The conference this past weekend was unlike any other I've attended. I've been something of a conference junkie in my past, having attended women's conferences of all shapes and sizes and teachers and locations so it isn't the conference model itself that I find remarkable. Certainly most, if not all, of this particular conference's difference lies in the depth and breadth of the instruction. One blogger wrote she felt as if she'd been on a seminary fast track! I've never been to seminary so I haven't a frame of reference but I will freely admit that the scope of biblical exegesis was as intense as I've encountered.
And, I might add, intense biblical exposition presented by women as well as men. It was privilege indeed to sit under the theological prowess of Piper and Carson and Keller. But to also hear the Bible taught with such intellectual and theological precision by women like Kathleen Nielson and Paige Benton Brown and Jenny Salt and Carrie Sandom and Nancy Leigh Demoss? It was, for lack of better descriptors, refreshing and exciting and encouraging and challenging.
I do not speak as an evangelical feminist but the truth is I am a woman and as both a woman and a complementarian it is refreshing to see women exercising their spiritual gifts and correctly handling the word of truth with boldness and depth and still within the bounds of their God given authority. As a casual observer and not as historian I have concluded that perhaps we complementarian women are rightfully fearful of the pulpit and as such relegate ourselves to the church nursery out of a sincere reluctance to usurp wrongful authority. Don't misunderstand, I am not saying that rocking babies is a theologically neutral activity. I am saying that there is surely a vast opportunity for women to serve the church and their communities as theologians and scholars. I saw this point in crystal clear relief this weekend and I am thankful for the example of these passionate women scholars.
But where and how do I employ such theological lessons as I've gained this weekend? I told you yesterday that the question "what now?" looms large and I want to answer it well. What do I do with what I've learned and where do I go from here? At the risk of seeming self serving I keep pondering my own words from the conclusion of yesterday's post in which I spoke of theology and reality merging together into all things done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. In other words my theology encompasses all of my life. All of it. Sound doctrine isn't wasted when I scrub toilets! Quite the contrary!
We need sound doctrine, a correct and robust understanding of God and the gospel, of our sin and Christ's atonement, of perseverance and sustaining grace. These truths make a difference in our lives, in all of our life, in our church life to be sure but also in our marriage life and our mom life and our friend life and our vocational life. All of it. When we push into the deep things of the Lord, seeking to know Him and His ways through the careful and diligent study of His Word, then we will be like the holy women who hoped in God, strong women who rest secure in the sufficiency of their Savior. Wimpy theology makes for wimpy women, John Piper once said, and I agree. I want to be a strong woman of God, strong in the strength of His might, not my own.
In the multitude of conferences I've attended previously there was usually some takeaway, five truths to rehearse myself, some mantra to adopt, some lifestyle changes to embrace. This past weekend we were offered no such charge. Here is our God! the speakers exulted and we beheld Him there in His Word. I am home now, back in the real world, and still the exultation rings true: Here is my God! and I behold Him in His Word and I serve Him in my day to day life, straining ever deeper into the knowledge of Him, my theology and reality merging together into all things done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.