Sunday, February 15, 2015

Women’s Rights–A Political Message

Former President Jimmy Carter is quoted in a CNN article that he has now entered “[w]omen's rights the fight of my life”. Just as our current president unfavorably compared the crusades with Islamic terrorism, Jimmy Carter compares the situation women face with Boko Haram, ISIS, babies aborted because they are not male as well as rape victims whose rapists walk free, with evangelical Christians:
He's seen less positive movement among some Christians who cite the Bible when reasoning women are "not as worthy in God's eyes," he said.
Such views can trickle down, from rationalizing violence against women to men dominating church scholarship and leadership. Only a small fraction of leading evangelical theologians and pastors are women, says Mimi Haddad of Christians for Biblical Equality, a nonprofit group that bases its arguments for equal treatment of men and women on the Bible.
I’ll be the first to admit there are Bible verses that appear to apply separately to men and to women. One I used just recently, so let’s use it as an example:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22 KJV)

The use of that one verse has been used to denigrate what the Bible teaches about how we are to respond to our spouses. Be extremely careful in building a doctrine on isolated verses. Read the surrounding verses:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Ephesians 5:21-29 KJV)

Does that even come close to making women second class citizens in God’s kingdom? If you still think so, please point it out to me because I don’t see that at all.

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (Ephesians 5:30 KJV)

Paul has a great example of parts of the body not working together in 1 Corinthians 12, but the analogy I have in mind is an athletic team. On the football field, there is one quarterback.  Should the other players not participate because they are lessened by his position? Should the goalie in a soccer game feel left lessened because more action goes on without him than in his area?

Why then should any woman feel lessened by a Bible verse that tells her she is to be loved by her husband as His church is loved by Christ? Are we not to put God first? To depend upon Him for our salvation, for our eternal lives? The teaming up of husband and wife is not him first, her second, but both working within God’s plan to glorify God and not ourselves.

Perhaps it is another verse that touches a sore spot:

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (1 Timothy 2:12 KJV)

My own personal interpretation of this verse finds that it does not read, “The Lord’s will is that we suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” If it said that, there would be no women teachers in Sunday School, would there? There would be no women singing in choir. There would be no ladies meetings without a man in charge of the lesson.
Let me testify that I’ve seen women in these activities in this fundamental, evangelical, independent Baptist church I attend.

I know that this blog has lengthened, but I can only hope that I have opened a few eyes to the fact that Jimmy Carter is not comparing correctly by equating my situation and beliefs with those of Islamic terrorists. I feel insulted by the comparison and am ready to answer as Peter suggests:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15 KJV)

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