Sunday, April 17, 2011

Where's The Meat?

Give me meat to chew. The meat of the Word of God.  Hebrews 5:14 says, "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."  "Strong meat" literally translates "solid food."  We know that babies need milk and spiritual babies need the "sincere milk of the Word" as stated in I Peter 2:2. But, once we grow to a certain point, we need meat, not just milk, to continue healthy growth. 

For the most part, women's event speakers are lacking meat.  I've attended these events, whether it be a Mother/Daughter banquet at church, a workshop at a conference or an event designed and arranged just for women, such as a rally or seminar.  These events are geared toward women, but they often miss the mark when it comes to meeting the real needs of women.  I've been struggling with these events and have mostly avoided them for lack of substance in the content. Now, when I do go to a conference, I generally choose the same workshops and lectures as my husband, instead of the ones geared toward women, because the men's speakers have meat in their content.  I've never seen men in the women's workshops, by the way.

Women's needs are not specified in Scripture to be any different from men's needs.  We ALL need the Gospel of God. We ALL need a Redeemer. We ALL need the whole council of God by the preaching of the Word. Some might argue that women think differently than men, therefore, our needs aren't the same.  But, God does not specify a different type of teaching for women than men. The Word of God is sufficient to us all, regardless of our gender, place in life, etc. 

It's hard to write about this because women's events are very prominent, women's "Bible" study books are very prominent and women speakers at women's events are very prominent.  But, they have taken on what I believe is a dangerous practice and our women are starving.  But, they don't have to be starving.  The solution is at our fingertips.

Identifying the Problem

In order to solve the problem, we first have to specifically identify it.  I see two main issues:

1. Women generally address the perceived felt needs of their audience.  In doing this, they fail to present the Word of God as It is written, but they attempt to "help" women by making the Word fit their agenda. One fault with this approach is that the only help to any woman is the Word of God, yet it is essentially being "set aside" for the convenience of the speaker so that she can address felt needs.  We don't know the heart needs of the women in our audiences, but the Holy Spirit of God does . When we teach His Word the way He intends - as it is written - then the needs of every woman listening will be met because the Word is alive,  and powerful to do so.  Our words are not. God's Words are.  It's that simple.

Another fault with this approach of addressing felt needs shows lack of confidence in God's Word. If I think that I can take God's Word and improve upon it by taking it out of context, using it to tell women what they should do, think, say or feel, and twist it in any way to fit my own agenda, I have a worse problem than any of my listeners.  I would be far better off sitting down, shutting up and allowing my listeners read the Word on their own.  Then at least my empty, hollow noise won't block out what God is trying to say.

2. Women generally focus on application during their talks.  This is a huge mistake because the application of the Word of God is not our is the job of the Holy Spirit of God.  Our job is to present the Truth as it is given to us in the Word.  The rest - what He does with His Word in the hearts of the hearers - is His business and He will see to it in His timing.  This, again, comes back to confidence in the Word of God and in the Holy Spirit to do what He has promised He would do.

Is this happening because women are treated as an afterthought?  Are they treated as secondary to the men, thus the importance of their doctrinal understanding is secondary?  Historically, women didn't used to go to seminary; that was a man's world.  Have we allowed ourselves to be put in a secondary position, which has led to compromise?  This trend could be a product of its own environment, no doubt, but if we sit back and let it happen, we are just as responsible as those who plan events and put women on the back burner while planning!  If, indeed, that is what is taking place.

Regardless of why or how it's happening, the lack of spiritual depth and Scriptural Truth at women's events is not good for women.  We need the meat of the Word of God, not the fluff & stuff of modernism, secular humanism and the result of catering to felt needs.  In Scripture, we find many examples of women who were very grounded in their faith, who did not settle for fluff & stuff and who were leaders in doctrine.

Look at Priscilla in Acts 18.  She, along with her husband, corrected Apollos in his doctrinal errors and he took it from her (them) and went on to become a great, eloquent preacher, reaching many with the gospel.  Priscilla was grounded in her faith, not filled with emotionally-charged fluff & stuff that had her trying so hard to live for the Lord.  Her doctrine allowed her - rather, caused her - to live for the Lord and she was grounded enough to recognize error.  She fit our starting verse well because she had had her faith exercised enough to discern good and evil.  She not only recognized it, she acted upon it so as to keep the doctrines of our Lord and Savior pure.  Priscilla did not have time for fluff & stuff.

The solution: 

Women need to stop being afraid of doctrine and, instead, stand firm on the doctrines for which our Savior died.  In my experience, doctrine has been a forbidden topic of discussion among many women.  They simply don't want to discuss doctrine because they feel it's controversial.  Well, it certainly is controversial when a person's doctrine does not line up with Scripture!  The solution is not to avoid doctrine; the solution is to make our doctrine front and center of our focus, our message, our reason for being.  He did not die for fluff & stuff.

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