Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: At one time in her life, Jennifer Epperson had a strong dislike for about half the population, the male half.

Jennifer Epperson: I took secret delight in being able to puncture the male ego, and I think that that was a reflection of feeling dis-empowered when I was a little girl and seeing that happen to my mom and seeing that happen to the women in our family. This was my way of revenge, of self-protection. "Gees, if I don't protect myself, who's going to protect me?" I was never thinking that there was a God who really loved me unconditionally, and He would protect me. I had to protect myself.

Leslie: It's Wednesday, September 5, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Nancy?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, we're continuing today in a fascinating conversation with two of my friends, Carolyn McCulley and Jennifer Epperson. Carolyn and Jennifer, thank you for joining us again on the program.

Carolyn McCulley: It is good to be here, Nancy.

Jennifer: Oh yes. Definitely.

Nancy: For those who didn't hear the program yesterday, you will want to go back and listen to that, either on www.ReviveOurHearts.com, or you may want to order a CD of this week's series because it's been very educational as both of you women have shared something of your personal journey of walking through the morass of feminist thinking and particularly back in the 70s and 80s, in your college years, and to see the influence that had on your lives.

For those who weren't with us yesterday, let me just say that, Carolyn, you're an author and a speaker and serve on the staff of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a ministry that we love and respect. Thank the Lord for your friendship and partnership in ministry in so many ways over the years.

Jennifer Epperson is a newer friend. Jennifer is the station manager for our station partner, WRMB, in Boynton Beach, Florida. That's part of the Moody radio group. Jennifer, in addition to your participation with us on the broadcast this week, we get to partner in ministry Monday through Friday through your work there with the Moody station. We are so thankful for you and for them.

I want to pick up where we left off yesterday. Both of you women, in many respects, were products of what, Carolyn, you defined for us as a second wave of feminism in the 60s, 70s. For many women today, especially many younger women, this whole feminist thinking is so in the air that we breathe that they are not really aware of what was going on that brought about some radical, paradigm shifts in the ways that women think about marriage, about men, about what it means to be a woman

This really was a seismic shift in our culture. Jennifer, you've shared with me some of the lies over the years that you found yourself coming to believe about men, about marriage. Tell us what some of those were.

Jennifer: Well, first of all, I'd like to say that I ended up a very tortured soul because in my heart of hearts, I did want to be married. But in order to be married, you have to marry a man. I hated them, so there was. . . (Laughing)

Nancy: So there's some tension there.

Jennifer: There was a lot of tension there! At least ideologically, I hated men. There were men that I admired, but to be married to one—I don't know. Would I lose my identity? That probably was the biggest lie that I came to believe.

I also came to believe that children ruin a woman's life, and by extension, sex can ruin a woman's life because it can produce children. I think that was the whole deal with free sex and birth control in the 60s and abortion later on in the 70s. The idea that a woman should be able to as freely express herself sexually without any consequences as men can.

Never mind that you're eliminating a life, but because I was a Christian, I knew that premarital sex was wrong. That totally warped my whole view of sex so that if I was sexual in any way—even now as a married woman, I'm working through this, that sex is slutty. It's for sluts, and that was another lie I came to believe.

Nancy: Even after you got married, as now. . .

Jennifer: I'm a married woman.

Nancy: . . . a Christian woman and a married woman, to a godly man, you found yourself still struggling with some of those old ways of thinking about men and about sex.

Jennifer: Exactly. I did. I spoke yesterday about how men are the same as women. They just bear children.

Nancy: This was really a premise of the feminist revolution.

Jennifer: Yes, but then the children ruin your life. It's back to lie number two that I mentioned. Around the late 90s, I had become a radio station manager. In the Christian world that was pretty much unheard of, to have a woman as a radio station manager, and that affected my dating life. Men don't know what to do with us now.

Carolyn: We've pushed them to the sides. We've marginalized them and said, “You're the reason for our oppression, and you're the reason why we feel the way that we do. We don't respect you. We don't value anything about you, but we want to compete with you.” So men, who are tempted by their sin natures toward passivity, step back into that passivity, which is the reason why Scripture calls them to lead.

Women are tempted by their sin natures to compete with men. This is something that I came to understand through Dr. Wayne Grudem. He unpacked that concept of the curse for women and that Hebrew word tshuwqah, which means "to have a desire for, a desire not sexual, but a desire to dominate and to master." That's always inherent in our life, and that came out in full force, in full bore, through feminism.

We want to take charge. We want to dominate, and the whole system just collapses. The whole relational network, the whole ability to come together collapses, and so we see the fruit of that in our churches and in our culture with men who don't know what form of masculinity can be expressed and not slapped down by some woman.

Nancy: Carolyn, did men see you as intimidating?

Carolyn: Oh, yes. I heard that all the time, and it wasn't until I became a Christian that I even began to understand that that was my tongue. I didn't even become a Christian until just days before my 30th birthday. I can remember walking into church. It was not my idea to become a Christian. God definitely moved

As I walked into this church, a Bible-believing church, a church that believed in the biblical roles for men and for women, it was a huge culture shock. I mean, I was like, “What am I doing here?” We were going through the book of Ephesians as a church.

I remember meeting with my pastor and his wife, and they said, “Well, are you reading through the Bible? What are you doing?”

I said, “Yes, I really like all that stuff, but the submission stuff . . .”  I'm laughing, thinking that no one takes that seriously. My pastor's leaning forward, looking at me. His wife is looking at me, and I'm thinking, “Uh oh, these people take this seriously.”

They said to me, “Do you like to read?”

I said, “Yes.”

They said, “Well, we're going to recommend a book to you. It's a big, thick book, but we think you can handle it—Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem.”

I hated it when I first got it. I was offended by the illustrations. My mind hadn't been renewed enough by Scripture to understand, and I threw the book across the room in anger.

I remember meeting Dr. Grudem at a Christian retailing convention similar to what we are at this week. I can remember meeting him at this banquet and telling him about this. You know how waiters have this impeccable timing to interrupt prayers and/or punch-lines? I'd gotten to the point where, “And I threw your book across the room!” We got interrupted. I never finished the story. As far as I know, every time he sees me—there's that girl who works for Sovereign Grace, and she hates my book. (laughter)

Nancy: You need to write the man a letter.

Carolyn: Yes, I do. Maybe he'll hear this show, but I remember being so offended, even by those ideas early on. It wasn't until I saw it lived out in the lives before me in the church that I said, “Oh, this is the form of leadership that God calls men to—this servant leadership.”

I had never seen it before, so I did not know what it meant to take responsibility, to lead people toward the fruit of the Gospel. That's what men were being called to, and women were called to support, encourage, and rally and that that was primarily going to be expressed through the way we speak.

That was how men were going to be impacted. To this day I hear men use the term like, “Well, she really shot you down.” They're so sensitive to the way we speak about them.

I was maybe three, four months old in the Lord, and I was speaking about a man that I was either dating at that time or had just been dating a few months prior. A married couple were sitting there. I was talking primarily to the wife, but the husband heard it. He couldn't help but interrupt and say, “Whew! I am glad I did not know you when I was single!”

He said, “You would have terrified me.” I was hurt. I thought, “Why?” I did not realize that just the way I was speaking, the sin that overflowed from my heart, the pride and the arrogance and the way I put other people down rather than building them up had such an affect on men.

Nancy: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). It really is true. Jennifer, I want to go back and ask you the same question I asked Carolyn. Would men have found you intimidating during your college and young-adult years?

Jennifer: Oh, absolutely! I had this sign on me, just like you see on the highway, “Keep back 500 feet.” (Laughter) “Wide load coming through.”

Nancy: How did you express that?

Jennifer: Well, I expressed it through the sharp tongue. Unlike Carolyn, I took secret delight in being able to puncture the male ego, and I think that that was a reflection of feeling dis-empowered when I was a little girl and seeing that happen to my mom and seeing that happen to the women in our family.

This was my way of revenge, of self-protection. "If I don't protect myself, who's going to protect me?" I never thought that there was a God who really loved me unconditionally, and He would protect me. I had to protect myself, and primarily the way I did that was through a lot of mental gymnastics and verbal lashing.

If I could shock somebody, it was a feather in my cap, so to speak. I figured that if a man couldn't handle me, I didn't want him around anyway. He was too weak. That caused an increasing amount of sorrow in my life because I wasn't getting dates, and gee, why not? (Laughter)

Men may approach me, and they may have thought, “Gee, she's kind of an attractive girl. I'd like to get to know her.”

Nancy: But they had to have a bullet-proof vest on to succeed.

Jennifer: Absolutely, and what man wants to go through that? They want a woman who's going to be a friend, not a combatant. Yes, they want a companion and a friend, and women want that, too. This was my shield, and if he could penetrate that shield, then he may be a worthy male.

Carolyn: Yes, yes.

(Laughter)

Nancy: I want to just pause here to say something that I think our listeners really need to consider. We talked yesterday—in the second wave of feminism in the 60s and 70s, there was this intentional effort to foist this philosophy, this way of thinking, on a whole generation of young women, and they did this through the college studies.

They realized, “We have to capture the hearts and the minds of these younger women if we're going to turn the culture our direction.” From a negative standpoint, we see that they were hugely successful by focusing on the next generation and training them up in a way of thinking that was contrary to God's Word.

Here on the positive side, Jennifer, you're saying that the fact that you had a godly mother—her example, even though the marriage wasn't, perhaps, ideal, wasn't all that it should have been in terms of your dad's relationship with your mom—there was something redemptive in your life and something protecting in your life as a result of a mother who, to the best of her ability, lived out what it meant to be a woman of God.

I think we want our listeners to hear there's something very powerful, for better or for worse, about our example as women. As we radiate and reflect the beauty of Christ, there's something wholesome and redemptive that we send to the next generation. I think we're also seeing that it's really important that we be intentional about passing the baton of faith, of biblical womanhood, of relationship with Christ, what that means, what it looks like in a woman's life.

We have to be intentional about passing that on now to the next generation of young women, and that's why, here at Revive Our Hearts, we are working hard to equip moms and grandmoms to pass this message on. That's why we're doing Pure in Heart conferences. To help mothers teach their daughters: What does it mean to be a woman after God's own heart? What does that look like?

It's not going to just happen. The next generation is not going to just know what that looks like. We have to be intentional in teaching them. I think it gives hope that a mother, like the mother you had—that those were seeds that were planted in your life, that God, in His kindness and sovereignty, would water and bring that fruit to bear in your life.

Jennifer: As I have grown up, I said a lot of really mean things to my mother when I was a college student. “Why did you waste your life staying at home with us? Why didn't you just go out and get a job so you wouldn't have to put up with this stuff that Dad is saying to you?”

I look back at that, and my mother is now with the Lord in heaven. I am so glad that publicly I stood up before the church and said, “I repent, Mom, of those things that I said to you.” What a lovely mother she was. If it hadn't been for her investment in me as a young girl, then as a teen woman, and then seeing what I was turning into and praying for me during those college years, I certainly would not be here with you today talking about this.

Nancy: Praise the Lord for God's intervention.

Jennifer: Praise the Lord.

Carolyn: Yes.

Nancy:  And praise God for His grace in each of our lives. We're seeing that God is able to redeem the lives of women from the destructive paths that so many women are on today. My vision is that God would do in the hearts of hundreds of thousands and millions of women, the transforming work that He has done in your lives—is doing in each of our lives.

I know, Carolyn, for you, that transformation really began with your conversion to faith in Jesus Christ. That's what began to really reshape your thinking about what it meant to be a woman and who men were and what marriage was all about.

Carolyn: It's true, and as we've been speaking, I've been thinking about even the radical differences in feminism that have taken place since we were in college. At that time there was actually a short-lived agreement between Christians and feminists about the danger of pornography.

Jennifer: Yes.

Carolyn: In 1983, there was actually a joint coalition where there was an effort to try to get Congress to put some laws there. Feminists did see, and I think clearly and rightly then, the degradation to women through pornography. But what radically shifted was this third wave of feminism which a lot of people are unaware of that we live in.

Every single day we see it in all the pop star coverage and in the music lyrics, etcetera—this radical, hyper-aggressiveness of female sexuality came about. In the second wave we stressed we can be just like men in terms of our career. There were elements of this freedom of sexuality, but it was more like freedom to just be able to have sex at any time without any boundaries.

What happened with the third wave was women were going to dominate men through their sexuality. The hyper-aggressiveness was, “No, you're not going to objectify me through pornography. I'm going to do it myself.” That's what's given rise to what we call today the raunch culture—television shows that exploit women being drunk and doing all sorts of things for the camera to exploit their sexuality is considered a form of female celebration, that this is a good thing.

To me it's such a radical shift from what I was indoctrinated with to what's going on today. Those three waves of feminism have had different outcroppings. In each case, it is to break down every aspect of femininity that's celebrated in Scripture, the glory of womanhood, and try to replace it with this false creation. This is what's known as androgyny, where you're neither fully male nor fully female. You're at this hybrid third path which is just human.

It takes on caricatures. So the third wave is a caricature of male sexuality for women. It's a hyper-aggressive sexuality where women are still trying to dominate but now express through very aggressive sexuality in the raunch culture.

Nancy: Some examples of that in the culture, without being too raunchy in your description?

Carolyn: Right. This is a challenge. I can remember taking a class in the gym, and I believe I was maybe the only Christian in there. The instructor was speaking of how scared she was for her own son in high school because the girls were so aggressive.

Her son was pursued night and day by women with suggestive phone messages, text messages, and one who even just stood across from their home stark naked, an invitation in the screen door waiting for her son to come over. They were scared.

They were scared of these girls, and these girls are the product of what we in our generation were thinking and celebrating. As ideas often do, it mutates into something even worse than what you were originally thinking and planning.

Nancy: We're going to have to continue this conversation on Revive Our Hearts tomorrow, but Carolyn, as you're sharing that, my mind is going back to a conversation that took place several years ago while I was in the process of praying about whether the Lord wanted me to be a part of launching a new, daily radio program for women. We didn't know then that it would be called Revive Our Hearts.

I had been seeking the Lord, fasting, praying, seeking counsel, and I knew this would be a huge commitment and a big challenge and something I didn't feel equal to. In that process, the board of our parent ministry, Life Action Ministries, had a meeting, and we had asked our board to be praying.

I remember so clearly sitting in a meeting, and one of the men, an older man of God, an intercessor, a long-time, faithful servant of the Lord, someone who's prayed for me for many years—he had been real, real quiet as the board was discussing this decision and the pros and cons and what they all thought about this. Then the director of our ministry turned to this older gentleman and said, “We'd like to hear from you.”

This man said, “I've been thinking about this opportunity and praying about it for some months now as Nancy has asked us to do.” He said, “God has put so deeply on my heart this great burden about the increased, widespread corruption among women.” He named several women who were well-known who were kind of pictures of this in our culture at the time.

This older man said, “I am so heavy-hearted that something must be done to stem the tide of this increased, widespread corruption among women. It's so grievous.” And he said, “As I've been praying, I believe that God is raising you up, Nancy, to be a voice, and this ministry to have a part in addressing that need and in calling women to purity, to what it means to be a woman of God.”

I hadn't thought about that conversation in some time, but I remember now that when he said that, there was a sense in my heart that this man had been hearing from the Lord and that this was to be part of the mission—a huge part of the mission—of what became Revive Our Hearts.

Of course, there are many other ministries and speakers and writers that the Lord is using and the thousands of wives and moms and single women across this country who just live out this message day after day. But what you're talking about with this first, second, and third wave of feminism and the hugely negative impact that it has had in our culture, that's part of what gets me up in the morning and gets me into the Word of God saying, “Lord, what can we say? What do You want to say through this ministry?

“What do you want me to teach on? How can we reach those women's hearts? How can we equip the women in the church today to live out the beauty and the wonder—as you said, Carolyn, 'the glory of womanhood,' from God's perspective in such a way that they are influencing the women around them so that we will see a reformation of the morals of women, a revival in the hearts of Christian women that will impact our culture?”

Leslie: Nancy, if listeners want to learn more, they should pick up a copy of the book you wrote with some other godly women called Biblical Womanhood in the Home. It'll help you understand what the Bible says about being a woman, and it will show you how biblical womanhood affects all the different areas of your life.

To order Biblical Womanhood in the Home, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, and that's also where you can get involved with Revive Our Hearts, helping to connect needy women with God's Word. Nancy's going to explain more.

Nancy: On yesterday's program and again today, we've talked about an agenda by the feminists to capture the hearts and the minds of the next generation. This is something that the early feminists were very intentional about. Jennifer and Carolyn were among those who were being influenced by that agenda as young women.

The world understands the importance of reaching the next generation. One of the things that is very much on my heart is the need for us, as God's people, to be intentional about passing the baton of faith on to the next generation, but we can't do it alone. We need help from listeners like you who agree with the mission and the message of Revive Our Hearts.

In fact, I am so thankful for a special group of those listeners that God has raised up to support this ministry in very practical ways. We call them our Ministry Partner team, and I'd like to invite you to become a part of that team this month.

Here's what we ask of our ministry partners. We ask them to intercede, to pray for revival in the hearts of women, and to pray for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Then we ask them to interact, that is to help us get the message out to others who need to hear it, and then we ask them to invest, to support this ministry financially on a monthly basis.

Now, we work hard to stay connected with our ministry partners. They're such a vital and valuable part of this ministry, so we keep you connected by means of prayer requests and updates on the ministry. Then we also send you a monthly resource, just to our Ministry Partner team that is designed to encourage you in your walk with the Lord. Usually, it's a CD of a message or an interview that we believe will be a blessing to you. Then also for our ministry partners, we'll provide you with a complimentary registration for one Revive Our Hearts conference per year.

The Ministry Partner team is such a crucial part of Revive Our Hearts, and that's why we're taking time this week to encourage listeners from all over the country to become a part of this very special team. To learn more about how you can join with us on this Ministry Partner team, go to ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: Tomorrow, our guests tackle submission. Does the manager of a radio station have to submit to anybody? How does a single woman submit? Hear the discussion tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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