by Michael Foust
The author of Disciplines of a Godly Woman believes Christian women should be more disciplined in studying the foundations of their faith.
“For years now we have in a sense had a Cliffs Notes version of the gospel floating around in various evangelistic techniques,” Barbara Hughes told a group of women at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary last fall. “The clear gospel, the full gospel, has not been revealed to people, and I think it is why so many women are looking elsewhere for godliness.”
Some churched women, Hughes said, look for godliness in the wrong places, such as on TV talk shows or in generic “God-talk” conversations with friends and family members.
Mrs. Hughes, who is also the editor of Devotions for Ministry Wives: Encouragement From Those Who’ve Been There, challenged Christian women to study the Bible diligently and in turn teach the women in their churches the basic tenants of the Christian faith.
“The unhappy truth in our culture today is that Christian women—good church women—are looking for godliness everywhere but in the gospel. There’s no godliness apart from the gospel.” Hughes said that Paul gives a concise definition of the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Verses 3,4 say, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Hughes said there are two foundations to living like a godly woman: knowing the gospel and living it out. A starting point, she continued, is to believe that the Bible is the very Word of God. She quoted several verses that testify to the Bible’s authority, including Matthew 5:18, Luke 24:25-27, 2 Peter 1:20,21 and Hebrews 4:12.
“Do you tremble at God’s word?” she asked. “The Bible pierces, right to the heart, the intentions of our heart. I tremble at it. It cuts me. It goes to the intention of my mind and my heart and my will. It reveals God’s will, as opposed to mine.”
Another essential belief, she said, is the exclusivity of the gospel. She told how, after Sept. 11, Willow Creek Community Church invited a Muslim cleric to speak. Some in the audience left with the impression that all roads lead to heaven, she said.
“All around us people are believing a lie,” she said. “We must preach and present Jesus Christ as the fulfillment...give the evidence that He is the only way.
“If you believe any other gospel, the Apostle Paul says, you have believed in vain. And we have different gospels all over the place. How many of you have heard women say, ‘They’re such nice people and they sort of believe in Jesus. If they’re just sincere and believe in God ...’
“(That belief) is wrong and it leads directly to hell.”
A godly woman, Hughes, said, should align every area of her life with the will of God.
“This gospel defines me, it motivates me, it satisfies me, because it’s given me everything I need for life and godliness,” she said. “We are sinners, and every part of us is tainted with vanity and self will and the desire to turn and run from doing the will of God, our creator.... We have to be willing to pray that God will bring us back into conformity, that we might be conformed to the image of His Son. That’s what the image of a godly woman, a gospel woman, is all about.”