Feminism is the bane of women, no matter her faith. Women who choose to follow the dictates of their faith, over the feminist dictates of supposed “equality” are savaged by so called “feminists.” Consider the hate aimed at Candace Cameron Bure when she wrote and spoke about her happiness living in a biblical marriage. Because she made the decision to live in a marriage that respected her contribution in all things, but ultimately leaves the final decisions to the husband, she was called not just less than a woman but less than human. But feminists are wrong about the place that Christianity positions women.
The word “equality” is the first part of the problem. Equality is defined as: “the state or quality of being the same as something else.” Using this definition to set men and women equal to each other is the problem. This is because men and women aren’t the same. Men and women are different on all levels. Physically we are different. Emotionally we are different. Our brains are even different. There is a reason for that: God created us to be different but to complement each other.
The Bible and Christianity don’t advocate the subjugation of women. That is a lie of epic proportions, and to say otherwise is to do a great disservice to people of faith. Yes, men have used it over the millennia to do just that. It doesn’t mean that the Scripture wasn’t being twisted to serve their purpose. So let’s look at Scripture and what it says about men and women, and how people are to be treated.
In Genesis 2:18, God decided that man, his first human creation, shouldn’t be alone and needed a “helper.” The word used to mean helper wasn’t a word in Hebrew that denoted an inferior or subservient person. Quite the opposite. The Hebrew word used, ezer, is also used in the Psalms to describe God. Per Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Adam was lonely. God had created all kinds of animals to keep him company, but he wanted something else… someone like him. God created Eve from Adam’s rib. When Adam saw her for the first time, he said “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:23) Adam recognized Eve as something from him, so equal to him. A partner and helpmate (as defined as ezer above). She fulfilled his loneliness.
Men over the millennia have blamed women for the fall from grace, and therefore absolve themselves of any guilt in the eviction. The problem with that was that 1) the true fault lay with Satan, not Eve; 2) Adam chose to eat as well; and 3) BOTH were punished by God.
The 10 Commandments requires honoring both father AND mother.
Over the time of the Old Testament, Jewish women had quite a bit of freedom and honor in their societies. Several women played pivotal roles and were leaders in Jewish history: Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Miriam, Rachel, Rebekah, Rahab, Ruth and Sarah to name a few.
By the time of Christ, however, women weren’t given freedoms. They couldn’t worship in the sanctuary of the synagogue or be educated. They were treated, by and large, as inferior and given almost slave status. Widows were destitute if they had no family to support them. They were relegated to begging or prostitution. Enter Jesus Christ.
Jesus treated His mother with respect, encouraged women to follow Him, such as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, Salome, Joanna and Susanna. He encouraged Mary and Martha to sit and listen as he taught (Luke 10:38-42). Jews didn’t speak to Samaritans, but Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman (John 4:4-30, 39-42). Jesus refused to allow the woman caught in adultery to be stoned, instead forgiving her sin. Mary Magdalene and another woman were the first to discover that He had risen (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-11).
The early church also had women in positions of leadership and authority. Jesus’ mother, Mary, as well as Dorcas, Julia, Lydia, Persis, Priscilla, Phoebe, Tryphena and Tryphosa were had great roles in the early Church (Acts 1:12-14, 9:36, 16:14, 18:24-26, 21:7-9, Romans 16:1-16). Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Christ didn’t advocate the inferiority of anyone.
Yes, Ephesians 5:22-33 says “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands” but it also says that husbands should “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Since Christ gave up His life for the church (i.e. everyone), husbands are told to love their wives so much they would be willing to die for them. That is hardly something someone would do for someone they saw as inferior to them.
Feminism has it very wrong when it comes to faith and the treatment of women. In fact, it perverts it by exhorting women to treat men as less than they are, to expect them to be something God never created them to be. Hypocritical role reversal at its worst!
I don’t usually give links to all my sources, but these were especially helpful:
http://www.fnsa.org/fall98/terwilliger.html (I especially like her use of the string quartet example!)
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/6874206054/