Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Now is the Time

Leslie Basham: Over ten years ago, Nancy Leigh DeMoss observed how feminist thinking had affected the church. And she began to wonder:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss:
What would it be like if God would be about a movement in our generation? Calling women to His Truth, to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, to lift up the gospel of Christ, to live out the implications of the gospel. What might that be like?

My heart began to race. Then came the scary part, because it was a dawning realization that maybe God wanted me in some way to be a part of this counter-cultural revolution. That's when waving the white flag was not so easy.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, December 1.

In 2011 Revive Our Hearts and its listeners have been celebrating ten years of God’s faithfulness. We’ve looked back and reviewed our decade-long history. As we end 2011, we’ll again reflect on the mission God had called this ministry to embrace. As Nancy recounts the early days when God began calling her to a radio ministry, you’ll be encouraged to embrace His calling for you, no matter how difficult it seems. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: Betty Friedan—some of you know that name, talk about the power and the influence of a woman—she was known for saying that "we women need and can trust no other authority than our own personal truth." With that kind of as the backbone and underpinning of her philosophy, she set out to affect a revolution, and, in fact, achieved the revolution that was on her heart.

Now, I want to just say that I’m so thankful she was wrong! It’s not true that we women need and can trust no other authority than our own personal truth. Because, can I just say, if we could only trust our own personal truth, we would all be as insecure as possible. That is a flimsy and unstable foundation on which to rest your life.

We know, and we have pledged ourselves to believe—we know deep, deep, deep in our hearts that we can trust no other authority than His Truth, and that we are moored and tethered to the Word of God and to His Truth, and that’s what holds our lives together. That’s what holds the universe together. That is our only hope, our only means of salvation and grace. Anything good in this life or the next is because we need and we can trust no other authority than His Truth.

Those are two widely divergent points of view, as far apart as you can get. It really comes down to whose truth do we trust, and whose truth do we submit it? Whose authority do we put our lives under?

By the way, this whole feminist movement that is the legacy of Betty Friedan and others is really nothing new to the 20th century. You know that. You know that it had its origins back in Genesis chapter 3 in the Garden of Eden where the serpent, who is the father of lies, came to the first woman and said to her, “You need, and you can trust, no other authority than your own personal truth.”

Now God had said, “This is Truth. You need this Truth. This is the authority. This is the only authority you can trust.” So we had God’s perspective on truth and authority, and then we had Satan’s perspective on truth and authority. Those two were then and always have been and always will be diametrically opposed and fearlessly at odds with each other.

And the first woman believed that she needed and could trust no other authority than her own personal truth, so she went in that direction. She chose that direction. Then led the man—kind of something wrong with that picture, right? Remember, God created the man to lead and to feed, and what’s Eve doing here? She’s leading and feeding the man. It’s the first major role reversal and from that point to this, men and women alike are fallen from grace, fallen from truth, hell-bent, literally, on establishing our own truth and making it the authority for our lives.

That really is kind of the umbrella concept under which we come today to realize that we’re in a battle. It’s a battle for authority. It’s a battle for truth. It’s a battle for trust. It’s a battle not only faced by women, but men as well. What we choose, whether we choose to trust in the authority of God’s truth or our own personal truth, makes all the difference in the world. It makes all the difference in our own lives. It makes the difference in our relationships. It makes the difference in our families, in our churches, in our culture, and in our world.

We have a world that by and large has chosen to believe and to trust in the authority of its own personal truth. But we know that if 99.999% of people in the world trust their own personal truth, there is still only one absolute, unchanging truth that will prevail for all of eternity. We as a remnant, as followers of Christ have said, “No, we will stake our lives on the truth of God’s Word. Whatever that means, whatever that requires, that’s the direction we want to head.”

Now, by God’s grace, I had the great blessing of coming to faith in Christ, Him drawing my heart to Himself, when I was four years old—May 4, 1963, is my first conscious memory. I’m so thankful to have grown up in an environment, a hot-house environment that was conducive to nurturing young faith, young tender plants, and to have been the recipient of God’s Word pumped into my heart—no television, thanks to God, lots of good reading and truth and the Holy Spirit at work in my heart, drawing me to Himself, giving me a burden and a passion for Christ.

Those of you who have had the privilege of growing up in that kind of an environment, you know what kind of a gift and a blessing it is.

Early on God put in my heart as a young girl a burden for revival in the church, to see God move in an outpouring of His Spirit as He had in times past. But this whole issue of what it meant to love God as a woman and to serve Him with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, as a woman, that was an issue I grappled with.

That issue was more difficult for me to understand. Why did He make me a woman, in particular? I had to come to realize that it wasn’t just chance. That was God’s unique purpose and intentional design. But it was something that took through my twenties and into my thirties to come to really understand and embrace that it was a really good thing. It was a journey, and I’ve found that it was a journey for a lot of other women as well, women who love the Lord but don’t always see, “What’s the difference?” and “How much does it really matter?”

One of the reasons that it has been hard for us to see it is that the whole air we breathe has been impacted by this—it’s not often called this today, but most of us are old enough to remember the birthing and the development of the feminist movement—which, if you’re under forty today, you’ve really never known anything different.

I talk to young women sometimes, and I talk to them about what it was like before they were around, and they can’t even fathom a world that’s different than the one they’ve known in this regard. But some of us are old enough to remember when the feminist movement was not a movement at all. It was radical. It was fringe. Betty Friedan and friends of hers, in fact, the first meeting, I think, took place in 1966 in a hotel room with about twenty-eight women. They started to dream, “What would it be like if . . .” and to redefine the world, to redefine themselves, to redefine God.

A small handful of intentional women with a lot of perseverance, a lot of determination, set about to change the world, and they did this in a number of ways. They did it actually through every means available at the time. They did it through writing some seminal books that began to work their way through the culture. They did it through consciousness raising groups in homes, which is where most women were at the time.

They’d come, and they’d have these little groups that would foment into rebellion and discontent. They would have these group leaders who would say, “How much money does your husband make? Oh, yeah. He works hard, doesn’t he? How much money do you make? You don’t make anything? Don’t you work? Your job’s hard here in the house. You mean he’s paid more than you are, and you work hard?”

They began undermining . . . “How come all the men have all the good jobs and the big pay and all the positions in politics?” They were just developing this undercurrent of discontent, resentment, bitterness, and ultimate rebellion, which, by the way, is why bitterness and discontent are such serious issues. They will ultimately lead us to a place of rebellion against God’s authority and other authorities.

Those groups and those books and those media outbursts—some of you will remember the 1968 Miss America pageant where they came in right at the end and brought down this big, huge, white banner sheet that said, “Women’s Liberation.” That’s where that title was born. They did some marching at some highly publicized media events. They had events. They had publishing. They used media in every way it was available in the late sixties, early seventies.

They began to infiltrate the colleges—figuring education was a really important means of getting their vision cast. So these women’s study courses began to crop up in colleges all across the country. They mushroomed exponentially during the seventies.

From 1966 that first meeting in that hotel room until the mid-seventies, what had been a fringe, radical group—people thought they were crazy—became a mainstream in just a little over a decade, and the rest is history. It has so permeated and infiltrated and become so pervasive in our culture that now we’ve got gender-neutral Bibles and calling God “she” and upside-down marriages and relationships and homosexuality and just every type of sexual deviancy and dysfunction.

Of course, when we talk about this, it’s easy to just throw barbs, but the fact is that the women who are the products of that whole way of thinking are deeply broken, scarred, wounded women. Some of you have been there. All of us have tasted the fruit in some ways.

There are women that we meet with and talk with who are on their fourth or fifth marriage. Everything in their life is broken, and there’s no hope; there’s no life. Everything that was promised to give them, joy and satisfaction and contentment and better pay . . . It’s like the Scripture says in Psalms, the people rebelled against God, they lusted in their hearts, and God gave them what they craved, but He sent a wasting disease among them.

Many, many gains have been made in terms of women’s rights and pay and jobs, but the soul sickness, the sadness, the desperation, the depression. Women don’t just come to doctors because they need medical help. They need soul help, and they’re looking somewhere to get hope and help and grace.

Back in the late nineties—it was actually 1997—it was my thirty-ninth birthday . . . I just somehow remember that connection. I was on my way to speak at a woman’s conference and I picked up a book by a woman I didn’t know at the time. She’s become a very dear friend. In fact, she’s at my house right now this week doing some videotaping for a project—Mary Kassian. Many of you have heard her speak.

I picked up her book called, The Feminist Gospel. I had really been blissfully unaware of what had happened with this feminist movement, how it had come about, the way it had impacted the culture. So my eyes were really being opened as I read this book.

What really was a major awakening for me was, as she described how this philosophy had infiltrated and permeated the church, I started connecting the dots and seeing things I’d never really understood why. Things started making sense to me that were going on around me and in the culture. I found myself—it was the work of the Spirit of God, as I look back on it, I’m sure of it—exercising—you remember, it was Paul, when he was in Athens, it said his spirit was exercised within him as he saw the city wholly given over to idolatry?

That’s kind of what happened in me at that point. There was this kind of visceral response that something has gone terribly wrong and something desperate is needed.

I remember, it was a period of several days, or maybe a couple of weeks there, just this kind of growing sense within my heart, as I realized that this revolution had taken place in our culture, and these thoughts that God began to put in my heart about the need for a counter-cultural revolution, to take back among Christian women the ground that for decades we had given over to the lie, to our own personal truth rather than to God’s truth.

It didn’t surprise me that the world should think and function in believing lies because they don’t know the truth. But what blew me away was the extent to which those of us who have the Word of God and say that it’s our authority were living as maybe theological Biblicists but practical feminists in the way we do life. I looked around and saw in so many counts the evidence of this philosophy having permeated evangelicalism.

I began to just envision, “What would it be like if God would move?" Is God greater than Betty Friedan? Of course! "What would it be like if God would bring about a movement in our generation of calling women to His Truth, to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, to lift up the gospel of Christ, to live out the implications of the gospel? What might that be like?”

My heart just began to race. Then came the scary part, because there was a dawning realization that maybe God wanted me to in some way be a part of this counter-cultural revolution, and that’s when waving the white flag was not so easy. I got scared. I was thirty-nine. I wasn’t ready to retire, but I wasn’t looking for new mountains to climb or challenges. I’m not a fighter by nature. I was having a blessed, fruitful ministry. I was having a great time, and I was not looking to take on the establishment.

It wasn’t so much that I thought this hinged on me, but even the sense that God might want me to be a part of this movement of revival and reformation in the hearts of Christian women was a very scary thing for me. I thought, “I will spend the rest of my life swimming upstream, and life will never be easy again.” Not that it was easy then, because truth is always counter-cultural, but I thought, “Whew.”

Well, that was the beginning of the journey of God beginning to clarify my thinking, just getting educated on some of these issues, and trust and obey, just a work of His grace in my own life, and the start of what ultimately became—this is before I ever thought of doing Christian radio—and that’s when I was kind of looking for the next Elisabeth Elliot, and talking with women, “What would it be like to have a radio program where women could talk about these kinds of things?”

I was looking for somebody who’d make a good host at this type of ministry. In fact, I met with a group of women out in southern California, some of who were really gifted communicators and were being used of God in much larger venues than I was at the time, and we talked about this idea. I was just keeping my ear to the ground as to who would be good at this.

Then I remember getting that call from Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife saying, basically, “We love you and have a wonderful plan for your life. We think there needs to be a Christian radio program for women, by women, and we think maybe God wants you to have a part in that.”

I remember going, “You know, that’s is a great idea. In fact, I’ve been thinking about that kind of thing myself, but you do have the wrong person. Maybe I could help you find the right person.” You’ve heard some about that journey.

Early on, as we were in those months of praying and seeking the Lord about whether to launch this radio ministry—we were already starting to write books and having conferences—and then this radio concept was a new dimension. I spent about eighteen months in that journey. I wanted to be really sure that this was God’s idea and not Dennis Rainey’s and Bob Lepine’s alone, but that God was really in this.

Life Action had a board meeting in that time period where they discussed this. I was just sitting there listening, taking notes. Some of you know the name, T.W. Hunt, who’s kind of a patriarch, praying Southern Baptist, just a very holy man of God, a man of faith. He was on the advisory counsel at that time. If you know T.W., he’s a very non-assuming man. He was sitting in the background, didn’t say anything through this whole discussion.

We’d asked these men, leading up to this meeting, to pray about whether God would be pleased for Life Action to partner in launching this radio ministry—we didn’t know what it was called at the time. Then I remember Byron turning to T.W. and saying at the end of that discussion, “Is there anything on your heart, T.W.?”

In his very quiet, humble way, T.W. said, “You know, since Nancy asked us to pray about this, I have been praying. For the last several years, there has been a growing, deep burden on my heart about the increasing widespread corruption among women in our culture.” Then he named some who were big ones at the time that everybody would have identified as having contributed to the widespread, increased corruption in the culture.

Then he said, “This has been such a heaviness in my heart, and for years I have been praying that God would send some means of countering this.” Then he said, “As I have been praying in these last weeks, I believe God is raising up this ministry to do just that for such a time as this.”

Then it got real quiet in that room. I had been taking notes, and I just stopped. There was just a sense that God was affirming and confirming that this was the direction we were to head.

It’s been a privilege to be a part of what God is doing and to recognize the influence that women hold for evil or for good. We could talk about the widespread corruption and the influence for evil. We could have lots of illustrations of that, but it’s such a sweet thing to see how women who are becoming true women of God are becoming a powerful influence for righteousness right where God has placed them.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been describing a huge need in our day—a need for voices to proclaim God’s truth about womanhood. The need for a counter-revolution is no less needed today than it was when God put this burden on Nancy’s heart over ten years ago.

For instance, not long ago, our team spoke with a woman named Edika about how Revive Our Hearts is affecting her.

Edika: I listen to it during my lunch break. I think it is very common for us women in the church to have feministic mindset and not even know that we do.

We say, "Yes, I want to live true biblical womanhood." But in our practice, we are feministic. We don't realize it. We don't know how the world has influenced us even in the church.

I know for me and my age—especially the like the single girls who have gone and gotten their master's degrees and furthering their education, and then they come into the church setting and it's totally contradictory. I don't think we realize what we are saying. If you see it through the eyes of the Bible, it's wrong. But we sugar-coat our feministic ways.

Every now and then it's okay to have to have a "Bible pill," and say, "This is true. This is what the Word says." But on a daily basis I'm feasting on my feministic meal plan, instead of saying, "This is what the Bible says." Eating from the Word instead we're listening to the lies the world says about feminism. I know for me, that's where I came out of. I didn't realize how feministic I was until the Lord used Lies Women Believe and the Revive Our Hearts program.

I see the women at my church. Their heart is right. I think we all have the desire to grow deeper in the Word, but we don't know how to do that because we are living out feministic tendencies. 

Leslie: That’s a Revive Our Hearts listener named Edika. Nancy, stories like that one give an example of why we’re asking listeners to support the ministry here at the end of 2011.

Nancy:
Would you help us speak to more women like Edika? When we describe a True Woman Movement, it involves showing women like her the joy and fulfillment of embracing God’s design.

We’re able to do it thanks to the support of listeners like you. And typically, about 40% of the donations we need for the entire year arrive during the month of December.

Some friends of this ministry know how important year-end support is, so they have offered to match each gift given to Revive Our Hearts, up to a total challenge of $600,000. That means your gift this month will be doubled!

You can help us support and expand a movement of true womanhood at 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

On behalf of Edika and hundreds of thousands of other women like her, thanks so much for making this ministry possible.

Leslie: Tomorrow, Nancy will continue to share some burdens on her heart for a true woman movement? What does that look like in the days ahead? Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.