"Rational Ignorance" is a losing strategy for preserving the culture and defending the Church from error.
Editor's note: This post is the fourth in a four-part series on GenderPac and related organizations that will run this week on Gender Blog.
If you have even a passing interest in gender issues, the daily news can sometimes sound a steady drumbeat marching away from Biblical values and eliminating the distinction between men and women. Many colleges are progressively moving to gender neutral bathrooms and dorm rooms. College freshmen are increasingly required to attend training in "gender-neutral pronouns" By law, school teachers in California now must allow children to express whatever gender is chosen on any given day. In some states, legislation outlaws discrimination in the workplace based not only on gender but also gender preference. Judicial rulings continue to chip away at the edges of the definition of marriage.
These events are not unrelated, though I don't want to paint a paranoid picture of a vast and intricate conspiracy theory. The steady erosion can be broadly explained by the behavior of two different groups of people: one active group, a tiny percentage of the population, with a high level of commitment to eliminating gender distinctions. This group is relentlessly and patiently pursuing a strategic program pressing for cultural changes. The other group, which represents the vast majority, are passively watching changes as they take place. I am confident that members of both groups are reading this article.
In the past, Genderblog readers from the active group have written to tell us, "I am looking forward to when your antiquated gender definitons [sic] are a postscript to history." Others have written, "The main push for all this misogyny is coming from a group called The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). I think those letters really stand for Conceited Bossy Men on a Witch-hunt." Sometimes we hear the simple statement that "God will judge!", which I understand to suggest an adverse outcome at the end of time for the men and women on the team at CBMW.
Frankly, I am glad to hear from anyone who reads Genderblog, whether you agree or disagree with the complementarian position. Of greater concern to me are the people in the first active group who do not write to or about us, but are quietly and persistently pressing forward with a strategic agenda to undermine any differentiation in God's design of men and women. This week, Jeff Robinson has detailed for us these strategic plans of one such group, GenderPac.
I don't believe the second passive group is apathetic, per se, but is effectively pursuing a strategy that economists call "rational ignorance." Economists say that ignorance is "rational" when the costs to learn about an issue are higher than any potential personal benefits that could be obtained. The time and energy even to keep up with the news related to gender issues can be squeezed out by other important priorities in the Christian life like working a job, managing a household, parenting children, seeking a spouse, or even pastoring a church. There doesn't seem to be a great personal benefit for taking a stand on gender issues.
Unfortunately "rational ignorance" is a losing strategy for defending the Church from error and preserving the culture. At Genderblog, our goal is to lower the "cost" of being informed on gender issues that affect the church. We constantly invest time in scanning the news and speaking with key leaders to save you time. You can tell your friends that every business day they can receive an update on the gender issue that is relevant to individual believers. We also want to encourage you to live your life for things that are bigger than your own personal benefit. In God's kindness, as you know, living for His glory is also ultimately for our greatest benefit as well.
We want to encourage you to leave the passive group and become actively involved in the gender debate. While this does not mean you need to fly to Washington, or stand on a soapbox in the public square, there are specific things that you can do within your sphere of influence:
First of all preach the gospel to yourself. The power of the Gospel is what transforms our lives so that we can be examples of humble, wise, loving masculinity and joyful, intelligent, modest femininity. If you are a pastor, preach the gospel to your congregation as a matter of first importance. We must be doctrinally-informed complementarians not just follow ingrained, traditional roles.
Second, pray that God would protect the church from error, and especially this error that endangers the advance of the Gospel. Pray that Christians would be salt and light and that God would use them to preserve the culture from further degradation. Please pray for the team at CBMW that we would humbly and effectively communicate the truths of God's Word on gender.
Finally, do not be silent on the importance of the gender issue in the spheres of your life where you have influence. Teach your sons or the young men in your life about Biblical masculinity through your personal model and intentional discipleship. Teach your daughters and the young women in your life about Biblical femininity in the same way. Live out your marriage or your singleness for the glory of God. Speak up in the appropriate venues where God has placed you. As you live your life, celebrate and enjoy the goodness of God's design for men and women before a watching world.
And if you have time left over, send us an e-mail. We would love to hear from you, whatever group you are in.
You, too, can help support the ministry of CBMW. We are a non-profit organization that is fully-funded by individual gifts and ministry partnerships. Your contribution will go directly toward the production of more gospel-centered, church-equipping resources.