True Woman: RetrospectiveTrue Woman '08
Leslie Basham: This past October over 6,000 women from around the world came together to hear Nancy Leigh DeMoss and other speakers at True Woman ’08. What would draw so many women to Chicago that weekend?
Woman 1: We came from Washington state, as a matter of fact, to be encouraged and hopefully have an eternal impact on the lives that we touch.
Woman 2: We have heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Moody, and so we wanted to hear more about being a true woman. We are very curious to know.
Woman 3: I came to the conference just to have an opportunity to interact with other women who are very passionate about their faith, about how I can strengthen my relationship with God and be able to pass that on to my children, with my husband as well. So that’s why I came. I came with my friends, and so I’m just excited about the experience.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The fact that you are here today for such a time as this is God smiling, I believe, on that vision, that dream. Those who have said yes, we want to join you in being a part of this counter-cultural revolution. Now look at what God is building, what He’s orchestrating, what He is beginning to bring about among Christian women. By the way, that’s where it has to start because the world has the questions, but they don’t have the answers.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, December 19. A new women’s movement was launched in October at True Woman ’08, the national conference for women. We’re about to get a taste of what it was like to be there. We’ll hear portions of messages from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian in just a minute. But let’s begin with John Piper. His message set a theological framework for all that was to follow at this historic conference.
John Piper: Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. I don’t like wimpy women. I didn’t marry one. With Noel, I am trying to raise Talitha, who turns 13 on Saturday, not to be one. The opposite of a wimpy woman is not a brash, pushy, loud, controlling, sassy, uppity, arrogant Amazon.
The opposite of a wimpy woman is 14-year-old Marie Durant who in the 17th century in France was arrested for being a Protestant, put in prison, and told, “You may get out for one phrase: I abjure.” She wrote on the wall of her cell, “I resist,” and stayed there 38 years until she was dead doing just that.1 That’s the opposite of a wimpy woman.
Another opposite of a wimpy woman is Gladys Staines. In 1999, remember the story? After serving for three decades with her husband Graham in India, to the lepers, heard one day that her husband Graham and little Phillip (10) and Timothy (6) had been set on fire, burned alive in the back of their car. She said to the newspapers, “I have only one message for the people of India. I am not bitter, neither am I angry. Let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ's love.”
The opposite of a wimpy woman is her daughter, well-named, Esther. When asked by the reporters, “How do you feel about your father’s murder?” said (she was 13), “I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him.”
The opposite of a wimpy woman is Krista and Vicki who together, in my church, have had 65 surgeries for so-called birth defects from Apert Syndrome and Hypertelorism. They write, “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know them right well” (Psalm 139:14). Krista says, “Even though my life has been difficult, I know that God loves me and created me just the way I am. He has taught me to persevere and trust Him more than anything.”
Wimpy theology makes wimpy women. Wimpy theology does not give a woman a god big enough, strong enough, wise enough, good enough to handle the realities of life in a way that enables her to magnify Him and His Son all the time. He’s not big enough. Wimpy theology is plagued by woman-centeredness, or as we usually call it, man-centeredness.
Wimpy theology doesn’t have a granite foundation of God’s sovereignty underneath. It doesn’t have the steel structure of a great God-centered purpose for all of human existence, including the worst of it.
So I turn to my main point, the ultimate meaning of true womanhood, and I start by stating that solid steel structure of God's ultimate purpose in all things. God’s ultimate purpose for the universe, and all of history, and your life, is to display the glory of Christ in its highest expression in His dying to make a rebellious people His bride. That's the reason the universe exists. That's not wimpy, and it doesn’t produce wimpy women.
True womanhood is a distinctive calling to display the glory of the Son in ways that would not be displayed if there were no womanhood.
Married womanhood has ways to magnify Christ that single womanhood cannot. Single womanhood has ways to magnify Christ that married womanhood cannot. So whether you are married or single, do not settle for wimpy theology. It's beneath you. God is too great. Christ is too glorious. Womanhood is too strategic. Don't waste it. Your womanhood, your true womanhood was made for the glory of Christ.
Leslie: Dr. John Piper has been offering a biblical definition of womanhood. Those thoughts came from True Woman ’08, the national conference for women this past October. Nancy Leigh DeMoss followed up John Piper at that conference basing her message on Romans 11:33-36.
Nancy: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from Him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Romans 11:33-36). And all God’s people said . . .
All Women: “Amen.”
Nancy: Thank you. You may be seated.
I believe that this passage provides a framework—a context—for our lives as women. It gives us a fixed reference point for our hearts. It tethers our hearts to God’s ultimate eternal purposes. It gives us a perspective and a grid for responding to God’s sovereign choices in our lives and for responding to circumstances that we cannot understand or explain.
Paul starts by saying, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God.” Oh, the depth. Interestingly there, the Greek word that is translated “depth,” sounds a lot like our English word “bath.”
It’s like you’re going down into this, to be bathed in it. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God.” They are immeasurable. They’re so deep that you can’t get to the bottom of it all.
How does this apply to where we live?
It has everything to do with being a true woman of God. This passage, these truths, and I have not begun to do justice to them, but I pray God will work them into your hearts by the power of His Spirit, but these truths bring comfort; they bring courage; they bring conviction to our calling as women.
There are many implications, many applications we could touch on, but I want to leave you with three tonight. I pray that you will remember them and that you will begin to orient your life around these realities.
Number one: A true woman lives a God-centered life. We live in a self-centered world, but a true woman lives a God-centered life. She lives for His glory and His pleasure and not her own. Ladies, a little bulletin here. It’s not about us. It’s all, all, all about Him.
A true woman accepts God’s plan, His design, His will, His ways as good, though it might not be the way we would define good. It’s God who defines good, so she leans on Him. She depends on Him in times of prosperity and joy, with gratitude, but also with gratitude and trust in times of pain and hardship and loneliness and uncertainty and confusion.
And number three: A true woman says, “Yes, Lord.” And by the way, you can’t call Him Lord and say anything other than, “Yes.” A true woman says, “Yes, Lord.”
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s theme of surrender to God would continue throughout True Woman ’08. When a woman surrenders her will and her rights, it is counter-cultural. For half a century the feminist movement has encouraged women to do the opposite. Mary Kassian traces this history in the book, The Feminist Mistake. She says you can observe rapidly changing views of womanhood over the decades by looking at the way women are depicted on television.
Mary Kassian: Consider the image, the cultural image, of women back in the 1950s, represented by the popular TV sitcom, Leave It to Beaver. The Cleaver family exemplified the idealized suburban family.
In the series, there are four things that are presented as requisites for happiness for both man and woman: marriage, children, education (both of the Cleavers, man and woman, had a college education; they met in college) and hard work. In the show, adults who didn’t follow this marriage were depicted as troubled or missing out.
By the late 1960s, the image of June Cleaver being happy at home in her role as wife and mother had fallen by the wayside, replaced by the 1970s Mary Tyler Moore image of a pretty, single woman in her 30s pursuing a career at a television station.
In the 1980s, we’re introduced to Murphy Brown, an investigative journalist and news anchor for FYI, a fictional TV news magazine. In contrast to the gentle sweetness of Mary Tyler Moore’s character, Murphy Brown is loud-mouthed, brash, driven, self-assured, self-absorbed, and highly opinionated. She is a divorcee and a proud atheist.
During the course of the series, Murphy becomes pregnant but chooses not to marry her baby’s father. A man would cramp her style. She has the child nonetheless and leaves the baby in the care of a revolving door of nannies so she can pursue her career. The child is merely a side in the plot that revolves around Murphy’s self-actualization in the workplace.
In the mid-90s, enter Ellen, a woman who doesn’t work for someone else but who independently owns her own business, a bookstore. Ellen lives with a man, but the relationship is platonic. He’s just her roommate. She’s not sexually attracted to him, and gradually we discover that Ellen isn’t attracted to men at all. She’s a lesbian, a woman-identified woman.
She has the right to define her own sexuality and her own morality, and no one has the right to judge her for it. She’s out, and she’s in charge, as are virtually all the women portrayed in the media in the past decade.
From children’s cartoons to television series to movies, women are portrayed as having an “in-charge, don’t need a guy, I’m powerful, traditional marriage and family and morals are outdated, I have the right to rule, how dare you tell me what to do” mentality.
In the past decade, we’ve been inundated with the message that when it comes to relationships, women can hook up, be in a casual or long-term relationship, live common-law, get married or not, get married and then get divorced, get pregnant or abort the baby, sleep around, live with a guy or a girl, have sex with a guy or a girl, and participate in a whole assortment of immoral and perverted behavior as long as they are friends. In other words, woman makes her own rules and sets her own standards, and as long as she is nice, it really doesn’t matter what she does. Who are you to judge?
The epitome of this is reflected in the most popular sitcom recently for and about women, Sex in the City. Selfhood and sisterhood is what it’s all about. As long as women are first loyal to themselves and second to their female buddies, they’re on the right track. Single, married, lesbian, heterosexual, promiscuous, perverted—they can be vulgar, crude, and crass, but if they are for themselves and for other women and are caring and nice, then they’re okay.
In the new worldview, men are whiny and needy and not-too-bright and totally unreliable. They’re marginalized and de-masculinized, used, regarded, and discarded like Kleenex out of a box. The Sex in the City character, Charlotte, only hesitates a moment before giving up her engagement ring to help her girlfriend pay for the down payment on a house.
Nowadays, the epitome of empowered womanhood is to live a self-serving, self-righteous, neurotic, narcissistic, superficial, and adulterous life. The main character in Sex in the City series wraps it up well when she counsels women that, “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”
Leslie: That’s Mary Kassian from True Woman ’08. You can hear Mary’s full message by visiting TrueWoman.com. The plenary sessions are all there, including the ones we heard earlier from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and John Piper. When you visit TrueWoman.com, you can also read and sign the True Woman Manifesto. I hope you’ll take the time to ponder this important document which was unveiled at True Woman ’08.
(From the True Woman Manifesto)
Kim Wagner: We believe that God is the sovereign Lord of the universe and the Creator of life, and that He created all things . . .
Kristyn Getty: We believe that sin has separated every human being from God and made us incapable of reflecting His image as we were created to do.
Dannah Gresh: We realize that we live in a culture that does not recognize God’s right to rule, does not accept Scripture as the pattern for life, and is experiencing the consequences . . .
Mary Kassian: We believe that Christ is redeeming this sinful world and making all things new, and that His followers are called to share in His redemptive purposes . . .
Alice Moss: As Christian women, we desire to honor God by living counter-cultural lives that reflect the beauty of Christ and the gospel to our world.
Monica Vaught: Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.
Susan Henson: We glorify God and experience His blessing when we accept and joyfully embrace His created design, function, and order for our lives.
Fern Nichols: As redeemed sinners, we cannot live out the beauty of biblical womanhood apart from the sanctifying work of the gospel and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Jennifer Lyell: Men and women are both created in the image of God and are equal in value and dignity, but they have distinct roles and functions in the home and in the church.
Sarah Stevenson: Marriage, as created by God, is a sacred, binding, lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.
Leslie: Again, read and sign the True Woman Manifesto at TrueWoman.com.
Nancy: And we will pray for a movement of revival and reformation among God’s people that will result in the advancement of the Kingdom and gospel of Christ among all nations.
All Women: Yes, Lord.
Leslie: Well, Nancy, women are still being affected by all they heard at this conference.
Nancy: Oh, Leslie, it has been so exciting to see the steps of faith and obedience that women are taking. We’ve got some wonderful reports about marriages that have been reconciled, marriages that were on the brink of disaster and have now committed to work on maintaining, sustaining that marriage. Keeping committed to it.
We had an interesting story from a woman who worked in a law firm as a secretary and paralegal and was convicted at the conference that most of the clients coming into that firm were coming in for divorce and felt that she could not in good conscience continue to be an assistant in those cases; that she needed to be working to preserve marriages, not to help break them up.
She graciously gave her notice at that firm and I got an email just today saying that she is seeking the Lord about direction for a new job but stepping out in faith and saying, “Lord, I want my life to bring glory to You in the workplace."
Then there are those great reports that we’re still getting from women who are wanting to multiply this message by sharing it with their friends in some very creative and amazing ways passing on the message of what it means to be a counter-cultural woman.
So as a team, we’re talking about how we can facilitate that True Woman Movement and how we can develop the resources, the tools, the strategy, the tracks for women in their local churches and their small groups to expand the outreach of this ministry in a host of different ways, depending on what season of life they may be in.
For young moms, for empty-nesters, for single women, for college women. We want to resource them, not only to be true women, but to spread the True Woman Movement and message to other women.
As you support this ministry financially, that’s what you’re helping to do, to multiply and spread and expand the outreach of this ministry into the hearts of women all across this country and around the world.
This month as you’ve heard from us in recent weeks, when you give to Revive Our Hearts, your gift will be doubled thanks to, once again this year, a matching challenge between now and the end of the year. Friends who believe in this ministry will match each donation dollar for dollar up to the challenge amount of $250,000.
I want to tell you we’re asking the Lord not only to meet that $250,000 challenge, but to go far above and beyond that amount so that we can fund the opportunities that God has set before us in the year ahead. So would you help us meet the challenge and go beyond it? In order for your gift to be doubled, be sure and get it to us by December 31.
Thank you so much for partnering with us for such a time as this.
Leslie: Earlier this week we heard from special guest Kay Arthur and we’ve been telling you about her book, How to Study Your Bible. When you help us meet our current matching challenge with your donation this week, we’ll say thanks by sending the book from Kay Arthur.
Today is the last day to take advantage of this offer. So ask for How to Study Your Bible when you call with your donation. The number is 1-800-569-5959 or donate online and get the book by Kay Arthur when you visit ReviveOurHeartsRadio.com.
This Christmas season, you can learn a lot from a young Jewish girl who was called upon to give birth to a Savior. Next week Nancy will explore the life of Mary of Nazareth. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
1Karl Olsson, Passion, New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1963, 116-117.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
Topics: True Woman