“The fear of man bringeth a snare: But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Prov. 29:25).
This is of course true—being Scripture as it is. But it also needs to be pointed out that in another sense the fear of woman bringeth two or three snares. I am writing on this topic because I have been blocked from seeing Rachel Held Evans’ twitter feed, and I wanted to make sure she never forgets why she did that.
I do not mean to say that every form of “fear of the feminine” is wrong. Some expressions of it should be considered healthy. I mean, Jael the wife of Heber wielded a mean tent peg. And Abimelech should have been far more wary of that millstone lady on the top of the tower. So be reasonable.
A godly woman who takes her role as the oikodespotes seriously (1 Tim. 5:14) can be quite formidable if you put paper plates into the dishwasher. And a son is carefully taught to remember the law of his mother (Prov. 1:8).
And we cannot leave out a woman’s erotic glory. “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, And terrible as an army with banners?” (Song of Solomon 6:10).
These are truths that the human race has known for millennia, and just because our generation has gotten itself into a snarled knot of gender confusion does not undo any of these settled truths. There are multiple ways in which every sensible man may have a healthy fear of the feminine.
So What Then?
I am addressing a problem that has arisen—in both church and home—as a result of the unrelenting and very fierce campaign being waged by the feminists. By “feminists” I mean both the crazy ones and the respectable mainstreamed ones. And by respectable mainstreamed ones, I am including the form of feminism that takes up the left wing of complementarianism. Thus far it has been a most successful campaign. The upshot of the campaign is that a woman, considered as such, cannot really be admonished in any way by a man. He doesn’t really know. He hasn’t checked his privilege. His thoughts are always suspect, and he is very much part of the problem.
So you, if you are a privileged male living in your little hetero-normative hellhole, and you somehow expect that women will want to live in there with you, are a central part of the problem. The dogma I am addressing is the one that says that in the “give and take” between the sexes, the man should simply concentrate on taking and not giving at all.
A Little Bachelor Party Illustration
We are accustomed to thinking of the feminists “out there,” and we are the conservative Bible-believing evangelicals “in here.” We fail to recognize what deep inroads all the public dogmas have made into our circles.
So imagine—as Nate recently did in a conversation—a bachelor party where a bunch of evangelical Christian men get together to fellowship, have a beer, and give some advice to the soon-to-be husband. Suppose further one of the men, when it came his turn, gave some advice like this:
“When you are wrong, when you have sinned, no one should be more ready to admit fault and to confess sin than you are. It goes without saying that you should conduct yourself in all humility and grace. When you are in the wrong, you are to own it, promptly and sincerely, all the way to the ground. But if you are not wrong, and believe it or not, there will be times when you are not wrong, do not ever apologize. You may not—in the name of Christ you may not—apologize simply for the sake of making peace or patching things up. You may not admit fault when you do not believe you were at fault. The reason you may not do this is because it is a sin to lie to your wife.”
Sort of takes the breath away, doesn’t it? Does a small throng of yes, buts rush to your mouth? Must such advice, already soundly qualified, need a host of additional qualifications? To ask the question is to answer it. Not only so, but the chances are pretty good that the man who gave the, um, robust advice will himself be privately admonished, and probably by more than one sincerely offended brother.
And all the effeminate brethren who are aghast at this bachelor party misbehavior are agreed in this one thing. It is our Christian duty to lie to our wives. We must do so all the time. We must make lying a central part of our pajama-boy worldview. We must do it seventy times seven, just like Jesus taught.
Cowardice in the Pulpit
And the reason we have such cowardice in our homes is because the example has already been set in our pulpits.
When Scripture comes to the point of ethical exhortation, it delivers those exhortations with sex differences in mind. Men—sons, husbands, and fathers—will be tempted in certain predictable ways. Those temptations are addressed, and those temptations have to do with a man’s frame, his responsibilities, and his weaknesses. Do not be harsh (Col. 3:19). Do not exasperate (Eph. 6:4). Do not abuse your strength (1 Pet. 3:7). Do not treat your wife like a hooker (1 Thess. 4:4).
We see the same thing with wome . . . aaaaa! Greco-Roman milieu! First century expectations! Culturally conditioned! You probably believe in head coverings! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
But, for example, young wives are told to be domestic (Tit. 2:4). Younger widows are cautioned against idleness, going from house to house, or from Facebook page to Facebook page (1 Tim. 5:13). And women are encouraged not to be fearful, given over to anxiety (1 Pet. 3:6). They should fight their fear and anxiety through reverent submission to their husbands, imitating Sara who called her husband lord (1 Pet. 3:6). Ah, but what few people recognize is that the Greek word rendered lord here by some of our more traditional translations is actually talking about the kind of servant leadership you might expect to find in a soaked paper table napkin.
A Simple Question
One of the things I try to do in sermon preparation is this. If over the course of a few months of pastoral counseling, say, I encounter three instances of husbands and fathers getting angry in the home, you can expect that problem to start showing up in sermons—either in sermons on anger, or passing illustrations about anger in sermons on something else. My assumption is that the instances I have found out about are the tip of the iceberg.
Now suppose—just suppose—the presenting problem in three marriages I am trying to help is the problem of lazy and idle housewives. Is there any practical way, without becoming a Pariah for the Ages, to preach on “Lazy Housewives”? I could get myself into a fit of the giggles just thinking about it.
Anything said along these lines will be immediately translated into an “attack on all women.” The violent response will insist that what you said about a small subset of women is to be understood by the entire world as an attack on all women, and the violent response will be led by women who also insist that they are every bit as rational as men, and should therefore be trusted to preach and teach and handle the text of Scripture, and they will do this when they have just finished parsing a statement that some mammals are marsupials into the clownish doctrine that all mammals are marsupials, and how dare The reason for this reaction is that Satan hates women, and does not want them to have any pastoral care.you say that all mammals have pouches? Whales don’t have pouches, you maroon.
The reason for this reaction is that Satan hates women, and does not want them to have any pastoral care. He does not want them to have husbands who protect them. He wants them to be surrounded by feckless cowards, who refuse to tell them the truth.
He wants them to have men in their lives who would rather lie than lead.