“It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 26:14
NO. It’s not some new contemporary Christian rock band comprised of Joan Jett divas for Jesus sorts.
And, NO, it’s not intended to be either a subtle or candid way of calling Jory Micah or Sarah Bessey (or any of their cadre of co-antagonistic, ecclesiastic-equality gender crusaders) a cow or an ox.
It’s just that it’s more than obvious to any abide in my word believer that Micah and her “Christian feminist” compatriots are doing nothing short of “kicking against the goads.” It’s like when a genuine, Scripture-informed believer turns on the evening news and immediately recognizes Scriptural truth being played out in Dolby Hi-Def. Unless you’re unregenerate and therefore unable to recognize it, God is “giving them up” across the “breaking news now” globe in His active, ongoing, righteous judgment. You can’t miss it. Same with Jory and her “we don’t like what the Bible says about women” crowd. A believer can see that they really are just typical, Scripture-denying, run-of-the-mill goad-kickers.
Micah made her goad-kicking proclivities very evident in a recent post on her website, which is, btw, tag-lined with the subtitle #BreakingTheGlassSteeple. Her March 29, 2017, blog entry, Come To Our Table (Luke and I Are Starting A “Church”)” outlines clearly the numerous goads against which Jory is foot jolting in the name of ecclesiastic gender equality, social justice, and the epic quest of self-glory.
The triplicate identifiers on Micah’s site – “Advocate – Writer – Preacher” – give more than an ample clue about her Scripture-denying perspective. But the article adds a certain clarity to her “look at me, I’m Sandra Dee in Minist-reee” self-descriptors.
If you follow my ministry, you know that I have been like a lost puppy when it comes to finding a church to call home.
“Preacher” Micah has no church home. Of course, we knew that from her blog’s title. She and her apparently pants-sharing marital colleague are starting a “church,” duly denoted by Micah in her post in the “scare quotes” format. Whatever Micah starts won’t truly be a church because, whatever Micah claims, she is not truly a “preacher,” unless one counts false teachers in that category. (I do not.)
The reason for “preacher” Micah’s unchurched status isn’t because of fundamental theological motivations. That is to say, she and hubby have not been unable to find a doctrinally sound church. They have, rather, been unable to find a church that suitably meets the conditions of Micah’s own pietistically, self-righteous petulant preferences. Her preeminent personal passions have not been sufficiently shared by potential church candidates. In other words, Micah has not yet found a church that does what she pleases.
Sucked in by the post-modern, “it’s about me” culture, Micah wrongly believes the church is about her, rather than Christ. Hers is not altogether unlike witnessing a toddler tirade on the cereal aisle where the parental word “No” has just been uttered. For Micah, the petulant thrashing and shrill shrieking just happen to be in an aisle bordering church pews, well … it would be if she could find a “church home” in which to throw her ecclesiastic fit. It’s a classic case of Scriptural goad-kicking.
Our hearts burn for social justice in both the Church and in society. I have dedicated my life to ministry and theological academia, while Luke has dedicated his life to working with local governments and political academia.
We have always searched for ways to combine our passions, but we have struggled to find a church home in which we feel our unique combination of gifts are seen and appreciated.
Social justice, of course, isn’t the gospel and is not hinted at as the goal of the church. Though popular in the contemporary “we are the world” church culture, Micah’s preference for a visibly proactive, social justice focus is absent in her thumbs-up/thumbs-down review of possible congregational suitors. The churches she has assessed with the hope of gracing them with her membership have received the metaphorical, nail-polished “thumbs down.”
“True social justice is outside of reach this side of heaven. That is not an excuse, but it is the reality of life in a fallen world. One day, the Lord Jesus will return to establish His kingdom. Then the earth will experience true justice. In the meantime, God has not called the church to change the world socially, but rather to turn it upside down with the world-tilting power of the gospel. (Acts 17:6)” Jesse Johnson, Right Thinking In A Church Gone Astray
Like Johnson says, the church has a mission. It’s found in the commission. (See Matthew 28:16-20) Social justice is notably absent. The Gospel is the singular feature. Broadcast that Gospel and, it being the “power of God to save,” (Romans 1:16) we can trust that we will find God doing what only God can do – regenerating dead souls with new life. Want to change the world? Fine. Do it by doing the commission thing and letting God do the change thing.
But it’s not just the lack of a Micah-approved level of social justice consciousness her candidate churches have lacked. Those churches apparently also grievously offended the pompous Micah duo as the look-at-us limelight was absent. As she said, they need to be “seen and appreciated.” It’s hard to be humble, evidently, when you’re a gloriously gifted goad-kicker.
The Damascus road goad-kicker-turned-apostle would be a helpful source for the attention-coveting Micah. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) Paul, of course, was a legitimate minister with a properly oriented passion – the Gospel. Micah, who is disqualified by gender – God’s rule, not man’s (See 1 Timothy 3:2 or 1 Timothy 2:11-12, for example) – for the ministerial moniker, has yet disqualified herself further by seeking to please man (perhaps “please people” is more appropriate), receive their due laudations, and, most importantly, do it from a pulpit. Thus, goad-kicking has identified her as a usurper of Christ in His Word, not a servant of Him by it.
And so we have struggled for years to know where we fit in the world of Christianity. Even if we were to leave evangelicalism, we have wondered where we would go.
Perhaps that is why we have such a heart for those who feel left out: because we know what it is like to have much to offer the Church and world, but to go unnoticed by those with influence and power.
I have often been overlooked in church jobs, and Luke has often been overlooked in local government jobs. We understand what it is like not to have a seat at the table. (Emphasis original)
Last year, Luke and I got involved with planting a church that seemed like it was going to be a great fit, but it turned out that their vision took a turn that was simply different from ours.
Micah and her husband “have much to offer the Church,” but they can’t get “a seat at the table.” They have been forced to “go unnoticed.” (Actually, they’re not going unnoticed. They’re just “going.” Sans the successful procurement of a Micah-approved church home, she and hubby have, according to her blog, effectively picked up their toys and gone off to play “church” by themselves.) How can this happen? How has the church managed to scrape along for two millennia without this dynamic, ego-driven, gifted duo? Doesn’t the local bride of Christ know what an opportunity this is? Why is no church willing to change their entire ecclesiastical structure and ministerial philosophy (and toss Scripture and orthodoxy to the post-modern winds of tolerance) to comply with Micah’s mandates so as to procure the duo as its own limelight glowing congregants?
What this boils down to is something Christ once chided the Jews for doing. “Do not grumble among yourselves.” (John 6:43) Micah is grumbling about how the Lord has built His church, and how He has done it sans the dynamic, doctrine-denying, hubristic Micah duo. What’s worse is that He’s built it with a “Men Only” sign on the pulpit … which, after all, is … His pulpit. Grumbling = goad-kicking.
Of course, that’s the real goad against which Micah kicks … authority … particularly the authority of Christ as Head of his Church and, as a result, the Lord’s direct establishment of male authority in that church. Micah wants women in the pulpit. It is the “glass steeple” she aims to shatter.
“Several weeks ago, I went to church with my parents at a local Assembles of God Church. I grew up AG, and I thought I would try returning to my roots, but when I opened the bulletin and saw that all of the elders were men, my heart sank and I knew that I could never again return to any church that claims to empower women in ministry, but does not actually do it.”
“…I pray they would have an awakening and begin to empower women in church leadership.”
“Women ministers are tired of being overlooked in the conservative evangelical church. Often, women ministers end up marrying male ministers who have the same exact training and education as they do; yet, the women stay as “children’s pastors” or “youth pastors,” while they watch their husbands climb the church-ministry career ladder.”
“This is not only hurtful and unloving towards female ministers; it is disrespectful and demeaning.” (Emphasis original)
If you’re a genuine believer and can’t look around at the culture and recognize that gender and sexual persuasion are presently a favorite, powerful tools of the enemy to keep those entrapped in his darkened fortress of wrong, damning beliefs, then you need to spend a bit more time in the Book. The enemy of God, who has lost the war, is yet winning many battles among those too focused on things below to recognize the spiritual warfare going on. Go ask the Methodists how they could tolerate lesbian women in the pulpit of Christ’s church and you’ll find out what happens when Scripture isn’t exalted as the church’s sufficient authority. (See Psalm 138:2) Spiritual warfare points go to the enemy, not to the Methodists.
Whether it’s the LGBTQ-ee-ii-ee-ii-ooh agenda playing on the Romans 1 big screen of culture, or the egalitarian, “I am woman, hear me preach” pursuits of the likes of Micah, to fail to recognize this strategic maneuver of the enemy is to easily fall victim to it. The spiritually dead of the world can’t avoid it, but a real “minister” should. To suggest, however, that the structure of the church established by the Lord “is disrespectful and demeaning” fails to understand what starts way back in Genesis 1:1 … In the beginning, GOD. Jesus hasn’t forgotten that we are the creatures and He the Creator … but obviously, gender-driven goad-kickers have.
Besides her “pride of Micah” malady, her penchant for social justice and ecclesiastic gender equality serve to expose the “preacher’s” serious mishandling of the word of truth. While Scripture clearly holds no sacred place of authority and sufficiency for her, when she does reference the Word, it is not through the lens of sound doctrine and viable hermeneutics, but through the lens of her own personal passions.
Umm, not exactly there pastrix. When Micah uses “patriarchy” it carries the intentional tone of “God’s not being fair.” She attributes it as a result of sin, something from which Jesus has now redeemed us. What she actually misses is that male headship doesn’t start in Genesis 3:16 but is scripturally elucidated in Genesis 2:18. God made man first. He then made woman. Why? Man needed “a helper fit for him.” “Helper” does not imply woman’s inferiority, but man’s inadequacy alone. Paul, the male apostle, elaborates this God established order in 1 Timothy 2:12-13, confirming the order God has established prior to the fall. (Primogeniture is the technical term for it … priority and greater authority went to firstborn males. It’s throughout the Old Testament. Jacob and Esau is a notable example from Genesis 25:29-34. It’s repeated in places like Genesis 49:3, Exodus 13:2, Numbers 3:13, Numbers 8:17, 1 Chronicles 5:1, 2 Chronicles 21:3. Christ, of course, is the preeminent example of this divine principle as Colossians 1:15 emphasizes. Course, this is going by the Book … one that Micah-like crusaders prefer to dismiss.)
Beyond her miss on the authority structure established by God, Micah’s poor interpretation of Genesis 3:16, even if it were remotely correct, invalidates itself because if Jesus redeemed us from the dysfunction of “patriarchy,” why didn’t He redeem women from “the pain of childbirth,” also noted in that verse? But from the outset, Micah fails to realize this is God Himself speaking in this verse. He is issuing the curse. Jesus redeems, but He does not contradict. God’s curse was not “patriarchy.” His curse was judgment. Plus, if Jesus intended for the judgment to be reversed with regards to God’s established order, He failed to inform Paul who gave quite clear instructions on the matter for both husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-25.
So impassioned is Micah’s vitriolic kick against the goad of Christ’s established authority in His church that, in a maneuver not unlike a childish nana-nana-boo-boo taunt more common to a schoolyard battle of slurs, she often refers to the Holy Spirit as a “she.” This is, of course, in intentional disregard for Scripture’s numerous references to the Spirit as “He,” most notably from our Lord Himself. (The screen clips above also exhibit an array of other erroneous theological presumptions, but are provided merely to show Micah’s intentional derision against the Third Person of the Trinity.)
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” John 16:7-8
Micah’s demand for gender equality in the pulpit and elsewhere in church and denominational leadership is shared by many others who also share her fundamental disregard for Scripture. A recent Twitter thread #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear initiated by fellow goad-kicker Sarah Bessey served as a grumbling point for women who don’t get their ministerial and ecclesiastic leadership dreams of gender glory satisfied.
The Scripturally irrelevant Relevant Magazine ran an article entitled #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear Puts Church Misogyny On Blast. CBN News carried a similar article about the viral hashtag entitled #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear Reveals World of Hurt in the Church, describing it as “as a forum to discuss experiences of discrimination and oppression within the church.” The webzine ChurchLeaders featured a staff-written piece, The Hashtag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear Is Blowing Up Twitter and Pointing Out Misogyny in the Church, stating that the “experiences women are relating are heartbreaking, and sadly point to a divisive rift in the church.” The hashtag has been modified to also include #ThingsOnlyBlackChristianWomenHear.
Last week, Jesus Feminist author Sarah Bessey took to Twitter to start a conversation under the #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear hashtag, and it turned into a bit of a thing. Women tweeted stories of the misogyny, sexism and patriarchal abuse they’d experienced in the Church. (Source)
Bessey is the author of the 2013 book “Jesus Feminist: An Invitation To Revisit The Bible’s View of Women.” The book was endorsed by Brian McClaren, Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Nyquist, and others for whom the Bible is often a really nifty suggestion, but hardly an authoritative resource that should be seriously utilized as a guide for the 21st-century church or “Christian.” (Oh, and anytime you get an invitation to “revisit” what the Bible says, activate your Berean discernment skills … someone likely wants the “revisit” to result in a “revision” to correspond with their particular preferences. Eisegesis and narcigesis may well be afoot!)
Like Micah, Bessey is a Christian feminist or a feminist Christian or, perhaps to hear her tell it, a victim of 2,000 years of Christ’s leadership over His church. Here are a few lines from Bessey’s blog. (You’ll find these cited from her entry entitled On Being A Christian And Being A Feminist … And Belonging Nowhere.)
Yet I choose to be a feminist in the way that I believe Jesus would be a feminist.
(Yeah, well, that sounds really idyllic if not for the fact that the premise of Jesus as a 21st century post-modern feminist is not merely Biblically absurd but patently contradictory to how a genuine believer is to think and behave. We are to become like Christ, not remake him in our image to suit our post-modern, gender-interpreted fancy. And Jesus was assuredly NOT a gender-focused feminist, not when He was on mission on earth … nor is He now, in heaven, where there is neither male or female.)
When I decided to become a disciple of Jesus, it meant that I wanted to live my right-now life the way that I believed Jesus would do it.
(Okay, so we’ve got some Joel-ette Osteen “right-now life” nonsense going on. But the same argument applies from above, with the necessary notation that no one gets to decide to “become a disciple of Jesus.” He picks His disciples, from the original Galilean gang all the way through the last soul just saved on the planet as you read this. But, interestingly enough, we can know who His disciples are because they are the ones who “abide in my word,” per John 8:31. Abiding, btw, implies obedience, which makes one think Bessey, Micah, and their ilk are falling a bit short on the “abiding” part. And, if you are one who loves Jesus, you’re also one who obeys Jesus … according to His Word per John 14:23. The result of all this abiding, obedience, and love? Fruit. That’s how, according to Jesus, you can tell. Matthew 7:20)
Because I follow Jesus, I want to see God’s redemptive movement for women arch towards justice.
(I’m not really sure what this even means, but it smacks of gender justice in the church, a reality that – had God wanted it according to Bessey’s egalitarian benchmarks – would assuredly have been established by Jesus when he started building it. Evidently, what Bessey wants to see from “God’s redemptive movement” isn’t in line with that “your will be done” thing from the disciple’s prayer. Matthew 6:10)
Nevertheless, Bessey’s thread soon filled with bloviating gender-driven angst, orthodox ecclesiology-bashing ardor, and occasionally outright vitriolic attacks by the “Christian feminist” forces, grumbling that conservative churches dare remain obedient to Scripture. A few samples are below. You can peruse the Twitter thread for more at your own discretion.
(Well, if you got up to preach, I’d get up and walk out too. But that’s going by the Book. See Titus 1:6-9, 1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 2:11-14 for why this is Biblically unacceptable. Goad-kickers get no point on this one.)
(Course, if you take a look at, say, 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and then consider our responsibility to each other as siblings in Christ, as is pointed out in 1 Corinthians 8:9, it seems Biblically obvious that a woman’s immodest attire might indeed cause a “brother to stumble.” If wearing something immodest gets you called out because it might lead a brother to sin, imagine standing before Christ in that outfit, explaining it to Him. Of course, Jesus had rather a rather stark warning about those who would cause believers to sin … it was better to be dead. See Matthew 18:6-10. Bringing temptation to others is a consequence of a poor – or absent – relationship with Christ. Another point goes to God’s truth. Goad-kickers are zero for two.)
(Umm, “patriarchal death grip?” Really? So Jesus who is the God-Man has been building His church according to His will but that represents a “patriarchal death grip?” And Jesus, the head of the church, with His “death grip” is preventing the Spirit – whom Micah identifies as female – from reigning? This is blasphemous. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not in an ecclesiastic power struggle. Christ rules and reigns in His Church and the Spirit of God … well … HE always, always, ALWAYS points to Christ. See John 14:26, John 15:26, &John 16:14, for example.)
#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear substantially offers a prideful, self-centered perspective, the same one that has precluded Micah from finding a church home. It presumes that church, Christianity, Scripture, and God are focused primarily on “me.” My needs, my wants, my preferences – even noble ones – must take precedence. “Thy will be done” is fine, so long as it falls within the parameters of “my will being done.” For the crusading Christo-feminists, their “will” is being defied by an evangelical church that still finds God’s principles in His Word more persuasive than culture’s passions.
While there should be zero tolerance for actual gender-based abuses, vulgarities, disrespect, and misogynistic behavior against women in the church, the notion that such abuse occurs because of the Lord-ordained structure of male leadership in His church is illegitimate. #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear should represent the exact same things that Christian men should hear … the Word of God. Instead, contemporary church culture has often succumbed to validating victimhood on the basis of worldly standards. But to shout “victim” at the Biblically obedient church because, as a woman, you are not allowed certain roles and functions doesn’t diminish the truth of God’s standards in His Word, but it does diminish your claim to be an authentic follower of Jesus. To love Jesus and be His authentic disciple demands obedience to His Word as our fully authoritative and sufficient guide for, in it, “he has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
The evangelical church has absorbed enough of the Western culture to adopt the secular mindset that defines such things as fairness, equality, tolerance, and authority on worldly, not Biblical, terms. Denomination after denomination, church after church, has fallen from their first love of sound biblical doctrine by catering to worldly desires and allowing women to occupy roles forbidden to them by God in his Word.
Like Himself, God’s Word is immutable and eternal. Those churches and denominations who follow culture’s queues rather than God’s commands should take seriously the words of the Lord to the church of Ephesus: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, repent, and do the works you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4-5) The failure to abide by this warning, instead following the sirens’ cry of feminism, brings the certain disdain of the Lord, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants …” (Revelation 2:20) The judgment of the Lord for this sin in Thyatira is severe: “…and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart …” (Revelation 2:23) Shall the judgment for disobedience be any less severe for the church today that fails in obedience to the unchanging commands of Scripture? Culture may change, but His Word does not.
To goad-kick against God’s pre-fall order may establish Micah and Bessey’s worldly claims to victimhood; it may create a groundswell of cultural support; it may even become a viral media topic, but it does not validate their claim to be a child of His. Prioritizing feminism over Jesus is idolatry and a concept foreign to His prescribed will for women in His Word. Those who do it should be cautioned to seriously examine themselves, because it just may be that they are not in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5) And those of us who are in the faith … well, we should pray … pray for those who seek to usurp God’s Word and Christ’s authority in His church … and pray that we will obediently “abide in my word.” (John 8:31)
The serpent is still slithering about … whispering “Hath God said?” … while he looks to collect more goad-kickers, especially those who claim to belong to Christ.
For more on the false teaching, goad-kicking Jory Micah, see Brandon Hines’ review HERE.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]