Women gain freedom in God's Word, speakers proclaim
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Early in her husband's ministry as pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, Elizabeth Luter recognized God called her to be a gatekeeper. She sought to rein in the misguided doctrine of a women's retreat "that was all about pacifying pain and did very little for providing growth and maturity."
Luter, the opening speaker for the June 22 Pastors' Wives Session of the SBC Pastors' Conference in Louisville, Ky., noted, "Freedom comes through the Word of God. It is the truth -- not rituals -- that will set you free." Anything less than the truth of Scripture provides little more than temporary change, she said.
Luter was joined by seminary professor Mary Kassian in addressing the theme, "Women of Truth."
Setting forth characteristics of women of truth, Luter first alluded to the "grandparents, aunts and matriarchs from your church who will continue with Jesus until the end."
Speaking as one who endured the effects of Hurricane Katrina, Luter said she looked to the example of the women who witnessed Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
"They stood there and had compassion, but they continued to stand there," Luter said, emphasizing the commitment the women of the Bible had through the most difficult of experiences.
Women of truth also possess the attributes of God, she said, describing their "grace under fire." Furthermore, they inspire others to walk in truth, she continued, recalling the instruction of Ephesians 6:14 to wear the "belt of truth."
"From the storm I know Jesus better than I ever knew Him before," she added. Encouraging women to offer a hand to those who are suffering, she reminded, "You never know Who is watching."
Kassian offered 10 commitments for living godly lives as women of truth, according to Titus 2. Kassian serves as distinguished professor of women's studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and has authored several books, including "The Feminist Mistake."
After leading with the commitment of radical devotion to Jesus Christ, Kassian emphasized the importance of sound doctrine. She contrasted "a theological, doctrine-loving, sink-your-teeth-into-the meat-of-the-Word kind of woman" with one who is gullible to sin and deception, easily led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ."
"Lord knows He's given women enough hormones to have constantly shifting feelings," Kassian said. "Our feelings can take us the wrong way. We need to root ourselves and anchor ourselves in theology."
All women of God should esteem the family as "the God-instituted, foundational structure for all relationships," Kassian continued. Instead, she said, feminism has programmed women to regard a husband and children as "a nuisance and bother," with little value other than when they are "convenient, contribute to a woman's self-actualization or happen to fit into her life plan."
Kassian encouraged wives to make a commitment to intentional living by exercising self-control and developing godly character that cultivates holiness. "Women of truth are intentional about building appropriate bridges and barriers into her life—bridges to help her reach the place she needs to go and barriers to keep her from going where she ought not to go," she said.
Joining a Bible study or intentionally encouraging a spouse are examples of bridges, she said, while avoiding sending personal emails to male colleagues or dressing modestly give evidence of worthwhile barriers that encourage a godly life.
"A woman of truth delights in her unique role as a home creator," Kassian said, urging wives to give their best efforts to the things that are the most important during each season of life. She also demonstrates kindness in showing a benevolent attitude toward others, she said.
Through her "womanly disposition," Kassian said a godly woman demonstrates submission to her own husband. She recalled the mandate of spiritual mothering found in Titus. "God's purpose is that every woman, married or single, fertile or infertile, old or young, receives and carries, gives life and cares for others in a spiritual way."
Lastly, women of God should be committed to display the beauty of the Gospel so that the Word of God may not be reviled, Kassian said. "God painted the masterpiece of manhood and womanhood to display important truths of God's invisible attributes, so that His eternal power and divine nature might be clearly perceived."
Tammi Reed Ledbetter is the news editor for the Southern Baptist TEXAN of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.