Fertile Femininity and the Impotent Feminist (1 Timothy 2:9–15)

Femininity is under attack and there is too little masculinity to protect it. Feminists are the ones who are actually anti-women, desiring to erase that which is particularly and gloriously feminine in women by trying to make them men. Part of the genius of their ploy is neutering men so as to eliminate any resistance. “Make the men women and we can make the women men.” It is serpentine—both crafty and destructive. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman… .”

Gender, sexuality, manhood, and womanhood are where the battle lines are drawn for our times. Bruce Ware captures this well,

Today… the primary areas in which Christianity is pressured to conform are on issues of gender and sexuality. Postmoderns and ethical relativists care little about doctrinal truth claims; these seem to them innocuous, archaic, and irrelevant to life. What they do care about, and care with a vengeance, is whether their feminist agenda and sexual perversions are tolerated, endorsed and expanded in an increasingly neo-pagan landscape. Because this is what they care most about, it is precisely here that Christianity is most vulnerable. To lose the battle here is to subject the Church to increasing layers of departure from biblical faith. And surely, it will not be long until ethical departures (the Church yielding to feminist pressures for women’s ordination, for example) will yield even more central doctrinal departures (questioning whether Scripture’s inherent patriarchy renders it fundamentally untrustworthy, for example). I find it instructive that when Paul warns about departures from the faith in the latter days, he lists ethical compromises and the searing of the conscience as the prelude to a full-scale doctrinal apostasy (1 Tim 4:1-5).

This means that when we come to a text like 1 Timothy 2:9–15 we mustn’t cringe in embarrassment; we must glory and rejoice. We must remember that the joy of the Lord is our strength, and, that a glorying in Biblical manhood and womanhood is a rejoicing in the Lord. This joy isn’t one that we must fain or force. Femininity is a glorious, beautiful, graceful, and strong thing, and when a woman embraces it, she outshines the world’s perversions the way the sun outshines a lightning bug.

Imagine coming up to a group of builders using hammers to drive screws and screwdrivers to drive nails. “No. You’ve got it backwards. That isn’t using them according to design.” The foolish builders say that design, function, purpose, and roles are relative and to be determined by self. Using a hammer for a screwdriver opens the door to using a wrecking ball for a hammer, and then it won’t be long before the house comes crashing down. When men are men, and women are women, it is then that they are most glorious because it is then that they are most godlike, functioning according to design, imaging forth the Designer.

Femininity is a powerful and glorious thing; something in which women are far superior to men. In a unique way that men are not able to, Christian women get to model for all humanity the grace, beauty, and glory of the submissive quietness of Christ’s bride. Submission and obedience don’t kill, they give life. When Adam and Eve rebelled and did what they wanted this house came down, and it came down because Adam didn’t step up and protect Eve’s femininity; he sat in his recliner, did nothing, and ate the food that he let her eat, and that he let her bring to him (Genesis 3:6). Freedom is a fish in water; a man under God. Under authority, man flourishes. When a godly woman is under a godly man under our gracious God, she is a glorious living parable of this truth.

This kind of beauty is attractive and powerful. It makes men want to be men. It will produce men who will bleed for such beauty, and, like our Savior, bleed to beautify it.

Headship Is (1 Timothy 2:8)

When there are problems in the church, start with the men. When there are problems in the church, men are always responsible for them; either because they caused the problem, or failed to address it. If men haven’t caused the problem, they must deal with it. If problems are not dealt with in this way, you intensify your problems. When men have failed in the church and women have stepped in to fill the void, this hasn’t solved any problems, but caused larger ones. When women lead it doesn’t help men be men, and thus, it doesn’t help women either. Women can’t help men to be men when they try to be men.

Men are women’s biggest problem (outside their own sin), but right behind men is feminism. Have feminist and egalitarians championed some righteous causes. Certainly. But this wasn’t because they were feminists. Did Nazi scientists make breakthroughs beneficial for mankind? Certainly. But this wasn’t because they were Nazis. Feminism is problem for women because it amplifies men being a problem for women.

We have so feminized the church that it is as attractive to men as a feather boa. Men failed, women stepped in, and now there aren’t any men, only mothers and boys, mothers who perpetuate the boyhood of boys. The women do while overgrown boys sit on their duff playing video games. Oh, but their video games without x-rated material, supervised by upright mothers! Right.

The reason why a disregard for gender fundamentally fails is because headship is. When Scripture speaks of husbands being heads of their wives, it doesn’t come as a command, but as a statement of fact.

“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 (Ephesians 5:23 ESV).”

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).”

Headship is stated as an indicative fact, not an imperative command. Irrevocably, men dominate. That is to say they have a headship that affect all that is under them. Douglas Wilson gets at this well,

“Because the husband is the head of the wife, he finds himself in a position of inescapable leadership. He cannot successfully refuse to lead. If he attempts to abdicate in some way, he may, through his rebellion, lead poorly. But no matter what he does, or where he goes, he does so as the head of his wife. This is how God designed marriage. He has created us as male and female in such a way as to ensure that men will always be dominant in marriage. If the husband is godly, then that dominance will not be harsh; it will be characterized by the same self-sacrificial love demonstrated by our Lord—Dominus—at the cross. If a husband tries to run away from his headship, that abdication will dominate the home. If he catches a plane to the other side of the country, and stays there, he will dominate in and by his absence. How many children have grown up in a home dominated by the empty chair at the table? If the marriage is one in which the wife ‘wears the pants,’ the wimpiness of the husband is the most obvious thing about the marriage, creating a miserable marriage and home. His abdication dominates.”

In conclusion, let me say a few words to ward off any naysayers and gender benders. First, if you erase male/female distinctions you open the door wide to homosexuality and transgender endorsement. Second, if you have a problem with submission, you have a problem with the godhead as seen in 1 Corinthians 11:3. Third, just as in the godhead, having different roles in which one submits to the other does not mean that men and women are not equal in value, dignity, and worth any more that the Son is less God or less worthy of worship than the Father. Finally, I leave you with Chesterton’s short poem, “Comparisons.”

If I set the sun beside the moon,
And if I set the land beside the sea,
And if I set the town beside the country,
And if I set the man beside the woman,
I suppose some fool would talk about one being better.