Are women naturally good?

Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship
Man helping a woman with proper handgun marksmanship

Disclaimer: This post doesn’t apply to married women.

There is a common theme among pastors and church leaders that the Bible only applies to men, and women are justified in disregarding it because anything they do that is wrong or that backfires can be blamed on men.

For example, here’s Mark Driscoll explaining how men are to blame for single motherhood:

Part of it is the unintended consequences of divorce. Forty percent of kids go to bed at night without a father. Not to be disparaging toward single moms, but if you’re a single mom and you’re working 60 hours a week, and you’ve got a boy, and he’s home all by himself with no parents and no dad, he’s just going to be hanging out with his buddies, feeding himself pizza rolls.

The number one consumer of online pornography is 12- to 17-year-old boys. What that means is he’s home eating junk food, drinking Monster energy drinks, downloading porn, masturbating and screwing around with his friends. That really doesn’t prepare you for responsible adulthood. That’s a really sad picture, especially if you’re a single gal hoping to get married someday. You’re like: “Seriously, that’s the candidate pool? You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s why 41 percent of births right now are to unmarried women. A lot of women have decided: “I’m never going to find a guy who is actually dependable and responsible to have a life with. So I’ll just get a career and have a baby and just intentionally be a single mother because there are no guys worth spending life with.”

The Bible says that premarital sex is wrong, but Mark Driscoll knows better – he thinks that it is only wrong for men. If women do it, then it’s not wrong – it’s actually men’s fault. He has also told women who have premarital sex that men should be expected to marry them. This man-blaming for the mistakes that women freely make is not an anomaly, this is the standard practice of most pastors and Christian leaders. Is it a good idea to teach women in the church that their own poor choices can be blamed on men? I think a better way would be to teach women that they are responsible for their actions, and that they need to make better choices. In particular, they need to learn not to follow their emotions.

So, here is a post was written by a woman – Lindsay from Lindsay’s Logic.

First the picture she posted:

Focus on the Family says: blame the man
Focus on the Family: blame the man for what the woman does

Note that the Bible does not qualify the command in Ephesians 5 that women should submit to their husbands by making it conditional on anything that a man has to do. A man has separate duties, and those are not conditional on anything a woman has to do first. But Focus on the Family doesn’t quote the Bible – they change what the Bible says in order to appeal to their predominantly female audience (Note: I agree with Focus on the Family on 99% of their views). And this is why men don’t touch Christianity with a ten-foot pole these days. It’s not manly Christianity they don’t like – they’ve never encountered it. It’s the feminized Christianity they find in the church, which blames them for everything, that they reject.

Now, the full text of Lindsay’s post:

Focus on the Family recently posted this meme on their page.

At first glance, many people might be tempted to agree with it. But the statement in the poster is actually false.

The truth is that there are plenty of loving, gentle men who are worthy of respect but whose wives are not responding properly to their love and gentleness. Plenty of women have fallen for the feminist ideas that they should never submit or let a man lead them and will be difficult to live with, no matter how wonderful their man is. Even among women who are not feminists, it’s difficult for many women to follow a husband’s leadership because our sinful nature is in rebellion against God’s plan.

Submission and following our husbands is something that must be learned, not something we’re born with or develop naturally. Women aren’t naturally good and kind any more than men are. We’re all fallen. We have to work to develop good habits and learn to do what God wants of us.

It certainly is easier for women to follow a loving, gentle man, but the poster is wrong in assuming that the only barriers to a woman following her man are his flaws. That simply isn’t true. Women also have to overcome their own flaws that stand in the way of the proper relationship they were meant to have.

Unfortunately, this attitude that women are naturally good and that men are the flawed ones that need to change is very prevalent, even among Christians. Imagine the outrage people would have if the scenario was reversed and the poster said something like this:

“Men are usually comfortable being kind and loving to their wives if their wives are submissive, keep up their appearance, and respect them.”

People would be up in arms over such a statement that assumes that men are always wonderful if women will just behave as they should. Why is it any different if the assumption is that women are always wonderful if men are behaving properly? Both are wrong. Both sexes are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what the other person in the marriage does.

So about the post.

I don’t think that it’s a good idea to blame men when a woman makes a poor choice of her own free will. This is especially the case when a woman chooses a bad man, because we cannot expect a bad man to do good things. A bad man does bad things, and there is no sense expecting him to do good things. It has to be the woman’s responsibility when she chooses a bad man, and he acts badly. The woman could have chosen a good man, but many women today are more attracted to bad men. You can’t choose a bad man and then expect him to act like a good man. 

However, I do think that a good man should take responsibility to help a woman to grow and be better for God’s purposes. But if he does everything he can to lead her and she still prefers self-centeredness, then he is not responsible for the outcome. This is important. We are responsible – practically-speaking – to help other people grow. But we are not responsible for whether they actually do grow. In fact, that goes for men and women. Both sexes should take responsibility for helping Christians grow – especially spouses. But do it right – it if works, then you’re doing it right. The goal here is to take responsibility and to do what works. Not to make excuses.

Note: Lindsay almost certainly does not go as far as I go on this issue. My opinions are my own.

6 thoughts on “Are women naturally good?”

  1. Nit picking…but Lindsay didn’t notice that drjamesdobson.org and not Focus on the Family posted that. I understand he is no longer with them. I actually endorse the idea in the poster, but we all are in charge of our own sin. There is masculine leadership which does not lead to sin.

    By the way, the disclaimer is very funny.

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  2. So, a lot of topics are included in this post.

    I would like to start out with a surprising comment as I would not describe myself as a Mark Driscoll fan. I thought his Just Grow Up post was SPOT ON. Especially the new transition from boy, to GUY, to man and the epidemic of young men who are intentionally extending the (obnoxious) adolescent juvenile culture.

    Our college age group at BHBC is now called 1829, because college age students are now 18-29 years old. In the past, that was not a typical age group for college age students. Most grew up, took on responsibility and got married well before age 29. In stating this, I also believe that young women have bought into the liberal feminist myth that being a powerful, independent, self-sufficient woman leads to happiness and self-fulfillment. It’s a lie. We now have a generation of educated women who have had sexual relations with several men. (I would like to be able to simply use the word relationships) These women are jaded and have lost respect for all men as their personal choice(s) in “men” have been poor ones. Some young women have children that they thankfully gave birth to where the birth father has simply walked away from his responsibility to marry and provide for the welfare of the child and the woman. BOTH the man and the woman are wrong in this area.

    We have a pastor at our church that is the college age/empty nester/parents of adolescents “expert”. He is passionate about technology trends, gender issues, and same sex attraction/transgender issues and has talked about how girls are outperforming boys at every level of education. ( YES, he gracefully takes on EVERY tough topic in modern culture.) We live in a broken world and technology makes it easier to make poor choices FASTER. His blog is here: http://don-pearson.com

    I am going to suggest that the blame for this hook-up/commitment resistant culture rests on the nuclear family where the American Christian father has abdicated his role as leader and protector of the family and the mother, as your above post suggests, has not been submissive to the husband. Father’s have failed to instill work ethic, virtues,responsibility, and a Godly respect and honor for women into their sons; and have failed to teach their daughters that they are daughters of the living God and that they will never be fulfilled or happy when they operate outside of God’s will for their lives. I believe that parents believe that their kids have “caught” these lessons in life by living in a Christian home. When in reality they have to be intentionally TAUGHT. Mothers teach their daughters to disrespect men with their own demonstrated lack of submission that was addressed so well in Lindsay’s post.

    As a first born, type A, ENTJ, first generation Christian woman, I confess my marriage long struggle with submission. As I look back I see the sour fruit of those acts, I repent. My goal this year is to be very intentional in this area and repent daily of my lack of submission.

    A great book on the topic of men and marriage is: What He Must Be… If He Wants to Marry My Daughter, by Voddie Baucham Jr.

    Chapters:
    1. Multi-generational Vision
    2. The Ministry of Marriage
    3. A Father’s Role
    4. He Must Be a Follower of Christ
    5. He Must Be Prepared to Lead
    6. He Must Lead Like Christ
    7. He Must be Committed to Children
    8. He must Practice the Four P’s
    ( protector, provider, prophet, priest)
    9. Don’t Send a Woman to do a Man’s Job
    10. Can’t Find One… Build One

    In conclusion, IMHO we are ALL wrong. We are all relating and interacting outside of God’s original intent for our lives. We all need to be introspective and repent where we recognize our words and actions don’t line up with God’s word.

    I so appreciate your blog and your willingness to address tough topics of the day. I recognized so many of Todd and my failures as parents and my personal failures as a Christian wife.

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  3. Reblogged this on Patriactionary and commented:
    I notice that the FOTF graphic (a) doesn’t quote Scripture or a catechism, and (b) focuses not on wifely duty but rather on her ‘feelings’, as if wives only have to do what makes them comfortable, rather than what God commands them to do, regardless of the circumstances.

    Just like Mark Driscoll, it only matters to FOTF that men be moral and obedient to the Scriptures; how women behave doesn’t matter to them.

    Shows how wicked and unfaithful Driscoll, FOTF, and many similar evanjellyfish, churchian leaders are. They ought to be shunned.

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  4. Thank you for writing this article. I’m sitting here thinking, “Man, there’s a lot of good stuff here, I’d like to chime in, but where to begin?!” Obviously, sin is the underlying problem. Not taking responsibility for our marriages or our children is a by-product of sin. I believe what Kris said about how her personality is Type A (ENTJ) is a key to unlocking truths about the person you are. Knowing and understanding even a little about your personality helps. Being educated on your spouse’s personality will invariably serve to strengthen that relationship. Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff that was just uncovered by this article. Happy thinking!

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  5. Good insights here by you and Lindsay.

    One of my sisters is a dedicated Christian; she was an overseas missionary for many years, she is active in church, and has completed many Beth Moore Bible Studies. But she believes that wives should only submit if their husband is, “leading correctly.” Sad.

    Lesson for young men; just because a woman is active in your church does not mean she is good wife material. Ask direct questions before you get engaged.

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    1. I can only really speak from my own experience, but I once liked a missionary girl. She had a terrible resume and was in debt (and still is in debt). Although I had more success in school, work and saving money than she did, she didn’t view my ability there as something valuable. She actually told me that her opinion about career and finances was as good as mine, even though all the achievement was with me. It was such a strange thing to encounter, there was no respect for my demonstrated ability. Meanwhile, I was in awe of her abilities with fitness and nutrition, and always asking for her advice in those areas, since she knew much more about them than I did.

      I didn’t have a problem giving her respect where she had ability, but she wouldn’t give me any respect where I had ability. It was just weird. Who goes to see a financial adviser or a doctor or a mechanic and then disagrees with everything they say? The whole reason to talk to them is to get their advice and leadership, because you don’t know as much as they do about their special areas of expertise.

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