In response to my last post several readers and one kind blogger challenged my characterization of Mary Kassian’s sermon Don’t Be a Wimp: Kicking the Habits That Make Women Weak. I was very brief in my last post, so I’m doing this follow up with more detail. The sermon is just under an hour so I’ll break it down into four sections. For brevity I’ll keep the quotes to a minimum and instead will reference sections of the sermon by their beginning and ending times in the video. From there you can find the same section in the transcript if you prefer to read her words rather than listen.
1) Introduction (Them’s fightin’ words!) 0 to 2:14
The first two minutes are dedicated to whipping up feelings of feminist envy and resentment in the audience. Kassian talks about being a tomboy who could do everything the boys could do, and her deep resentment when one of her brothers told her she was a “weak girl”.
2) Identifying the topic of the sermon (Taming Scripture) 2:15-6:37
This feminist resentment has a purpose, because this is a very standard Christian feminist sermon where the feminist identifies an initially offensive passage in Scripture before explaining that it isn’t offensive if you know what it really means. If Scripture offends your feminist sensibilities ladies, you clearly don’t understand it correctly. What then follows is an outlandish yarn about the “true meaning” of this widely misunderstood Scripture. If you look you will find Christian feminists doing this all of the time. For just a few examples, see Jen Wilkin doing it with 1 Pet 3 here, and Sheila Gregoire doing this with Eph 5:22 here.
In this particular Scripture taming sermon, the topic is 2 Timothy 3:6-7
For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
Kassian describes her initial offense at the words of the Apostle Paul:
My brother had called me a weak girl. There is no way anyone was ever going to call me weak. And here was Scripture talking about weak women.
You can turn there to 2 Timothy 3:6-7. That’s the passage we’re going to park on this morning, and I’m going to unpack it for you.
Kassian then follows the pattern, explaining the true meaning of 2 Timothy 3:6-7. Of course it isn’t offensive to feminists at all! It turns out there is a feminist backstory that explains everything.
…one of the problems that was facing the church there was that false teachers were impacting the church, influencing the church from the inside. And they were finding a disproportionate amount of success amongst the women, because the women were weak.
Here is Paul-the-women’s-studies-major identifying an area of disproportionate results between men and women, and Paul wants to level things up by teaching the women to be as strong as the men. Kassian tells us that Paul’s point in the passage is to empower Christian women so they will be equal with men in their ability to avoid being deceived (emphasis mine):
These women were childish and frivolous and silly and immature and wimpy. They deserved the triple W label: weak, wimpy woman. [laughter]
The point is, they ought not to have been. They ought not to have been that.
The only problem is that isn’t Paul’s point at all. Moreover, while the backstory she offers may well have happened, it doesn’t accurately describe the context of the Scripture. In the verses leading up to 2 Timothy 3:6-7, Paul explains that perilous times are coming. Paul isn’t writing to tell Timothy how to fix his problem of unempowered women, he is warning Timothy of danger to come in the future:
3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Paul isn’t commenting on a baffling recent lack of moxie, he is warning of an inherent vector of attack that will be exploited in the future. As Paul explained in his previous letter to Timothy women are more easily deceived, and this goes all the way back to the fall:
11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Yet Kassian has twisted this passage around to where instead Paul is somehow surprised that women are more easily deceived than men and offering a recipe for making this equal.
3) How to be strong empowered women. 6:37-44:30
Kassian then uses the specific wording of the passage to identify seven habits women can adopt to become as hard to deceive as men. Much of what she proposes is good, except for the fact that even while doing this she is teaching the opposite of what Paul was getting at. For example, it is good that she is teaching women to learn Scripture. But in doing this she is claiming women can solve the problem of being more easily deceived than men by studying their Bibles.
Lies, lies, lies. Satan is the father of lies. He is a good liar.
And our foremother Eve fell for a lie, and the propensity to fall for them has plagued women ever since.
Do you know how the FBI trains secret service agents to identify counterfeit money? They put them in a room with real money. And for hours and hours and hours, they study the details of the real thing, and they feel it, and they smell it. And they become so familiar with real money that when they come across counterfeit money, they just know, “Hmm, something’s off, not quite right. It’s not quite the right texture.” And they can pick it out, what’s wrong. They don’t pick out what’s wrong by studying the bad stuff. They pick it out by becoming familiar with the good stuff.
And it’s the same way with us; it’s the same way with us. In order to combat falsehood, we need to become intimately familiar with truth. We need the Word.
This is truth. This is truth, and if we aren’t getting it into our systems, if we aren’t feeling it and handling it and reading it and studying it and becoming a familiar with the texture and the feel of it, we’re not going to know when something else is kind of off.
But if we’re familiar with truth, when Satan comes along with a lie . . . and those lies always have some truth to them, otherwise we wouldn’t fall for them. They’re just off a little bit. And when Satan comes along with a lie, we’ll be able to know, “Hmm, something’s not quite right here. Something’s not quite right.”
So a woman of strength equips her mind, and she also protects it.
Truth will set you free, ladies, but you will have a tough time discerning what’s true if you spend all your time being exposed to garbage.
Don’t be a wimp, ladies. Don’t be a wimp. A weak woman is captivated by lies. A woman of strength takes her thoughts captive to truth.
While studying Scripture is very important, it isn’t the solution Paul provides to this specific problem. The solution is for women to learn in silence in all submission. But this has the original problem of offending feminist sensibilities. When Scripture faces off against feminist sensibilities, something has to give; either Scripture will tame the feminist, or the feminist will tame Scripture. Here as we see so often, the choice of the feminist is to tame Scripture.
4) The twist. 44:30-End
Finally, we get to the twist. The twist is designed to seem like repentance of the feminist rebellion stoked in the beginning and nurtured throughout the rest of the sermon, but this is only a distraction. If you read carefully you will find that no such repentance occurs.
The twist is that once she started actually fighting her brother (who is 3 years her senior), she started getting hurt. The outrage of “He called me a weak girl!” is traded for the outrage of “He hit a girl!”
I started swinging and hitting and punching and kicking. And I think he was amused. He pushed me off a little bit, but then I must have smacked him in the face, and he got angry. And he started hitting me for real, and it didn’t feel so good. And I started crying, and I was getting hit, and I was losing the fight, and he was pinning me down.
And it must have been this massive commotion, because my older brother heard it from downstairs and he came up. He pulled us apart, took my brother to the floor, pinned him down, and told him off and said, “How dare you! How dare you do that! How dare you hit her!”
This isn’t about logic, it is about emotion, and the emotion remains unchanged. This isn’t a capitulation; it isn’t a recognition that she resented being a woman and envied men. It is a shift from overt feminism to non-threatening chivalry.
My older brother looked at me, and he said, “You are a girl. And if you get into fights with him, you’re going to get beat up. And next time you have an issue, you come call me, and I’ll deal with it.”
I like that brother. That was a good brother. [laughter]
Like, “Yeah, I can get into trouble. He’ll come deal with it.
This would be an obvious opening to remind the women that they need to lean on, to submit to, the man who should be leading them and protecting them. But again, this would offend the feminist sensibility, and Kassian has made it clear elsewhere that no man is going to tell her to submit.
What follows instead is a speech nearly all Christian men have received multiple times, usually from a Christian man who is a current or former athlete. The only difference is Kassian has changed the sexes to make this about being a strong woman instead of being a strong man.
But here is the irony: A weak woman tries to act strong, and culture tells us to act all strong and in control and in charge and bossy as women. But a woman of strength recognizes that she is weak, and that she needs a Savior-that she’s in a lifelong wrestling match with sin, and she’s not going to win unless that Savior comes in and takes care of it for her.
Our own strength is inadequate. I loved listening to Joni last night and listening to her talk about her weakness, because that’s what we are.
And in order to become a woman who clothes myself in strength, I need to identify my weakness and press into the strength of Jesus.
Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong”-what? “in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
It’s His might. It’s His strength. It’s Him. And if you don’t hold onto that, you can act as big and tough and mean as you want, but you are just going to get beat up because we’re weak. We are weak, and without Christ as our strength, we’re going to take the hits.
Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His presence. Seek His strength continually.