Right now I’m reading a really great book entitled “Practical Theology for Women” by Wendy Horger Alsup. So far I feel like this is the book I would have written had I been given the chance. So much of what she says about theology is almost verbatim what I have written about and taught women myself. And I consider that an incredible testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit! Obviously God is on the move if He is impressing such a consistent message on the hearts of women who are thousands of miles apart.
In my reading so far, there is one thing Alsup has articulated better than I have been able to myself. One of the reasons women hold back when it comes to theology is a fear of being un-leadable. Whether a married women doesn’t want to surpass her husband, or a single women doesn’t want to intimidate guys out of pursuing her, there’s a resulting negative stigma attached to the study of theology.
In response to this thinking, I’ve always encouraged women to remember that iron sharpens iron. If you push yourself then you’ll push men to step up in response. If you refuse to grow then you’ll remain stagnant. You’ll either be stagnant single, or stagnant with someone else.
And while I still believe that’s an important point to remember, Alsup offers an even more compelling perspective that I want to share with you. Responding to a woman in her church who did not feel it was “wise for her personally to dive too deeply into the Bible,” Alsup offered the following insight:
“God forbid that women should avoid studying the deep things of the Word lest they surpass the understanding of the men in their lives! Studying theology–such as the Holy Spirit’s role in convicting man of sin, and God’s sovereignty over all creation–will curb, not enhance, a woman’s sinful tendency to nag and manipulate her husband. My husband can bear witness to the fact that a better understanding of God’s character, that is, theology, makes me a better wife.”
Amen and amen and AMEN!!!
We have got it backwards when we think that refusing to learn about the things of God will somehow make us better wives, girlfriends, friends, or disciples of Christ. Theology, the study of God’s transformational character, teaches us all the things that help us to love better, serve harder, and persevere longer. Women who pursue God whole-heartedly can only expect to have better, more Christ-centered relationships as a result. May we NEVER think ourselves wise to resist such a God-honoring pursuit.