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You have probably heard the phrase, “women are more emotional and men are more rational.” I have believed and said this, myself, but it was not until recently that my perspective changed and I realized some issues with this statement and the consequences believing it may have.

The reciprocal of the statement better highlights the assumptions and implications being made: Women are less rational than men and men are less emotional than women. I think that many people believe this and as I said, I did too. However, I would like to explain why this is a wrong assumption, the harm that it can cause, and how we can all strive to be like Christ, no matter our shortcomings.

The first error here is the wrong definition of emotional. Women are very often pegged with this term because we are usually the ones who are seen expressing emotion in the form of tears. But is that the only way of showcasing emotion that warrants the label “emotional”? Merriam-Webster defines emotion as “a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.” Emotion is a basic part of being human. We all have various emotions every single day and we express those emotions in many different ways. But for some reason, the emotions of women are looked at as weak or irrational.

While it may be true that women’s emotions can cause them to make irrational decisions, I’d like to argue that men can be just as irrational or emotional. Have you ever seen a man get killed during a video game? Or watched him watch his favorite sports team lose? He will probably show a good bit of emotion at those times. Have you ever seen a man get very angry? That anger usually leads to irrational behavior if not dealt with properly. The Bible is very clear about anger and how it is an emotional driver that leads to sinfulness:

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention” (Proverbs 15:18).

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).

“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29).

My objective here is not to bash men or make out their sinful tendencies to be worse than women’s. But, I want to make the argument that we all are emotional beings and because we are also sinful, we have the tendency to give in to those emotions and let them guide us instead of the Truth of God’s Word.

Emotional is defined as “dominated by or prone to emotion.” When we are dominated by our emotions, we are not applying the wisdom found in Scripture to our lives. Instead of practicing self-control, we are choosing to act according to our flesh, rather than the Spirit. However, this is the opposite of we are called to do as believers. Proverbs reminds us many times of the wisdom in self-control: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11). Paul exhorts all Christians to “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). And of course we know that self-control is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Saying that women are naturally less rational than men, makes the claim that women are less capable of being like Christ. Most people wouldn’t come out and say that, but that is what the statement implies. It excuses behavior because of an assumed weakness. Being irrational is sinful. It is acting in haste, believing lies instead of truth, and dwelling on things of this world and not on things of God. Instead of being irrational, we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are to meditate on God’s Word (Psalm 119:15,23,27,48,78) and to “set [our] minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2). When we obey these commands, we will not act irrationally, even when emotions arise. Whether it is worry, grief, fear, or anger, if we look to the Lord and let Him remind us of the Truth, we do not have to let our emotions guide us.

If we are all called to be like Christ, then we all have the same capability of doing so, by relying on the Lord's strength, even with our different weaknesses. As a whole, men may struggle with anger more and women may struggle with fear or anxiety more. But those struggles are never an excuse for our sin. On the contrary, we should lay those weaknesses at the foot of the cross and pray for strength from the Lord. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Although Jesus is God, while on this earth, He subjected Himself to human flesh and had to fight the same sinful tendencies we do. Even though we see instances where His human emotion was evident (John 11:35, Mark 3:5), He never acted hastily, never doubted God, and never sinned. He chose to act according to the wisdom of God instead of letting His emotions guide Him. He is our perfect example to follow.

Labeling each other extra-Biblically is never healthy. It creates false assumptions and leads us to believe things about one another that aren’t true. Instead, let’s surrender our weaknesses and shortcomings to Christ and exhort one another to be like Him in all that we do.

  • Writer's pictureHaley Maddox

Dogmatism is defined as “the expression of an opinion or belief as if it were a fact : an assertion of opinion especially when unwarranted or arrogant.” We see plenty of dogmatism in our culture, but unfortunately, we also see it among Christians. So many divisions, arguments, confusion and hurt happen over people being dogmatic about what they believe and casting direct or indirect judgments on those who disagree. It is easy to call someone else dogmatic, and a lot harder to see it in yourself. I want to talk about why this is and discuss what the root of dogmatism is, what the Bible has to say about it, and ways that we can guard against it.

So, where does a dogmatic attitude come from? What is sinful about dogmatism?

It is not something that forms on its own. If someone is dogmatic, there is something that is rooted in their heart. Just like most actions, dogmatism is simply the result of something much deeper and more serious.

Dogmatism is an outflowing of a self-righteous and prideful heart.

The Bible may not specifically speak about dogmatism, but it does speak about pride. This is because dogmatism is a result of pride. It is what naturally flows from a heart that is self-righteous.

Proverbs 6 tells us about some sins that the Lord hates. A haughty spirit is number one on the list. What is it about pride that God hates? Why does the Bible warn so heavily against pride?

I have often heard that the Lord hates pride because when a man is prideful, he is exalting himself over God. While I do believe that is true, this explanation is very vague and does not get to the real issue. I think there is something deeper that reveals why pride is so dangerous and why one who is “arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 16:5).

During His ministry on Earth, Jesus received great opposition from the Pharisees. To the society around them, the Pharisees seemed to be very righteous and near to God. However, the One who knew their hearts saw the truth:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

The Pharisees thought themselves to be righteous, but on the inside, their hearts were dark. They could not believe that Jesus would dine with, teach, and save sinners. However, this is why Jesus came. In Luke 5, Jesus commands a tax collector named Matthew (or Levi) to follow Him. Matthew immediately drops everything and obeys. When Jesus goes to his house and dines with Matthew and other tax collectors, the Pharisees grumble and scoff at Him. But Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31).

The Pharisees were blind to their own sin. They could not see how wretched they really were. In attempts to make themselves feel more righteous than others, they created extra-Biblical commands and expected everyone else to follow them. Their self-righteousness and pride led them to dogmatism. They became calloused to the weight of their own sin and could only see the sin of others.

This is the danger of pride. Someone who is prideful cannot see their sin and their need for repentance. This pride can very easily and quickly lead to dogmatism. An inability to see the sin in your heart as well as an arrogant attitude toward your own beliefs can not only hurt your relationship with God, but also cripple your witness to others.

But until we truly humble ourselves and ask God to reveal the hidden sin in our hearts,

we won’t see it.

That is what is so dangerous.

You can have sin in your heart that you do not see and cannot see because of your pride.

Even those who want so badly to positively influence others can ruin their witness because of their pride.

This is why God hates it and why He “resists the proud” (1 Peter 5:5).

So how do we fight against pride and dogmatism if we may not be able to see it?

Here are some helpful steps that I believe are imperative in guarding our hearts from the sin of pride and from becoming dogmatic in our own beliefs.

1) Pray the prayer of King David and ask the Lord to search your heart and try your ways.

Our hearts have a bent toward sin, which is why, even as believers, we must constantly be asking the Lord to reveal any sin that is in our hearts and to give us the strength to deny ourselves and our sin.

2) Be willing to make a change if what you believe contradicts Truth that you are met with, no matter the cost.

Whether the Lord reveals sin in your heart or beliefs that are wrong or misguided, you must be willing to lay them down and to change, even if it costs you heavily. Maybe your family won’t understand. Maybe people will falsely accuse you. But rest assured in the fact that you are obeying the Lord and that He will be with you.

3) Realize that you are not always right about everything.

It is really easy to believe that your opinions about certain things are correct. This is not necessarily a bad thing. We wouldn’t have a certain opinion about something if we believed it to be false. However, it is so important to maintain a humble spirit and realize that even something you hold fast to may not be completely accurate.

4) Read and listen to other opinions to help you become well-rounded in your beliefs and sensitive to other perspectives.

This is so important, but it also takes discernment. Work on developing the skill of being able to read or listen to something and glean truth, while also being able to detect falsehood. We should always test what we hear or read with Scripture. In doing this, we may actually realize that something we have always believed is actually not based in Scripture, and we may need to change our perspective.

5) Know the difference between doctrinal issues and areas where we have Christian liberty.

There are certain things such as the inerrancy of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the sinfulness of man, that we should not waver on. However, there are also areas in which we have liberty to disagree and not judge each other. Topics such as spiritual gifts, end times, family dynamics (such as women working outside the home, where children should be schooled, who does what in the household, etc.) are matters in which believers should be able to disagree and still live in harmony with one another without fear of judgment.

Dogmatism is very damaging. It can hurt relationships and stunt spiritual growth. And what is most dangerous about it is that it is usually hard to detect in your own life. The root of it is pride, which is a sin that the Lord hates. We must take this sin seriously and constantly be asking the Lord to show us areas in which we have become prideful so that we can be diligent in the fight against it. And we can rest in the promise that Scripture gives that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

  • Writer's pictureHaley Maddox

Helper was the first word used to describe woman in the Bible, and it was used by God, Himself, when He decided to create her (Genesis 2:18). While many try and distort its meaning or ignore it all together, it is of vital importance that we understand what woman’s God-given role is meant to be.

The term helper has taken on meanings that are not Biblical. We always hear the phrase “equal in value, different in roles.” Although this is true, it seems the role of helper is looked at in a weak or insignificant light. Even some who agree that women have equal value in terms of salvation still look at the woman’s role of helper as someone who may not know everything the head does, but will blindly follow wherever he leads, ready to give assistance if and when it is needed.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of false teaching when it comes to this term. In her book Created to be His Helpmeet, Debi Pearl teaches young wives that “God’s ultimate goal is for [them] to meet [their] man’s needs” and that “God’s original intention was that a woman would spend her life helping her husband fulfill his dreams and ambitions" (page 173 of the 10th edition).

Is this really the type of help that God had in mind when he created woman?

In Genesis, after God made Adam, he said “It is not good that man should live alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew word used here is ezer meaning help, succor, or aid. This word is used 21 times in the Old Testament, and it is most often used to describe God in His relationship to His people:

“There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty” (Deuteronomy 33:26).

“Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).

The type of help found in these verses is not something that is available to be used only if desired. On the contrary, it is vital, it is strong, it is useful and it is intentional.

In one of his lectures, theologian John McKinley says the best definition of ezer is “necessary ally.” He states, “God is the ultimate ezer to all people in need, but woman is God’s provision of a necessary ally to men for the good of both and all people that depend on their synergy.” In order to further explain this, McKinley gives examples from Scripture of women being not only allies but also enemies to men and we see the vitality of woman as helper from both.

Going back to the first relationship between man and woman, we see that Eve fails in her role as helper to Adam. Instead of encouraging Adam to obey God’s command and help turn him away from sin, she gives into her own sinful desire and influences her husband to do the same. Warning men to turn away from evil as well as fighting against evil are two ways McKinley says women should be allies to men.

While Eve did not fulfill her role well, we see a great example in Abigail who Scripture calls an “intelligent and beautiful woman” (1 Samuel 25:3). Abigail was married to a man named Nabal who was a fool. Nabal dishonored King David and in his rash anger and revengeful spirit, David took four hundred men with him and intended to slaughter Nabal’s household. Abigail heard of this and went out to meet the king before he arrived. She humbly pleaded with him to forgive her husband and to remember the promises of God to David. She also wisely warned him that if he went through with this he would “have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed” (vs 31). David heeded Abigail’s advice and said “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed on this day” (vs 32-33). And he confessed that, “if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak” (vs 34).

What an impact Abigail made by being a necessary ally to both Nabal and King David. Had it not have been for Abigail’s wisdom and discernment, Nabal and his household would have been killed (God does kill Nabal later because of his sin [vs. 38]) and David would have had innocent blood on his hands. Abigail fulfilled her God-given role as an ezer by giving wise and constructive counsel. This is another way McKinley encourages women to act as necessary allies to their husbands and even other Godly men in their lives.

While it is irrefutable that the Bible teaches that the office of pastor/elder is to be held by God-fearing men (Titus 1:5-10), this does not mean that women cannot declare the truth of God or give Godly counsel to both men and women. We see in the New Testament that a woman named Priscilla, along with her husband, Aquila, gave counsel and correction to a man who was teaching in the synagogues (Acts 18:24-26). We also know that women prophesied (spoke forth or declared what God said) at different times in the early church (Acts 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11; Luke 2:36).

When we take the Biblical mandate of men holding pastoral roles in the church to mean that women cannot influence and give guidance to men, we are doing harm to both genders. All members of the body benefit from exhorting one another (Hebrews 10:24) and encouraging one another in our fight against sin (Hebrews 3:13).

Another way women are necessary allies to men is in ministry, and not just with tending to children and preparing the food. In Romans 16, Paul mentions at least ten women who are an important part of his ministry. He commends Phoebe who was a deaconess at the church in Cenchreae. He makes mention of Priscilla, Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis who were all women who “worked very hard in the Lord.” He exhorts the church to greet Junia who had even been in prison with Paul. These women were not behind the scenes doing things we would consider “feminine.” They were joining the men on the front lines battling against the enemy and furthering the Gospel of Christ. They were vital to the spread of the early church.

Of course, we should not look down on the responsibilities and blessings of women nurturing children and preparing meals for others or think them to be trivial. These are wonderful forms of service that are important. However, reducing a woman’s contribution to just this is to take away important aspects of what she is called to be as a follower of Christ.

When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them a mission: “to be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Eve was essential to this mission and not just because she was necessary to bare children. While that is a beautiful and amazing part of a woman’s role, it does not end there. They were to work together to spread the image of God throughout the world and make His name known. This is what a woman’s role as helper and her life’s goal should be. It is not to help fulfill whatever her husband’s hopes and dreams are, but to help him as they work together to magnify the name of the Lord.

After the fall, they were both banished from the perfection of the garden and sent into the harsh and cursed world. It became all the more important for the man and woman to work together, with God as their guide, fighting against evil. They were still to fulfill God’s command and mission for them.

When we water down a woman’s role as helper and see it as nothing more than occasional assistance when called on, we are hurting not only women, but also men, families and the church. We need each other to help sharpen, guide, teach, call out and encourage us to strive to be made more into the image of God, who is to all, the holy, righteous, all-powerful and ever present ezer.

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