Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Straw Man is Strong With This One

I'm back to write more about the horror I'm reading on Visionary Womanhood. Natalie Klejwa has done a complete 180 on everything she believed about womanhood and being a wife. This is sad for her, of course, but what is disturbing is that she is now convinced that she has discovered the truth and is encouraging other Christian women to follow her path. She thought she knew the truth for 40 some odd years, in one or two days she finds out she had it all wrong, and NOW women should trust that she knows about that of which she speaks? She doesn't doubt herself even the tiniest bit after following the wrong path for 4 decades? Scary. How about some humility and spending some decades testing your new theories before you call other women to join?

But today I'm here to expose one of her straw men. It is a common tactic on her blog whereat she states some false teaching and then  proclaims it is false. She's not very thorough at knocking down her own straw men, but then, most of them are so ridiculous that she's counting on you to dismiss them for being outrageous based on basic common sense and the most rudimentary understanding of the gospel. The problem is, the false teachings that she is protesting don't actually exist within mainstream or orthodox Christendom. Since I have written somewhat extensively about 1 Peter 3, I'll just talk about her suffering-wife-straw-man. Here is a quote from her blog post The One Sure Sign You are in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship:
There are some people who think a wife needs to suffer for Christ even if it means physical beatings. Christ’s suffering wasn’t enough for her. She’s got to complete it for Him. Total rubbish, of course.
I find it interesting that she provides no link, no citation, to ANYONE who says that a Christian man or woman needs to complete Christ's suffering for Him. Jesus was pretty clear when He said "It is finished" that nothing more needed to be done. His work was complete. For her to suggest any Christian leader teaches that is just, oh, I don't know -- stupid? But wow, she really knocked that one out of the park by proclaiming it to be "total rubbish." Duh.  While setting up this straw man though, she is also treading dangerously close to saying that women are entitled to a marriage free of suffering, or that it is outside of God's will for Christians to suffer, and suffer deeply. Even within marriage. If she is going to talk about Christ's suffering, and about women suffering in marriage, I would think it would be the perfect place for her to direct her readers to the book of 1 Peter, when the apostle actually addresses the very issue. But, no.  So, I'm going to go there.

Let's look at what Peter had to say about suffering wrongfully:
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;...
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: ...
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
This selection starts in 1 Peter 2:19 and goes through to 1 Peter 4:2. I specifically selected the verses that are most applicable to the topic at hand, whether it is within the will of God for Christians to suffer and why. It starts out stating that it is "thankworthy" to suffer and grieve. This means a person who is in the midst of suffering should be thanking God. If a person is to thank God, that means  God is sovereign over our suffering. No need to question what kind of God would permit such a thing (Romans 9), just thank Him.

Then Peter goes on to say that this thing, this suffering, this grief is something to which God has specifically called us. Did you hear that? God called us to suffer. But before he called us to suffer, He did another thing. He caused His own Son to suffer so he (Christ) could serve as an example to us for how to do it. Is there any disagreement about what is being said there? It isn't ambiguous, right? He starts out addressing servants and their mistreatment by masters. He is describing this mistreatment, not as inconvenient, but as suffering and grieving. It's bad.

Peter tells the servants how to suffer. Without reviling. Without threatening. Without sin and without guile. The servants don't need to fear because God is seeing all of that and is judging with righteous judgement. They don't even need to attempt to make their own case.

Here comes the amazing part to me, as a woman. Chapter 3 starts out with the words "likewise ye wives..." We know Peter didn't write this as a separate or stand alone chapter. He wrote it as one long narrative and verse 1 of Chapter 3 follows up the advice to servants to suffer righteously by addressing wives and telling them to also suffer in the same manner as the servants, and to follow Christ's example. We don't "complete Christ's suffering" as was comically asserted as a common teaching by Natalie Klejwa at Visionary Womanhood, instead we suffer in His footsteps, following the example He set. Peter said that some wives will SUFFER at the hands of their husbands who do not obey the word. And was his advice to those wives that they should take a test to see if their husband is an emotional abuser? Nope. Peter's advice, it might even be considered a command, is for the wife to make herself subject to her husband. Not because he is loving her like Christ loved the Church, but precisely because he IS NOT.

And did you see verse 14? Again, I am amazed. God's ways are not my ways. He says that if I, as a wife, suffer at the hands (or mouth) of my husband I should be happy, I should not be in terror or be troubled. Why? Because of the hope that lies within me. The hope of the gospel. The sure knowledge of God's love and His righteousness. Then we see in verse 17 that my suffering, if I suffer for good, IS the will of God! God wills that I suffer! Can this be true? I assure you, it is. And Peter urges us to have the mind of Christ in this matter (in the same way Paul urges us to have the mind of Christ in Philippians 2), to not live in the flesh, and to live "to the will of God." Amen.

Natalie Klejwa would have you believe that if your husband does not obey the word, you are in a "destructive relationship." But the Word of God tells you to believe that God's will, which sometimes includes suffering in marriage, cannot destroy you.  So, who is telling the truth in this matter?

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