Speaking positively about the difficult parts of shepherds' work...
(Tim) Here's a response to this comment left by a reader: "It seems that many in the complementarian community spend almost all their energy on the negative side of the equation."
Feminism is toxic and its relentless attack on Scripture and the Church doesn't give faithful shepherds a lot of opportunity to take their preaching and teaching somewhere else, avoiding this breach. We must focus our defensive work where the good deposit is under attack. In response to people complaining of the frequency of his preaching against fornication, Spurgeon said once that he'd stop preaching against it when people stopped doing it.
Pastors today aren't preaching or teaching against this heresy. And when we do, we do it half-heartedly making it clear to our flock and other shepherds that we wish the need for battle would go away because we're men of peace and love and grace, and we really don't enjoy beating up on women.
Now I may not have captured our critic's sentiments, personally, but from many years experience I know I've hit the mainstream. So think where we'd be if Calvin or Luther or Knox of any of hundreds of other shepherds had tried the positive approach in the darkness of Rome's shadow across the Middle Ages? What if Calvin had written his Institutes without the central thrust of opposing and exposing Rome? Would anyone read them?
The real issue isn't that many within the complementarian camp spend almost all our energy on the negative side of this equation, but that we live in an evil day much like the day of the Apostle Paul and Athanasius and Peter Waldo and John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards and John Newton and J. Gresham Machen and Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Francis Schaeffer, and that our work must follow theirs in being faithful with God's "yes" and His "no." And if our only "no" is said in opposing those who don't say "yes" often enough to suit our tastes, we're not really saying "no," are we?
Better to say we're still saying "yes," but in an aggressive way that denies the Holy Spirit is the giver of gifts other than ours.
About ten years ago, now, when I first met with the board of CBMW to start my work as its first Executive Director, I told them that the largest issue confronting us in opposing feminism within the Church was not opposing feminism, but explaining the need for opposing feminism. Or better, waking the Church and her shepherds up to the nature of our work in this particular day, and convincing our brothers in Christ that exposing evil deeds of darkness is not itself evil, but righteous. Holy. Godly.
A feminized age when effeminacy has invaded the shepherds is not dangerous so much because those shepherds want both men and women elected, ordained, and installed to the office of deacon, without sexual distinction. Rather it's principal danger is the terrible distortion it has caused in the office of church father such that we shepherds have lost our male principle and are no longer able to speak with authority in session meetings or the pulpit. Today as Luther warned so clearly, the Protestant church is worse than Rome because no one knows why grace is needed, no one has been under the preaching of God's Law, no one has been dangled over the fire and terror of falling into the hands of the Living God.
Actually, though, it's worse than that: Shepherds today not only aren't capable of the negative, but we silence those who are.
Now surely, at this point all of us reading this will protest that we preach the Law AND grace; repentance AS WELL AS faith, and so on. But you know, critiques that are true in the aggregate are never ever true in the particular. Those with eyes to see will see. And just maybe, God will grant us soft hearts and we'll repent of our unfaithfulness in guarding the good deposit and the precious souls God has placed under our charge.
Let's keep in mind that the hireling lives and the good shepherd dies.
(For just a small start in the overabundance of positive things on this blog about sexuality, and particularly women, a couple places to start are here and here. Sorry for the formatting mistakes in the second link. If anyone is willing to clean it up, please let me know--I'd love the help.)