I have always found the Bible to be totally internally consistent, as well as totally consistent with what I observed happening in the outside world and in myself. No consistency problem there. But I observed inconsistency in my church. I observed inconsistency in what my church leaders taught. Even in the “most orthodox” Bible-believing churches I sought out to attend over the course of my 17 years of being a church-attending Christian.
I did not go looking for a “new school of thought” when I came to find theonomy. I was looking for someone who would teach me how to apply Titus 2:3-5, I Timothy 2:11-15, Ephesians 5, and other passages that clearly teach a mandate for womanly purpose and womanly behavior that is VERY different from what I grew up with all around me . . . different from what I saw in the church, too! I’d see one thing about women in the Bible, and a different thing about women in church teaching and practice. I’m serious. I’m not exaggerating. So in my desire to “build myself up in the most holy faith,” and not finding help with conforming my womanhood to biblical imperitives, I had to look outside my local church leaders and church body. Even my present local church. The Titus 2:3-5 “older women” are simply very few and far between. I suspect they’re “focused on their career,” or else they’re timid. But they’re VERY needed by new moms like myself who have suckled at the breast of Feminism. Very lonely endeavor. Sad but true.
The same was true with certain parts of the Law. Especially the 4th Commandment. I have wondered about proper application of the 4th Commandment for years. I thought coming to our Reformed church from Calvary Chapel would provide teaching that would answer that for me. What I mean is, I thought I’d find sound teaching on the 4th Commandment that was as consistent with “the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17) as I found in my husband’s Puritan books. What I found at our church was closer, but still not consistent. I also thought I’d find someone else who covered her head in obedience to I Corinthians 11. No such luck. Didn’t even find anyone who felt it should be considered or discussed. But at least no one treated me like a misfit for covering my head like they did at Calvary Chapel. That’s why my husband and I felt comfortable staying where we are. Nevertheless, I’ve always been disappointed that my headcovering is such a taboo topic for discussion among the Christians at our church, when it is so obviously a peculiarity about me. I’m the only woman in church who covers her head. I stick out like a sore thumb, but I’m now way past that inner struggle where sticking out in that way makes me uncomfortable. I do it for the Lord, not to be seen by man.
I truly wish people would ask me about it. I love to share what God has taught me from I Corinthians 11. But since no one asks, I don’t go and bring it up. I wonder if I should. No doubt I’d be perceived as “pushy” and “divisive” if I did. Ironic. Bringing up certain Bible passages is considered “divisive” to certain Christians just as bringing up the exclusive claims of Christ (” . . . no one comes to the Father but by me”) is among most non-Christians. Do I see inconsistency here? You bet. Do I see hypocrisy here? You bet. Do I see a problem with the authority of God’s Word here among Bible-believing Christians? You bet. But I can’t blame them. I used to not cover my head. I used to work outside the home to the neglect of loving my husband and managing my home. I used to use contraception with my husband. I used to bristle with revulsion at “that submission bit.” But now I’m seeking to conform consistently to God’s Word in these areas. Why should it be considered “divisive” that I want to ask the church to confront these inconsistencies we have all excused?
I’ve begun to notice a few things. I’m finding the most consistency in theonomy. I’m finding a surprising opposition to it in my own Reformed Church, though! My husband and I started going to our URC church four years ago, moving there from a Calvary Chapel. Our church leadership uses the term “theonomy” as a pejorative. One time I asked our pastor to tell me what he could about Reconstructionism and R. J. Rushdoony. Our pastor chose not to answer by refuting its founder with biblical analysis, exegesis, or reasoning from the Scripture–he just calls him “Rushloony” and leaves it at that. Great. Caricature, then write him off. It was eerie. With that, he shut down all opportunity for discourse. I never expected that sort of thing from our pastor, because from the very beginning of us going there, he always made it clear that this was a church where all questions were welcome (as opposed to Calvary Chapel, where that is not the case). I didn’t want to ask him anything else then, for fear I’d be the next victim of his name-calling ridicule. So I just acted like that reply was satisfying, when it actually produced more questions in my mind. That makes me suspicious about our pastor’s confidence in analyzing the points theonomists are making.
It really makes me wonder. Meanwhile, I’m being much more “built up in the faith” (Jude 20) by the theonomy reading than I have been from any other source in a long, long time.
Don’t get me wrong. I love our church and I’ve been learning so much in the faith there. I’m still attending our church and learning a lot and enjoying fellowship there. I’m not bringing up points of contention with them, although I’ve been seriously wanting to. But I think that for me as a woman to do so would be in direct contradiction to the Biblical teaching on womanly silence. (I know I just shocked just about all of the 2 or so people reading this. But I am 100 % serious.) We’re not even allowed to ask questions in church–just of our husbands. I mean, our church has no problem with women asking questions in church–they’d scoff at the prospect of women not asking questions (another inconsistency). But if you read I Timothy 2:12 and I Cor. 14:34-35, that’s clear from Scripture. It doesn’t get more clear than that. So I have to wait for God to move my husband to bring these things up with church leadership. Even if I have to wait a long time.
Much more to come on this. Especially with regard to Biblical Womanhood, especially with regard to headship and submission.