A Concerned Sisters Answer to the Women's Retreat
Beverly Ann Dockens
Greetings to dear friends from the past. I have been made aware of your plans for the “Women”s Retreat” from several different sources. I pray that you will allow me a moment to discuss some concerns I have about this endeavor. On the surface, it sounds like a wonderful, exciting get-together for women to strengthen one another and build up their faith. The idea has a nice ring to it. The problem is that it is not pleasing to God. I say that with all the love and kindness I can express toward all of you. Please let me explain my concerns.
You have developed an organized group and assigned it a name. The only organized religious entity that God approves of is the church established by His Son (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 5:25).
You say that these retreats are a blessing to those who attend, yet the Bible says that the Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, made us alive together with Christ in those heavenly places, and according to the eternal purpose in Christ the church is to know the manifold wisdom of God. Our blessings come through the church (Eph. 1:3; 2:5-6; 3:10).
You hope that all who attend will grow spiritually. The apostle Paul urged the Ephesians to grow in Christ through the effectual working of the body of Christ, which is the church, fitly joined together, every part working properly to ensure increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. They were to be renewed in the spirits of their minds, and were not to grieve the Holy Spirit by sinning. We grow spiritually when we work within the boundaries of the church that Christ established, studying, learning, encouraging one another. This is the kind of fellowship that should be encouraged and strengthened (Eph. 4:15, 16, 23, 30).
It should not be difficult to know what a woman after God’s heart looks like if one studies what the Bible has to say about the attributes of Christians in general and women in particular. You do not need a retreat to learn that you should walk in love as Christ has loved you.
Ladies, there is so much to do within the local church! Women should concentrate on good works. Women should learn in silence with all subjection. Women should not bring undue attention to their outer appearance in any way. She should not take on a role of authority over men. By raising godly children, she will save herself and others. She needs to have faith, love, holiness, and soberness (1 Tim. 2:9-15). The attributes of elders’ and deacons’ wives, the widows, and the aged women can all be studied and applied to the younger women, for who knows when one might fit into those categories? Be prepared (1 Tim. 3:11; 5:2-16)! Older women have a duty to teach the younger women to be holy, to not be false accusers, not given to much wine, to teach good things, to be sober, to love their husbands and children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, and obedient to their husbands (Titus 2:2-5).
You state that you hope and pray that studying this topic will draw you all closer to the Heavenly Father. Jesus states that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws, or calls, him. We are to walk worthy of that calling, and there is only one way to do that: His way. He has only one body and we need to strive toward the perfecting of the saints, work of the ministry, edifying of the body of Christ. This body is His church and it is therein that we have so very much to do, yet so little time! Will the Father draw you to Christ if you choose to come to Him by some other means than the one He has already given?
It is my earnest prayer that you will seriously consider these things. If you do not find righteousness, peace, joy, hope, mercy, comfort, blessings, grace, love, and fellowship within the church where you are attending, why not? These things God has promised you (Rom. 14:17; 15:13, 2 Cor. 1:3-4; Eph. 1:3; 2 Cor. 13:14). Work on making the local church fit the criteria that Christ established. You risk jeopardizing your soul’s salvation by creating a new organization to take its place.