Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Asking the wrong questions

If we ask the wrong questions we are bound to end up with the wrong answers. I think this is one of the reasons religious feminists have such difficulty seeing beyond the straitjacket into which their dependence upon logic forces them.

They look at abilities in isolation from the Big Story and ask, "Why not women?". When the question has never been what women can do, the proper question is what women should do. For God is often seen to turn things around, he turns our great human wisdom upside down. He chose the stutterer Moses to speak for His people in the face of the great ruler of Egypt. He chose his greatest persecutor, Saul, to be the great apologist Paul. He chose the murdering adulterer, David, to pen some of the greatest poetry in existence.

The question is not what a woman can do, it is what a woman should do. The mere possession of an ability, even a spiritual gift, and a personal and subjective sense of calling does not qualify one to lead a hike in the woods, much less a church. The Mormons have their "burning in the bosom" to testify to the "truth" of LDS teaching as well. But that doesn't make them right about it. Not hardly.

I've included the first question and answer, with Scripture proofs, from the Westminster Catechism because it asks the right question, so it comes up with the correct answer. Our purpose in life is not to "serve" God in the way we believe He has equipped and called us. Our purpose is to bring glory to his name. Only when we have answered that question correctly, can we ask the "how?" question. And there, I am afraid, we must part company with the religious feminists and those more comfortable with the label "Egalitarian", for they have asked the wrong question first.


From the Westminster Catechism:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever.[2]


[1] Psalm 86. Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me. Isaiah 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 6:20, 31. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.... Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Revelation 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

[2] Psalm 16:5-11. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 144:15. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. Isaiah 12:2. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Luke 2:10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Revelation 21:3-4. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.


Aaron said...

Kamilla, great insight about glorifying God, instead of merely 'serving' Him, which all too often gets limited and distorted according to our own inclinations.

Ditto for the observation about logic as straitjacket. I once worked my way through Rebecca Groothuis' Good News for Women, (I'm sure I misspelled her name) and found her argumentation against equal-in-being/unequal-in-function logically impressive. (Maybe it has great fallacious holes in it, but a sharper mind than mind would be required to find them)

And yet, she's up against the Great Story, the whole counsel of God - Whose tri-unity, by the way, cannot be fully explained in logical categories, yet there it is. Perhaps the Lord God could have ordered His creation in a manner pleasing to Ms. Groothuis, but He didn't. And so all her argumentation is a bit like, oh, I don't know, a flood victim stranded on her rooftop, rejecting rescue by rowboat because a helicopter would have made a lot more sense.

I'm not saying it very well, but perhaps you get the idea.

Kamilla said...

Hi Aaron,

Thank you for the encouraging words!

It's the Big Story that really is the problem. The folks on the other side can keep fighting the skirmishes, but unless they step back and take a look at the whole counsel of God (as you say), they will never really understand.

Great point about God's tri-unity - hardly something that can be laid out in a neat little logic box, is it?