The Gospel Through A Woman’s Eyes
I bought a book because I had seen someone tweet about it. Without investing the time to gather actual information, I saw a headline and decided to act (how modern of me). Two clicks and two days (thank you Amazon Prime!) later, I was sitting down to read my new book.
It didn’t take long to realize I was not the target audience for this book. The book’s examples were about heart-to-heart talks with girlfriends. It continually used female pronouns to refer to the reader, and it included a lot of crying…a lot of crying.
Before you string me up for being a chauvinist, allow me to elaborate. Once I realized this was a book targeted at a woman’s heart and experience, I was actually even more excited to read it. It would be good for me.
The book was highlighted as being Gospel-centered, and I certainly found it to be so. The challenges to my personal pride and worldview were greatly helped in light of God’s sovereignty, goodness and strength.
As I read this book from a female perspective intended to relate to the heart of a woman, I was encouraged by the appeal to theology, application and emotion as a three-stranded cord.
As I walked through the final chapters, however, I began to ponder a certain question: do women see the Gospel through a different lens than men; and if so, are there elements of the Gospel I may not be fully experiencing or enjoying?
Let me be clear (I know I’m walking on hot stones here), I rejoice with Paul in his inclusive exaltation of a Gospel that transcends race, social status and gender (Gal. 3:28). The fact that God created man in His image (male and female He created them – Gen. 1:27) tells us much about God Himself as well as His care for the complementary, yet equal, relationship between the two genders.
But it also makes me realize something. Painting with a broad brush, there are distinctive aspects of the male or female experience that help us absorb the world in unique ways. Just look at the marketing and discussion emphasis for any upcoming men’s or women’s conferences. There are differences. They are on purpose, and they are not bad.
I see the Gospel through a man’s eyes. There is nothing I can do about it, and I don’t believe it is a deficiency (just as I don’t believe it is a deficiency to view the Gospel from a female point of view).
There obviously are not two different Gospels, but one unified Gospel. There are, however, different aspects about me as a person (nationality, background, sex, etc.) that create a unique paradigm that may be somewhat different from another’s paradigm as we both observe objective truth.
This is one reason why we as the church need each other. We need people of different strengths and experiences to speak into our lives.
Also, men in the church need women in the church. We need to value their experiences and viewpoints.
So let me ask you a question, men. When was the last time you sat down with your wife (sister/mom/aunt) and asked her what the most precious thing about the Gospel is to her? Would you both answer that question in the same way? Why or why not?
To me as a man, a large part of my love for the Gospel stems from a responsive call to stand and fight – to defend – to hold the line – to be in awe of God the Warrior who crushes the head of the serpent and gets the girl in the end – his bride, the Church.
Men’s books and devotionals I have read bear this out. There is a fire ignited in the chest of a man of God to follow God into battle as the Scotts followed William Wallace – face paint and all (kilt optional).
To me, the Gospel is a challenge to acknowledge Kingship and Lordship. Sanctification is a fight to put to death the old man of self. Endurance in Christ is like a marathoner with blistered feet who dies falling over the finish line (insert man-grunts).
But I admit, I do struggle with some of the passages about being Jesus’ bride in Revelation, surrounded by virgins as the bridegroom returns to establish his home. The more romantic aspects of Hosea and Song of Solomon are understood on a logical level, but I perceive there is an intimacy and degree of joy that may be more fully understood and embraced by my sisters in Christ.
Obviously these are somewhat generalized observations. Individual men and women find themselves at varying degrees on these scales, and glory to God for that diversity!
But I want to ask my sisters in Christ a question – and pardon any degree of ignorance from which this stems:
What are the most compelling aspects of the Gospel to you as a woman?
I would love to hear your perspective as a comment to this post or in any other available and appropriate means. I believe we can appreciate another’s biblical viewpoint of something we hold dear even if we can’t fully understand it experientially.
I want to fully know and enjoy the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I want to stand with you and point at our great and glorious Savior. And if we can help open each other’s eyes to greater beauties (even if only nuanced aspects) of the Gospel, then glory to God for the diversity and beauty in His church!
Nice post, Mr. Smith! I am most drawn to the permanence and finality of our hope in Christ – that my actions or circumstances do not change God’s character or his promises. I could try to connect this source of comfort to a feminine desire for stability or even protection, and it could be, but I could not say with confidence that men are not equally encouraged by the sense of security the Gospel provides. That being said, I am not sure that the “God the Warrior” perspective that you describe resonates with me in the same way it does you. That could be a piece of the Gospel that my personality, experiences, and thought process does not grasp as tightly. On an adjacent topic, I might also add that I have never connected particularly with the bride of Christ metaphor. And I’m definitely not saying that it isn’t apt or beautiful; it is both of those things. Still, I have not yet perceived it to be deeply relatable, but then again, I am not married or actively seeking marriage right now. One could argue that you, as a married person, might have a deeper understanding of what it means to be the bride of Christ than I would.
I agree with Amy. I would also add that oftentimes I think of the Gospel in terms of peace and reconciliation. I know intellectually that we are all called to be warriors, but I think I see myself leaning more on the side of God being my help, my shield, and my defense that I hide behind rather than a warrior I am fighting alongside. Perhaps that’s where we differ? I see God more as the refuge I run to and my hiding place. I see my endurance in Christ as a fire drill where, when executed properly, there is a falling into lines and submission to order that gets me out of harm’s way as quickly and efficiently as possible. Or, sanctification being a hopeful progression towards what should be the natural order of things— an agreement to stop fighting, hiding, resisting — a surrender. I think I have an easier time identifying with the way the Gospel provides deliverance, preservation, rest, etc. I have no idea if that is a feminine thought process or a product of my own personal vantage point.
Great blog, Ryan! I think Jenn hit it on the head from a female perspective. In all my time working with teenage girls, seeing the Gospel as a rescue, a shield, our protection and refuge is something that resonates with the female perspective as we seek to be women of God. It is not that He made us weaker, but I do believe women were made more delicate and gentle (in a strong, confident, secure in Jesus kind of way) with an inherent need to be rescued, being warriors in a different sense than men. We all need the saving power of Jesus, but the way in which we approach the cross can be a different kind of surrender. It’s what makes us complementary to one another. We were made with these differences to help each other, enhance each other. Women have a different view of waiting and fighting than men for the most part (even though the world tries so hard to tell us that femininity is not strong, it is in its own way.) Sadly, we don’t always embrace those differences and sometimes lose sight of what “set apart femininity” for Christ looks like.
I also think our view of the Gospel can really boil down to the way/mindset in which we first became one of His children. When I accepted Christ, I needed saving from my sin, yes, but I also needed someone to rescue me from brokenness and heartache. He became my comfort, my refuge, and my protector through all that has taken place in my life since that day. We all come to Him through different stages and different circumstances in life that I believe really shape who Jesus and the Gospel is to each of us. All of His characteristics are there, but perhaps I feel Jesus in a much different way than someone else regardless of gender.