Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Christian Graduations and Young Ladies

Over the years, I have spoken at numerous graduations for Christian students, only to hear the young ladies being celebrated, publicly declare their independence, and rejoice that “at last” they can toss the reigns of parental authority and escape the dominion of home life. From a biblical perspective, such students are unfit to be described as “graduated.” The word “graduated” comes from the Latin gradus which means to take a step. But the only step taken by such individuals is a step backwards. They should not “pass Go,” not “collect $200,” but go directly back to the starting point of their training where they must learn basics of biblical womanhood before a parent should even consider placing a seal of approval on their training or maturity.

The Bible actually has a great deal to say about what distinguishes a girl from a woman. For one thing, a mature Christian woman is one who has demonstrated that she has been trained and is ready for marriage. Historically, parents understood that it was their mission to raise their daughters to marriageable maturity so they could enjoy the husband “of their youth.”

To raise a daughter without thought to marriage, to instill in them a spirit of independence from the family, or to focus their training on a career outside the home, is actually to disqualify them for graduation and the next step in life. In contrast, a woman who meets the biblical requirements for graduation is one who is comfortable being under the jurisdiction of her father and seeks to make him successful in every way. She recognizes that God calls women to be under the authority of God-appointed men, first in the form of fathers, and later as husbands.

There are other clear benchmarks of mature Christian womanhood outlined in Scripture. They include demonstrating a spirit of submission to authority, modesty, and gracious communication (1 Peter 3), sobriety, an absence of gossip, and faithfulness in all things (1 Timothy 3), a love of home and children (Titus 2), and numerous skills that will equip the woman to guide and develop an economically successful and prosperous household (Proverbs 31). These are the very qualities (not John Dewey’s model of academic advancement) that should be celebrated and honored at a Christian graduation of a young lady.

Last night I attended one such graduation. Beall and I were honored to have been asked to sponsor and speak at the graduation of Miss Lourdes Torres. The event signified much more than just the completion of academic requirements. In fact, academics were purely incidental to the real reason for the celebration. The heart and soul of the purpose of the graduation was for her Mom and Dad to honor the Lord for bringing their daughter into mature Christian womanhood.

Beall and I have known the graduate for more than three years. In fact, we consider her to be a member of the family, and her parents to be the dearest of friends. She has assisted my wife on more occasions than any of us could count and even traveled with us on adventures with Vision Forum. The celebration was a special blessing because, in every respect, Lourdes personified the characteristics that a Christian woman should possess to be described as “commencing” or graduating to the next step on the journey of mature Christian womanhood. What a tremendous blessing!

After the celebration, families and friends from our church and the San Antonio community fellowshipped late into the evening. My heart rejoiced to see the young ladies of our community delight in loving and caring for the children; to see the men discussing things of God, and to watch families, many of whom share a common vision, fellowship.

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