Declarations of the True Woman Manifesto, Part 2Effects of the True Woman Manifesto
Leslie Basham: A couple of years ago, Christian leaders connected by phone to pray. They asked God to infuse His people with new life. Nancy Leigh DeMoss took part in those calls.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Oh Lord, we pray for revival of obedience in our hearts as women.
Leslie: Revive Our Hearts and several other broadcast ministries are in a 40-day season of focused prayer. As Revive Our Hearts begins, Nancy will pray that women will live God’s calling on their lives.
Nancy: Lord, may we come under Your authority, and may we be willing to come under the authorities that You have given us in the church and in our homes. I pray, Lord, for a revival of obedience, a revival of submission to God-ordained authority.
I pray, Lord, that as women we would be patient and tender-hearted and compassionate. That You would give to us a meek and a quiet spirit. That wives whose husbands do not obey the Word, that they may be won over without a word as wives clothe themselves in the meekness and the gentleness of Jesus Christ.
I pray, Lord, that women would be known as women who love their husbands, love their children, and that they would be encouragers. Forgive us, Lord, for so often with our tongues destroying our homes, our relationships, our churches. May we speak only words, as Ephesians 4 says, “that build up, that minister grace to the hearers.”
Oh Lord, we pray for a revival of humility and of surrender, that we would just relinquish control and not feel like we always have to be in charge, always have to have the last word.
Lord, I pray for a revival of humbling ourselves. I know so many men feel the pressure and the weight of the women around them knowing so much Scripture and making them feel inferior. Lord, I pray that the knowledge You give to us of Your Word would not puff us up, but that we would be clothed in the love that is humble, and that we would be encouragers of our pastors, of husbands, of the men You have placed in leadership in the body of Christ, that we would not be whiners, not murmurers, not complainers.
Give us, Lord, a spirit of contentment, satisfied with what You have provided and not demanding that we have more or that things go our way.
Oh, Lord, we pray that as we as women take our place under Your authority, and in quietness and subjection as You have directed, that you would then courage the men to be the leaders and the men that You intend them to be.
Oh, Lord, make us obedient, revived, humble-hearted, broken women. For Jesus’ sake I pray it, amen.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
In a handful of series this year, we’ve been exploring the True Woman Manifesto. It’s a carefully crafted document you can read at ReviveOurHearts.com. We’re about to wrap up this final series on the Manifesto, and today we’ll hear how the Manifesto is affecting women in all kinds of ways. It will be a full program.
We’ll hear how the True Woman Manifesto spread among the women of 26 churches, affecting a whole community. Nancy will also reflect on an important question: Should you sign the True Woman Manifesto even if you know you can’t perfectly live it out?
But first, as we near the end of our series on the True Woman Manifesto, we’ll hear from some women who have interacted with the document closely. They publically read portions of it at the True Woman Conference.
Nancy: Starting here with my friend Dannah:
Dannah Gresh: We believe that God is the Sovereign Lord of the universe and the Creator of life . . .
Leslie: Author Dannah Gresh will lead the teen track at the True Woman Conference this Thursday in Indianapolis and next month in Fort Worth.
Dannah: A lot of women have been asking me, “What is this True Woman Manifesto?” They’re hearing about it. It is a relatively lengthy document because it’s thorough. It covers each of the areas not only that God says are important things in our lives, but that the culture has attacked.
I think it’s a great thing for a church to have as a skeletal outline for what’s important in their women’s ministry. Every woman’s ministry leader, pastor’s wife, really should come to the convention but also be aware of what that Manifesto says because you can look at those different things—for example, being a wife and a mother is celebrated in the Manifesto, and there’s Scripture that reinforces that.
For me as a woman who works with teenagers, that’s really important that the church enforces that, because the research tells us that today most Christian adults feel like it’s a detriment to present the roles of being a wife and mom to teen girls today, that it disempowers them, that they need to be lawyers and doctors and Indian chiefs, or whatever. God’s Word doesn’t say that they can’t be those things, but He says that being a wife and a mom is the highest goal and the greatest honor.
Teenagers today are saying that they do not want to be wives and moms, but I’m not talking about teenagers in the mainstream. I’m talking about our Christian teenagers, Christian schools, home-schooled kids, and public school kids alike are very disenchanted with that idea.
Just taking that one little piece of the Manifesto and being able to plant it in your church and saying, “This is something important we need to communicate to women and to young girls.” It’s a great tool for every church. You need to have it.
Fern Nichols: Men and women are both created in the image of God . . .
Leslie: This is Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch International. She’ll speak at both upcoming conferences as well.
Fern: One of the unique things about this conference is that there’s a Manifesto. I think women at first might say, “What’s that all about?” But really, it is a wonderful document that:
- declares truths that states who we are in Christ
- that states our purpose for living
- that says the Word of God is not only important, but it’s something we must live by.
There are declarations throughout this Manifesto that say to us who we are in Christ. It’s very exciting. God has some special things for women, and if we will be obedient to that, we will be living out not only furthering the kingdom of God, but having a powerful impact on the next generations.
This Manifesto kind of summarizes who we are as God sees us and designed us for.
Leslie: Cindy Rojas is a producer with Moody Radio. She remembers watching the Manifesto ceremony at True Woman ’08. The portion read in Spanish was meaningful to her.
Cindy Rojas: That was moving. We did not know it was going to be read in Spanish. Nancy’s sister Deborah's husband translated the document into Spanish, so when she got up there and started reading it in my native language, it just brought me to tears. There are just no words to describe it.
Then there were about 200, I don’t know how many, Dominican Republic women. To see them be able to have Revive Our Hearts acknowledge that they are there, and that they’re trying to reach out to them, that’s exciting to me. It's especially exciting because I don’t think this message is so prevalent for people in the Hispanic community, so that’s a challenge. It was just wonderful to be able to hear it in Spanish.
Leslie: At the True Woman Conference in Chattanooga, she read part of the Manifesto in Spanish.
Cindy: (speaking Spanish)
Well, I was very honored to be asked by Nancy and her staff to read a document that I know took a lot of time and prayer to put together. As Nancy said, it’s not the Bible, but it’s just wonderful to be able to have something in writing. To ask women to actually make a commitment by signing it, I think, is important.
We can get all excited about what happened here, but when you really put your name on something, that means, to me, that you’re going to take it seriously. Every single point on there were deep, thoughtful things that we hope, with God’s help, we can commit to, with our families, with our friends, with our husbands, being true women.
I think it’s wonderful that Nancy’s organization was able to put this together as a reminder, hopefully a daily reminder, of the way we should live.
Mary Kassian: We believe that the creation of humanity as male and female was a purposeful and magnificent part of God’s wise plan . . .
Leslie: Author Mary Kassian was influential in the True Woman Movement from the beginning.
Mary: I really like the fact that we have a True Woman Manifesto. The True Woman Manifesto isn’t Scripture. It’s based on Scripture, but it’s a fallible document. So what we chose to put in there, include and leave out, you could debate things about that. But the thing about it is that throughout history there have been times when the body of believers has put out a statement to address some of the major issues that were coming up against the truth of the gospel.
We saw that in the 1st Century; we saw that later on, and all the statements—the Creeds, the Apostles’ Creed—all the different Creeds and statements we have throughout history, they were responses to cultural pressures that were coming against the truth of the Word of God at that particular time in history.
I view the Manifesto that way. I say, at this particular time in history, these faulty ideas about manhood and womanhood is threatening the truth of the Word of God, the truth of the gospel. So putting together a statement and actually having a mass of people say, “Yes, this statement is true,” historically, whenever that has happened, that has shifted the tide. When enough people agree that the direction you’re going in is wrong, you can actually turn the tide, and things can begin to change.
Leslie: Tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts, we’ll hear a complete True Woman Manifesto ceremony. I think you’ll find it a very moving experience.
As we’re nearing the end of this series on the True Woman Manifesto, we’re going to spend a few minutes hearing how the Manifesto has affected the women’s group at one church.
Leslie Bennett attended the first True Woman Conference in 2008. While there, God was impressing something on her heart.
Leslie Bennett:. . . that, Leslie, you are to bring this back to your women. You are not to keep it for yourself. You are to bring it back to your women.
Leslie Basham: Leslie is a woman’s ministry leader at her church, and she realized that True Woman was more than a conference; it’s a movement.
Leslie Bennett: What I appreciate so much about Revive Our Hearts is that they make it so easy for us where we can duplicate what they have done. I appreciate that very much. I was able to purchase the DVDs and bring them to our church. We set up the videos, and we had our own True Woman testimonies, just like they did in Chicago, from among my women. Ladies sat around tables, and they wrestled with what they heard and grappled with it. Then we prayed together and went out. We did it over a series of four weeks.
Leslie: The True Woman message wasn’t just spreading through her church. This message spread throughout her city of Columbia, South Carolina.
Leslie Bennett: At True Woman Columbia, we had 200 women from our community participating. Over 26 churches were represented. That meant so much to me because I saw God tearing down denominational walls, and He just brought us together as women, as His daughters, to gaze upon Him, to be in His Word, and to learn from Him.
As a group collectively, we came together, and we watched those videos, and then we responded to them. We sat around at tables. We had discussion questions, and then we had a time of just praying for each other and lifting each other up. Then at the end, it was a time to respond personally, individually, “Lord, how will I respond to this? Everything that I’ve heard, how am I going to respond?”
As a group, the women had that opportunity at the end to read through the Manifesto, point by point. If they were feeling led, to say, “Yes, Lord; Yes, Lord. I want to follow this in my life. I can’t do it. There’s no way I can, but Your grace enables me to, and Jesus in me enables me to do that.”
The women were able to come forward, one by one, and sign their name on that document publically. There was that sense of us coming together as women. We need each other, to support each other to do this, because we can’t do it. Even isolated, we need each other. We need to encourage each other and to affirm each other, and to call each other out when we see that we’re not living in accordance with the way the Lord would have us to. We need that community of women around us to help us on this journey.
What I like about the True Woman Manifesto is that it’s based on over 100 Scriptures. It’s not just man’s idea of who man is and who woman is. It’s God’s idea. It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts, and I love that about it as well. It just lays out who God says I am and how I want to be all that God designed me to be, to be all I can be in Christ.
As you read through that, it’s not saying I am all these things or I will do all these things. It is declaring that, by God’s grace, that it is only He that can enable me to resemble His Son Jesus.
Leslie Basham: Leslie Bennett alluded to one question women sometimes raise about the True Woman Manifesto: If I sign it, does that mean I think I’ve perfectly become a true woman? Nancy Leigh DeMoss addressed this question along with her friend Kim Wagner and some of our listeners.
Let’s listen to this question and answer session, beginning with Kim.
Kim Wagner: I have a dear godly friend, and she is someone I would consider a mature Christian woman. We were talking the other day about the Manifesto, and she confided in me, “I haven’t signed it yet.”
I said, “What is it? Do you have a problem signing things . . . commitment level . . . what?”
She said, “No. I think I’m going to have to be on my death bed before I can say I’m a true woman.”
I said, “Oh, I am not yet a true woman.” We are striving, this is a prayerful intent, this is what we desire to be. Not because this paper or the True Woman blog or Revive Our Hearts or Nancy Leigh DeMoss says this is what a true woman is, but because the Word of God has described a woman of God, a biblical woman that will glorify Him.
If it’s the first time you’ve read through the True Woman Manifesto, you may be totally overwhelmed, and you may say, “I do not see how I can apply this to my life," or "Where I can begin at all to do this?”
Let me just say it may be like drinking water from a fire hydrant when you first read through this, but go to God and ask Him, “Where do You want me to begin in this? Where do You want me to begin? What should I apply to my life? What is most needful in my life right now?”
At every point through this, remember the purpose behind it, demonstrating what God is like: loving others and loving God. As we love Him, we are displaying true womanhood because we are displaying Christ in us, the hope of glory, and we are a part of spreading the glory of God throughout the whole earth by doing that.
That’s the motive, that’s the purpose and the motive. So go back to that every time you’re feeling discouraged and overwhelmed and you see this lengthy Manifesto, and you think, “I can never live up to that.” We cannot live up to this, but God, by His grace and mercy, is transforming us through the power of the gospel because He delights in doing that. He is able to do that. He wants others to know that He truly is powerful and able to transform.
Woman: I appreciate what you just said because I remember last year in ’08, one of my roommates said the very same thing. She looked at the Manifesto, was completely overwhelmed at the end of the conference, saying, “I cannot live up to this, and I’m very concerned about signing it.”
I knew at the same time that it was impossible to absolutely live up to it, but by God’s grace, His covering of His blood, knowing that it’s not what I do, but it’s who He is, that makes all the difference.
Nancy: How many of you said some wedding vows when you got married? (Laughter) When you go to weddings today, do you listen to some of these long vows these kids write? I’m thinking, “Do they really think they can do this?” Just the simple ones, the traditional ones—do you really think you can do this? How many of you have, when you hear those vows, you think, “Ooo, I’ve got some catching up to do; I’ve got some changing to do.”
It’s an expression, and this Manifesto, we’ve made clear, is not a vow. There is a difference between a wedding vow and this Manifesto. But as I’ve been studying to teach it, there are some emphases that really are not part of my life currently in any significant way. It’s not that I don’t agree with them, but I’m going, “I’m not a model, an example in this area, currently.”
What I can say is, “This is what I aspire to. This is the kind of woman I want to be, and by God’s grace, by the time I get to heaven, I will be.”
The point is to give us something to hold ourselves to. We’re told to be like Christ. Who would sign up for that? But we realize that God is merciful. He knows our frame. He knows we’re dust. He’s so long-suffering with us, and yet He still says, “You are to be conformed to the image of Christ.”
How many days do I look and say, “I am acting nothing like Jesus”? But you don’t give up. That’s just going to draw you to keep pressing in, and that’s what this Manifesto has done for me. It’s what it’s doing for me. You think it’s hard to look at it and think of signing this. You ought to have to try to write it and teach a program on every sentence in this Manifesto. I mean, you talk about accountability!
While I’m studying on these different topics—suffering or femininity or saying, “Yes, Lord”—my whole life is being tested in these very areas. I find myself at times wanting to pull back, at times thinking, “Let somebody else teach this. Let somebody else be on the accountable line.”
James says about teachers, "Your accountability will be greater." And I feel a huge accountability. There are days when I think, “Not only do I not want to sign this, I don’t want to teach it,” but I still know it’s God’s truth.
So it’s an expression of my heart’s desire, “This is where I want to be.” And it’s the direction of our lives. I think that’s what God honors and blesses. And we help each other. There’s never a day when I’m living out every tenet in that Manifesto. There’s some days when I’m not living out very many at all.
But having that portrait of where we’re headed helps me see where I’m falling short, and not so I can be guilty, but so I can get to God for grace and say, “I need You, Lord. Every hour, I need Thee. Oh, Lord, I need You.”
I hope that’s the perspective that you have as we’re going through this—not being overwhelmed or discouraged or wanting to throw in the towel, but being motivated to say, “Lord, by Your grace, would You do this in me. Would You make it real in me?”
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been describing the process of becoming a true woman of God.
Maybe you’ve been listening to Nancy teach through the True Woman Manifesto this year, but you’ve been reluctant to add your name to the document. Maybe today’s discussion has cleared up some questions, and you’re ready to sign.
Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, and toward the left-hand side of the main page, you’ll find a tab that will take you straight to the True Woman Manifesto. You can read it for yourself and add your name online. As we’ve heard several times today, that’s just the beginning. None of us has arrived. We’re each on a journey of growing into the woman God wants us to be.
To accelerate that journey, I hope you’ll get a copy of a book Nancy edited called Voices of the True Woman Movement. Each chapter was contributed by a speaker from the original True Woman Conference in 2008. John Piper lays a foundation for biblical womanhood; Joni Eareckson Tada and Karen Loritts show you how to display God’s glory even while facing suffering and fearful situations. Those are just a few of the examples of the rich material available in Voices of the True Woman Movement.
We’ll send you this book when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. You can donate at our website. The address is ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for Voices of the True Woman Movement when you donate by phone. The number is 1-800-569-5959.
Nancy wraps up her in-depth exploration of the True Woman Manifesto tomorrow. I hope you’ll join us then.
Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.