In part one of this article I began discussing some of the major streams of thought that insidiously seduce many professing believers and poison the well of thought in the Church. In the former article I briefly examined the nature and consequences of individualism. Though the Bible teaches aspects of individualism, it does so within the confines of Christ and His blood-bought community, the Church. For this reason, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves!
Another dangerous contagion of thought that has mutated and made major inroads into the minds of many is the philosophy of radical egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is more practically known through the various equality movements … a.k.a equal rights. While some of the goals of the equal rights movement are noble and even laudable, like most secular philosophies many have gone to seed and burst the banks of all reasonable thought. It is one thing to promote equal pay for equal work, or to seek social and legal equality for those of a different ethnicity and culture. But when egalitarians seek to erase all known, observable God-given distinctions, reason has jumped the fence and given birth to radical egalitarianism.
The Bible clearly recognizes an equality of essence, whereby all men and women of all races, classes, and creeds share an equality of derived essence (or being) from God as Creator. The New Testament underscores this equality of essence in the very nature of the gospel message. In passages like Galatians 3:28; Colossians 1:28; & 3:11, it is clearly taught that there is no segregation or apartheid at the foot of the cross. The finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary provides a level playing for all who desire salvation and the forgiveness of sin. There is one salvation for all mankind that transcends the barriers sinful man has constructed.
This God-given equality underscored in salvation through Christ, gives way to the obvious distinctions found in function, form, and responsibility. It should be obvious to all (sadly it is not) not all were born with equal abilities. Some are stronger, faster, smarter, wiser, more talented, more skillful, more experienced, more qualified, and more proficient. In the Christian economy such distinctions of ability are duly noted in the function of the Church. All believers are gifted differently and variously (1 Corinthians 12:4-31; Romans 12:4-8). Apart from such variation and degrees of giftedness, the Church couldn’t adequately function. Further, God established a simple hierarchy of leadership (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-11), without which the Church would cease to fulfill her divine mandate.
Radical egalitarianism endeavors to eradicate all such distinctions of form and function from society. The result is the homogenizing of culture into a bland and ambiguous tolerance. When all distinctions are expunged, all perversions become acceptable. Many academics and postmodern think-tank elites promote the notion of the androgynous ideal. In the androgynous world there is neither male nor female, as these are constructs of society. Hence, the neuter-gender ideal is ardently promoted. Radical Feminism has advanced this cause for over forty years now. The gay rights movement has this as their cardinal virtue. This why we see them tenaciously embrace trans-sexuality, trans-gender, and transvestitism. In this bazaar world without boundaries everything is acceptable except the obvious—distinctions.
How has such none-sense on stilts influenced the Church? Here are but a couple of ways:
- The feminist movement—both the secular and evangelical versions—has so conditioned men through the various appendages of the media, academics, and culture, that many are now confused. Many men have become frustrated and now suffer from Gender-Identity Crisis (GIC). Men no longer know what it means to be a man, let alone a godly man. We have been told to get in-touch with our feminine selves. The result is that men are in the process of being feminized, while the women are being masculinized. Many men are now on the pathway of emasculated masculinity. Think of the impact of this on the family, the Church, and society. As a pastor, one of the greatest challenges I have is to get men to be godly men and lead their families in a truly spiritual way. This is why godly, qualified leadership in the Church is becoming increasingly harder to come by.
- Closely related to the Gender-Identity Crisis, is the breakdown of the family. Radical egalitarianism has sought to subvert biblical gender-roles. This has produced a situation where the wives are often actively in-submissive, while the husbands are subjugated and passive. There has been a role reversal and a corresponding blurring of authority. This has produced more confusion and ultimately chaos in the home, as God-given guidelines are ignored. The believing husband is to always love his wife as Christ loved the Church (sacrificially), while the believing wife is to voluntarily and functionally submit (Ephesians 5:23ff). In this, they both realize their fulfillment as they mirror the relationship Christ has with His Church! This is the only antidote for the current ills that plague our homes.
- Radical egalitarianism has negatively influenced the Church in profound ways. Thus, it is now fairly common-place for women to pursue the pastorate (1 Timothy 2:9-15). It is no mere coincidence that homosexuality in the Church and homosexuals in the pulpit, has become the issue de jure of the day. What few realize is that the same hermeneutic used to justify women in the pulpit, is the one-in-the-same hermeneutic marshaled to advance homosexuality in the Church. A Church that advocates women in the pulpit today, will more than likely either soften, or abandon altogether, its stance on homosexuality tomorrow. The issue as it relates to women is not one of individual ability, but rather an issue related to divinely sanctioned suitability for a God designed role.
There is no doubt radical egalitarianism has gone to an unacceptable extreme as its advocates have sought to influence all of society. But they have forgotten not all ideas are equal. Not all have equal strength, intelligence, or ability for a given task. Not all who ride in The Argus Cycle Tour have equal talent, training, experience, or equipment, as the results clearly attest. Though the lowly private is equal in essence to the general, in function there is an observed hierarchy, apart from which the military could not operate effectively.
Outside of death being the great equalizer, there is only one place where all of humanity has an equal footing—in the shadow of the cross of Christ. God’s provision of salvation does not discriminate. Yet, in the living out of that salvation there is a biblically prescribed form and function that must be observed. The Church ignores this to its own detriment. Our true identity and fulfillment as the Bride of Christ is at stake. If we, as the Church, are to comply with our divinely appointed mandate, we must shake off the fertilizing effects of radical egalitarianism by refusing to compromise with the spirit of the age.
(Part Three of this article will address the issues of democracy and freedom respectively)