I want to leave the subject of politics and prophets, and discuss another issue facing the church. I must admit that I did not come up with the title phrase by myself. I most recently heard it from author Sheila Wray Gregoire. Where on a recent podcast of to “Love, Honor and Vacuum” she address a major issue facing relationships in marriage and parallel issues in the Evangelical church, “The need to set up authoritative hierarchies, ” instead of becoming a servant to one another.
- Luke 22:25-26 NASB – 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 “But [it is] not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.
With that she address problematic issues with a marriage book known as “Love and Respect,” whereby sex has the function of insisting on one’s needs being met instead of sex is supposed to be:
- “It’s the perfect picture of mutuality. It’s about a deep knowing of each other. It’s supposed to be pleasurable for both. It helps us understand real passion, by helping us become vulnerable and lose control. It gives us a window into passion with God. It helps us grow close and more affectionate. It’s designed as the height of human pleasure, for both of us. And in sex, we learn how to be giving, but also how to receive.”
I couldn’t agree with her more regarding marriage and the state of the evangelical church. I must admit I taught from that book when it first came out and totally overlooked a lot of key issues regarding female sexuality she points out in her blog. But in my defense, I will stand firm that I taught the book from a need to increase understanding, not demand. So I never taught the issue that one’s persons “needs” should take priority over another’s desire to not do something.
As a result of bringing up the destructive fruit that has resulted from pointing out such off base teachings, she has found herself almost homeless in the church. I must admit I saw the same thing happened with “I kissed Dating Goodbye.” People had devoted large areas of their lives to that book and its bad teachings. So they did not want to admit the fruit that it produced was detrimental to relationships, not helpful. I always like to point out that scripture never teaches to force or demand submission.
- Ephesians 5:21 NIV – 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
- 1 Peter 5:5 NIV – 5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
The unspoken theology is that one can demand submission. Submission is given, never taken. Sex is ultimately one of the most vulnerable acts one can ever engage in. And if you do not trust the other person, especially then, one should NEVER submit. Certain teachings are encouraging spouses to demand their needs be met or else their spouse is labeled as rebelling against the marriage.
Which brings me to the exact same issues I am having with the abusive nature of prophecy in the church. Modern so called apostles and prophets are demanding we follow or we are rebelling against God. But since so many people have devoted huge portions of their lives to the new prophetic movement, they do not want to admit it is producing bad fruit. And like Sheila Wray Gregoire, I am not sure I feel at home in the evangelical charismatic part of the body of Christ (see her YouTube videos regarding this issue in more detail).
Intimacy is never achieved through self centeredness, it is through serving one another in love. And serving with love is needed to develop intimacy with both God and your spouse. Love is given, not taken. Though I have never met her personally, but heard her speak a couple of years ago, kudos to Sheila for taking a stand for what’s right in the face of what’s popular.
Why submissive authoritative hierarchies are so much a part of who we are will take many blogs to unpack. But be sure that as long as the Shepherding Movement has taken on new forms such as prophesying on who to vote for, I can no longer remain silent. It may not be popular to say such things, but it is indeed necessary.
And as always, above all else, love much my friends . . .