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Lion and Lioness God's Design: Part 1




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Lion and Lioness: Jesus' Design for Gender Reconciliation and Relationships in the Church and Beyond, Part 1: Greco-Roman/Victorian Cultural Contexts and Pagan Practices - Do They Have any Place in the Gospel?


Hello everyone! I hope everyone has enjoyed the holiday season. Happy New Year! I wrote an introduction for this blog series in early November and then my readers haven't seen anything else since that time. The reason for the delay is research and reference reading was much needed to make my topics make sense to you as well as give you references you can go to if you have questions or concerns about anything I write. I also want you to know that I haven't just pulled these things out of my hat so to speak. I have not only used the Holy Spirit inspired Word, but also learned from far more accomplished teachers and theologians of the Word than I to build these ideas. I have learned so much in the last two months! I have completed that reading and study and I now want to share what I have learned with you, my readers. I want to begin with today's topic around cultural context/pagan practice vs. the true Gospel where relationships between men and women are concerned– they aren't one in the same as some would have you believe.


I want to start with some statements about this blog's question that will cause disruption and probably make people upset - that's okay. The King is all about disruption when a course needs correcting both in his Church and in society in general.


Here is the question again for clarity's sake: Do Greco-Roman/Victorian cultural contexts and pagan practices have any place in the Gospel? For the purposes of my statements below and for clarity, we will call the two competing systems of thinking and inspiration (e.g., the true Gospel vs. Greco-Roman/Victorian Cultural Contexts and Pagan Practices) a “set of beliefs.”


My unapologetic statements:

  • One set of beliefs (the true Gospel) is inspired by the Holy Spirit and the work has already been finished by Jesus Christ. Period, end of story (John 19:30).

  • The other set of beliefs (Greco-Roman and Victorian cultural constructs) is based on man's limited knowledge and is also the doctrines of demons. Yes you read that correctly, the doctrines of demons.

  • One set of beliefs (the true Gospel) brings life to men and women and the family as a whole.

  • The other set of beliefs (Greco-Roman and Victorian cultural constructs) put men and women in neat, little man-made boxes (because of fear and a lust for power) suffocating their purpose and bringing death in the process to them and their families.

  • Bottom line: one set of beliefs represents freedom in Jesus Christ the true Gospel provides us. The other set of beliefs (Greco-Roman and Victorian cultural constructs) represent bondage to fear, law, culture, and pagan gods.


Now at this point, you are probably thinking, “Wow Elizabeth, those are pretty strong statements about either set of beliefs. Where's your proof?” This is exactly the question I need you to be thinking and asking. I will gladly present my proof. Let they who have eyes to see, see through the lies and deception of our age and the ages past. Let they who have ears to hear, listen and correct course in the Church and beyond.

What about those Greco-Roman and Victorian Cultural Constructs?


Our skewed philosophy has everything to do with these constructs in the 21st century Church. I can tell you for starters they are man-made constructs, and in some cases, pagan constructs tied to pagan rituals (e.g., Roman and Greek Hearth gods). They hold no power that equals the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have no power to increase or give love, faith, hope or anything else for that matter. They have no power to give life. They are, for all intents and purposes, the dead works of mankind. How did these cultural constructs (and pagan beliefs) become a part of supposed “biblical” teaching? You can thank Complementarianism for this problem. Complementarianism in Christian theology brought these ideas to the for-front in the 19th and 20th centuries. Complementarians believe that men lead, woman follow. Men are the head of the home and women submit. Some go as far as to say women submit to abuse. It's really that frighteningly simple to them.

Greco-Roman and Victorian households had similar codes – simple, straightforward and very much a problem for women because they had no say over their own lives and no control over what happened to them. In Greco-Roman and Victorian culture, women were infantized. They were thought of as less intelligent as well – image bearers of the same God thought less intelligent, as if God is a half-wit who can't figure how to make two people of equal intelligence. Men made all the decisions for the home and their votes counted for the entire household in civil society (e.g., coverture). There's a part of me that can understand pagan Greco-Roman culture pushing these ideas because of their pagan philosophers and their pagan religion (not to mention Christianity was just getting started), but not Victorian culture. Victorian culture had been familiar with the Gospel for a long time and the Bible was readily available to be read by men and women. The Victorians had no excuse for their foolish cultural constructs. They had the Gospel, yet they did not understand its power to reverse all curses. I'm not sure we grasp the ability of the Gospel to reverse all curses today either.

What about natural order you say? I hear the term “natural order” thrown around a lot these days in Christian circles as well. The term “natural order” was being thrown around in Greco-Roman and Victorian times too. “Natural order” is the idea that man was created first so he leads and women follow. This idea also floats around the notion that men were given more responsibility and in some circles, it also means they have greater value. Again, God must be a half-wit – he can't figure out how to assign equal value to both sexes. The whole idea of “natural order” is pagan (and Nazi) at its roots. “Natural order” is a “dog eat dog” world concept with no hope. It's tied to the animal kingdom for Heaven's sake and we're not animals! And the ones imposing this “natural order?” The fallen created, not the Creator.


To close my thoughts today, I want to point my readers to three very important books by three wonderful authors:


Beyond Authority and Submission: Women and Men in Marriage, Church and Society, Rachel Miller-Green


Neither Complementarian or Egalitarian, Michelle Lee-Barnewell


On Purpose: Understanding God's Freedom for Women Through Scripture, Julie Zine Coleman

These women are very accomplished theologians, teachers, and scholars of the Word – far more educated than I, who are actively tearing down ancient strongholds that have crept their way into our churches, our families, and our theology. Satan is very subtle and he has his modern-day pharisees working overtime. These women will challenge how you think about men, women, leadership in the church and home. They break down Greek Biblical texts as they were actually written and relate them to 21st century Bible readers with clarity and compassion. They are my inspiration for this blog series and it is their scriptural understanding and understanding of Greco-Roman and Victorian culture that I have highlighted in this blog today. I highly encourage you to dive into their books and let the Holy Spirit show you the real truth of the Gospel and the freedom that both men and women have in Christ.


Ladies and gentlemen, the truth of the Gospel is you are free of these cultural constructs. We are free from man-made rules of relationships that have no basis in the Gospel. You are not animals. You do not answer to pagan gods or their representatives. *You are not designed for “boxes” or “roles.” Only those who want to control others seek to put you in boxes and roles – the same ones who seek to put God in a box and control Him too because after all, he is a half-wit and they know more than he does (the created telling the Creator what is best). Those who fit this description, you know who you are. Repent while there is still time.

The bottom line: we are not subject as Believers (men or women) to cultural constructs. The blood of Jesus and the finished work of the Cross (Colossians 2:15) are greater and have greater power than such things. Greco-Roman and Victorian cultural constructs have no place in Christianity or in Christian homes. If such man-made things had staying power, they would still be with us today in society as a whole. They are not with us. What does that tell you? Women, you are free in Jesus Christ! You are not a child. You are not less valuable. You are not less intelligent. You do not get your sense of value from men, you get it from Jesus. You were not made by man, you simply came out of man (Genesis 2:21-22 NIV). You were created by God and you are beautiful, intelligent, strong, capable, and valuable because he called everything he ever created good (Genesis 1:31 NIV). No cultural construct can take that from you! No pagan god or fool can take it from you either.


Women, we are His Lionesses standing in strength (“Ezer” in the Greek). Go and be free!

Love,

Elizabeth

*I will dive into more on “roles” and “boxes” in a later blog in this series. I am excited to see men and women set free!


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