The Spirit unfolds for us His intended curriculum for the teaching/training of women in the church, and it's not what any American would expect. In this episode, we talk through the text of Titus 2 and the inspired sequence of believing gospel + embracing femininity + doing ministry.
Don't miss the Show Notes which provide you with everything you need to insure that your second night together is strong.
The Spirit's words in Titus 2 are the clearest presentation in Scripture of the three-fold emphasis of our Kalos training. The progression is unmistakable.
Women are to:
believe the gospel
adorn the gospel with a glad embrace of their sex-specific callings (as God allows)
teach and train other women to do the same
If you were to write this as an equation, it would look like this:
Gospel + Femininity + Ministry = Disciple Making Force
The catch here is that sequence matters. The former component always shapes and drives the latter. Removing or reordering any of three will short-circuit the whole. Only when all are actively present and rightly ordered in the life of a woman has she begun to live out the glorious calling God has for his daughters. Different cultures tend to remove or reorder in different ways. The tendency in the contemporary American church, deceived by and drunk on the lies of feminism as we are, is to skip androgynously from gospel to ministry with no reference to sex-specific calling or obedience. But Christ will have none of this. It's all three, rightly ordered, as Titus 2 makes beautifully clear.
In leading your conversation on the text, don't miss these big ideas:
Don't miss the gospel.
Paul's letter to Pastor Titus is as gospel-centered as it gets! Over and over and over again Paul riffs on the glories of the gospel. Be sure that your women read the letter in its entirety (not just select verses from chapter 2) so that this gospel context is established. The ground of everything this text speaks to women is the grace of God to them in Christ.
Don't miss the explicit connection of the gospel to their femininity.
The feminine directives of Titus 2 are not dissonant, tangential, or removable: they "accord with" (or align with, or go hand-in-hand with) sound doctrine. It is not possible to hold to the gospel but discard its implications for sexuality. Embrace of the first requires and energizes embrace of the second. And so all the sex-specific commands in Titus have an overarching and breathtaking purpose: to adorn the gospel, or to make it beautiful, attractive, famous, un-reviled, etc. Emphasize this point! "Your yes to these callings in Titus 2 are your way of throwing a spotlight on the glories of the person and work of Jesus!" What dignity this brings to the very difficult, often invisible, seemingly worthless obediences called for.
Talk through what "older" and "younger" means and doesn't mean.
"Older" is not primarily a reference to chronology, but to maturity. Age will be a variable of course (more time following Jesus = more lessons learned), but we encourage our women to always think "there is someone ahead of me I must humble myself to learn from, and there is someone behind me I must humble myself to teach." Press specifically on who that might be right now for each of them in both directions.
These words ("older," "younger") also allow for continued emphasis on seasons. A "younger" woman will have her hands filled with the exhausting spiritual, emotional, physical work of building her home and will be in need of much encouragement and counsel. An "older" women, while not exempt from that need, will have more space to give it.
Don't miss the verbs "teach" and "train."
We love that both of these are here! "Teach" has the connotation of content: truths to be understood and internalized. "Train" has the connotation of action: behaviors to embrace and practice. The dream is for older women to walk younger women through gospel obedience in real time, on the ground. This requires Biblical literacy, relational intimacy, and courage.
Slowly work through each element of the curriculum of Titus 2.
A careful study of individual trees deepens our understanding of the forest itself. So slow down and talk through each of the six commands give to younger women:
love their husbands and children
be working at home
be submissive to their own husbands
Don't fail to cast vision for the dignity and eternal impact of the home.
What is a home? A mere physical space for eating, sleeping, showering, and binge-watching Netflix? A walkable, 3D Pinterest board for showcasing a woman's style and success? A prison, holding women back from fulfilling their potential, changing the world, and accomplishing their dreams? Whatever lies they believe, our women are relentlessly pressured to do ANYTHING but give their best energy and creativity to the often invisible and thankless work of building a holy, healthy, missional home where their marriages thrive, their sons and daughters are raised well, and their neighbors are welcomed. What sane American woman would want to give themselves to preparing meals and changing diapers and reading board books and folding laundry and helping with homework and showing hospitality to neighbors and learning to love a sinner-of-a-husband and a kabillion other seemingly insignificant home-building tasks when there is a whole world out there of stuff to do? The daughters of God, that's who! As we will see in Proverbs 31, this does not imply that Christian women are not active outside their homes, but that their homes are ground zero for their gospel adorning, disciple making, world influencing efforts. Do everything you can in this session to cast a vision for the glory of the home.
Be ready for anything.
Walking through Titus 2 in a Bostonian/American culture is like carrying a torch through a Excalibur factory - lots of opportunity for fireworks. Whenever you work the Biblical ideal, two things happen in the conversation: 1, there is always pushback. Because of our original sin, we are wired to reject God's truth at every point. Be ready to listen and lean in. Empathize. Clarify. Deal with exception while explaining that they do not negate the rule. And pastor, don't miss the command to you at the end of Titus 2 that you "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you." 2, there are always tears. Seeing with clear eyes how far short we fall from God's good intentions for us is often a grievous experience, both due to our sin and to our being sinned against. Be ready to step in with grace as this text will bring to light marital issues, infertility struggles, relational wounds, etc.