I was speaking with someone the other day, and he, when speaking of Christian women, very accurately said, “Theology must drive their uniquely God-ordained lives.”
However, that is often not the case for Christian women, and that is devastatingly sad to me. It’s sad, and it’s a tragedy.
Our Christian society has been inundated with “women-centered” curriculum and topics-based conferences, which are good in and of themselves. We, as Christian women, have probably never before in history had so many resources at our unique disposal that guide us and encourage us in our lives.
As I said, this is all good.
What alarms me is that oftentimes, theology is not the driving force behind most of these resources. Womanhood is. They’re driven by questions such as:
· Who are you as a woman?
· What kind of woman are you?
· How do you live as a fulfilled and successful woman/mom/wife?
Of course, Christianity and the role of being a Christian is many times peppered into these topics, but theology…not so much. What has consequently happened is that womanhood drives our theology, instead of theology driving our womanhood.
The results have been watered down studies or situational encouragement, all with their foundations in what it means to be a woman who happens to be in Christ. Skimming through any online Christian resource or walking through a physical Christian bookstore, the “Woman’s Studies” section is fraught with books like Coffee with Jesus, or Living a Stress-Free Life, or Friendships of Women.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not bashing these sorts of books. They are helpful and certainly have their place within the life of a Christian woman. What I am concerned about, though, is that we have placed the proverbial cart before the horse. How can I possibly know how to live a stress-free life or have correct friendships, even if the premise of these things is Christ, without having first immersed myself in the doctrine of Jesus Christ? How can I live practically without first understanding the theology that must drive these things?
I am not a woman who happens to be in Christ. I am a Christian who happens to be a woman.
I most certainly believe that there are Christian men and there are Christian women, and they are both called to live their lives as Christians in uniquely male and female ways. God created us differently for a reason, and those reasons most definitely extend to how we live as men and women. But what I also firmly believe is that there are common, distinctive theological truths that must drive both male and female lives as Christians, and if we try to live either of those paths without the foundation of this theology, we are simply spinning our wheels or even worse, spinning off course.
As I teach many woman’s seminars, workshops, and conferences, one thing I stress long before I teach on whatever woman-centered topic I may be covering is that all Christians—men and women alike—are called to first and foremost be theologians. Know on Whom you have believed and in what you have believed. Without that firm foundation, everything shifts uncontrollably, no matter how many times you say the name “Jesus.”
“And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:26-27)
Too many Christian women are feverishly trying to live their lives in the best way they possibly can, ways that will bring peace and contentment to their families and themselves, but they are doing so to the detriment of knowledge first. Without the foundation of accurate, God-honoring and God-glorifying doctrine, all of our efforts at living the successful and contented Christian life are ultimately weak and ineffectual. As John Piper once said,
“Wimpy theology makes for wimpy women.”
Does theology drive your womanhood, or does your womanhood drive your theology? Sometimes a deeper consideration of where we begin will result in the success we are looking for in the first place.