And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until
we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and
carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness
in deceitful scheming; but speaking
the truth in love,
we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ from
whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by
what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual
part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-15 (NASB)
I thought this passage was important to
bring up as we head towards our fall women’s Bible studies. So many of the studies that are out there
these days are doctrine weak, poorly written, and full of emotionalism. As I review the study guides I see questions
to be answered that are written to have the student respond from the
perspective of “what it means to me” and this is just not right.
Those who teach and lead women’s Bible
studies have a great responsibility to teach
the Word accurately. According to the
passage of Scripture I cited today it is clear that the burden for teaching and
equipping each other is not only the Pastor’s. Mature Christian women are also responsible
to equip others for works of service that result in building up the body of
Christ (vs 12). We are responsible to
help one another mature and become more like Christ (vs 13) and we are also
responsible to be discerning and to help one another become discerning (v14).
Many Christian women have an inadequate
view of God, self and sin. This is complicated by the stampede to doctrine
“light” that many churches have taken. Women who take a stand for the authority
of Scripture and sufficiency must often “undo” bad teaching and replace it with
sound teaching. This is not necessarily easy among heavily psychologized and
poorly taught women.
The Bible is neither adjustable nor
flexible to suit the whim of the teacher. God’s Word does not change because it
is not human in origin. It is not to be
taught from the angle of how the teacher perceives God to be, because then the
teacher is reinterpreting the Bible in a way that suits their need of the
moment. This distorts God’s truth and
makes it “relative” and a matter of experience.
Some study leaders involve superstitious reasoning
and ridiculous emotionalism in their teachings, appealing to the flesh of their
participants. Personal experience with the Scriptures becomes the interpreter and
then everyone’s truth is right because it’s based on individual and personal
experience. This is a distortion- the Bible is truth
whether you “experience” it or not. This is very difficult thinking to address because in our culture feelings and experience are great sacred cows that are propped up and worshiped. It is widely believed that you cannot argue with someone's experience, and by all means, don't try to mess with their feeelings...
However, the reality of the situation is that human experience does not change the truth of the Word of God. I have heard women massively
twist and distort passages of Scripture, claiming them as “promises” or “a word
from the Lord” about a circumstance, and claim that despite the gross error of
such methods of application and interpretation that their experience trumps the
actual meaning and intention of the Word of God!
These kinds of teachings lead women to
elevate their feelings, thoughts and beliefs above what the Scripture really
says and what it means by what it says. This is rank pride and horrible self-deception.
God’s Word is unchangeable; it is not
shaped or changed by the culture we live in.
If you want to teach a Bible study,
teach that the Bible is God’s story of redemption through His Son Jesus Christ.
It is all about Jesus. It’s God’s story
and is not dependent on your experience or personal interpretation. It is the
story of love, goodness, forgiveness, grace and mercy at the cross.
Sad to say that I suspect little change
will take place in women’s Bible studies despite what has been said here and by
other’s who have a strong voice for truth.
In a few weeks, women will once again gather together to have their
heads and hearts filled with error because of sloppy theology and incorrect
interpretation of the Bible. May God
save us from ourselves.