In 1972, author Ira Levin wrote a book called The Stepford Wives.
Maybe you’ve read it or seen one of the movies. I read the book back in the 70’s.
The main character is a young woman who is a professional photographer, mom, and wife.
When she and her family move to the fictional town of Stepford, Connecticut, at first, everything seems perfect and everyone is uber friendly.
But after a while she begins to realize that all the wives are unusually attractive and weirdly submissive to their husbands.
As the story develops, it becomes quite obvious that something is definitely wrong.
She begins to look into the backgrounds of these other wives and finds that many had professional careers before moving to Stepford, but not one of them still works outside the home. Some were feminists, but now they’re like submissive zombies with no personal opinions, always agreeing with their husbands.
She also discovers that some of the husbands had worked for Disney building life-like robots.
She eventually comes to the conclusion that they are indeed robots (or brainwashed) and that her husband is now in lock-step with the other husbands and is planning on “replacing” her, too.
In his book, The Reason for God, Tim Keller refers to this story and asks a question, “Is your God a Stepford god?”
He says we have a lot of beliefs about life and God that often are unexamined. We just assume they’re right. And when the Bible contradicts those unexamined beliefs, oftentimes it undermines our confidence in the Bible.
How many times have you heard someone say, “My God would never…,” describing something that the God of the Bible often does?
How many times have you used the same phrase and left it unexamined.
But, Keller continues, if the Bible and God in the Bible can’t contradict your ideas and beliefs, but you still believe in God and simply pick and choose what you will believe based on your own personal ideas and beliefs, then what you have is a Stepford god. Like the beautifully perfect and completely submissive Stepford wives, your God never contradicts you.
But is that really God? Can you have a real relationship with God when he can’t contradict you and make you question your own ideas and premises?
Tim Keller writes, “Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination. So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.
Even if you agree with this idea, or you (at least) get the reasoning of it, you might find yourself struggling with this weekend’s passage.
We’re delving into two subjects that are, for some people, deal breakers when it comes to following God or trusting the Bible.
Two subjects where God’s opinion and action contradicts every one of us to one degree or another.
Should I tell you what the two subjects are?
The passage is Acts 4:32 - 5:16. See if you can figure it out.
And once you do, will you brave the discomfort and still come for gathered worship?
I think you will. And I think you will be encouraged. The real God, the God of grace, is not a Stepford god. He contradicts us for his glory and our good.