of them divorced and some of them stayed together but
Then he says, "Teach the young women to be pure," "hagnos" in Greek,
"chaste," "morally pure," "virtuous," "sexually faithful to their
husbands." Teach them that they are devoted to one man and that's
it--morally pure. 1 Peter 3:3 says that women are not to adorn
themselves merely on the external. It's fine to do a little work out
there--we all appreciate it, but mostly--this is true isn't it? But
mostly, he says, don't be worried about "braiding your hair, and wearing
gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but you worry about the hidden
person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet
spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former
times the holy women also. . . .used to adorn themselves."
So if you want to be a holy woman you work on the inside, and that's what
he is saying, "Teach women to be adorning their heart; teach women to be
virtuous and godly on the inside." Back in 1 Timothy, chapter 2, and
verses 9 and 10, this same is said, women are not to adorn themselves in
any way that would call attention to themselves, but they are to put on
"proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold
or pearls or costly garments; but rather by means of good works, as
befits women making a claim to godliness." So if you are going to claim
godliness, and virtue, and holiness, and purity--it ought to show up on
the outside. Those two words in 1 Timothy 2, "modestly" and
"discreetly," very interesting.
"Modestly" means with a sense of shame, with a healthy blush. Not
ashamed that you are a woman, but ashamed that you might cause someone to
be distracted from worshiping God, or ashamed that you might cause
someone to look at you in lust. You want to have that kind of sense of
shame--the thought of inciting lust or distracting someone from
worshiping God. And the idea of "discreetly" is the same root again
"sophra" (Greek), and again it means controlling all of your passions.
Women who make a claim to godliness have their passions under control and
they wouldn't do anything to excite lust; they wouldn't do anything to
draw attention to themselves when God's people come together for worship.
Holy women have always conducted themselves that way, so Paul says you
teach the young women to be pure like that.
And then he says, "workers at home," and here's the one that gets all the
heat nowadays. Forty-five percent of the American work force is women.
"Megatrends 2000" says in the past 20 years U.S. women have taken two-
thirds of the millions of new jobs, and that will continue. Fifty-six
percent, says "Megatrends," 56% of mothers with children under 6, work
outside the home. Seventy-three percent of mothers with children 6 to 17
work outside the home. By the year 2000, that's in 6 years or so, 90% of
women between 16 and 65 will be at work outside the home. Nobody will be
The word "workers at home" one word in the Greek, "oikourgos" from two
root words, "ergon" which means "work" and "oikos" which means "house."
It's simply the sphere of a woman's life is her home--that's her domain.
It doesn't mean she has to be there 24 hours a day and can never leave.
I am not saying that, because you don't want to lock her up with Soap
Operas either, but what it does mean is that is the sphere of her life;
that is her domain. It is not that she is simply to be home, but that
the home is her sphere. The woman in Proverbs 31 left home when she
needed to buy a field, she left home to prepare that field, she left home
and went afar to find things that would help the family. The woman did
what she needed to do, but the focus of everything was the home, and
that's where she poured her life. She got up early and she went to bed
late for the sake of the home. She is to be a "home-keeper" that's the
sphere of her responsibility, that's her place of employment, that's
where she should pour her life.
For a mother to get a job outside the home and send the children to some
kind of "Day-care" place is to shirk her God-given responsibility. It
also is a failure to understand that her husband is to be the provider,
as Ephesians 5 makes it very clear. Even if you wanted to work outside
the home to pay for your children to go to a Christian school you made a
big mistake. Better that you should stay in the home and raise your own
children to be godly than to pass it on to somebody else. Now we know
today there are a lot of wonderful things that we have in the home that
ancient people didn't have. I mean that you are not in there with some
kind of a stone pot beating out the grain to make flour. And you are not
down at the creek slapping your clothes on a rock--we know that. And you
are not just spinning thread so that you can make fabrics so that you can
sew garments, so we know that you have more time. You need to be very
careful how you use t
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