The O'Nan Family Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A Lesson From Rahab

If you take a glance through my library, it won’t take you long to see that I am not that into “women’s books.” It’s not that I don’t think they are valuable or have important things to say, it’s just that they all say basically the same thing over and over and over again. Last summer, I decided I would try to brush up on some women’s reading. So I got all the “Christian woman must-haves” – Passion and Purity, Lady in Waiting, Feminine Appeal, all that good stuff. I tried. I really tried to enjoy them, to let my soul be warmed. I just couldn’t stick with any of them.

Then I opened up a book called When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James. She had my attention from the beginning. She writes about the need for women to know theology, and attempts to correct the thinking that has crept into our churches that says, “Theology is for men.” It is true that women even resist learning theology for fear that this knowledge may not be “feminine” or that men may be intimidated by women knowing theology. Interesting… She also argues that women must know theology in order to be a helpmate in the truest sense of the word. How can a woman offer true comfort, true council, true love, etc. except through the knowledge of God’s Word and of the truths taught therein?

James discusses Rahab for a portion of the book, and what she says is profound. I believe if women (and men) really believed what James says about Rahab, they would experience so much freedom and security in their lives. Here’s what James writes:

“Rahab became a theologian with special expertise in grace. What a contrast her voice must have made among Israelites whose taste for God had gone flat. She understood the depths of her own sin, so she felt his mercy more strongly than those who took his grace for granted… If we learn anything from Rahab, it is that our own sins, failures, and mistakes cannot destroy God’s sovereign plan for us. In fact, he is at work in the midst of our self-destructive actions and the pain we bring upon ourselves to advance his good purposes for us. Rahab’s theology was forged by her dark and shameful past. God’s plan isn’t contingent on a sterling resume or flawless life, or none of us could ever hope to serve him. Not even our sins can obstruct his plans.”

This reminds me of something my pastor said in a sermon last year. He was talking about living in the bondage of guilt for past sins and said that we dare not live feeling guilty for our sins that have been confessed and repented of, because allowing guilt to creep into our lives is to say that what Jesus did on the cross was not sufficient enough to completely free us. How convicting! And James even goes further to say – learn from these sins – learn the depths of Gods mercy, the richest of His grace, the unworthiness of mankind to receive any favor from God, and stand in awe and humility before the God who chose to redeem souls.

Women, read this book and commit to knowing God’s word. Men, read this book, and commit to knowing God’s word and to encouraging all women in your life know theology.


  • At 10:06 AM, Blogger Alex F said…

    I never really got into "women's books" either.

  • At 2:22 PM, Blogger madbattapper said…

    Now you understand why I want to be in Women's ministry... I still don't know what God wants me to do in it, but I know that is where I am supposed to be. Women are yearning for truth from God's Word - not some watered down, feel good junk. Thanks for understanding!


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