Opinions on faith and life

Proactive or Reactive?

2010-03-24

It has been pointed out that darkness is not a thing in itself, but the absence of a thing: light. Likewise, evil is not so much an entity of its own as a reaction to good. So both darkness and evil could be described as reactive. In contrast, good and light are proactive; they are the entities without which their opposites would not exist.

And so it is with the egalitarian cause. We have spent too much effort being reactive, because we seem so overly focused upon counterattack and defense. We have thus painted ourselves as the shadow, the threat, instead of the standard by which other views are judged. Our battles have all been uphill because we’re looking in the wrong direction.

We must change our mindset from defense to attack, from challenger to champion. We are not the ones hiding behind tradition or class or majority, but standing firmly on the Word, on the Truth, and on sound reason. If we err, it is on the side of compassion, whereas male supremacy errs on the side of legalism. As I’ve often said, we must have both truth and spirit; one without the other leads to error. But standing upon those two pillars we can then let any inferences we make bow to the heart if there is any doubt. This is the essence of our faith, the motivation of our salvation. Jesus said it all right here:

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so also must the Human be lifted up, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life. Likewise, since God loved the world, he also gave his only son so that everyone who would trust in him would not be destroyed but have eternal life. For God did not dispatch his son into the world to pass judgment on it, but to save it through him. The one putting trust in him is not condemned, but the one not trusting is condemned already for rejecting the name of the only God-Man.

~ John 3:14—18

And as John later said,
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

~ 1 John 4:7—12 (TNIV)

And of course I would remind the reader that this love is not a cheap emotion that ignores sin or knows nothing of the holiness of God. If we do not love God above all, even family and friends, then we do not love God at all. And as Jesus further defined it, Why do you call me ’Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say? Love must go hand-in-hand with truth. And truth is not something that can be picked up like rocks on the ground; we have to dig for it and that takes a lot of work. We must be diligent to know all the facts, to consult with many sources on word meanings and grammatical points, and to think logically and consistently.

This must be the foundation of our teachings, egalitarian or not, because everything flows from this point. This is the proactive, positive, faithful base from which we must operate. Since egalitarian teachings flow naturally from this source, we are merely teaching the truths of scripture when we teach equality. We need to focus on that instead of on what’s wrong with everybody else’s teachings. Let them become the challengers and accusers, the shadows, the margins. We have the truth and we need to start acting in accordance with that fact.

6 Comments

truthseeker

Paula, very eloquently spoken!! I agree completely-and thank you! Time to move on, isn’t it?

Paula Fether

Tanx TS!

Yes it is time to move on. We need a one-stop shop for people to find what the Bible says, without wading through hundreds or thousands of blog posts or search engine results. Sunday School and small group studies need to stop being like hamsters in wheels and become more like actual schools with defined graduation goals. We should be able to take someone from whatever point they are now, through a course of study, ending with a solid foundation of interpretation and reason that no fad or falsehood can shake. And we need to then live the teachings; giving them to hardened hearts is throwing pearls to swine.

Sonnet

Excellent! The great commission -- Matthew 28:18-19 is very proactive. And egals are the ones trying to promote unity between all believers. A body that utilizes all of its members without one part trying to hinder another. Non-egals are reactive when they try to prevent that unity through their gender constraints and divisions.

Paula Fether

Tanx Sonnet! :-)

One would think that those who claim such vast knowledge of scripture would have seen long ago that "you are all one" means exactly what it says, and "not lording over" means exactly what it says, and "treat others as better than yourself" means exactly what it says.

Lin

You know, this made me think of how some of us are responding to the authoritarian focus coming from many pastors today. Why we are pointing out their error all the time and arguing minute points back and forth?

Why are we not focusing on the truth? The truth of the Word kills authoritarianism among adult believers in the Body.

I am simply amazed at the difference in focus since I was a kid in the SBC. Growing up, the pastor was just another depraved sinner saved by grace like the rest of the adults in the Holy Priesthood. Some were more mature than others and they were elders.

Today, the pastor is a specially anointed professional Christian who hears from God about what the church should do. He is not to be disagreed with publicly or you are in sin.

It is scary stuff.

Paula Fether

And it’s the old gradual change thing too. People can’t remember how it used to be. Every now and then we need to hit the reset button...