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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Does Christianity Discriminate Against Women? [Part 2]

In recent years the accusation that the Bible is anti-female has arisen more and more frequently. The first post in this series dealt with the objection that scripture is sexist because it uses the masculine gender to refer to God. The last post in this series deals with the objection that the Old Testament endorses the victimization of women.

In this post, I’d like to examine the objection that church order as taught in the New Testament discriminates against women.

Objection #2 — The Command for Women to be Silent in the Churches is Discriminatory

But if God really understands and values women just as much as men, why are men in the position of spiritual power? Why are women asked to keep silent in the churches, while men have the privilege of public ministry?

Doesn’t that prove that the Bible portrays women as inferior beings?

To answer this question, we must go back to creation. In the beginning, God created a man, Adam. He allowed Adam to be alone for a time, without his female counterpart, in order that Adam might recognize that he was not complete in himself. By bringing all the animals to Adam to be named, God showed the man that none of these creatures could be the helper and companion that he needed. He awakened in Adam a sense of loneliness, of need, and only then did He create Eve, since now Adam was ready to appreciate her.

God could have created Eve out of the dust just as He had created Adam, but He did not. Instead He formed Eve out of a part of Adam’s own body. This was to remind the two of them that they were part of each other, each incomplete without the other, and that a man and wife were “one flesh”.

Having said that, we realize two things: that Adam was created first, not Eve; and that Eve was created out of Adam, not the other way around. Although both were made in the image of God, God gave the position of priority to Adam.

There had to be an order in creation, in the family and in the church, and God established man as the earthly head of that order.

Is the president of a company a better person than the vice-president of a company? Certainly not. Yet the vice-president is subordinate to the president. Are the vice-president’s tasks insignificant or even less significant than those of the president? Certainly not. The company needs both president and vice-president in order to function effectively. But their roles are different.

1 Cor. 11:3 establishes the spiritual order in the church: the head of woman is man, the head of man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. Is Christ inferior to God because God is His head? Is Christ less important than God the Father because they function in different roles? Certainly not! So if Christ’s person and work are not inferior to God’s even though God is His head, then a woman’s person and work is not inferior to a man’s, even though man is the head of woman.

Just because women have different work from men in the local church and in the home does not mean that their contribution is unimportant. Jesus’ female disciples played a vital role in the continuance of His ministry. Paul commended numerous women as valued fellow servants of the Lord and praised their diligence and hard work.

There is much that a woman can do in the Lord’s service if she is willing to obey God’s will rather than follow her own inclinations.

RJA

Republished by permission of the author

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