Feminism In The Church

Today I heard part 2 of an excellent sermon by Alistair Begg on his radio program, Truth for Life. He spoke from 1 Corinthians 11 and addressed the issue of gender and what God has to say about the role of men and women. It’s worth the listen.

I haven’t addressed this issue in a long time, in part because my position hasn’t changed and in part because what I say is, frankly, unpopular. People don’t want to hear that in God’s perfect economy women have a different part to play than do men. In terms of a stage play, we are the leading ladies, not the leading men. Both are significant, and both are needed, but both are not identical.

Anyway, this article is one that I have edited from—are you ready for this?—seven years ago. And I still believe what I wrote. Largely because the Bible is still the authority, no matter what various people try to make it.

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Times, they are a-changin’, you may have noticed. This is true in any number of fields, but not less so in the Church.

Sadly, ungodly cultural proclivities seem to be creeping into churches—even my Bible-believing evangelical body. We are not immune. No one is. And for that reason, it is important for us to continually examine Scripture to see if these things are so.

The “things” I’m referring to today is feminism in the Church.

Of necessity we need to define terms. When I use “feminism” I have in mind the belief that women are equal to men in all respects, if not superior. Hence there should be no distinction in role or function between men and women.

One blogger [article no longer available] wrote “we overwhelmingly are affected by the outside world’s view of women and their role in the church and society rather than that of Jesus or the Bible.”

Interestingly, the majority of this article gives a justification for taking the teaching of Scripture about women and their role in the church and placing it in a cultural context. In other words, what was true in “that culture” isn’t true today. While there is some truth to this thought, there are firm principles by which we should stand.

Further, this place that we give to the thinking of our culture, over and above the Bible, disturbs me. Seemingly we are playing the “keep up with the Joneses” game, and the Joneses are those that make up the mainstream of our culture.

I believe this is the kind of false teaching that the New Testament writers warned against. Paul said to the Colossians that he was laying down doctrine about Christ “so that no one will delude you with persuasive arguments,” and that they were to “see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

Today we seem all too happy to give in to the persuasive arguments of those who discount Scripture. We seem happy to be captivated by the traditions of men.

But I want to look at the BIBLICAL role of women in Christianity.

I believe, as another blogger said beautifully in “Christianity v. feminism,” that “Christianity allows women to be women. Allows them their femininity. Allows them their freedom.”

But the culture has said, No, Christianity has taught men to oppress women and keep women from doing and being all they can be.

I don’t doubt that down through time there were religious leaders who taught error in regard to women’s roles. However, that’s true about error in a lot of areas, such as indulgences and renting pew space.

We ought not look at tradition, as Paul said in Colossians, whether that tradition comes from religious or irreligious people. We need to align our beliefs with the sure Word of God.

The Bible is not murky about women and our role:

1) We are equal with men in ministry (see Philippians 4:3b “…these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life”)

2) We are equal in salvation (see Galatians 3:28 “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”)

3) We are unique in our roles. In this respect we are not less than but different from men. (see 1 Cor. 14:34a “The women are to keep silent in the churches”).

Athletes understand this perhaps better than anyone else. In football there are “glamor” positions—quarterback, running backs, and receivers. But without linemen, the guys who literally do the heavy lifting, those in the glamor roles go nowhere. The quarterback gets sacked, the running backs get thrown for a loss, and the receivers never see the ball.

The point is, women are biologically different from men and as Scripture reminds us, we came into the creation process after Man. In God’s perfect plan, He therefore assigned men to the “glamor” positions in the Church. Not all men, of course.

Some men are to be pastors and elders, and other men are to be parking lot attendants or library volunteers or servers in the coffee shop. Are these latter to be filled with envy because they don’t have the glamor positions? Clearly not.

Why, then, should we assume that it’s OK for women to covet the glamor positions? And covet is exactly what it is.

Our culture has told us we women should have something Scripture says is not meant for us. This all sounds so Garden of Eden-ish, doesn’t it?

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7 Comments

  1. Love Alastair! I will have to listen to that sermon series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a good one, for sure. I love that he doesn’t shy away from tackling the hard issues.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a Christian woman, I believe you hit the nail on the head with this post. Well written and very persuasive. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi again Becky, I understand that before any of the modern day gods women were subdued by men in all aspects of life even though some got up to became leaders against all odds. How outdated this is these days.

    The question must be asked why insist people follow the Biblical teachings to the letter on things such as enforcing a woman’s place in religious society, their keeping silent in church and being subservient to husbands, including the discrimination of LGBT people while many Christians go through a divorce and another marriage procedure on the other hand without condemnation?

    While about it, why also not enforce the prohibition or restriction of certain foods such as pork, bacon, fish and sea foods or poultry such as fried chicken?

    Why also have the churches stopped preaching in public the condemnation of masturbation, the wearing of jewellery, women wearing sexy clothes, the adornment of tattoos, being a glutton, gossiping, working on Saturday, wearing polyester etc, etc?

    It is clear that Christianity selectively discriminates because it can, and it is also clear that your God must be selective if he allows most of his rules to be broken.

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    • Steve, just about every line of this comment is in error. You do not understand that God is God and has been since before time. So there is no “modern day gods.”

      Of course you don’t understand the concepts I laid out before Christians, because you don’t understand Jesus submitting to His Father even though He is equal to the Father, the exact representation of His nature. I would think that you might have gained some insight from the sports analogy, but I supposed your preconceptions blinded you to the truth.

      And of course you have no understanding of God’s grace, so you do not understand how Jesus fulfilled the Law so that we who believe in Him are no longer under the law. You don’t understand how we in a congregation must balance loving the sinner while hating the sin. So you only see what you want to see.

      I find it ironic, Steve, that you and other atheists like you seem to think you know how Christians are to behave when you don’t have a clue about God’s mercy and forgiveness or of the power of the Holy Spirit. You simply take your own life template and transpose it on us. This leads to all kinds of error in your thinking.

      All these are correctable errors, if you would just read the Bible. I’m beginning to suspect you are afraid of the Bible. Of course, if you think the task is simply too daunting, you can try reading just one or two books like Romans or John. But I suspect you won’t because you don’t want anything to disturb your prejudices. I wish better for you, Steve.

      Becky

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yaaas! Slay, priestess! Slay!

      Like


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