First, I’d like to thank the entire RFP family for your pursuit of exposing truth while highlighting God’s grace and love.
I was born and raised in the IFB church and can relate to much of what Lois and Emily have already discussed pertaining to women specifically in this environment. I wanted to share my story because it highlights the anti-intellectual nature overall of the church and the suppression of intellectual pursuit for women.
Women were not supposed to work outside of the home. It was even said once from the pulpit that women, as the weaker vessel, are less intelligent than men. Higher learning at the university level was absurd…unless it was from a farm sourced, inner circle “college,” which would produce a useful MRS degree. Women were not included in spiritual discussions with men. I often sarcastically joked that ladies were to busy talking about babies and doilies to discuss deep theological truths.
Though Romans 12:2 was preached, it was expected for women to conform to the correct dress, talk, and demeanor. The Holy Spirit was often given the “day off” when standards were elevated to the point that transformation was replaced with conformation. Ladies at our church started to get the same hair style, clothes, and even laugh like our pastor’s wife. The anti-intellectual and critical spirit also spread. The woman also gravitated to the view that since the plan of salvation was “simple,” the Christian life was black and white, rejecting the need for critical thinking and study.
It wasn’t uncommon for women to plan and organize church events, however; when it came down to defending the faith and theological practices, the women were satisfied with leaning on her husband’s or pastor’s beliefs. Ladies’ meetings were grounded in feeling and acrostics rather than a thorough teaching of the Christian worldview and biblical theology. This is one reason, I believe, many staff wives through my experience have multiple professions of faith.
Long, long story short… I met my husband and he started studying apologetics. He attended Liberty University and eventually got his masters in apologetics. During this time I got the opportunity to read his textbooks and find books geared towards “loving God with all your mind.”
I was encouraged in my beliefs, challenged in defending the faith, and more vocal with engaging unbelievers. I want to encourage other women to pursue Christ and deepen in their knowledge of God.
I thank God for leading my family out of the IFB culture and allowing us to grow closer to Him!
I would love to talk with the ladies on the RFWP further about a potential podcast dealing with the “IFB woman and the intellect.”