Tim, Protect Your Wife

David Burchard Christian Ethics, Letters, Local Church Leave a Comment

Tim,

Your wife is dishonoring you and herself in public. As her husband, it is your job to guard and protect her from this.

As intelligent and lovely as she seems to be, it appears from her behavior that she does not understand what 1 Timothy 2:11-15 requires of her.

In a recent article, she instructs local churches how they ought to approach ministry.

The things she writes are wrongheaded. But, that is secondary to the primary issue. Your wife is not to have a public teaching ministry to other churches and men. Your wife is not to have a public teaching ministry of any sort that goes beyond the bounds set by Titus 2. She has sinned. Guard your wife from sin.

Paul is clear in 1 Timothy 2. Your wife is to be a quiet and submissive learner, not a public leader and teacher. She is a daughter of Eve; and Eve, not Adam, was deceived. She is a daughter of Eve; and Adam was formed first, then Eve. Instead of seeking to build a public teaching ministry reaching men and women, your wife ought to be focused on the ministry of a wife, helping you, caring for your home, teaching younger women in your own church how to be godly wives and mothers, and caring for children in the congregation and the neighborhood in which you live. This is a full time and glorious job.

Your wife needs your leadership in this. Listen to God’s Word and protect your lovely wife.

Also, the lessons on 30 years of church ministry that she communicates in the article are not good lessons. Again, your wife needs you to instruct her in this.

Here are some errors that I believe you should correct.

1. Your wife says that the chief value in Redeemer’s ministry is that, “Church as usual will not work.” First, it doesn’t reflect any ecclesiological conviction, but simply reactionary pragmatism. Second, it fails to recognize that the most important thing about a local church is not the list of things that are unique about it, or all the ways it is contextualized to his locality, but, rather, all the things it shares in common with every true church in all of Christian history. The “church as usual” is where the power is; it’s where God is pleased to show off his wisdom and power even to principalities.

2. Your wife says that naming a church “Christ the King” is negatively triumphalist. Now, I prefer church names that make obvious the kind and place (Stuart Baptist Church). But if you’re going to go with something more marketable, then Christ the King is what you might call, “bomb-sauce”. Do you think it is too triumphalist, really? Christ is King. He has come, bringing salvation. He reigns now, bringing complete security to all his people. He is soon to come, bringing judgment and the end of all that is wrong. Yeah, you’re darn right that’s triumphalist. Do I need to explain why it’s stupid to think that a bad thing? Is not the church an embassy of the kingdom of this triumphant King? Is not the presence of a local church a loud proclamation of Christ’s victory, then, now, and forevermore? If you think triumphalism of this kind is bad, please ask God to fix your thinking. If it is only your wife who is in error in this, please lead her better.

3. Your wife calls non-Christians “seekers”. The Bible says no one seeks after God.

Also, she puts into the same category, that of “seekers”, both non-Christians and new Christians. Then she distinguishes new Christians from self-identifying Christians, by saying that other churches had gotten all of the long-term, self-identifying Christians. What is a non-self-identifying as Christian Christian? I don’t find those in the Bible.

4. Your wife is confused as to her appropriate position in the church. She writes that she and you “let” some members run a committee. Biblically, your wife ought to have no formal authority in the church, such that a committee needs her permission to run. This error is consistent with the article’s egalitarian tone. It is repeatedly listed that she has co-authored multiple books with you and that she planted the church with you. Then she writes as a leader in the church. This does not convey the quiet submissiveness befitting a godly woman.

5. Her “excellence is inclusive” section reads more like, “play up to consumerism”. The Holy Spirit uses the preaching, reading, praying, singing, and seeing (in the ordinances) of the Word to attract unbelievers. Cream cheese doesn’t cut it. The problem of dead, apathetic hearts is too big for bagels to dent.

6. Your wife seems to think that the disdain directed toward evangelical Christians in this “cultural moment” is unique and to be avoided by changing our behavior. But, certainly you must know that Christians have always been hated by the world. Certainly you must know that we will always be hated by the world, and that our behavioral modifications will not pacify the beast in the slightest, but only embolden him, as Meek Neville discovered with Das Mustache.

I’m a fan of people not being annoying when they pray or talk. I agree that folks shouldn’t say, “Father, just…”, in their prayers unless they only want God to do one thing. Otherwise, the prayer is nonsensical. But we should tell people to stop that because it annoys us, not because we want to be more respected by those who have vowed to hate us and our King.

7. A guy wrote an article about judgment and salvation from Psalm 2:9-12. Her response contains two errors. First, your wife does not want this Psalm to be the voice of Redeemer, or its philosophy of ministry. Tell me this, why should your church exist if it doesn’t want the full counsel of God’s Word to be its voice? Is your wife wiser than God? Are you wiser than God? Are you embarrassed that God would ever include such a harsh Psalm in the Psalter? If your wife has accurately represented Redeemer in her writing, isn’t this obviously an area, being ashamed of the Word of God, that demands repentance from the entire church? Second, she confesses to having raked the young man harshly over the coals. This is not appropriate behavior from a woman of God. If a man in the church needs some coal raking, let it be done by a man. Your wife ought not castrate a man in the church by harshly correcting him for his theological writing. Such an approach to correction is far from feminine, unless your wife is simply writing hyperbolically. She should not play the man in the church. If she ever finds herself in a church where she feels the need to play the man, then she should find another church with better men.

8. Your wife pretends that Romans 15 means that local churches should do all with deference to skeptics, when, in truth, churches are to do all with deference to the honor of Christ and the edification of the members.

9. Your wife is tone deaf. She writes an article that comes off as a PR handout for some hip company, and then ends it by exhorting readers to pursue a “movement that’s based on the power of the gospel”. The power of the gospel is not the driving force of this article in the slightest. The place in the article most tied to the gospel, Psalm 2, is also the place of which she is most ashamed. That is sad.

Tim, your wife will flourish if she pursues, under your leadership, a life lived within her God-assigned role. This is a bad article. It doesn’t help her or you. And it isn’t good for us.

I write this with love for you and your wife as my brother and sister in the Lord. I genuinely look forward to living in the new earth with both of you.

Until then.

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