Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Peter Parker and R.C. Jr.

I woke up this morning to something truly awful… no coffee whatsoever in the house and me with a blog entry to write in response to the iron-sharpening-iron discussions on women bloggers during the past two weeks. Not a good combination when a morning mind needs afternoon words!

A couple weeks ago Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. wrote a blog entry that began much online discussion and dismay on the part of women who were personally and publicly offended by him. I wrote a response which was referenced by other bloggers as did many other women and everyone, reformed and not reformed, men and women, weighed in. Last night Dr. Sproul made a public apology.

First of all, I want to publicly thank Dr. Sproul for not only having the grace to admit that he, personally, has learned many things from women in his life, not the least of those being the ones who challenged him about his blog essay, but the grace to apologize to his sisters in the Lord for offending them. As a woman blogger, apology accepted.

Dr. Sproul goes on to make a case for discernment, challenging his readers to measure the writings in online journals by the only standard that matters, the Word of God. He is correct and this is an important lesson for all of us. Christians must maintain a Berean spirit when we read and learn from others, trusting that the Holy Spirit will lead us to truth, be it coming from a renowned author and teacher or your garden variety hobby blogger.

This is a lesson, too, that must be learned by the die hard R.C. blog watchers, especially those who affirmed him without challenging his statements.

For you see, the saddest thing to me in this entire experience was to watch those who are strong supporters of R.C. not parse out his words, not hold them up to the light of God's word, not pause and question the accusations and observations about their sisters in Christ, but rather, to insist that if R.C. said it, we should not challenge it. Some of these people were elders and pastors, men who ought to be able to have written the solid Biblical responses I read, many of them penned by women. There were exceptions, one of the best being written by Pastor Bob Bixby from Rockford, Illinois. His words were a balm to the soul and a port in the swirling storm of online put-those-women-in-their-placers.

I have learned something very important as I have entered the season of older womanhood and grandmama-dom. Words matter. And words spoken by someone who has been married for a long time to one man and has raised grown children who are walking with the Lord, often carry with them a power that we do not realize. One kind word, spoken gently and bringing encouragement can go far to soothe the troubled days of a young woman facing struggles with a teething baby or a difficult marriage situation. A warm smile or a hug can mean the difference between seeing a day of diapers as a joyful service to the Lord or a waste of time. I once greeted the young, pregnant cashier at our Hy-Vee grocery store with a “you sure look cute now that that baby is popping out!” and watched as her whole face lit up! All this to say that there is power in the positive, in being the Titus 2 cheerleader.

But, as Peter Parker was admonished by his Uncle Ben, "with great power comes great responsibility."

I have felt that responsibility this week on my blog and in the personal notes I have received. My suspicions have been confirmed that younger women are looking to those of us in the older women category not only to be that word of encouragement as they have babies to toddle and children to homeschool, but to challenge them to think and live as believers and to fulfill our Biblical mandate of one anothering. It is humbling and also frightening. It makes it even more important that the women bloggers who challenged Dr. Sproul did so.

Part of my original premise was that there are many people who are looking to Dr. Sproul for guidance and direction on any number of things which makes it even more crucial that his writings are evaluated and held up to God’s Word. Not a week goes by where I am not touched by words or thoughts that came from his hand. Hopefully Dr. Sproul realizes that he carries this responsibility as well. His apology today seems to be an indication of this.


At 9:44 PM, Blogger | agreene | said...

well said.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger kristen said...

I agree with Aaron, very well said.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Amen :-)

At 9:36 PM, Blogger Kevin D. Johnson said...

And if you ever need coffee...I can help you with that.



At 5:54 AM, Blogger prairie girl said...


I am usually a normal, simple sort of coffee gal, though I do have to drink it from a ceramic mug.

My daughter-in-law in S.C. is Cuban and let me tell you, if you want to get anything written, proof read and blogged, a cup of her Cuban expresso will get it done!


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