by Carol Tharp, M.D.
The Bible views women and men as equally responsible before God for their sin. However, the church has followed the world into viewing women as innocent victims with their “mistakes” being due to such things as a bad husband, abuse as a child, or chemical imbalance. A typical illustration of this error is seen in an article by Mary Kassian in the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Newsletter (CBMW).1
Kassian says she only had “good men” in her life. Her article leads me to assume she means that her male associates have not been wife beaters and child molesters like the male associates of the woman she describes. However, Scripture does not divide mankind into good and bad. It simply says that no one is good or does good. All have turned away and are unrighteous (Romans 3: 10-12).
Kassian contends that a woman “who has been molested by her grandfather, ignored by her father, sexually derided by her brother, slapped by her husband, and ridiculed by her male friends . . . reacts to the wounding by adopting a feminist and/or egalitarian philosophy which assures her of worth and value as a woman.”
This basic view of women is rampant within the modern church, even though it is in direct disobedience to Jesus’ directive not to judge (Matthew 7:1). Kassian makes a judgment of another person’s heart by adopting the doctrinal base of the insight-oriented therapy industry. She views the woman as essentially innocent, a clean slate written upon by an evil environment, and controlled by her past, which comes bubbling up in ways the “wounded woman” does not recognize. Only someone like Kassian, trained to read the symbols and secrets, can know this woman in ways that Scripture ascribes only to God. Via certain special, gnostic knowledge, available only to an educated elite with psychology degrees, Kassian claims to know what produced the thinking and actions defined as “feminist philosophy.”
What does Scripture say is the problem when a woman refuses to acknowledge the headship of her husband in the home or participates in Sophia conferences worshiping female secretions? The Bible makes no allowance whatsoever for the “wounded woman” portrayed by Kassian and simply says that refusal to take our place in God’s order is reason for God’s judgment. (Jude 6,7)
Kassian continues in the mindset of the psychotherapist, saying that the woman “needs healing of her pain before she is able to respond to truth.” Remember that the cities into which the apostles moved were not filled with “good men.” These cities were at least as depraved as the places where you and I live. Yet the apostles did not approach either male or female with the diagnosis of wounding nor did they ever suggest that truth could not be accepted until the pain was healed.
Read Acts 16:13-15, about the women whom Paul found praying together. Note the contrast between Kassian’s teaching and Scripture. No issue is made at all as to whether Lydia was surrounded by “good men.” No mention is made of the people with whom Lydia grew up or with whom she lived at the time. That seems strangely beside the point, does it not? Are we going to read between the lines and imagine that Paul spoke a different gospel to these women, because no men were present? If this were the case, would not Luke have recorded at least a portion of this crucial variation?
It is unlikely that this woman dealing in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira had grown up without pain. It is equally unlikely that Lydia had achieved what the therapeutic community calls “healing of her pain” before Paul arrived. Yet Scripture tells us that Lydia responded to the truth of Paul’s message. How could such a thing be?
Luke does not tell us whether these women who gathered outside the city gate by the river had rebelliously left home against the wishes of the “good men” in their life. Had their fathers and husbands beat them and locked them out for the day? Since Lydia is described as a Godfearer, it is not likely this was a group of lesbians seated in a ritualistic circle seeking to blend with Gaia down by the river. Beyond that, we can come to few conclusions about the home life of these women. Surely we should note that the inspired Word of God does not emphasize the influence of the men present in the lives of these women to whom Paul spoke. Circumstances, such as their environment, their past, or their “father-image,” do not appear to determine their ability to respond to Truth.
Look carefully at what Lydia did. She opened her heart, responded to Paul’s message with obedience in baptism, and began serving her God through hospitality. There is no hint that Lydia had a self-centered motive in this hospitality, desiring the preachers to stay at her house so she could get time with them to pour out details of past abuse by bad men in her life. There is no hint that Lydia was seeking any apostolic 12-step program to heal her wounded heart.
Is Lydia’s case unique? Look at Acts 5:1-11. Note that Peter quizzes Sapphira in the same way that he questioned Ananias. Peter does not analyze Sapphira’s upbringing; neither does he seem to consider what kind of men Sapphira had in her life. God’s Word gives us no permission to assume that Sapphira lied about the price of the land in order to gain worth and value as a woman. Peter shows no concern as to whether Sapphira was searching for security and significance, and he does not seem to have been informed of Sapphira’s need for healing of her pain before she could respond to truth.
Had they lived in our era, Ananias may even have modeled the seven promises of a Promise Keeper and Sapphira may even have helped him model what CBMW calls the complementary roles for men and women. However, about three hours after Ananias fell down and died for having lied to God, Sapphira did the same. There is no hint that the three hour delay was spent investigating Sapphira for codependency, panic disorder, adult ADHD, etc.
It must be emphasized that Sapphira was not excused due to wounding by a dishonest husband. It is no minor issue for church leaders to present a woman’s sin as healed by “a godly man who loves and blesses her as a woman,” facing “her woundedness,” repenting “of bitterness and unforgiveness,” and releasing “her pain to Jesus.” When a woman has accepted feminist philosophy, she needs far more than “the faithful love of a good man and her willingness to forgive those who had wounded her.” The church today seems content taking theology from romance novels or from the channel playing old movies.
Kassian goes on to say that “truth is not an end in and of itself, but rather the means . . . to be set fully free.” Scripture says that Jesus is the Truth, the fulfillment and end of the law, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. My freedom comes from the Messiah; it is not vice-versa and it cannot be so. My freedom is not the fulfillment, the omega; my freedom is not the goal, the end. Scripture gives me no license to make God’s Truth some ill-defined secondary luxury nice to have around after a “good man” or man’s techniques have healed my wounded heart. This is no minor theological issue!
Kassian says, “Most feminists will not be persuaded by theological finesse or expertise. Theirs is a wounding of the heart and their minds and will only be set aright as their hearts are healed.” In contrast, Paul said that they “perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thes. 2:10-12).
Sin is not produced, as Kassian contends, by an assault on a woman’s personhood. Beware of terminology that lacks definition. Paul said, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1,2). Today’s church would do well to remember this warning about intellectualized, silly terminology. Sort through the fancy talk with its compassionate-sounding words, because it is basically saying that my sin is produced by my environment. We cannot afford to forget that Eve became a feminist in the perfect environment. Her grandfather had not molested her, her father had not ignored her, her brother had not sexually derided her, her husband had not slapped her, and male friends had not ridiculed her. Scripture says you and I fall for the lie for the same reason as Eve did. We would love to gain the wisdom and be like God. We would love to be in the driver’s seat. We hope that via a good husband, good parenting, visualization techniques, hypnosis, positive thinking, forgiveness methods, weigh-down—whatever fad is passing through—we can be set free. And, if we can use some Jesus-words as a means, then all the better!
Christian leaders, both conservative and liberal, are taking their doctrine from the same father of lies and thus are taking women in the same destructive direction. My problem is not the men in my life (and that is not to say that men are all models of righteousness). My problem is not what Daddy did. My problem is my own sin and rebellion. Kassian leaves me with no answers and no hope. If environmental wounding is my problem, I limp for the rest of my life. However, if sin is my problem, Jesus has died for that. Lidie Edmunds wrote a hymn in the 19th century, and I think we can safely say she would not have fallen for the “wounded woman” deception.
My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed;
I trust the everliving One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea.
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.
That is really the only question for you and for me. Is it enough that Jesus died; IS IT ENOUGH?
1 Mary Kassian, “For Those Who Hate Feminists—And Those Who Don’t. Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Newsletter , Vol. 1, No. 2. Kassian’s article can be accessed at the following World Wide Web address: http://www.cbmw.org/html/vol1no2.html.
(From PAL, V7N1)