Re:  Wonder Woman


A culture that does not even have a coherent answer to what a woman is is not fit to give anyone a feminine icon.  

Me:  “What is a woman?”

America:  “A strong, independent human.”

Me:  “So can he be a woman?  Steve over there?”

America:  “If that’s what he identifies as.”

Me:  “So what is a man, then?”

America:  “Look, Wade, these are really just arbitrary social categories, anyway.”

Me:  “If they’re arbitrary, then why are you trying to give me a ‘feminine‘ icon?”

America:  “Umm…”

Me:  “Can that guy over there bear children?”

America:  “Umm…”

Me:  “You can get back to me.”

Our culture no longer accepts that God created men and women, at least not in its most prevalent institutions and platforms.  Instead, down deep in its bloodstream, is the belief that no one created us.  And from that flow at least a couple of assumptions.  (1) We don’t owe anyone anything for our existence, or owe anyone anything as created moral beings with moral obligations, and (2) There’s no objective standard of definitions that are just true, not conjecture.  

Now on that (2), abortion rests.  We get to define what a human is, each of us individually, because there isn’t any true answer to the question.   But also on that one rests this dangerous, human-assaulting and humanity-assaulting thing that I’ll call “gender confusion.”  There isn’t anyone to tell us what a man is and there isn’t anyone to tell us what a man should do, our culture says.  There isn’t anyone to tell us what a woman is or what a woman should do.  

“But,” our culture says, “we’ll darn sure tell you what a woman is not.  And no one can tell us what a woman should be.”

Our culture has convictions, but it can’t give a coherent, thorough-to-the-bottom defense of them.  And it can’t tell us why its convictions are right.  It says it knows that women are not designed, when married, to submit to their husbands.  But it won’t, and can’t, coherently say what they are designed for in marriage.  Or in society.  Or as mothers.  Or as daughters.  

This came up when a movement started to swell to allow women into combat situations in the US Armed Forces, and then when two Republican candidates for the presidency in 2016 said they favored women having to register for the draft.  Our culture has produced an ethos where no one could have the down-to-the-ground logical reasoning to say why that was utter nonsense. 

And then it also comes up with this Wonder Woman schtick.  

Here is a fundamental question:  Are women supposed to rush into conflict to save men?  Is that a good thing to be normative?  

Let me ask the question from my vantage point, standing over here on a solid, level ground called “God made the World through Jesus and He gets to say what’s good:”  Are women designed and called by God to rush into battle and save men?

The answer is no.  No, they are not.  No, it is not good for that to be normative.  It would not be healthy and fitting with human flourishing for a society to bless or be proud of its women rushing to the front of conflicts to protect its men.  

No, a society that blessed that should be ashamed.  

We can rail against this all we want, we can be uncomfortable with it until we’ve bitten our nails clean away, but God made men with the design of physically and spiritually protecting their wives, daughters, and the women they are bound to, as well as, in many cases, women and all those who are weaker than them generally.  

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 

1 Peter 3:7

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’  Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.  And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.  But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.  So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. 

Genesis 2:18-25

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. 

1 Timothy 2:8-15

God did not design grown women to lead, protect, and save grown men.  Men should want to take the first bullet, to sacrificially lead the way, and to spend themselves to protect women.  While that may not be what happens in each and every circumstance (a woman may save a physically disabled man, for instance), it is the design.  It is what is normative and praiseworthy.  

Our culture seems to want to say, “What’s a woman, you ask?  A woman is a strong and resilient human being.  What’s a man?  Well, a man is something else, we’ll get back to you on that.  But both are the same.  I mean, they can’t be the same, I guess, because we’re telling you what each is, and because we also are telling some men they can be women and some women they can be men.  But men and women are not different.  Get it?  They’re the same and can do all the same things and are totally identical, but some of the one are really the other.  But don’t don’t you dare tell me what the one or the other is.  Or should do.  Nobody really made us or gets to tell us what we should be or should do.”

It’s incoherent.  Our culture has no robust definition of woman or womanhood.  All it can offer is stories and images of women doing those noble and good things that God calls men to do.  But at the same time it supports some men wanting to pretend to be women (the very thing it says are just like men) and celebrates (albeit totally incomprehensibly) “womanhood.”  

This is folly, guys.  Women and men were made in the image of God, and made wonderfully distinct.  Women are a beautiful creation of God.  When in congruence with God’s pattern, they reflect His glory and beauty and majesty in their gentleness, their motherly strength, their physical gifts, their Godly obedience to their husbands, their discipling of their sons and daughters, their teaching of younger women, their resilient faith in their Father, their deep and fierce love, their faithfulness, and their rich emotional palate.  

Our culture tries to rob women of their God-given identity by telling them to just be like men, because being what God made a woman to be isn’t good enough.  

If you can’t answer how men and women are differently glorious, if you can’t answer the question of why God didn’t just create two men or two women in the Garden of Eden, then you’ll inevitably tell one to just be more like the other.  

This isn’t pro-woman.  It’s anti-woman.  It’s saying, “‘Woman ‘ isn’t good enough for us.  Instead, let’s just have ‘physically smaller man with long hair.’

“And, um, we’ll give it boots and a rope thingy.”

Sentences (Part 3)

  

*For previous installments, see here and here.

Brevity is a skill I’m trying to hone.  I think it’s good to be able to say something you believe to be true and meaningful plainly and in just a few words.  With that in mind, for the third time, here are a few simple theological or moral propositions I contend are true, none longer than a single sentence:

  • The natural position of a human is to see his good deeds as examples of who he really is and his bad deeds as deviations from who he really is; the God who says we are born sinners is going to take some umbrage with that.  
  • The most freeing thing in the world is not being loved for who you are, but being loved despite who you are, and that is precisely what the Gospel offers you.  
  • Doing what’s right is better than doing what’s successful; if they’re the same thing, great, but they won’t always be.
  • The more God makes a man like Jesus, the more the man will love God’s people; becoming more Christlike will always, by definition, mean loving true Christians more and more, because Jesus loves them more than you can imagine.   
  • There are virtually no new heresies, just old heresies with new publishers.  
  • Faith is thoroughly good only when the faith’s object is real and is itself good; faith in false religions and in false prophets is not a good sort of faith.  
  • God made men and women to be and do some things differently, and God is good and knows very much what is best.
  • It is impossible to depend on your having been a good person or having done good things to get to Heaven and actually get there.  
  • We do not live in a day and place that is too afraid of God; there have been such cultures, but ours is not one of them. 
  •  Under the heading of providing for our children we should include the task of praying for their salvations.  
  • It is as comforting to the believer as it is offensive to the hard-hearted that there is not one set of knees on Earth that won’t be bowing to Jesus at the end of all things.  
  • The New Testament doesn’t prescribe a form of government (unless you count the coming absolute kingship of Jesus Christ), but it does command submission to governing authorities.  
  • The hardest thing in the world is also one the most freeing:  Repentance.  

Grace, all, and happy Monday!

    Don’t Be Like This Guy

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    A warning to young men idolizing UFC fighters, boxers, or certain musical artists: Self-exaltation is not good manhood. It is wicked and suicidal. Manhood done well, done honorably, done to save one’s soul and live life well, is strength spent for the good of another.

    The most powerfully, virtuously masculine man who ever walked the Earth surrendered Himself to the violence of those who came against Him. And He could’ve killed them, could’ve killed you, could’ve undone me, with a word. So why didn’t He? When being spit on, mocked, slapped, and whipped by humans whose molecular structure He could’ve unwound with a whisper, why did the Lion of Judah who knew what true manhood was submit Himself to murder and defeat?

    To bring God glory and bring the weak great good.

    Good manhood doesn’t brag about its exploits. It doesn’t pound its own chest and shout about its abilities. It doesn’t abuse others for self-gain, nor does it humiliate for self-glory.

    True manhood, manhood that is actually worth something, spends itself on others. It uses its strength, whatever limited capacities it’s been given by God, to protect and serve and sanctify. It fights for holiness in its wife or the saving Gospel proclaimed to the lost who need it. Godly men of truly strong stuff want redeemed souls and a world in awe of God more than fast cars and fruitless lust.

    Godly men live for the only wise God and for others. Childish, shrill men live for games, pleasure, and applause.

    Godly men protect women, devote their muscle and energy and spiritual sweat to one woman alone, and honor the Christian sister as an adopted co-heir. Lazy or diabolical men use women or chase them. They are too slothful or spiritually dead to promise and protect, too idolatrous or timid to love and lead.

    Godly men love children, as Jesus did. They teach, admonish, discipline, and shepherd. Brash and unteachable men act like children, unwilling to live for or love anyone other than themselves.

    Godly men, men living in tribute to the only perfect Man, and living with Him in them to enable it, call evil evil, while forgiving quickly the wrongs committed against them. They are unafraid to say what is sin, but they hold no grudges. The fights these men choose are for the glory of God and the protection of the weak. But small men fight battles for their own fame and glory.

    Godly men control their anger, but spiritually weak ones surrender to it.

    Godly men speak and sing and work and play with the goodness and glory of God in mind. Stupid and sinful men seek shallow joys in deep graves.

    I want to be like the Savior who rescued me and lives within me. I want to be the man He calls all men, shepherds and servants, fathers and friends, to be. I want to be less about myself and more about Him and others. I want to use the muscles and vocal cords and brain and heart, the tongue, testosterone, and tenacity He’s put in me for His fame, my wife’s good, my children’s upraising, the service of the saints, and the salvation of the lost. I want to shove the pictures of selfish sex, loud chest pounding, and smug self-glory far from my head and heart. For they are not manhood. God made the first man, and He decides what manhood is. No, those infantile screechings and idiotic, wicked prides are hollow shells, walking bodies with nothing to give and no desire to give it.

    I rebuke them from my own heart, and I ask God to remind me to live and sweat and fight and pray for His glory and my neighbors’ good. Vainglory, lust, unbridled temper, and idolatry be, quite literally, damned.

    What a Good Marriage Looks Like

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    God created marriage, and when it conforms to His ways it’s wonderful.

    There is only one perfect marriage between humans described in the Bible (though it didn’t stay perfect for long), and it is the first one He created.

    These are some things we learn from God telling us that story in Genesis 2:

    “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”

    God created a man, a male human, in His image, and then He gave Him a job. A task for God’s image bearing son, in God’s perfect world.

    “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”

    God decreed and defined it as not good that this man not have a helper. So He lovingly decided to make a complementary helper so that Adam would not be alone.

    “Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.”

    This man was given authority, by the only one who can give authority, to name parts of creation and work God’s perfect garden. But none of the animals of the garden was suitable enough to be his helper.

    “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”

    God made the first woman from the first man’s rib, made a second human creation from His first one, to be a helper fit for him. And then Adam, who had been given authority to name the animals, named this creation “woman,” and God honored that name.

    God’s sinless man was clearly struck by her, as all men should be with their wives. And Adam saw himself as (a) having God-given authority in the relationship, and (b) bonded to her in love.

    “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

    God created marriage. He made it a loving, sexual, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman. They were and are to enjoy it, in the Lord. And He gave and gives the man authority to serve the living God and to represent Him in a unique way in that relationship.

    And that carries responsibilities with it, because for the rest of the Bible he refers to the sin Eve kickstarted as Adam’s.

    So a good marriage is one that seeks to replicate God’s first and only sinless one.

    And seeks to model what the New Testament tells us Adam and Eve and Prince William and Kate and you and me and our spouses are all only images of anyway: Christ and His church.

    A good marriage looks like a man and a woman doing God’s will together. Him exercising his uniquely authoritative and responsible role given by God. Her submitting to God first and him second. They love each other and enjoy each other and rest on God’s grace for each other so that they are unashamed. They love one another faithfully and sexually and sacrificially. They do it all to honor and obey God.

    And they do it for life.

    A good marriage is a marriage that reflects God’s purposes, design, and character.

    God made marriage.

    Trust Him. He is impossibly good.

    P.S.

    Some closing New Testament light on this passage:

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” 1 Timothy 2:12-13

    “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

    Ephesians 5:22-33