Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Leslie Basham: Carolyn McCulley has learned to appreciate the biblical concept of submission.

Carolyn McCulley: As a single woman, I don’t have a husband to submit to, but there are plenty of other biblical categories for me to submit in—to my pastor, to my boss. I can either use the gifts that God has given me to build them up and to encourage them because I know what God is calling us to, or I can try to build myself up through demanding their time and attention, which never works.

Leslie: It’s Thursday, September 6, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Nancy?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, thank you for joining us again on Revive Our Hearts. If you’ve been listening to the conversation we’ve been having this week, I know that you’ve been challenged and perhaps have learned some things, as I have. We’re talking about some fundamental issues in our culture that relate to our mission here at Revive Our Hearts as we’re calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

We’ve been talking with two of my friends—Carolyn McCulley. Carolyn is a speaker. She’s an author. She’s part of the staff at Sovereign Grace Ministries out of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Carolyn, thank you for joining us in this conversation and for the thinking, the writing, and the speaking that you’ve done on this subject that’s been very helpful to me.

Carolyn: Oh, I’m glad I could be of use.

Nancy: Jennifer Epperson, the station manager at one of our very important station partners, WRMB in Boynton Beach, Florida, part of the Moody radio group. We are so thankful for the partnership with your station there and, Jennifer, for the privilege of serving with you.

You’ve had quite a journey. This is not a theoretical topic for you. It’s one that you’ve lived. It’s been neat to see God in the process of renewing your thinking and giving you delight in what it means to be a woman where at one time that really was not the case. So thank you for being open and willing to share some of that journey with us.

Jennifer Epperson: Thank you so much, Nancy. Certainly, I’m not through yet. I’m still walking that journey.

Nancy: Now, we won’t try to repeat all of it, but we’ve talked about both of you women going through a journey of buying into the feminist way of thinking as you were in your teens, 20s. Carolyn, you came to know the Lord as a 30-year-old woman. For you, Jennifer, you had been born again as a child but had really not been discipled in God’s way of thinking.

So in both of your cases what really began to make a huge paradigm shift in your view of yourself, in your view of men and marriage, was coming face-to-face with Christ and with the gospel. For both of you the gospel was not just something that bought you a life insurance policy to keep you out of hell. It was something that radically began to impact the way that you looked at your life as a woman and what that meant.

Carolyn: That’s so true. I can remember at first hearing the gospel and realizing I was going to have to change my life. I was going to have to change a whole lot about it. I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.

It was really the discipleship of the men and women in my church who made such a big difference because I thought I was just going to add church to my schedule on Sunday and tweak a few things. God was turning me upside down and shaking loose everything out of my pockets.

I came to see that all the things that I desired in a relationship, with men primarily and with other people, I was trying to demand from a point of anger. That’s really where feminism comes from. It says, “You are my oppressor. You are the reason for why I feel this way, and I demand your respect and I crave your respect.”

Then you come to God’s Word and it says to women to respect and honor and even that horrible word submit. And you think, "What is going on?" If you don’t have the knowledge of the gospel, none of that makes sense. You don’t realize that God has created men and women equally in His glory. He has assigned us the same worth.

He says, "In order for you to carry out My plans, I’m going to give you different roles. These roles are designed for you to work together, not to compete with each other, not to go head-butting and demanding and having constant conflict."

Instead of being contentious, God calls us to be contented as women in Christ. Contented because we know if we’ve been sinned against, there is one who is going to judge that. He will be our avenger.

He is also the same One who has redeemed our sinfulness, our angry responses, our bitterness and our unforgiveness. He makes it possible for us to entrust to Him, the One who judges justly, our futures. That way we can be free of the bitterness that comes from being sinned against. We can be free to love, embrace, support and encourage imperfect people.

As a single woman, I don’t have a husband to submit to, but there are plenty of other biblical categories for me to submit in—to my pastor, to my boss, to other people as they have authority in my life.

I can either use the gifts that God has given me to build them up and to encourage them because I know what God is calling us to, or I can try to build myself up through demanding their time and attention, which never works.

Right before I became a Christian, I was aware of how angry I was and how no matter what button I pushed, I got a result that I wasn’t expecting. I was confused. When God in His mercy presented the gospel to me, things started to make sense.

I watched men who were now in my church who were saying, “I’m going to be responsible before the Lord to ensure that my wife is served, that she is flourishing, that she is encouraged. She’s not my ball and chain. The kids are not my little monsters.” They were so different, these men, than the ones I was aware of and I had befriended.

The women were very different because they built up and they encouraged and they supported instead of tearing down, putting down, mocking, and being sarcastic.

Nancy: Now, hold on just a moment. You had some great examples there, some great role models. You were in a church that was really teaching a biblical vision for manhood and womanhood and not teaching what some would call the traditional hierarchical or men use women. You were seeing it lived out in a really biblical way.

Jennifer, I know a lot of our listeners are writing to us. Women are saying, “I’m not seeing those models. That’s not what’s being modeled in my home. That’s not the way these so-called Christian men are treating me. You’re telling me I’m supposed to have this gentle and quiet spirit and to be womanly and gracious and kind and considerate and not angry. Don’t I have a right to be angry if these men are sinning against me and against women in these ways?”

Jennifer: Well, I would say to that woman that I completely understand how she feels and how she’s arrived at that conclusion. I suppose in a human sense, we do have a right if we feel sinned against. However, in the grand scheme of things, Jesus Christ put aside His rights. He had every right because He was the Lord and the Maker of the universe.

Nancy: And sinless.

Jennifer: And sinless. Yet we know from God’s Word that He put aside all of these things willingly to take on human form. His sole purpose was to go to the cross to take on every sin that He would pay for those in His death, burial, and resurrection.

So what I would say is, yes, you can stand up for yourself and you can fight for yourself. However, I choose to have the Lord of the universe take care of me because, as a totally loving God, as a totally omnipotent God, He knows everything that’s going on. He knows every motive of every heart.

What better defense than to stand upon Him, that solid Rock, when we are looking at things as egregious as injustice. We truly can have our minds transformed by reading His Word and having them renewed every day.

We had talked about identity earlier on in the week and how important that is to each one of us to say I want my identity to be in Christ. So when we place our trust in Christ, He is our good Shepherd, and He will take care of us instead of demanding my own rights like Carolyn was saying.

Pushing my own buttons and pushing my own way through and making my own way in the world. How much better is it to live in peace, trust in Christ, than to be battling through life ending up with unhappy results.

Carolyn: Right. The message of biblical womanhood makes no sense, no sense apart from the gospel. It makes no sense at all to live quietly and contentedly and joyously unless you know that there is a Redeemer. If you try to explain anything about biblical manhood and womanhood to those who do not share your faith, it doesn’t make any sense. You have to insert the issue about the doctrine of sin and the doctrine of redemption, because apart from that we will be at odds with everyone around us until He comes back.

Jennifer: What we’re not saying is that we give up our own uniqueness. Christ has made each one of us unique. Carolyn has unique qualities. I have unique qualities. We can celebrate those differences. As far as the Word of God, He has given us a good and perfect way to live with our roles as men and women and also the commandments He’s given us as people.

Nancy: I think as we live out that redeemed femininity, we can’t underestimate the impact of our influence on the culture around us, on the men around us. You all have talked about pushing the buttons and getting all the responses you weren’t wanting or weren’t expecting when you were intimidating and antagonizing men in those days when you thought they were the problem.

It wasn’t making you friends out of men. It wasn’t moving toward marriage or a happy marriage, in Jennifer’s case as a married woman. Day after day I get to read the testimonies of women who are choosing to say no to their flesh, to humble themselves, to take the path of humility and the path of Christ-likeness in their relationships, in the workplace and in the home.

I often hear from men whose wives are listening to Revive Our Hearts or choosing to respond this way saying it makes me want to be more the man God created me to be when my wife lives out or when the women in the workplace, the Christian women, live out that biblical womanhood.

Jennifer: It’s very interesting because as a radio station manager, I’m in charge. They say, “Oh, you’re the boss lady.” I try not to have the attitude of the boss lady. Yes, there are women and men who are working for me at the radio station, but I always try to respect the manhood of the men and the womanhood of the women.

When I was a single woman, I had to make a conscious effort to leave my work at the station and accept the car doors being opened for me. It was a joy once I came to that point where I could appreciate my femininity despite the fact that I was manager of the radio station.

Carolyn: Nancy and I had a conversation about this once years ago. You were the one who taught me the power of asking a question. Now I don’t do this successfully 100% of the time. Rather than saying, “Well, let’s do it this way,” say, “What do you think about . . .?” That leaves the door open for men to lead, to take the initiative, by asking a question.

The men who are discerning pick up what your preferences are and you can state them more clearly as you come along in the conversation. There’s something about the influence that God has given us when we come in with a more gentle approach that leaves the door open for conversations to happen in a more gracious and selfless way.

Jennifer: Also, if I need help, I ask for it. If there’s something heavy around the radio station that I can’t lift, they’re usually more than willing to help me lift something or take the lead in prayer.

Carolyn: I learned an important lesson in the workplace. I work for a ministry, and I work with very godly men. One of the things that they showed me was that there is power in indirect communication as opposed to direct communication. I had been taught specifically in my college years and in my early career to be very forthright, to be masculine in my communication.

It didn’t bear the fruit that I wanted it to. It wouldn’t make any sense. What’s this indirect communication? What’s this soft pedaling? What’s this weird hinting?

I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, except for this. If a man is called to lead in a particular situation and I come in with this strong opinion, I put him in a position, especially in front of a group, of having to choose to continue with his path that he was leading us toward, this group, or cow to my opinion.

Now, some people might hear this and say I don’t understand what she’s talking about. I can give you a great illustration. It’s called the restaurant illustration.

I would be together with my boss, other clients, at an event, a convention or something. He would suggest let’s go to this restaurant, and I would have an immediate reaction. Either I would make a face, or I would shake my head like “oh, no,” or I would just come out in be open, “Why don’t we do . . .?”

He would hear this and what he tried to explain to me later was, "You, by expressing your opinion so strongly, put me in a position of either overriding the original plan, the plan that the clients and the vendors and the whole group was already oriented to, or I just immediately defer to you and we go in your direction. Your strongly expressed opinion now disrupts the group agenda."

Nancy: And it’s controlling the whole environment.

Carolyn: Right. So my flesh, my pride, which is always present—we as women need to understand how invasive our pride is. I would hear that and think, "Well, you just don’t want my opinion."

What he was trying to tell me is, "I want your opinion. I want it delivered in a way that helps the whole group agenda. Would you please come to me on the side? Would you please take me aside and say, 'What do you think about this?' Or would you express this ahead of us making the plan and announcing it to the group?"

So often it’s training yourself to think about the filter between your mind and your mouth that serves other people, regardless of the male/female dynamic. Just what is it that I’m craving that comes out in my speech immediately? How can I serve others by tempering myself?

Jennifer: What you said was so important. You really have to retrain and filter those thoughts before they come out of your mouth or are acted out.

I had a situation where a middle-aged gentlemen was sitting at the table with me. He came out with a statement like, “Men are pigs.” I said, “Stop right there. Don’t say any more, because if you do, I can give you the thesis and the whole dissertation, but I don’t want to go in that direction.”

He said, “Well, men are pigs.” I said, “I’m not going in this direction. I do not want to continue this part of the conversation because it’s just going to go down a road that I don’t want to go.” I have to retrain my mind to think more God-like, so I really have to take and U-turn some of my thoughts in order not to go down a road and to sin.

Carolyn: Right. Ephesians 4:29 tells us to speak only that which builds up others. We have such incredible power, especially as women, to build up men. Men will respond often to the standard we set for them in our encouragement and in our speech. If we expect great things of them because we point them to a great God who enables them to do that, they’ll respond.

So the old feminist dynamic where you’re angry and you’re trying to elicit a certain response from men borne out of anger always backfires. God in His gracious wisdom has shown us as women that we can help encourage men to a higher standard of godliness, especially with an encouraging tongue, with encouraging speech, and with faith toward God that God can change someone else as much as He’s changed us.

Nancy: The world has given us this sense of the battle of the sexes, competition, conflict between men and women. Satan has done such a masterful job, hasn’t he, of getting men to back off in passivity or to be sinfully domineering and women to be either cowering or sinfully controlling? Those imbalances produce such negative ill fruit.

But God’s way, as you go to the Scripture, over and over again you see this beautiful dance in a sense that God intended—men living out their masculinity, women living out their femininity, controlled by the Spirit of God.

As we’re talking here, the passage that’s been on my mind is that beautiful section of 1 Peter, which, by the way, the whole theme of 1 Peter is suffering. It’s in that context, where every chapter is talking about suffering as Christ suffered for us, the redemptive power of suffering.

It’s in that context right in the middle of the book, chapter 3, you have this dialogue about men and women. Isn’t that interesting? Because to live out our biblical manhood and womanhood does require suffering in the sense of saying no to our pride, no to our flesh and yes to the Spirit of God.

At the beginning of chapter 3 Peter says, “Wives . . .” He calls them to be submissive to their own husbands, to have conduct that is respectful and pure. Then he calls the husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way, to show honor to their wives as unto a weaker vessel. He calls the women the heirs with their husbands of the grace of life (see verses 1-7).

So you have this mutual respect and love and honor, and then he says in verse 8, “Finally, all of you . . .” Who’s all of you? It’s the wives. It’s the husbands. It’s the men. It’s the women. It’s all of us as Christian brothers and sisters. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind.” Now, can you imagine men and women thinking the same way? When we’re controlled by the Spirit of God, there is unity of mind.

Jennifer, I know that you and Jack have seen that in your marriage as you’re both filled with the Spirit of God, though you may be very different as a man and a woman. Carolyn, in your workplace. Me in our ministry. Men and women are wired differently, but God can give us supernatural unity of mind.

He says, “Have unity of mind, have sympathy, have brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8). What a picture that is and something that the world really cannot experience because it is impossible, as you reminded us earlier, Carolyn, apart from the transforming, redeeming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

That’s what motivates this kind of true love and kindness and humility. That’s what enables us to live that way. That’s the spring and the source of living as women of God and the fruit is so sweet. Then God is glorified through our lives, through our relationships.

It doesn’t mean that we become sinless or the men become sinless. We are sinners and a marriage is a sinful man married to a sinful woman. Where you have two sinners, there are going to be issues. But as we go to the cross, as we humble ourselves, as we seek the glory of God above our own petty differences and opinions and rights, so-called, God is glorified. The world sees a picture of the character of God and the redemptive heart and plan of God that is truly transformational.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss talking with Jennifer Epperson and Carolyn McCulley about the urgent need for biblical thinking about womanhood.

Would you respond to today’s program in two ways? First, learn more about biblical womanhood for yourself. Find out what the Bible has to say about your role as a woman and apply it to your situation. Listen to this conversation again. Share it with friends.

We’ll send it to you on CD along with a book we’re suggesting as a companion to this series, Does Christianity Squash Women?, by Rebecca Jones, for a donation of any amount. Here’s our number: 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, that’s one way to respond, and I told you there were two. The second way to respond to today’s program is to get involved. Spread the message of biblical womanhood. Nancy’s back to explain.

Nancy: Today we’ve been talking about the most effective way to counter feminist thinking is through presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what changed Carolyn’s life. That’s what changed Jennifer’s life. That’s at the heart of this ministry, helping women to understand and to live out the implications of the gospel in every area of life.

We need friends like you to help us get that message out. That’s why we’re telling you all this week about a special group of listeners that we call our Ministry Partner team. Our ministry partners pray for revival among women and for the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. They serve as ambassadors all across the United States helping share this message with their friends.

Then our ministry partners play a crucial role as they underwrite this outreach with their monthly financial support. That’s what enables us to keep airing this program in your community and in hundreds of markets all across the United States.

You may have been listening to Revive Our Hearts over the past several months or perhaps for even years and God has used it to be a blessing to you, to encourage you in your walk with the Lord. I want to ask if you would consider becoming one of our ministry partners this month.

As a ministry partner, you’ll receive regular updates and prayer requests from the ministry. You’ll also receive a resource each month that goes just to our ministry partner team. I’ll often share my heart on that CD about what’s going on in the ministry or what God is doing in my own life and some of the fruit of the ministry as well.

As a ministry partner, we’ll provide you with a free registration to one Revive Our Hearts conference per year. In fact, our last Revive Our Hearts conference of 2007 is coming up in just a few weeks, September 28 and 29 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It may be that you would be able to attend that conference.

Most of all, as part of our Ministry Partner team, you can know that you are impacting the hearts and homes of women all across this country with the message of God’s grace and the incredible life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

Leslie: So to join the Ministry Partner team, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com. All of the information is explained there: the conference registration we provide at no charge, the monthly resource, the signed copy of Nancy’s book, Choosing Forgiveness. Review all these details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

All of us have received gifts and talents from God. Some women feel like the concept of submission keeps them from using their gifts. Hear more about it tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.