This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. I preached on The Beauty of Biblical Womanhood from Titus 2:3-5.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus 2 is one of those passages that has been largely forgotten in the Western Evangelical Church. Pastors don’t preach it. Church members don’t practice it. And many Christians don’t even know it exists.
It’s also a passage that has engendered (no pun intended) quite a bit of controversy in our day. We live in a day in which we are told that gender is not fixed. Men can do everything women can do. Women can do everything men can do. And gender roles are archaic and oppressive.
Sadly, this worldview has not only dominated the culture, but it runs rampant throughout the Western Evangelical Church. Pastors and teachers try to perform all types of interpretive gymnastics in an attempt to say that Titus 2 doesn’t really mean what it says.
Well, I’m not a gymnast, and I believe that Titus 2 really means what it says. So on Sunday, I preached the Word. I tried to be clear. I tried to emphasize that the Bible’s teaching on headship and submission does not mean that women are inferior to men. We are simply different. We are created by God with equal dignity and worth but with different roles to play in the home.
One thing that I didn’t do though was attempt to skirt around the clear teaching of the Bible. Neither did I apologize for God. I simply set out to preach the Word.
Now you all know that when you do that, you don’t quite know what the response will be. I wasn’t so much concerned with how my congregation might respond. They’ve heard me preach for 10 months now. They know that this is not some kind of hobby horse of mine. They trust me to preach the Word. But since it was Mother’s Day and I knew we would have visitors, I was aware of what they might think.
But after the sermon was over, I received a lot of very positive feedback. People know that Titus 2 is a difficult passage in our modern culture, but they appreciated their pastor standing up and clearly stating what God has already said. Even several of our visitors commented on the sermon with positive feedback. It actually has been my experience that the most challenging passages I have preached are the ones people appreciate the most. People want their pastor to open his Bible to the hard parts of Scripture and tell them what God has said.
The reality is that we cannot make our message palatable enough for the world around us to accept it. We preach a crucified Savior who died to pay for our sin, and in doing so, satisfied the wrath of a holy God. That’s really the most offensive thing we have to say. A bloody cross makes the Bible’s teachings on gender not seem so offensive. And since we must not forsake the cross, we ought not forsake what the Bible says about other difficult topics either.
So let’s not concern ourselves so much with what is palatable or not. Let’s stand in our pulpits each week and proclaim the Word of God, knowing that sitting before us are hungry people who long to feast on the riches of God’s Word. Yes, even the hard parts.