In a previous post I commented on the “cold threats,” or implied threats, that are the logical result when one part of the Body of Christ works to establish and maintain extra-biblical rights over another part, in this case, men over women (See “On ‘Cold Threats’ Against Women in Extra-Biblical Patriarchy/Complementariansim [EPC] Groups”).
I wonder if those who espouse EPC teachings have considered the “bad fruit” of such teachings and practices in light of the true and “good fruit” of growing in grace in the Holy Spirit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, / Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5: 22-23 KJV).
Expanding the verse from the original Greek renders it thus:
But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, affection, benevolence—a love feast; cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness; quietness, rest, to be “set-at-one” again with someone; patience, forbearance; kindness, gentleness; going beyond mere justice to generosity; entrusting one’s spiritual well being to Christ, believing; humility, gentleness; and self control.
(It reads like a breath of fresh air, doesn’t it?)
How to “achieve” all of this in the quest for Christ-likeness as the flesh continually wars against the spirit? More from the same passage: by choosing to be “led of” and to “walk in” (the wisdom and the prompting of) the Holy Spirit (16, 18), sent to us by Jesus, which is the transforming power that enables a Christian to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (14).
Incidentally, nothing in the verse indicates that it is gender-specific.
In the EPC belief system, however, bad fruit results where women and girls are taught by men that they are somehow “less than” men or rightly to be controlled by men in terms of any or all of the following:
- ability to interpret what the Scriptures teach,
- how, with whom, when, and where they can interact with others,
- what roles, jobs, professions, callings, and giftings they may or may not engage in (God’s gifts and callings for individual believers notwithstanding),
- where, when, and to whom they must not speak,
- (in some groups) how they must wear their hair,
- and even what clothing styles they may or may not be permitted to wear…
The bad fruit?: frustration, resentment, anxiety, tension, distress, shame, confusion, self-doubt, jealousy, vulnerability, despair, bondage, legalism, and fear—laced with the potential for violence—depending upon what a husband/father or a group of men might decide are acceptable forms of “correction” they have a “right” to use against women and girls.
Of course, one hears of exceptions all the time. Men come out of this brand of thinking or belong to such groups in name only. Or they don’t subscribe to begin with, choosing, rather, the full context of the Word of God, and to grow in the true fruit of the Spirit.
And how does the “bad fruit” happen? In this case, whenever one group of Christians decides they have extra-biblical rights over another group because the other group is a certain gender. It’s sexism at its worst because in this case the wrong thinking impacts eternity, or so goes the implication.
Not to mention that if one group of believers forbids another group of believers to operate in their positions in the Body of Christ, which are believer- not gender-specific, how that truncates if not actually serves to abort the Great Commission…
After my sister who is on the medical staff of a prison hospital for the criminally insane read my previous post she made this comment. “You know, our sexually violent predators who ‘get religion’ in prison just love to read the magazines put out by the patriarchy movement, if they can get their hands on them, because the articles reinforce (the sexually violent predators’) idea of women as less-than people, and sexual objects.” She then told me the story of one prisoner who told her he had finally come to the place of FORGIVING his girlfriend for her infraction, whatever it was, that “caused” him to murder her in an unspeakably brutal manner.
Let’s pray those individuals are never loosed on society and take residence in an EPC church near us.
That quote from your sister who works at a hospital for the criminally insane is chilling!
Yes, isn’t it. People need to speak out against and stay away from these kinds of groups. And when women and girls come out of them, we need to help them get whatever kind of help they may need. Depending upon how long victims have been under the influence of extra-biblical patriarchy cults, the recovery period may be extensive. But on the hopeful side, so much of this kind of non-biblical teaching is being exposed these days, and more and more women and girls are being set free. Thank God for the Internet and for dedicated ministries and professionals who work in the field.
Hoping those who read these articles, both women and men, understand how it applies to them and what personal changes may be necessary and move towards the abumdant life that Jesus has!