The number of media reports and allegations relative to inappropriate sexual behavior toward women in the last months is staggering! These deplorable incidents are not limited to, but seem to be appearing most notably in the respective worlds of moviemaking and politics. And there seems to be no end in sight. I have little choice but to believe that, at least by some, women are viewed as inferior objects to be used, rather than valued as equal human beings to be appreciated.
The aforementioned misogynistic beliefs and behavior have deep roots. As a teenager I noticed that it seemed to be all right for the male side of the species to be sexually interested and active – something of a conqueror if you will. However, if a young lady held and/or exhibited sexual interests and activities, she would be labeled as loose or sluttish.
Later, in my early years of ministry, the feminist movement had gained momentum and culture in general and some churches were receiving some pretty strong accusations about being prejudiced against women. I recognized that some of their allegations were accurate and a number of their issues were valid. I am sad to report that, at least in my experience, their attitudes could be quite negative and their initial encounters with me tended to be rather venomous. Of course, as we know, hurt people, hurt people.
I might be venturing to go where angels fear to tread, but I would like to address this topic of gender equality and I’m going to do so by first providing a panoramic review of the biblical view of women.
While both Old and New Testament, with respect to leadership roles, is clearly patriarchal, it is never at the expense of the importance of, or rights of women. And the Bible does record several instances where women are treated despicably, but the accurate preservation of the record in no way suggests agreement with the particular occurrence. Space does not permit, but I would encourage you to look up the following ladies in the Old Testament; Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Jochebed, Miriam and Ruth to name just a few. All of these are significant ladies, blessed and used by God in meaningful ways.
On a personal and practical level, as a man, I came from a woman, I married a woman, my wife and I made a little girl and we have four lovely granddaughters. All of them are as unique as they are special and they are all my equal.
As a pastor, as much as I enjoy working with the men in my churches, if it were not for the ladies, much of the enterprise would fall apart.
Next week, I will finish this article by addressing why Christianity is the best thing that ever happened to women. Until then, God bless you.
“And the man said, “Finally! One like me, with bones from my bones and a body from my body…I will call her ‘woman’” (Genesis 2:23).