Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I read the term on another blog located here. The blogger makes an excellent point.

More and more young women, Christians, mostly home schooled, are coming to me expressing deep dissatisfaction with what they see in their parents' evangelical marriages. Depressed and dowdy, overworked and under-appreciated mothers have shared their frustrations and discouragement with their daughters. These daughters have been looking and listening, and they are (rightfully) turned off by the example of total submission of women in the name of Christ.

But whose doctrine is that, really? It resembles nothing Jesus ever taught. It resembles no action Jesus ever took. Jesus, who called the woman with the withered hand to the front of the synagogue, healed the Syro-Phonecian woman's daughter, restored a widow's dead son to life, conversed freely with the Samaritan woman at the well, did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, and first appeared to a woman at the Resurrection and commissioned her to go tell the men Jesus wasn't in the tomb anymore- no where is it ever recorded that Jesus put any woman "in her place" or denied any woman mercy, help or honor.

I had a Conservative Jewish man once refuse to shake my hand because he couldn't know if I was on my period or not, hence whether or not I was "unclean". Jesus commends the woman with the twelve year issue of blood for her faith when she presses through to touch the hem of his garment. Mary of Bethany sat at his feet listening and Jesus told her she had chosen the best part. The woman who poured perfume on his feet was given eternal honor for her willingness to suffer the scorn of those who sat at table with Jesus in order that she might honor Him publicly. Women were part of his traveling entourage, no doubt a scandalously bold move for the times.

Even Paul, in explaining to the early church how they might, in spite of the Gentile law of the land "pater familia", live this new life of love, tells husbands to "love their wives as Christ loved the church and laid down his life for her". He tells husbands to "nourish and cherish" the wife as if the body of the woman was the literal body of the man. Paul tells men that women likewise have authority over the man's body in marriage, just as the husband has over the wife.

When Paul tells first century women how to live out the slavery that marriage literally was in the first century Roman Empire, he counseled woman to live that out "as unto the Lord"- to willingly give as a gift to Jesus what a husband legally demanded. Like slaves who were also told to "work as unto the Lord", women were told to "submit as unto the Lord".

Yet if the householder were putting into practice the words of Christ, to love others as Christ loved him, to serve others in love even as Christ came not to be served but to serve, no woman would ever be required to submit in a Christian household anyway! That's why even though both slaves and wives were told how to submit/obey "as unto the Lord" men are nowhere commanded to take authority over their wives nor own slaves. To do either is contrary to sound doctrine that Jesus taught and lived.

But it is very much in keeping with pagan practices! Jesus pointed out that "the Gentiles lord it over" those under their power, and the pagan king Xerxes commands "that every man should be ruler over his own household" (Esther 1:22). Clearly man rule, or patriarchy, is a pagan practice born out of the curse of sin.

Patriarchy, religious hierarchy, slavery: all are clearly contrary to the life and teachings of Christ. There is no way you can dominate a person if you are treating them as you yourself wish to be treated. It's just not possible.

What will become of these young women?

God knows, because He cares for them with tender mercy. Hopefully they will find sound teaching, pro-Jesus teaching that will allow them to continue to identify as Christians even while they seek to live according to the teachings of Jesus. But it's clear they will have to look diligently, because what their parents taught and modeled is shipwreck.

What will become of the church?

Well, the Lord adds to his church daily those that are being saved, so of course the church will continue to grow. I'm not so sure about American Christianity though. It depends on how many congregations are willing to throw out the tenets of tradition and focus on the actual words and life of Christ. We'll all see if we live long enough, won't we? =)