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Section 7. Living The Faith... The Biblical Christian/
The Christian Woman

 

 003white Section 7.. Living The Faith       >       Index To  Christian Women       >        Feminism  and The Christian God

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Feminism and The Bible... Part II
It is hard to understand how anyone, who has actually read the Bible, can believe that it relegates women to second class citizens

Carol Brooks

Also See 003white The 10 Lies of Feminism

PART I... Introduction, Redefining and Replacing Jesus, Redefining and Replacing God, Goddess Worship
 

ON THIS PAGE.. PART II... The Bible And Women

God and Women
Jesus and Women
Women In The Early Church

Teachers and Possible Apostles
Women Cannot Teach or Exercise Authority Over Men?
Keeping Silent
Can Women Be Pastors or "Priests"?

The Genesis of Gender
Genesis 1
Help 'Meet' or Helpmate?

Male Headship... Examining Several Issues
Was Eve's Sin a Matter of Usurping Adam's Authority?
Was Male 'Rule' A Result of The Fall?
Are Women In General More Easily Deceived?

Male Headship... The Feminist Interpretation
Domination is Not God's Way and Will Have Serious Consequences

Male Headship.. The Biblical View
The Authority And Honor Given Christ
The Lack of 'Church' Support For Abused Wives

Unanswered Questions

Summary and Conclusion


God and Women
It is hard to understand how anyone, who has actually read the Bible, can believe that it leaves women in the background, relegating them to second class citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth... Although during Old Testament times, virtually every culture in the world was patriarchal in structure, as Glenn Miller of www.christian-thinktank.com points out, the Bible gives us rather a surprising picture of Israelite women... the role they played, and their very important contribution to the story, even the survival, of Israel. As he says in Women in the Heart of God...

    "interactions between husband and wife in the pre-monarchy period could scarcely be called that of "master and slave" or "master and cowering subordinate". [20]

It is undoubtedly true that the New Testament speaks approvingly of the OT women who were submissive to their own husbands, particularly naming Sarah who "obeyed Abraham, calling him lord", the other side of the coin is that women were depicted as having equal status in all manner of situations. They influenced the direction of events many times, often showing great bravery in their actions. While there are simply too many examples to relate on this page, here are some of the more significant ones. Let's start with the fact that,

    Of the 55 prophets of the Bible, seven were women.

    Of the eleven appearances of the Angel of the Lord to individuals, five (almost half) were to women.

Let us also not forget that...

     God once told Abraham to do whatever Sarah told him to do [Genesis 21:12].

     The Lord inflicted "great plagues" on Pharaoh and his household "because of" Sarah, not because of Abraham or 'the law'! [Genesis 12.17].

     When Abimelech king of Gerar realized that Sarah was Abraham's wife, he "took sheep and oxen and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham" (Genesis 20:14), but he told Sarah that he had given Abraham a thousand pieces of silver as her vindication. In other words, a pagan king recognized her rights after the Lord appeared to him in a dream.

     When Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for Isaac, he was very specific that the woman would be willing return with him (Genesis 24:5-8). Similarly, Rebecca's brother, Laban, the "head" of the household, asked Rebecca if she wished to go. (Vs. 58).

     Jacob labored for 14 years for Rachel's hand in marriage!

     Even after the Lord told Jacob to return to his land, Jacob put the matter before Rachel and Leah, who told him to do what the Lord had instructed him to do. (Genesis 31:3-18). Their words also showed that they considered themselves equal owners of their the property...  "Surely all the wealth which God has taken away from our father belongs to us and our children; now then, do whatever God has said to you."  (Vs 16)

     When Zelophehad died without a male heir, his five daughters came before Moses and other leaders and asked why their father's name should be withdrawn from among his family just because he had no son. They then asked to inherit their fathers possessions. What is significant, is that the Lord said they were "right".

     The Hebrew midwives virtually kept Israel alive [Exodus 1-2].

     Although it was a legal matter, many of the women named their children without mention of any input from the father... Eve named Seth (Genesis 4.25), Leah and Rachel named their children (Genesis 29, 30), Rachel named Benjamin (Genesis 35.19) and Hannah named Samuel (I Samuel 1)

     Zipporah saved the life of a disobedient Moses.

     Miriam was seen by God Himself as one of Israel's leaders along with Moses and Aaron. "Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam. (Micah 6:4 NASB). Indeed, Miriam was a prophetess and it would be quite absurd to argue that as a spokesperson of the Lord, her words were directed only at the women of the nation.

     Deborah was not only a prophetess and a judge of Israel but, she summoned Barak and told him that the Lord had commanded him to go into war against Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army and the Lord would give them the victory. However, Barak would not go without Deborah, which meant, as she told him, that the honor would not be his, but the Lord would sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. When Sisera himself managed to escape it was again a woman called Jael who tricked him into her tent and killed him. Jael then told the pursuing Barak to come and see the man he was seeking. Two women saved Israel that day (Judges 4) .

     An unnamed woman of Thebez saved a major city in Israel from Abimelech [Judges 9.50-57].

     Ruth was called "better than seven sons" [Ruth 4:15].

     Hannah knew that her prayers to conceive a child were heard by God. And she was right, considering that He responded to her specifically (she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, which means heard of the Lord. Note also that Hannah vowed that if she bore a son she would give him to the Lord for all the days of her life. After Samuel was born, she told her husband, Elkanah, that she would take the child to the temple after he was weaned. Elkanah's reply? "Do what seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the Lord confirm His word." (1 Samuel 1) It was Hannah's deep commitment to the Lord that resulted in Samuel becoming a prophet who played a huge role in the nation. Besides which, Hannah's spirituality is drawn in sharp contrast to the weakness of Eli the High Priest, and his evil sons.

 For many, many Old Testament examples of God's heart towards His daughters, See Women in the Heart of God


Jesus and Women
There is no place in the Gospels where Jesus treated women as 'inferior beings'. Much to the contrary, many of the things He said and did, indicated that He considered women equal to men, which was not only quite revolutionary in the first century, but violated many of the social and religious customs of the day, and thoroughly ticked off the Pharisees. For example,

     Jesus engaged in a conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well, which 'amazed' His disciples (John 4) since the Jews did not speak to the Samaritans, much less a Samaritan woman. 

     Women were not only among the group who followed Jesus through the cities and villages, but some of them contributed to His support from "their private means" (Luke 8:1-3).

     When the Pharisees were offended that Jesus let a woman touch Him, He reproved them and pronounced her sins forgiven (Luke 7).

     Similarly He did not judge the woman caught in adultery, but although He told her to go and sin no more, He turned the tables on the hypocritical religious leaders.

     When Mary chose to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to Him (much as one would learn from a Rabbi), which Jesus said was better than worrying about domestic chores.

     Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were the first to be told by an angel that Jesus had risen from the dead (Mark 16:1).

     A woman was the first to see the resurrected Christ (John 20).

Certainly it is true that, when Jesus chose His twelve disciples, He only selected men who would, after spending three years learning from Him, continued spreading His message after His ascension to the Father. However, they were not the first to proclaim the Messiah.

The prophetess Anna, an elderly widow who lived in the temple, was the first to do so when Jesus was yet a baby. While she may, or may not, have foretold future events, she recognized Jesus (possibly at the time Simeon was holding Him) and came up and began thanking God. The account further says, Anna "continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem". In other words this woman was a spokesperson of the Lord, proclaiming Jesus to all who looked for redemption. The "all" would of course include men, which means it could very well be said that Anna taught men about Christ.

Surah 4:34
Now compare all of the above with Surah 4:34 in the Qur'an, which says men are in charge of/have authority over women. If women rebel or are disobedient, they are first to be admonished, then the husband is to refuse to share a bed with them. Finally, they are to beat them. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the Islamic scholar whose translation of the Qur'an is one of the most widely known and used in the English-speaking world, added the word "lightly" to soften the impact of the text. [See Four Translations of the verse]


Women In The Early Church
Can we please refrain from alighting on one verse, then proclaiming from the roof tops that this is what the Bible teaches, without taking into consideration all else that the Bible says on the subject, the various situations seen in the early church, and the Greek words used. Can we also please add a pinch of common sense to this mix (while we may not understand everything He does, our God is not devoid of this very useful trait). Here are some outstanding examples of what I am talking about.

Teachers and Possible Apostles
Traditional denominations have loudly, clearly, and continuously reminded women that they are not equal... barring them from any meaningful role in the church under the excuse of 'not exercising authority over a man', or having to keep silent in church. But is this Biblical, or just one more example among many of not what the Bible says, but how it has been mistranslated.

Although they were far fewer than men, there were women involved in spreading the Gospel. For example, two people... Andronicus & Junias/Junia are identified as "apostles" in Romans 16:7. If the correct translation is Junia, then she was a female apostle. [See Andronicus & Junias/Junia]

When Apollos, a man mighty in the Scriptures began to speak out eloquently and boldly in the synagogue, Priscilla and Aquila realized that he was only acquainted with John's baptism. So they took him aside and explained to him the way of God 'more accurately'. It is only after this that Apollos is said to have gone to Achaia and "greatly helped those who had believed through grace", powerfully refuting the Jews in public and "demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ". (Acts 18:24-28). In other words, Priscilla and her husband jointly taught Apollos, a man.

Later on, in Romans 16 1-2, Paul said "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well". Whatever it was that Phoebe did, it had to have been very significant for Paul to commend her to the entire church.

 In the next verse, he referred to both Priscilla and Aquila as "my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own neck"

Paul also said, in the letter to the Philippians, "I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help 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. (Philippians 4:2-3 NASB)

But why should any of this surprise us? Jesus told His disciples "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."  (Acts 1:8). Let us please remember that both men and women were present when the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost.

So was Paul contradicting himself when he said women could not teach or exercise authority over a man, or are we missing something here?


Women Cannot Teach or Exercise Authority Over Men?
So what then are we to do with Paul's letter to Timothy, in which he said...

    A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman (Gk. gune) to teach or exercise authority over a man (Gk. aner), but to remain quiet. (1 Timothy 2:11-12 NASB)

The problem with this view is that the text in question has not been taken at face value, but has been translated according to pre-existing ideas. Churches interpret these words differently, many taking it to mean that women should not teach men, nor usurp authority over them. However, in this and every other case, we need to read what the text itself says, and not read into the text what people, regardless of who they are, interpret it to mean.

The text is the authority, and, in this case, it says "I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man". A woman and a man, which has then been interpreted to mean that no adult woman can teach or exercise authority over any adult male. Not only does the text go much further than most people are willing to take it, but it exceeds the bounds of common sense, and contradicts well known incidents in the New Testament.

Consider the following, very feasible, example. If the no adult woman can teach or exercise authority over any adult male interpretation is correct, it means that a woman, a mature Christian, who has been a true believer for, say, 35 years, and who has spent most of those years studying the Scriptures, cannot instruct or guide a young 21 year old man who might be a very new believer, who knows next to nothing. She cannot teach him anything about Christ, Christianity and correct doctrine, even if he comes from a church that teaches one or more of the innumerable false doctrines so pervasive today. See The Contemporary Church - The Devilís Playground. Should he happen to open his mouth and say something totally contrary to the Scriptures, she cannot tell him that he is wrong, and help him understand otherwise.

Since Priscilla and her husband jointly instructed Apollos, and Deborah was a judge with authority over men in what was then a highly patriarchal society, and we know that Scripture doesn't contradict itself, there is something very wrong with this theory.

So what in the world did Paul mean? The problem lies, not with Paul, but with our translators. Look at the Greek words used in Paul's instruction. "Woman" has been translated from the Greek gune, which means exactly that. However, man has been translated form the Greek word aner, which doesn't necessarily mean "man". In fact aner has often been translated as husband in the New Testament.

    Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband (Gk. aner) of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. (Matthew 1:16 NASB)

    and if she herself divorces her husband (Gk. aner) and marries another man, she is committing adultery."  (Mark 10:12 NASB)

    The woman answered and said, "I have no husband (Gk. aner)." Jesus *said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband (Gk. aner)';  (John 4:17 NASB)

    And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband (Gk. aner). (Acts 5:10 NASB)

    Husbands (Gk. aner), love your wives and do not be embittered against them.  (Colossians 3:19 NASB)

    Deacons must be husband (Gk. aner) of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.  (1 Timothy 3:12 NASB)

Translating aner into husband in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 makes a lot more sense in the context of the entire Bible. In fact, the consistent teaching of the New Testament is that a wife should be under the authority of her husband.

So, why, in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, was aner translated "man"? Tradition? Pre-bias? Preconceived ideas? Take your pick.

And, referring to the instruction to women to "be quiet" in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, as pastor Greg Koukl says

    The "quiet" there is in the context of receiving instruction. I think the point is not that she never speaks, but that she is the one who is in the position of being taught as opposed to being in the position of the teacher. The word "teach" here is not in the aorist tense. In other words, an aorist tense means a single point in time action rather than a continuous action. So, it isn't saying that a woman cannot have a moment where she can tell something to her husband, it's that the woman should not be the teacher over her husband, but that the woman is actually under the teaching authority of her husband. He is the head of the household, spiritually speaking. That's really what it amounts to. [Read article Should Women Teach in Church? by pastor Gregory Koukl]


Keeping Silent
Finally, consider this verse, in which Paul says...

    The women are to keep silent (Gk. sigao) in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35 NASB)

If this verse means what many, if not most, churches take it to mean, then Paul was a very confused man considering that, just a few chapters earlier, he said that it was a disgrace for a woman to have her head uncovered while praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5). It would be a neat trick indeed to prophesy and 'keep silent' at the same time. Besides which, this instruction seems to have applied only to married women, who were to "ask their husbands at home". Besides which, we have to bear in mind that the early church only met in private homes and shared meals, making it impossible to believe that women were silent throughout.

So, all things considered, quite obviously the verse is not being understood right.

We might glean a clue from the fact that the immediate context is order in the church. Just three verses earlier (28-30), using same Greek word, Paul said that if anyone spoke in tongues, they should do it in turn and even then, only if there was an interpreter. If not, they should keep silent.

    If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent (Gk. sigao) in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent (Gk. sigao). (1 Corinthians 14:27-30 NASB)

See Tongues.. and The ďSecond BlessingĒ

In verse 33, he says "for God is not a God of confusion but of peace..". The very next verse is about women keeping silent. In fact, Paul is still talking about order all the way through verse 40 (the last one in the chapter), when he said "But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. All of which should make it obvious Paul's statement about women was in the context of avoiding confusion. None of us have any idea as to what exactly the women were doing, but certainly they must have been contributing towards the confusion and chaos.

Which leaves us with one question...


Can Women Be Pastors or "Priests"?

But again, let us draw the lines exactly where God draws them.

Christian feminists will often favor women becoming pastors or priests. However, this is a difficult issue. The problem is that, in the hierarchy of the church, the word "priest" usually means either a clergyman who ranks below a bishop but above a deacon, but has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites. However, according to the New Testament, there are no priests, only elders (the presbyteros). The word "priest" is never ever used for the head of the New Testament church. In all but one case the word occurs only in the book of Hebrews, and always in reference to the temporary priesthood of the Old Testament temple, as compared to Jesus' unchanging and permanent priesthood.

In fact, a person who digs into the Greek words used for the leaders of the first church, will rapidly realize that all the fancy positions and titles we have dreamed up in the hierarchal organization we call the 'church', do not exist in the New Testament, which makes no distinction between the "bishop", and the "priest" or "pastor". Bishops and archbishops who look after entire regions and are ranked above the pastors are a modern invention. [See Church Leaders Then and Now]

Neither the description, nor the visual images (fancy robes and funny hats anyone), of modern deacons come anywhere close to being true to the original meaning and intent of the Greek word diakonos, which Strong's defines as being an "attendant", or "a waiter (at table or in other menial duties)". In support of this, diakonos has often been translated "servant" in the New Testament. The Bible knows nothing of deacons/ministers who are set apart from, and superior to, the rank and file. While deserving of all the respect we can give them, a true minister of Christ is there to serve His flock.

In the final analysis, the early church was led by elders/overseers (episkopos) who "oversaw" or shepherded the flock, and deacons (diakonos). That they are different positions are seen by the following verse.

    Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers (episkopos) and deacons (diakonos) [Philippians 1:1 NASB]

So when Naomi Goldberg says "To gain true equality in Christianity women must have access to the positions that religion holds to be highest and best" [21], I am afraid that they can only aspire to positions of prominence within the man-invented, hierarchal organization we call 'the church'. Other than elders and deacons, these offices did not exist in the first century church.

But the question here is whether or not women can fill either role. In Romans 16:1, Paul called the obviously female Phoebe "a servant (diakonos) of the church", whom he commended to the Romans. However, while this certainly shows that women took an active role in the early church, there seems to be little question that the offices of elders and deacons was meant to be filled by men.


Elders

    It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer (Gk. episkope), it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer (episkopos), then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. [1 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB]

    For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer (Gk. episkope) must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. [Titus 1:5-9 NASB]

Deacons

    Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (1 Timothy 3:8-12 KJV)

While women were often heroines, prophetesses, leaders etc, no women were ever called to be elders or deacons.


Equal, but Different
Perhaps it will begin to dawn on 'orthodox' church goer and radical feminist alike that, in many churches, women have been required to keep silent, barred from teaching or exercising authority over a man, not on the instructions or examples found in the Scriptures, but a combination of biased translations, a distinct lack of common sense, and ignoring the verses that show that women did indeed do these things in the first century church. However, once again, there is absolutely no evidence that the office of deacon or elder was ever filled by a woman.

While there is little question that God does not discriminate on the basis of gender, and that women are not more morally deficient, less capable than men, nor inferior in any way, there is also no question that, for the most part, men and women have different roles, which are not, as believed by many, a master-subordinate relationship. In order to come to an informed understanding what was actually ordained by God (and so thoroughly messed up by both feminists and some portions of the church), we have to take a few moments to travel back to the inception of the male/female roles. We also need to take a look at the fall, and what the consequences were for all those involved.


The Genesis of Gender
Genesis 1
Biblical norms for men and women's roles is rooted in the first three chapters of Scripture, which provide the foundation of God's intent for man and woman, and the relationship between the two. However, the account has a balance which has been tilted too far in one direction or the other by those that do not read with understanding, or by those in whom certain ideas are already well entrenched. So lets go back to the time of the creation of man, and see what exactly the account says [All Emphasis Added]

    Then God said, "Let Us make man (Gk. ‚d‚m) in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26 NASB)

    God created man (Gk. ‚d‚m)  in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  (Genesis 1:27 NASB)

    God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."  (Genesis 1:28 NASB)

Verse 26 and 28 very clearly say that they are to rule over God's creation, which means that both men and women are God's representatives on earth, standing between the Creator and the animal/ plant kingdom below. Verse 28 also has God pronouncing a blessing on both man and woman ("God blessed them").  Verses 26 and 27 emphasize the equality of the sexes inasmuch as both male and female are made in the image of God. Note: man (Gk. ‚d‚m) while a proper name, is also used as a generic term for human beings. It is used in much the same fashion to this day, i.e. mankind, humanity etc. This is made patently obvious by the second half of verse 26 ... "and let them rule".

In short, a careful reading of the above three verses unambiguously shows that both man and woman were created in God's image, both are spiritually equal, and both have equal responsibility for God's earth.

While we do not know exactly what being 'in God's image entails', we do know that God is Spirit without a physical body, therefore the term cannot mean we are tiny physical carbon copies of God. Many believe that the term has to refer to some characteristics that are unique to mankind alone, and shared with God. For example only man has the capacity for rational thought, the propensity for creativity, as well as possessing the ability to love and rise to great heights of self sacrifice. Additionally only man can comprehend good and evil, with the freedom to choose one, or the other.

However, I am not at all sure that this is the whole case. While the expression Image of God may combine any or all of the above elements, the fact remains that God made man in His image [Genesis 1:26] and this man was called a 'son of God" [Luke 3:38], but what is to be noted is that after the first man transgressed, no man was ever called a "son of God" again... until Jesus and His born again followers. It certainly seems that the Image of God was lost for all subsequent generations, until Christ. [See Original Sin and Epigenetics]

The Bible is not yet done with speaking of the role of the sexes, with the second chapter of Genesis introducing a slightly more complex dimension, one that has been misinterpreted and misunderstood for centuries.


Help 'Meet' or Helpmate?
The second chapter of Genesis opens with the account of God resting on the seventh day, after the six days of creation. After which He "formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7 NASB).

God then put Adam into the garden to dress and to keep it (V.15).... the Hebrew word shamar, translated keep, means to preserve, protect, have charge of, guard etc. God also told Adam him that he could freely partake of all the trees that He had provided, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (V.17).

It is not until V.18 that we find God saying "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him". However, before He did so, God brought all the animals to the man to be named (Vs.19-20). During this process, it seems likely, although no mention was made of it, that the fact that none of the creatures in the garden looked like him, or shared his unique qualities was keenly felt by Adam.

We all know the story of the first Ďsurgeryí when God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, then took one of his ribs, out of which He fashioned a woman. The first recorded human words are when Adam woke, saw Eve and said "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (V. 21-23). (It is not until Genesis 3:20 that we are told that Adam called his wife "Eve").

And so was born the institution of monogamous marriage...

    For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 NASB)

... and so too was born all the conflict between the sexes, all too often based on one pivotal phrase when God said He would make Adam "a help meet for him".

What we need to realize is that 'help' and 'meet' were originally two separate words. The old English term 'meet' meant appropriate or corresponding to. In 1673, the poet John Dryden hyphenated the two words (help-meet), which was one step towards making it a word in itself [22]. Help-meet eventually turned into helpmate,  which was the word used in Darby's 1884 translation of the Bible. The rest, as they say, is history.

However, it is imperative to realize that a help "meet" for someone is NOT the same as the English word helpmate. The Biblical meaning of the phrase in to be found by examining each of the two Hebrew words used that were translated help and meet.


Ezer (help)
The role of woman as 'helper' to man in Genesis 2:18 has often been taken to mean female inferiority. Traditional teaching places the woman in the position of an assistant or helper subservient to the one being helped.

However, help was translated from the Hebrew Ízer which occurs 21 times in the Hebrew concordance of the KJV. The context of every other use of ezer in the Old Testament, tells us that it is used for someone who saves or protects another, which is hardly surprising considering that Ízer is derived from ‚zar... to surround, protect or aid. While there are a few verses in which the 'helper' is in a supporting role.

    I will scatter to every wind all who are around him, his helpers (Heb. Ízer) and all his troops; and I will draw out a sword after them. (Ezekiel 12:14 NASB)

    But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped (Heb. ‚zar) him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, "You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel." (2 Samuel 21:17 NASB)

    Now these are the ones who came to David at Ziklag, while he was still restricted because of Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men who helped (Heb. ‚zar) him in war.  (1 Chronicles 12:1 NASB)

In the majority of its occurrences, Ízer is used for the help given by God Himself. In fact, Azariah (also called Uzziah) was the 11th king of Judah who came to the throne at the age of 16. (His name means my strength is Yah or Yah has helped).

    The other was named Eliezer, for he said, "The God of my father was my help (Heb. Ízer), and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh." (Exodus 18:4 NASB)

    "Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, Who is the shield of your help (Heb. Ízer) And the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, And you will tread upon their high places."  (Deuteronomy 33:29 NASB)

    May He send you help (Heb. Ízer) from the sanctuary And support you from Zion!  (Psalms 20:2 NASB)

    Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help (Heb. Ízer) and our shield.  (Psalms 33:20 NASB)

Therefore, it should be apparent that when the word Ízer used was used in the context of Eve's creation, it did not necessarily place Eve in a weaker or secondary position to Adam, just as it does not place God in a weaker or secondary position when used of Him helping people. But, we have to look at the second word, translated "meet" to come to a better understanding of Eve's position.


Kenegdo
(meet)
The word translated meet is the Hebrew kenegdow that occurs only twice in the Old Testament (Genesis 2:18, 20), and which means before, in front of, opposite to. However, if you examine the context, it becomes clear why newer Bible versions translate into Ďsuitableí (NASB) (The CLV says Ďcomplementí). Among all the animals that God brought before Adam to name, not one was found to be suitable for him.

    Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:18-20 NASB)

Quite simply... a hippopotamus or a kangaroo would not have been a suitable help for Adam, who needed one that looked like him, could communicate with him, and shared all his God-given qualities. In other words someone that, in contrast to the animals, was on his level. The emphasis is on the woman's essential equality and compatibility with the man.


Male Headship
Examining Several Issues
Both Genesis 1 and 2, while establishing the equality and co-rulership of man and woman, also raises several issues which need to be examined honestly, without bias or pre-supposition.

God did not make Adam and Eve from the ground at the same time, nor did He make the woman first. Since anything God does cannot be considered random or arbitrary, and since He makes no mistakes, one has to ask why man was created first, and why the generic term used by the Bible for human beings is man, not woman? It is also obvious that the man was not created to help the woman, but the other way round.

Other clues to man's headship are found in both in the account of the fall in Genesis, and the New Testament's view of it. For example, Eve was obviously the first transgressor, eating of the fruit and then giving some to Adam, a fact that had to be known to God at the very moment it happened. However, later that day, when God came down to walk in the garden in the cool of the day, even though both Adam and Eve were hiding from His presence, God called [only] to Adam, "Where are you?" [Genesis 3:9]. He did not summon both Adam and Eve, but tackled Adam first, asking him what he had done, and why he realized he was naked. Besides which, the chronological account also makes it clear that the eyes of both of them were opened to their condition only after Adam ate of the fruit.

Additionally, although Eve fell first and led the way into sin, Paul laid the blame for our fall solely on the shoulders of Adam, not mentioning Eve at all. Romans 5 says [All Emphasis Added]

    Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- (Romans 5:12 NASB)

    For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.  (Romans 5:19 NASB)

Although it is true that, in the verses above, the Greek word used is anthropos which is often applied to humankind, Paul is not speaking about mankind in general, but about Adam alone. We know this because just a couple of verses later, he contrasts the results of Adam's actions with the results of the work of Christ, and specifically says Adam is a "type" of Christ. 

    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come... For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.  (Romans 5:14,17 NASB)

    For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 NASB)

    So also it is written, "The first man (Gk. anthropos), Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45 NASB)

Since Eve, as an adult, was responsible for her own actions, the question arises as to why Paul pinpointed Adam as being responsible.

The answer is because Adam shouldered the primary responsibility to lead their partnership. While we can not know for sure if Adam was around while the serpent lied to Eve, the last part of V. 6 which says, "she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate" seems to indicate that he was. However, one can not be dogmatic about this. What we can be certain about is, in meekly following Eve into sin, Adam abandoned his post as head. Although they jointly pulled the human race down into death, when the partnership fell, he bore the final responsibility.

A typical 'buck stops here' situation.

Additionally, when God pronounced judgment on Adam, Eve, and the serpent, His rationale for the judgment on Adam were very telling.. He said "Because you listened to the voice of thy wife, and ate of the tree, of which I commanded you not to...". Not only were there two reasons given for Adam's sentence (listening to his wife and disobeying the command of God), but the very ground is cursed because of Adam. Also, although it is true that Eve too eventually dies, the death sentence was pronounced on Adam.

I do not see how any of the above would have been said had both Adam and Eve shared unqualified and equal responsibility. Very clearly it was Adam's disobedience that was the pivotal factor in the fall. Other assorted New Testament verses also bear out the headship of man.

    But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 11:3 NASB)

    Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18 NASB)

    For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;  (1 Peter 3:5 NASB)

But there are a couple of other issues I would like to address before going into the Biblical meaning of this headship.


Was Eve's Sin a Matter of Usurping Adam's Authority?
Many believe that Eve's sin was denying Adam his rightful role of leadership in their marriage, or usurping his authority. The theory of Eve's sin being that of assuming headship just because she fell for Satan's lies does not make a whit of sense, since it would mean that any married Christian woman who has ever given into temptation, is also guilty of 'usurping her husband's authority'. This, I am afraid, is complete nonsense.

Much to the contrary! Eve's sin was disobedience to God and an usurping of God's authority.

Which brings us the a very noteworthy point about the judgments God pronounced on Adam and the serpent. Neither penalty seemed to bear any particular relationship to the nature of the sin. To elaborate... no connection can be drawn between the serpent crawling on his belly and his deceiving of the woman. Similarly, the cursing of the ground has no particular relationship to Adam's eating of forbidden fruit.

Why then is it assumed that the woman's punishment is to be forever under the control of her husband because she usurped her husband's authority?


Was Male 'Rule' A Result of The Fall?
Many feminists believe that God's curse on Eve was that she would be ruled over by her husband after the fall, an interpretation of Genesis 3:16 which is completely inaccurate. In the second half of Genesis 3:16, God tells Eve "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you. (NASB)

However, to be particularly noted is that when God pronounced judgment on the serpent and the man, each of them received one punishment, which was followed by one specific consequence.

    The serpent was relegated to traveling on his belly which would eventually result in the bruising of his head (a death blow) by the seed of the woman. (Genesis 3:14)

    The ground was cursed because of the man which caused him (and his descendants) to have to toil never endingly, eating their bread by the sweat of their brow. (Genesis 3:17-19)

It would then seem logical that the same pattern was followed with Eve, which means that she was the recipient of only one punishment, which would be followed by one particular consequence. In spite of the pain of childbirth (which was the curse) she still "desires" her husband who would "rule over" her. The second part being the natural consequence of her sin, not God's judgment on the woman.

Which brings us to the meaning of the word translated "desire", translated from the Hebrew teshŻq‚h, which only occurs three times in the Old Testament. TeshŻq‚h is often interpreted as being physical, or sexual, in nature. While it's use in the Song of Solomon (7:10) is probably sexual, the only other use of the word is in Genesis 4:7 when God told Cain "... if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.". In other words, God was telling Cain that sin would try to control him, to get the 'upper hand' as it were, but Cain must resist.

This means teshŻq‚h does not necessarily indicate a 'longing' of any kind, but can be used in the sense of to overcome, or defeat, something or someone.... to have the upper hand. In the words of E. Calvin Beisner, founder of and the national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation [Emphasis Added]

    "... God's words to Eve are descriptive, not prescriptive; He tells her not what her desire ought to be but what it will be, and when He adds, "and he shall rule over you," He tells her not what Adam's response ought to be but what it will be. Eve will try to dominate Adam, but Adam will dominate her. But it is not Adam's proper authority over Eve that is part of the curse on Eve, it is Adam's perversion of that authority" [23]

To put it another way, God predicted that one consequence of the fall that directly affected Eve was that Biblical sexual roles would be distorted and man would seek to rule over the woman. It was not God's wish that this would happen, but a realistic forecast of one of the tragic effects of sin. (In fact all three of the consequences were prophecies... man certainly has toiled by the sweat of his brow, and although the serpent hasn't been crushed yet, we know this is going to happen).

And certainly God was right about women as well...

Through centuries of human history women, being virtually their husband's property, have been put down by force and given little freedom. While the women's rights movement has made a huge amount of difference in how women are treated in the west, it has barely penetrated many countries. Tragically, there are many cultures where women are yet bought and sold like cattle. However, nothing has succeeded in eliminating often harsh and cruel treatment of women even in so called civilized countries. [See Violence Against Women]


Are Women In General More Easily Deceived?
Many believe that Paul was saying, or implying, that women are deceived more easily than men. However, there is evidence to the contrary.

In his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul told them that he was afraid that "as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness", their minds would be "led astray". Since this was a letter to the entire church, which included men and women, it is not possible that he was issuing a particular warning to the Corinthian women that they were especially susceptible to deception.

However, in his article entitled, All About Eve: Feminism and the Meaning of Equality, Dr. Kenneth Boa says the following (emphasis Added)

    That is, Eve was deceived, not because she was a woman and therefore more gullible, less intelligent, or less spiritually discerning, but because she chose to make such a radical decision without bringing the matter to her husband.

    If this interpretation is correct, Paul forbids women to exercise authority over a man, not because women are less capable in any sense, but because such violation of the created order between men and women is precisely how spiritual deception got a foothold in the human race in the first place. "Men and women are both more vulnerable to error and sin when they forsake the order that God has intended." [24]

I am afraid that I cannot possibly see this interpretation as being correct.

Headship requires qualities like backbone, and the ability and willingness to lead, neither of which were displayed by Adam. While we cannot possibly know what went through either of their minds, the Biblical account says that Adam simply took and ate the fruit that Eve proffered (Genesis 3:6 ) There is no record of him putting up an argument, or being reluctant. And there is absolutely no record of him asking Eve what the dickens she was thinking of, as he should have done.

To me, that he just followed in her footsteps was a measure of his lack of leadership qualities, which makes me wonder what Adam would have done had Eve actually come to him first. Put it this way -  the very purpose fora leader in the church, is to guide the flock to the best of his ability. When someone sins, then tempts the leader to sin, he doesn't passively comply, but endeavors to get the person concerned to repent of their error.


Male Headship... The Feminist Interpretation

However feminists are quite convinced that Headship = domination and subordination = inferiority/inequality  Most feminists will give you one or more variations of the following arguments given on the herchurch site...

    Feminine Images, Metaphors, Names And Symbols For God are not new but found in scripture, Christian tradition and faith experiences. These treasures that have helped people connect with the Divine for centuries have often been hidden, buried, "white-washed," denied, or banished from Judeo-Christian communities and along with them the dignity, equality and voices of women... an exclusive emphasis on speaking of God as Father contributes to a limited understanding of God, an understanding that supports a domination structure that oppresses and subordinates women. [25]

Why is it that male headship is all too often construed as an insult or threat to so many women? While one can not possibly delve into the psyche of every individual feminist, a large part of the energetic resistance stems from a grotesque distortion of Biblical headship, which has had some very tragic consequences. Steven Tracy, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Arizona, wrote that his wife who, at the time of writing, had been a family counselor for over twelve years, reports that

     "from her extensive counseling experience, when professing evangelical men are domestic abusers, more often than not they use distortions of headship to justify their behavior". [26]

Patriarchy is not the cause of the world's treatment of women. A corruption of patriarchy is. In fact...


Domination is Not God's Way and Will Have Serious Consequences
Not only did Jesus reminded his disciples that this was not the way of God...

    The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' "But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. (Luke 22:25-26 NASB)

But 1 Corinthians 11:3 rigorously defines what this headship entails. When Paul wrote "Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of ChristĒ, he put the headship of Christ and the headship of man in the same category. In other words, husbands were to emulate Christ's relationship with the church, which He gave His life for. It's a relationship of love, not domination. 

Man has since attempted to rule, not only over women, but exploit those weaker than himself... often in the harshest ways possible. The good news is that every abusive act has been seen, noted, and will be punished.

    Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans. Now what will you do in the day of punishment, And in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth? (Isaiah 10:1-3 NASB)

Unfortunately both feminists and an altogether too large a number of traditional church leaders have myopically focused on what they think is Scripture's treatment of, and instructions regarding, the sexes, with complete disregard for what the Scriptures actually reveal.


Male Headship.. The Biblical View
Headship is certainly one of the most controversial subjects in the Scripture, with conservative Protestants affirming male headship and liberal Protestants contesting it. Certainly there are plenty of people who regard Christianity as a great source of male domination. However much of the problem lies in a lack of understanding of the Biblical definition of male-female equality and male headship, both of which were instituted by God at creation, and were certainly intended to remain the permanent model for the male female relationship.

Not only does the book of Genesis make it clear that men and women, both made in the image of God, are spiritually equal, and have equal responsibility for God's earth, co-rulers if you will, but the idea of Biblical headship could only be so misrepresented if one totally ignores verses that are very specific about how husbands and wives are to treat each other. But then again, isn't that how the myriad of false doctrines in the church have found such large following. People see, read, and believe only what suits them. In this case Paul was very specific..

    But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, (Ephesians 5:24-29 NASB)

The model of Christ's relationship with the Father actually clarifies male headship.


The Authority And Honor Given Christ

Christ repeatedly said He came to earth to do the will of the Father and do what was pleasing to Him (this did not apply solely to His time on earth. See 1 Corinthians 15:28)

    Jesus *said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. (John 4:34 NASB)

    "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38 NASB)

    So Jesus said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." (John 8:28-29 NASB)

However, He was also given great authority which, prior to this, had been reserved for the Father alone. That the Father had sole power over life and death was clearly stated in Deuteronomy 32:39.

    'See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39 NASB)

a fact well known to the Jews. For example, speaking under the conviction that God alone could cure Naaman's leprosy, the king of Israel said..."Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?..." (2 Kings 5:7 NASB). Unquestionably, Jesus must have raised a few eyebrows when He made what was, to them, an astounding, if not completely heretical, statement.

    For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 5:21-23 NASB)

The extent of the honor given Christ is seen in Philippians 2:9-11, which says

    For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NASB)

In other words, Male headship does not mean that women do not have authority or honor.

Christian men do not need the addition of "CHRIST-SOPHIA and SHE to the language of Christian belief and worship" [27] as a reminder to model their lives on that of Jesus. Christian men need to read and heed the warning of Peter, who said husbands who did not honor their wives would find their prayers hindered. (Note: the word translated "weaker" has often been rendered "sick" in the New Testament, which leads me to believe that it could very well be physical strength that Peter was talking about. I know of no other area in which women are "weaker".

    You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 NASB)

What is clear is that in no shape, form, or fashion, does the Bible ever teach that husbands have spiritual superiority over their wives, or that they should make all the decisions and have all the power. Think about this for a moment.. while it is true that headship in a hierarchical organization could very well mean domination, however domination makes absolutely no sense in the Divinely ordained monogamous marriage relationship where the husband and wife are "one flesh". The head does not oppress the heart or vice versa.

There is a marked difference between Christian submission and submission in, say, a servant master relationship. The latter does not require the master to consider the servant as an equally significant part of the equation. The former does. A line of authority exists in many situations.. children and their parents, the church and it's Lord. But most significant of all is that Christ was no less 'God' because He came to do the will of His Father.  Just because some subordination is degrading, not all subordination is necessarily so.

The last word on male headship goes to the book of Ephesians which defines and clarifies aspects of the relationship. [All Emphasis Added]

    Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33 NASB)

In short, male domination is a personal moral failure, not a Biblical doctrine.


The Lack of 'Church' Support For Abused Wives

And, in spite of it all, if Christian men continue to abuse and ill treat their wives, they, like all other violent criminals, deserve to be jailed. And as far as the church is concerned, although it will never happen, pastors who tell abused wives that they need to be more submissive in order to avoid provoking their husbands, and that unless there is a case of adultery they cannot divorce him, need to be jailed right along with the abuser. They are accessories to assault, which is a violent crime.

As said by Mart De Haan, grandson of RBC founder, Dr. M. R. DeHaan, and son of former president Richard W. DeHaan... if their plight is real, abused wives

    donít need to be told again about headship, submission, forgiveness, and the threat of losing church membership. They need to know that the God of Moses and Jesus cares not only about marital permanence, but also for those who are caught in abuse that is worse than protective separation and divorce. [Read Article]

Does anyone seriously think that our God, who never endingly warned the Israelites to take care of those more helpless than themselves, is going to tolerate those who abuse, or those who enable the abuser? The first verse actually says it all.

    Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.' (Deuteronomy 27:19 NASB)

    Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:16-17 NASB)

    if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. (Jeremiah 7:6-7 NASB)

    Thus says the LORD, "Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place. "For if you men will indeed perform this thing, then kings will enter the gates of this house, sitting in David's place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people. (Jeremiah 22:3-4 NASB)

    Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah saying, "Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.' "But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing. "They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 7:8-12 NASB)

    Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5 NASB)

    Therefore because you impose heavy rent on the poor And exact a tribute of grain from them, Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine. (Amos 5:11 NASB)

    Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:23-24 NASB)

James, the brother of Christ, tells us that a man who "thinks himself to be religious", but does not bridle his tongue, is deceiving his own heart, and his religion is "worthless". (James 1:26). A person would have to be next to nuts to imagine for one second that someone who does not bridle his temper, and his actions, is going to fare any better. His religion is worse than useless. As James said in the very next verse...

    Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  (James 1:27 NASB)


Unanswered Questions

While many commentators believe that, with some variation, male headship can be summed up thus... In the partnership of two spiritually equal human beings, it is the man that bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a Godly direction.

Undoubtedly, this opens up a Pandora's box of questions, beyond the scope of this study. For example, what if the male is not leading the partnership in a Godly direction? What if he is completely wrong about vital issues? What is the husband's idea of Christianity is (Heaven forbid) TBN, or Joel Osteen? What if he wants to attend a seeker sensitive church, one which 'slays' people in the spirit, or encourages them to speak in tongues. Or, perhaps, one of the many that have relegated God to nothing more than a celestial bell-hop.

The only analogy I see, is when Nabal refused hospitality to David and his men, Abigal, his wife, brought them food and asked David to forgive Nabal's transgression. In her words "Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.["] (1 Samuel 25:25 NASB) Why did she seemingly disregard the headship of her husband? Because, in her words, she knew that David was "fighting the battles of the LORD". (Vs. 28).

The Lord's word and work takes precedence over everything, including marital and family relationships. And worthless people who oppose it, be they husband or child, come second.


Summary and Conclusion
When Billie Shakespeare, vice president for the publisher of Judith Christ of Nazareth said the revised text is "empowering", one has to wonder what he is talking about. The rise of women in society cannot be acknowledged by pretending that Jesus was not incarnated a male, but was called Judith. Are we not foolish to endeavor to feel more in control, or build our sense of self-worth, on fantasy?

Why can we not do so based on fact?

How in the world can any woman read of the achievements, strength, and courage of the women of the Old Testament and not feel 'empowered'. How is it possible to not feel 'empowered' when reading of Mary who freely assented to become the means by which the Messiah came to earth to deliver His people, although she lived in a time (and society) that could only be described as hostile towards unwed pregnant women.

And, when all is said and done, God Himself chose to relate to mankind as male.. a father figure. It is not our place to tell God He was wrong and endeavor to correct His 'mistake'.

We need to be emotionally mature enough to realize that role does not equal worth. We cannot afford to define ourselves out of a reaction to bad experiences at the hands of apologies for men we might have run into. (Let us also please bear that there are some poor excuses for women out there as well).

We cannot base our doctrines on the current hysteria, or fad of the day, nor on what sounds good, or feeds our egos. Nor can we afford to base our beliefs and behavior on a superficial reading, and poor interpretation of some Biblical verses, which has resulted in a sadly twisted concept of the Biblical concept of male headship.

Unfortunately, most feminist writings which I have read make it quite clear that they have not done their own objective and in-depth research of how the Scriptures actually define the roles of men and women. Instead they have assumed inaccurate interpretations to be true, and have reacted by wanting to change the very Word of God itself. It is not the Scriptures that need changing, it is we who need to read God's Word with an understanding of the original Greek words used, the textual and cultural contexts, and stop ignoring the many situations and verses that oppose the traditional view. It is also quite amazing how far a smidgen of common sense goes.

As so well said by TheAnchoress in The Idolatry of Feminism

    "... clearly, for some women, it is not enough that their gender is endowed with peculiar genius. They must be like gods, or make god into their own image. And so, yes, this moves beyond "celebrating" a gender by slamming or minimizing another. With the publication of this "gospel," this mania for "gender inclusiveness" has slipped the bonds of sanity and moved into idolatry: My gender is my god, I will have no gods before it!" [28]

Does God "rule" as feminist theologian Mary Daly said, or are His commandments just those required to maintain a just, caring, and equitable society, where no one is mistreated or suffers at the hands of another. And isn't that what feminism is all about in the first place? 

And can we please bear in mind that we are talking about the God that sent His Son to die a horrible death so that you and I could be saved. And that, in any language, spells love. Sadly the radical feminist is so obsessed with, and so blinded by, the idea of the Divine Feminine, that it seems they haven't given a modicum of though to the fact that the Gospel is about being saved from death and given the gift of eternal life, which means exactly the same thing to everyone, regardless of their gender.

In other words, death is death, hell is hell, and salvation from hell is salvation from hell... whether you are male or female, black, brown or white, or even purple with orange spots. [See Salvation I and Salvation II, Heaven and Hell

 

Endnotes

[20] Glenn Miller. Women in the Heart of God. www.christian-thinktank.com. http://www.inplainsite.org/html/god_and_women.html

[21] aomi Goldberg. Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions. Publisher: Beacon Press, Feb 1, 1980. Pgs. 3-5, 25

[22] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/helpmate

[23] E. Calvin Beisner. The Bible and Gender-Inclusive Language. http://www.apologeticsindex.org/cpoint1-1.html

[24] Dr. Kenneth Boa. All About Eve: Feminism and the Meaning of Equality.
https://bible.org/seriespage/all-about-eve-feminism-and-meaning-equality

[25] Web site of the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Goddess Rosary. http://www.herchurch.org/id8.html

[26] Steven Tracy. I Corinthians 11:3: A Corrective to Distortions and Abuses of Male Headship
http://cbmw.org/uncategorized/a-corrective-to-distortions-and-abuses-of-male-headship/

[27] In Search of the Christ-Sophia, An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians by Jann Aldredge-Clanton p. 53. quoted on the web site of the Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco http://www.herchurch.org/id8.html

[28] TheAnchoress. The Idolatry of Feminism. As quoted in Judith Christ of Nazareth
http://www.brutallyhonest.org/brutally_honest/2005/06/judith_christ_o.html. 
Original URl (http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2005/06/04/the-idolatry-of-feminism/) is now invalid

 

Feminism and The Bible Part I

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