The Friday morning Ladies’ Bible Study has about 4 weeks left before we break for summer. (I’ll be inviting several ladies to a Friday summer study at the local library. Their kiddos -all older- can read while we talk about Jill Briscoe’s book, “Prayer that Works”.)
Meanwhile, Leanne, the Women’s Ministry leader, has begun a book about 12 women from the Bible. The book about the 12 disciples, by the same author, is supposed to be fantastic. Our pastor in particular loves this author.
I would like to slap his (the author’s, not the pastor’s) silly face.
There are times in the Bible that Paul offers what sounds like opinion, but he lets his readers know it is from God (1 Corinthians 7:10). There are times he believes the words are his alone (but God has placed them in His eternal Word)(1 Cor. 7:12). Paul is honest with his readers about the difference between his personal opinion and God’s.
Author M is not. Even worse, there are times when he does let his reader know that what he is imagining is simply his own opinion. He begins the sentences with, “We can suppose that” or “She probably felt”. But many times in each chapter he imagines what a woman is thinking or feeling- he even says, “She must have felt this way for decades”- and he puts it forth as fact.
This is horrible scholarship, to say the least. Words like blasphemy spring to mind as well, but Author M doesn’t outright call it Scripture. He ‘just’ introduces a woman from Scripture, summarizes her story from Scripture, then runs amok.
Every. freakin’. chapter.
I talked with Leanne. She booted my concerns up to the pastor. He booted them back to Leanne, and strongly urged me to continue attending the study. (Since I have dropped out of the Tuesday night study, and I want to stay available to younger Christian women of our church who may have questions, I agreed.) Leanne and I talked some more, and Leanne told all the women clearly at the beginning of the next session, “This is not Scripture, this is a discussion about women in Scripture. We may disagree with the author. Use commentaries and Bible dictionaries or ask me (Leanne) if you have questions.”
But what about all the new Christians who are going to use this book and, having never read the Bible itself, treat all this imagination as truth? Some of it is shoddy scholarship about ancient civilizations, true, but so much of it is “The highest calling a woman can have is to be a mother” or “All godly women long to be a wives and mothers”.
Jesus said the greatest commandments were to love God and your neighbor, not be a parent (let alone exclusively a mother). The fruit of God’s Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc.- and not parenting. The parts of the body (including single people, married without kids, and parents) need each other- no part is more important or unimportant. Men and women- motherhood is not ‘the highest calling’ are EQUAL in God’s eyes. Of equal value. Jews are of equal value to Gentiles. Paraplegics are of equal value to Olympic athletes. Mothers. are. of. EQUAL. value to every. other. person.
Children are a reward and a heritage. “A” reward. Not “The only” or even “The highest” reward. The reward comes AFTER the godly behaviors of faith, obedience, submission, etc., which are more valuable and are done by both single women and married.
Author M is a poor scholar, lacking in reason, and worse, he’s passing his opinions off as Scripture to all his readers, including, potentially, immature believers. Matthew 18:6 says, [not I, but the Lord!] “If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Lord, correct him, and protect Your children in the meantime!