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11/30/2013

Sarah Palin and the Hypocrisy of Secular Feminism

Why the Church Must Recognize
What God is Doing through Women Today

When Sarah Palin was vilely and viciously attacked by MSNBC host, Martin Bashir, the secular feminists were eerily silent, affirming once again that their political and social agendas trump any concern they may have for women. If they were really for women per se, they would have been the first to come to the defense of Palin who has achieved the sort of success that organizations like NOW (National Organization for Women) claim to advocate for women. She has served successfully as mayor of a city and governor of a state. She and her husband partner together in running a successful business and she was chosen as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate for the 2008 presidential elections.  

This being the case, shouldn't the feminists be celebrating Sarah Palin? Why are they so glum about Palin? The obvious answer is that Palin does not fit into their secular, socialist, non-Christian worldview. She marches to the beat of a different drummer. She is a committed follower of Jesus Christ and she is prolife. She believes marriage is between one woman and one man and she advocates for personal responsibility and smaller government. All these things are anathema to the secular feminists and they have gone out of their way, not only to be silent when Palin is attacked, but to verbally attack Palin themselves.  

The well-known feminist, Gloria Steinman, for example, accused Palin, and women like her, of “selling out” the women’s movement. This statement, however, shows the smallness of Steinman’s thinking in that she would narrowly define the “women’s movement” in terms of her own organization and others like it. Much to her chagrin, there is a women’s movement taking place outside of NOW that Steinman and others like her would prefer to ignore. In the political arena it is happening in with devout Christian women like Palin, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina and a host of others. That these women are either ignored or opposed by the secular feminists is why the National Organization for Women (NOW) should change its name to reflect who they really are. A more honest name and reflective of reality would be something like “The National Organization for Socialist, Secularist Women.”  

This new women’s movement that the secular feminists so disdain is centered in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. The women of this new movement are discovering that Jesus Christ is, in fact, the great Emancipator of women through His life, death and resurrection. They are discovering that Jesus treated women with dignity and respect and welcomed them as His disciples. I recall speaking to a group of sad, depressed women in Bulgaria near the Macedonian border. They had been excommunicated from their church and physically beaten by their husbands because of their passionate commitment to follow Jesus. As they told us their story through an interpreter, there was much weeping. When it came time for me to speak I turned in my Bible to Luke chapter 8 and read about the women who had left everything to follow Jesus. I showed how these women traveled with Him from village to village and followed Him all the way to Jerusalem. I pointed out that Jesus did not tell them—even the married ones--to go home but allowed them to set their own priorities and make their own decisions to follow Him. “The most important thing anyone can do is follow Jesus,” I told them. As I spoke, those Bulgarian women saw Jesus’ acceptance and affirmation of them in a way they had never seen before and they proceeded to drown out my voice with their shouts of joy and praises to God.
Indeed, there was a large company of women who followed Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem and were there observing His crucifixion and burial (Luke 23:49, 55). It was one of these women, Mary Magdalene, whom He honored by appearing to her first after His resurrection and commissioning her to be the first preacher of the good news of His resurrection (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18). In other words, Jesus required that His male disciples hear the initial news of His resurrection from the mouth of a woman. He was obviously making a very important statement by that purposeful act.
The women of this new movement are also discovering that Paul, when understood in the historical context of his day, did not confine or restrict women, but showed great respect and deference for their gifts and callings. In the same way, John Wesley, when challenged as to why he commissioned ignorant laypeople, including women, to preach and teach, replied “Because God owns them in the saving of souls and who am I to withstand God.”
If the church had taught what the Bible actually says about women there probably would never have been a "feminist" movement. In her book, In the Spirit We're Equal, Susan Hyatt has documented how the roots of the modern feminist movement can be traced to devout Christian women and men in the 19th century who began a push for equal rights for women including the right to vote. This came at a time when it was controversial for women to even pray in public. These early "feminists" took the Bible as their guide and covered their activities with prayer. Over time, however, this movement lost its way and moved away from its Christian beginnings into secularism and materialism, and morphed into the modern feminist movement as we know it today.

It is time for the church-at-large to rethink its theology about women and their role in the church and society. But first, many will have to rid themselves of the fear of being accused of being influenced by feminism. "The chuch is too feminine," some will complain. This is the boogey bear that traditionalists use to try and intimidate churches and pastors from fully embracing the gifts and callings of their female members. This fear must be cast aside and the work of the Holy Spirit in both men and women must be fully embraced so that the entire body of Christ can be mobilized. This is of utmost importance for this new women's movement could well be the key for true revival in the churches of our land and the key to reaching the Muslim world with the good news of Jesus Christ.


Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is a board member of God’s Word to Women, an organization that is lifting the status of women around the world by teaching them their equal standing and status in Jesus Christ. His website is www.eddiehyatt.com. The website for God's Word to Women is www.godswordtowomen.org and www.icwhp.org

11/17/2013

Let God Fight Your Battle

Thus says the LORD to you, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's" (II Chronicles 20:15).

II Chronicles 20 tells of a huge confederate army of 3 nations that came against Judah to destroy her. In the natural, there was no way out. It seemed that Judah was doomed; but instead there occurred an incredible victory when King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah decided to let God fight their battle.

Are you facing overwhelming odds in any area of life today? Do you belong to God? He will also fight your battle. You live under a better covenant than did Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. Stop trying to fight on your own and put yourself and your situation in God's hands today. He will bring about victory in ways you never imagined possible.


There are 5 important responses on the part of Jehoshaphat and Judah that are expressed through their prayer and their obedience, and these are very telling for us today.

1) They acknowledged the absolute, sovereign power of God in the situation  (vss. 5-6).
2) They acknowledged their own human inadequacy and helplessness in the situation (vs. 12).
3) They reminded God of His covenant promises to answer prayer and that He had given them the very land the enemy was seeking to take (vss. 8-11).
4) They focused their faith on God, saying, Our eyes are upon Thee (vs. 12).
5) They obeyed and went out to face the enemy with the singers and praisers out front, shouting praises to God as they went out to face the enemy (vs. 21).

As Judah marched forth against her enemy singing and praising God, confusion hit the enemy camp and they began to fight and kill one another. By the time Israel reached the battlefield all that was left was dead bodies lying everywhere. The LORD had fought their battle! There was much jewelry and precious metals on the dead bodies. In fact there was so much "stuff" that it took the people of Judah 3 days to carry off the spoils from the battle--the battle the LORD had won for them. They renamed the area the Valley of Berachah, which means Valley of Blessing. The place that looked as though it would be a place of destruction had become a place of blessing when they let the LORD fight their battle.


Put yourself and your situation in God's hands now and let Him fight your battle!

11/11/2013

The False Doctrine Behind the "Strange Fire" of John MacArthur

In his latest book, Strange Fire, John MacArthur viciously labels the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement as “a false church as dangerous as any cult or heresy that has ever assaulted Christianity.” As I have read and reread his polemic, one thing that becomes clear is that MacArthur’s entire theological outlook is guided and determined by his commitment to the Calvinistic doctrine of cessationism, i.e., the belief that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were withdrawn from the church after the death of the original apostles of Christ. This, however, is a false doctrine that cannot be substantiated by either Scripture or church history.
Those who succeeded the original apostles as leaders in the churches make no mention of a cessation theory. On the other hand, they give clear testimony of miraculous gifts and healings occurring in their day. I have documented this in my book, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, published by Charisma House. Consider the following quotes from church fathers recognized by both Protestants and Catholics as the legitimate successors of the original apostles.
Justin Martyr (100-165) “For the prophetical gifts remain with us even to the present time. Now it is possible to see among us women and men who possess gifts of the Spirit of God” (Eddie Hyatt, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, 15).
Irenaeus (125-200) “In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church who possess prophetic gifts and through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages . . . Yes, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years” (Hyatt, 16).
Tertullian (150-240) “For seeing that we too acknowledge the spiritual charismata, or gifts, we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift . . . and heaven knows how many distinguished men, to say nothing of the common people, have been cured either of devils or of their sicknesses” (Hyatt, 17).
Novation (210-280) “This is he [the Holy Spirit] who places prophets in the church, instructs teachers, directs tongues, gives powers and healings, does wonderful works . . . and arranges whatever gifts there are of the charismata; and thus making the Lord’s Church everywhere, and in all, perfected and completed (Hyatt, 20-21).
Origen (185-284) “Some give evidence of their having received through this faith a marvelous power by the cures which they perform, invoking no other name over those who need their help than that of the God of all things, along with Jesus and a mention of his history” (Hyatt, 18-19).
Augustine (354-430) In his work, The City of God, Augustine tells of healings and miracles that he has observed first hand and then says, “I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work that I cannot record all the miracles I know” (44-45).
These testimonies clearly demonstrate that Spiritual gifts continued to be common in the church from the Day of Pentecost and up to the beginning of the fourth century. The Episcopal scholar, Morton Kelsey, was correct when he said, “These men were well aware of Paul’s list of the gifts of the Spirit and what it included. In no place do they suggest that any of them had dropped away.”
In an Appendix entitled “Voices from Church History” MacArthur seeks to substantiate his doctrine of cessation from church history. Interestingly, the earliest quote he presents is from John Chrysostom (344-407) who refers to his ignorance of Spiritual gifts and their cessation. The reason MacArthur begins with Chrysostom is that there is no evidence of a cessation theory prior to this time.
MacArthur next quotes Augustine’s statement that the tongues at Pentecost were a sign “adapted to the times” and had passed away. But what he fails to mention is that Augustine’s views on this matter changed with time and he later fully embraced the continued work of the Holy Spirit and His gifts in the church (see the above quote). Nonetheless, Augustine’s earlier comments were taken up by those not experiencing Spiritual gifts and used to justify their experience, or lack thereof.
While some articulated a theory of cessation to explain the lack of miracles and Spiritual gifts in their midst, others throughout history have acknowledged that the problem has been a lack of faith and holiness within the church. This was the view of A. J. Gordon, 18th century Baptist pastor and founder of Gordon College in Boston, who wrote,
It is not altogether strange that when the Church forgot her citizenship in heaven and began to establish herself in luxury and splendor on earth, she should cease to exhibit the supernatural gifts of heaven (Hyatt, 36).
John Wesley, the unflappable Oxford scholar, revivalist and founder of Methodism, showed his disdain for the doctrine of cessation when he wrote, “I do not recollect any Scripture wherein we are taught that miracles were to be confined within the limits of the apostolic age or the Cyprian age, or of any period of time, longer or shorter, even till the restitution of all things.” After reading a book that defended the continuance of Spiritual gifts in the Church, Wesley wrote the following statement in his Journal.
I was fully convinced of what I had once suspected . . . that the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not only that faith and holiness were well night lost, but that dry, formal orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture (Hyatt, 29).
Beginning with the dawn of the 20th century, the church has seen an explosion of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit around the world. Churches old and new are embracing this dynamic work of the Spirit in their midst and this very diverse movement now numbers over 600 million world-wide and is growing at the rate of 9 million per year. This Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, that MacArthur so detests, is actually a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy for Peter, in explaining the tongues on the Day of Pentecost, declared,
And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:17).

I pray that that God will enable John MacArthur to see what is obvious to so many; that the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, though having many human imperfections, is a genuine work of the Holy Spirit, empowering the people of God everywhere to be witnesses of Jesus Christ and His salvation in these last days.