Over the last 20 years I believe God has slowly taken me through the process of removing the 20th century American lenses from my eyes. Each of us is affected by the culture we live in, the trick is to recognize the cultural influences. Not all cultural influences are bad, but at the same time not all cultural influences are good.
As Christians we have to check our cultural influences by the only perfect measuring tool and that is the Bible. For instance, the Bible talks about freedom, but freedom in the Bible is not the same as how American culture views freedom. Biblical freedom has boundaries established by God, whereas American freedom has boundaries established by our Constitution. Many of our forefathers were Christians and there is a lot of Christian influence on how our government was formed. In the declaration of Independence our forefathers talked about the equality of man and rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that come not from men, but from God.
But at the end of the day our Constitution, and by extension our culture, will allow us freedoms the Bible does not. The Bible talks about not using our liberty to engage in sinful (unbiblical) behavior:
“For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”
I Peter 2:16(NASB)
“As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.”
So no matter what freedoms our country or culture allows us, we must check that freedom with God’s Word. Let me give an example that I think Christian Feminists, Egalitarians, Complementarians and those who believe in Biblical Patriarchy. Our culture allows men and women the freedom to live together and have sex outside of marriage, the Bible does not allow this freedom.
So how does this relate to gender roles? Many egalitarians and feminists ask today as these questions:
“How is it fair that man gets to pursue a career and woman must stay home to take care of her small children?”
“Why can they not share the duties of provision and care taking? Is she not as free as he is to pursue a career?”
The answer to both these questions is that woman does not have the same freedoms and responsibilities as man. She does not have the same freedoms, or responsibilities her husband has. She does not have the freedom to usurp authority over her husband, or man in general. She does not have the freedom to leave her responsibilities of caring for her children and her home to others so she can pursue a career.
Likewise, a man does have the freedom to leave his responsibility to provide and stay home and be a Mr. Mom. I know Mr. Moms exist, but this is completely and utterly unbiblical for man. It just as wrong for man to do this as it is for a woman to leave her infant child with others (even her husband) to pursue a career. A man does not have the freedom to abandon his responsibility to lead the home to his wife. Even if his wife is more intelligent and talented then him, he must still exercise leadership. He should lean on his wife for advice like any other man should, but at the end of the day the leadership of the home is always his, he is not free to give this up.
A man does not have the freedom to not protect his family. If his family is threaten, he is to be the first line of defense in front of his wife and children, God hates cowardly behavior.
I am not against a woman working, woman have worked since the beginning of mankind. But women in the Bible only worked outside the home for small amounts of time and their focus was always on their home, not what they did outside their home. If they had a business, like making clothes and linens, this was done from the home while they care for their children and home, they did not have careers outside the home like women today.
Speaking of freedoms, not only does the Bible sometimes not allow something that our cultural may allow, but sometimes it allows or grants rights or freedoms that our cultural does not allow. For example, I have the right to worship God as I believe he would have me do, and no Government has the right to stop me from worshiping as I will. Daniel prayed to God even though it might mean his death, we are called to do the same. We are told in these instances, that we are to obey God rather than man.
I believe God has given man the right of self-defense. So I have the right to defend my family, with firearms or whatever I think is right, even if the government tries to take those things away.
I was hesitant to reveal this next freedom I believe we have to this site. The reason is I don’t want it to be a distraction and I know a lot of Christians(most modern Christians), even complementarians and many Biblical Patriarchy advocates will disagree with me this. What I am talking about is Polygamy, or more specifically Polygyny. This is when a man has more than one wife. I realize just the discussion of this brings up all kinds of feelings in both men and women, but I would strongly argue that this is because of the culture we have been brought up in. In other cultures this is perfectly acceptable to both men and women.