Not Just Pretty Flowers: A Reformed Girl and Her Masculine Theology

Breaking the mold of the reformed woman

What does God say about sex? May 27, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible — ashleylavalette @ 17:30

The following is an article I wrote last year.   Check out Mars Hill Church in Seattle’s sermon series Religion Saves… for more resources.

What does God say about SEX?

The very first place to start is well… at the beginning.  Why did God create sex?

Genesis 2:24-25, we find that God created woman as a partner – wife – for man and that they were naked.  Adam and Eve were given the gift of sex to become one.  The word “one” in this verse is similar to how the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) is One.  God made sex to be more than an act.  Sex binds two people together to make one body.

In vs. 25, God points out that in their nakedness, there was no shame.  In this relationship with each other and God, they were in perfection – what God created them to be.

After Adam and Eve both sinned, the first thing that they realized was that they were naked.  In nakedness, one cannot hide dark sin. 

In Exodus 20, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  The first is in vs. 3.  Having no other god before Him does not always mean statues of little fat men.  It means anything that comes in between your relationship with God.  God is the only One who is to be worshiped.  He is the Creator.  So many times, we worship the created, as warned in vs. 4, instead of the creator.  So many times people make other people (their boyfriends/girlfriends/friends with benefits) their god.  They worship their partner.  They lay down on an altar and give a sacrifice (the bed), they allow the partner to use them to glorify themselves.

In vs. 14, God says that adultery is a no-no.  You know, Martin Luther said that the first two commandments are the most important.  Because if you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul, and you have no other gods but Him, the rest of the commandments will just happen.

 So, what is adultery?  Adultery is a relationship (mostly referred to with sexual connotations) with someone other than one’s spouse.  The problem is that though one might not be married at this moment, they will most likely be one day.  So, having sex with someone outside of a marriage relationship is having sex with someone other than their spouse.  Think of it this way – one day, the man you are having sex with will be married.  One day, you will be married.  Both of you are having affairs on your future spouse.

Proverbs 6:32 sums up the depth of adultery.  There is pain involved.  This is because God created sex for the husband and the wife.  Anything outside of this covenant – promise – is sinful and with sin comes pain and death.

 Jesus takes the definition of adultery one step further in Matthew 5.  Jesus spends most of His time teaching people that ‘the rules’ don’t mean anything if your heart is not one that is seeking after and worshipping God.  He shows us that even in our hearts, we can commit adultery.  Even wanting someone who is not ours is sinful.  The definition for lust here (the word Epithumeo in Greek), means to covet.  God warns us against this in one of the other commandments (Ex. 5:17).

 Anytime the phrase “sexual immorality” appears in Scripture, especially in the New Testament, the word is ‘Porneia’.  This is an overall group for anything sexual outside of marriage.  Paul talks about Porneia quite a bit especially to one of the churches in Corinth.  Corinth was very similar to our culture today, with an “Anything Goes!” mentality.  1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is where Paul hits the church hard.  In vs. 12, Paul kills the excuse that we are human and do not have to be in control of our own bodies.  Vs. 13, tells us that our bodies are for God, to worship Him and to honor Him.  Paul goes on to say in vs. 18-20 that sexual immorality is the one way that we can sin against the body.  If you are a Christian, saved by the grace of Jesus who purchased you with His blood on the cross for your sins, then your body is not your own, but God’s.  The Holy Spirit lives in those who are saved and when their bodies sin, they bring God with them.

Colossians 3:5-8 says that just as Christ was put to death for our sins, we are to put them to death and run away from them.  That includes sexual immorality.

Back in 1 Corinthians 6, Paul makes some very serious claims.  Vs. 9-10 says that our sins are serious.  Using your body as a prostitute would get you to hell if there is no repentance to Jesus.  Repentance means asking Jesus for forgiveness and crucifying that sin, as He was crucified in our place, and turning away from it. 

 In John 4:1-26, Jesus teaches us that we cannot ever be filled by the empty promises of sexual immorality – Porneia.  Here we see Him speaking to a woman at a well with a very busy sexual history.  She was worshipping the created instead of the Creator.  She had gone in and out of relationships that only left her dry and ruined.  She had to have been lonely.  She definitely had a reputation.  We know this because she was visiting the well at the hottest part of the day – when no one would be around to judge her.  She knew she wasn’t satisfied.  When Jesus tells her in vs. 13 that she will only end up being thirsty again, He was not just talking about actual water.  He was talking about all of the lies that people buy into that make them think that they will be fulfilled.  In vs. 14, He says it.  We will only be satisfied in Him.  Only in Jesus.  Not sex, not relationships.  Not the opposite sex.  Only in Jesus.

 You see, it’s not an issue of when to/ not to.  This is a worship issue.  Either we worship the Creator or the created.  Either we look for the Living Water to take away our thirst or we try to fill ourselves up on something that never will. 

 Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 What does God say about sex?

Outline

  • The Beginning
    • Genesis 2:24-25
    • vs. 25

 

  • The 10 Commandments – Exodus 20
    • vs. 3
    • vs. 4
    • vs. 14

 

  • Adultery
    • Proverbs 6:32
    • Matthew 5
    • Ex. 5:17

 

  • Porneia
    • Corinthians 6:12-20
    • vs. 12
    • Vs. 13
    • vs. 18-20

 

  • Put it to Death!
    • Colossians 3:5-8
    • 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10

 

  • Jesus and Woman at the Well
    • John 4:1-26
    • vs. 13
    • vs. 14

 

 

 

Romans 8:1 –

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Extra Scriptures about sexual immorality:

  • Romans 13:13
  • Galatians 5:19
  • Ephesians 5:3
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Jude 1:7
 

I have to have a kid?!? May 11, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible,Women's Theology — ashleylavalette @ 11:43
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A friend and I were discussing last week the strangeness of 1 Timothy 2:15.  In context, Paul is talking about women’s roles in the church.  Of course, this is a very touchy passage for people who think that women have since evolved and can ‘handle tougher roles’.  Not the point of this blog.  Let’s look at the verse in context:

(All passages unless otherwise indicated come from the ESV translation)

12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (Emphasis mine)

The passage below is taken from an article from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood entitled Saved Through Childbearing? A Fresh Look at 1 Timothy 2:15 Points to Protection from Satan’s Deception by Andreas J. Köstenberger.  The word “saved” is translated from the Greek word “sōzō”.

sōzō may refer to spiritual protection rather than salvation in 1 Timothy 2:15, we discover that Paul’s concern for the spiritual protection of believers pervades his writings. In 1 Corinthians 7:5, he counsels that husband and wife not make themselves vulnerable to Satan by prolonged abstinence from sexual intercourse. In Ephesians 4:27, he warns that unresolved anger would give the devil a foothold.”

Köstenberger goes on to say “If this be so, (then) “women shall be kept safe by childbearing” is the likely rendering of 1 Timothy 2:15.  (W)hat are women to be kept safe from? On the basis of what has been said thus far, and without much further demonstration, it can be argued that what women are to be kept safe from is being deceived, ultimately by Satan himself.

Three factors combine to make this the probable understanding of the passage: first, the close parallel of 1 Timothy 5:14-15 where Satan is explicitly referred to and where “childbearing” is likewise mentioned as the way by which women will be kept safe; second, the fact that Satan is clearly in view in the preceding verse, 1 Timothy 2:14, where Paul conjures up the scenario of the Fall as one of two reasons why women are not to occupy roles of ultimate authority over men in the church (see vv. 12 and 13): “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Eve, Paul implies, was not kept safe at the Fall; she was deceived. Why? Because she left her proper domain under her husband’s care. What happened as a result? She became an easy prey for Satan. How can women under Timothy’s charge (and in churches everywhere) avoid repeating the same mistake? By “childbearing,” that is, by adhering to their God-ordained calling, including a focus on marriage, family, and the home. 1 Timothy 2:15 thus turns out to be Paul’s prescription for women as a lesson learned from the scenario of the Fall described in the preceding verse.”

I suggest that you read the entire article to find out the third factor and for a more detailed explanation on this crazy verse, which can be found at https://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-2-No-4/Saved-Through-Childbearing . 

With a little patience and understanding, one can find that God is purposeful in the things He says in Scripture. 

…And it’s okay that I don’t have a child right now! 🙂 (phew!)

 

Karfreitag April 10, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Bible — ashleylavalette @ 10:12
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Our “Good Friday” is called “Karfreitag” in German.  “Karfreitag” can be translated to “Grieving Friday”.  The “Kar” part actually comes from the jewish word “kara”, which means grief, sorrow, distress, etc. 

As I do most days, today I visited challies.com to read Tim Challies’ latest post.  He has been reading the book The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy and chose a very powerful quote from the book to speak about today…

“At Bethlehem, when the Saviour was born, the night was changed to day as the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds. On Golgotha the day gave way to night as Christ sank deeper and deeper into the abyss of damnation. At Bethlehem there were countless angels praising God; on Golgotha legions of darkness filled the impenetrable gloom, hoping that darkness would finally triumph over light.

 Golgotha was so different from the mount of transfiguration where the Lord conversed with Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets (Mark 9:2-4). There, for a brief moment, the glory of deity broke through the veil of flesh, a fleeting glimpse of the radiant splendour of Christ when he comes at the end of this age “in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

 Between the shining forth of glory at the transfiguration and the glory of the second coming, however, lies the heavy darkness of Golgotha.

 At the creation, God, at an early stage, introduced light. Yet now he leaves his Son suspended in darkness at midday…”

 

The Single Woman and the Modesty of Personal Restraint by Lydia Brownback April 3, 2009

Filed under: Articles,Uncategorized,Women's issues — ashleylavalette @ 12:25

Although it is speaking directly to single women, I believe this is also for married women as well.

This article was found on the following website: http://www.thisisnext.org/webzine#article1

As the spring season blooms, talk about modesty heats up in Christian conversation as fast as the weather. Bloggers, radio hosts, and the rest of us lament the shorter hemlines, deeper necklines, exposed bellies, and bare bottoms in thong bikinis at the neighborhood swim club. But immodesty deals with a lot more than revealing too much skin. We are just as prone—if not more so—to overexpose what’s under our skin. Revealing too much about ourselves is immodest too. When Peter painted his picture of godly womanhood, it included outward modesty—how we handle “the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing”—but it also included the modesty of personal restraint—“a gentle and quiet spirit,” which, he said, is very precious in God’s sight (1 Pet. 3:4).

I wish Carrie had known the wisdom of Peter’s words. Fresh out of college and starting her first “real” job, she came to work each day eager to be part of the team. But after just two months of work, Carrie experienced a personal crisis, and it began to affect her performance. Carrie was never at her desk. Instead, she spent the better part of the workday pouring out her struggles to her colleagues behind closed office doors. Finally, a female colleague was asked to talk to Carrie and to put a stop to it. But Carrie didn’t understand. What was wrong with being open and honest? Were office friendships forbidden? “It’s not appropriate, especially with the men,” she was told. “After all, how would their wives feel if they knew you were pouring your heart out to their husbands?” Carrie had no boundaries because she lacked a “gentle and quiet spirit,” the modesty of personal restraint that Peter taught. Happily, Carrie learned through the experience and went on to cultivate a godly self-restraint.

There is a time and place to open up and share our sin struggles and personal concerns, and if we are careful to apply Peter’s words about the modesty of personal restraint, we will be wise not only about the time and the place, but also about the people we choose to share our hearts with. The book of Proverbs warns us, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). Along with this there’s general biblical call on all of us to love one another, which means that we are called to guard the hearts of others, too. We might be tempted to think that this verse is guiding us toward self-protection, but it is not. What we are called to guard is our heart—our passion—for God, and we do this primarily by holding at bay anything that would compete with that passion in ourselves or in those around us.

Sharing confidences and personal experiences with someone forms a bond. There is always an element of vulnerability when we choose to trust another with our confidences and with not rejecting us when our weaknesses are exposed. If we share a little bit with someone and all goes well, it seems safe to share more, and before we know it, a bond has formed. This can be a great blessing, but when we allow it to happen in the wrong context, it is unwise, and great hurt can result.

Single women are free to enjoy the company of single men, but there is a way to go about it that reflects Peter’s idea of modesty and keeps hearts guarded. Time spent in groups is always wise because group conversations tend to be less personal. The group dynamic provides a safety net for the heart. On the other hand, private conversations and e-mail chats lead naturally to bond-forming, and if you overexpose your soul in a relationship where there has been no stated commitment, you are risking the hearts of both involved. 

Single women are not free to enjoy the company of married men—other women’s husbands–in the same way they are with single men. This includes pastors. Pastors are our God-given shepherds, certainly, but many if not most are also husbands. We are free to take our concerns to them, but there is a way to open up that shows appropriate personal restraint.. It’s one thing to seek our pastor’s counsel, perhaps repeatedly. But there is a difference between a genuine need for his wisdom and our desire for his attention and involvement in our lives. Countless phone calls and endless e-mails are probably going too far. This is the point at which most pastors will wisely redirect us elsewhere.

Inward and outward modesty is also a must in the workplace, as we saw with Carrie. Many women today are likely to spend some portion of their lives out in the job market. This means that men in the workforce spend more waking hours with their business colleagues—a significant number of which are women—than with their wives. Those of us in the workplace ought to consider that one of the primary motivations for modesty is safeguarding the marriages of our colleagues. A low-cut blouse isn’t necessarily going to lead to an extra-marital affair; however, when we recall Jesus’ words about what constitutes adultery—“everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28)—we see the need to be extra careful about what we wear in the office.

Modesty of speech is also crucial in the workplace. Office banter can be a slippery slope. Working together is also a bonding experience, and, naturally, friendships arise. But because this is so, it is all the more reason to restrain what we share about ourselves with our coworkers. “Wait a minute,” we say, like Carrie did. “We’re just friends! There’s nothing wrong with that.” Oh, but there is. Sharing verbal intimacies with a man is the exclusive right of his wife. It takes something away from her when we focus her husband’s attention onto ourselves, however harmless our intent. The best of marriages takes work, and because of that there are certainly seasons in which a man can be especially tempted by an illicit attraction. The new and different is exciting to almost everyone, so even the most innocuous revelations about ourselves can prove distracting.

Of course, there exists the very real possibility that friendship with a man—a single guy or another woman’s husband—however innocent at first, will morph into something more. But if there is no commitment to accompany the attachment that has developed, or the attachment violates a commitment made to someone else, heart destruction is sure to follow. Believing that this can’t happen makes the possibility of it happening even greater. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall,” Paul warns (1 Cor. 10:12). We’re not above it. None of us is. No one intentionally seeks out a destructive relationship, but they happen all the time. And they typically develop one conversation, one shared laugh, one lunch meeting at a time.

Are you as modest with your heart as you are with your clothing? It is a great way to love your brothers in Christ. It is also the best way to guard your heart and the reputation of your Savior. 


Lydia Brownback is the author of the On-the-Go Devotional series (Crossway); Fine China Is for Single Women Too (P&R, 2003); and Legacy of Faith: From Women of the Bible to Women of Today (P&R, 2002) and a speaker at women’s conferences. Lydia is an editor at Crossway Books, and she blogs at The Purple Cellar. Previously she served as the writer-in-residence for Reverend Alistair Begg and as the broadcast media manager for Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, where she produced The Bible Study Hour radio program with James Montgomery Boice. Lydia holds degrees from Syracuse University and Westminster Theological Seminary and resides in Wheaton, Illinois.