Ever since Eve bit into the fruit, her sisters throughout history have been paying the penalty!
First off, I'm not a raging feminist, but I cannot for the life of me see why genitalia should determine a person’s ability (or not) to have authority in church circles – surely an anointing of God is in His gift to bestow, regardless of gender?
That thought was uppermost in my mind when this issue was raised at a church meeting last night and I'm afraid it’s really got to me!
The (predominantly) male cry of ‘biblical’ evidence as the excuse for denying women authority in the church needs to be shown for the deceit it is, whether that deceit is borne from knowledge or ignorance, or merely misinterpretation.
OK – so let’s get to it, what DOES the Bible say? Apart from the old chestnuts that are frequently raked up by those intent on proving women are forbidden to have authority, (e.g. in Paul’s letters in the New Testament, concerning women being silent or having their hair covered) there are a number of occasions in Scripture where women are the dominant gender.
Consider Deborah. It was left to her to advise Barak to attack Sisera’s army and even then he was virtually cowering behind her skirts; accordingly, she told him that because he had little confidence in the authority of what she was saying then his adversary, Sisera, would die at the hand of a woman. ( Judges Ch.4 )
Deborah was a married woman, yet many preachers/scholars tell us that the status of women in Biblical times was somewhere down amongst the goats and sheep, in the ‘chattel’ department! If our learned brethren think this, then why does Deborah’s husband, Lappidoth, not pull her into line?
Consider also, who the first people were to proclaim the risen Christ – the women, who got up early on the third day to attend to their Lord’s body, while His 'brave' band of disciples cowered behind closed doors in fear!
And so, to the (so called) defining verses of 1 Timothy 2:9-12, which are often produced to defend the male exclusivity to church authority:
‘I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.’
This has been attributed to just one particular church community in Ephesus, where a few women had been getting out of hand and J. Lee Grady explains it so much better in his comments in Ten Lies The Church Tells Women (essential reading for those who want to get at the truth, especially in Lie #8!) In various parts of the New Testament, women are attributed as church leaders and even apostles! (see Romans 16:7!)
As a woman, I feel denigrated by men in the church who treat my gender as 'inferior' and have the arrogance and audacity to disclaim a woman's calling andanointing - this is a bit rich, from the 'prototype' of creation! ('Woman' was made after man and was God's final creation - I've often joked that He perfected his 'prototype' and having thus created 'perfection', He rested! ;-p)
As for gender dominance, in the beginning, according the writer of Genesis, Man and Woman were created equal; Eve was to be a companion and ‘helpmeet’ – not a footstool! However, the ‘Fall’ knocked all creation off-kilter and relationships have been damaged as a result.
Now, after millennia, we have a church ordained as the Bride of Christ, filled with believers who are equal before God – but some seem often to be, in the words of George Orwell, ‘more equal than others’! The infallibility of (some) men and the possible bruising of their egos, is evident when they try to hide behind 2Tim. 2:14 –
And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”
True, Eve was the one who listened to the serpent and was deceived – but equally Adam could have said ‘No’ when the fruit was offered to him! Instead he ate it – and then blamed Eve! And for far too long, Eve’s daughters have been tarred with the same brush!
I wonder what would have happened if the serpent had found Adam first that day……!