The Most unpopular Verses in the Bible,or; The Feminization of the American Church
“A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:11-14
As we discussed in earlier chapters, in the late 1960’s the western world was rocked by what some called a sexual revolution. It was also labeled women’s liberation or just the new “feminism” by others. In society in general this brought about a marriage crises of major proportions.
In an article promoting National Marriage Week, Sheila Weber wrote;
“Marriage is in crisis. A new Marriage Index released in October, 2009 reports that in 1970 nearly 80 percent of all adult Americans were married; today that has dropped to 57 percent.
The Marriage Index also reports that today 40 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock, with 70 percent of babies in African-American families born without a married mother and father. Why should we care? Because marriage is the best way to overcome poverty, and it is proven as the best circumstance for raising children. Research overwhelmingly shows that lack of marriage or divorce impoverishes women and children.
In addition, boys reared apart from their father are twice as more likely to spend time in prison by age 32 as those who were raised in a married home headed by their own mother and father.
Teenage girls who are raised by their own father are much more likely to resist the advances of boys or young men who do not have their best interests at heart. In fact, 35 percent of adolescent girls whose father left before the age of six became pregnant, compared to just 5 percent of girls who were raised by their mother and father.
Research also overwhelmingly makes the case that married folks live longer, enjoy better health, greater personal happiness, have more well adjusted children, and greater financial stability.” (1)
This marriage crises was largely a result of the feminist challenge to the traditional Judeo-Christian biblical view which had been the foundational belief for the previous nineteen centuries. For all those years the act of sexual intimacy had been sanctified by the marriage bed. The creation account in the book of Genesis had made it clear that God had created man and woman to be one in marriage, but each had different roles and were thus designed differently. Man and woman were equal in importance but not in roles or pre-eminence.
It was also clear that the woman was designed for the man (1 Corinthians 11:8) and so by default man, for the woman. The two sexes were clearly designed and created for procreation and the idea of men pursuing men or women having sexual relations with other women was a perversion of the creation order. As the verse at the head of the chapter reveals, men also had a type of pre-eminence over the woman. A women was to ultimately defer to her husband, and in the formal church meeting, because of the original order of creation, and because the woman was deceived before the man; women were not to have authority over men or teach men.
This is why for almost two thousand years women wore some type of head covering in the formal meeting, as a way of displaying an outward mark of submission. This was basically a protocol, in some cultures women went beyond the scripture and wore head coverings all the time, but this was not a biblical mandate.
There is a lot that could be said about the roles of men and women in the church, undoubtedly an entire book could be written on the subject. The bible does not say that women can’t hold political office or own businesses where men employed by them would be under their authority like any other boss. But my purpose here is not to do an in depth study on biblical gender role. Many will already disagree with what I have said to this point. This chapters purpose is just to examine how the church has stood up to the rampant attack on Christianity, the bible and theism in general throughout the sciences, academia, in government, human sexuality and the media we’ve previously discussed.
And no matter how you feel about gender roles in the church, it is very difficult to deny that major changes have taken place which suggest feminism has made major inroads into the church. As we talked about in an earlier chapter, and despite the well meaning protests of many evangelicals, the divorce rate in the church overall has pretty well kept pace with the devastating rates of divorce in the world. Co-habitation is almost as common among children raised in conservative Christian homes as it is among the unchurched.
Watch any movie made prior to 1964 and you will notice an interesting phenomena. All the women wear hats to church. In movies made afterwards, the hats and scarves fade very quickly. Many will protest that the head coverings were only for the local church of Paul’s era, and I am well aware of those arguments. Paul however ties the women’s covering to the men’s having bare heads, which he supports by referring to the creation story and men being the glory of God, etc.. But whatever the case, the church for the better part of two thousand years did not have the view now being espoused so vehemently by many modern evangelicals.
Prior to the late 1960’s, women pastors were ordained only in a few Pentecostal churches and even this was very rare. By the late 1990’s, woman pastors, teachers, husband/wife pastor teams were much more common. And perhaps more importantly, even where the women are not ordained, or teach or hold pastoral positions, the portions of scripture which so clearly contravene the feminist movement are rarely read or taught on.
Few elders or pastors have the bravado to cover that territory, and to give them credit, it is not an easy thing to do in a post-Christian nation which has whole heartedly rejected the bible as having any real meaningful authority. Particularly in the area of gender roles and human sexuality. On the other hand, feminism is accepted without question through out the school system, all of academia, as well as the media. Interestingly enough, in my online philosophy class in college, a professor posted a lecture in which the words “sexist” and “sexism” were featured prominently. I challenged him on how he defined the words, and on what authority he based his definition.
He declined to answer. So that debate never got off the floor. But he was a knowledgeable philosophy professor who understood full well that the modern feminist view is based on no authority outside of itself and popular opinion. Even the Darwinian view of science that paved the way for its entrance into the culture fails to support the feminist view in any way. The Darwinian view discredits the bible in the minds of many and thus allows for the feminist view to exist. But there is little in Darwin’s theory to support the idea that both men and women have both “evolved” absolutely equally at every level.
Charles Darwin himself thought science proved women far inferior to men, He said;
” The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman–whether requiring deep thought, reason , or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands….The man has ultimately become superior to woman.” Charles Darwin, Descent of Man 563, 564
This attitude was common among his supporters. Stephen Gould, the paleontologist for the American Museum of Natural History in Chicago, quoted one of Darwin’s enthusiastic contemporaries, Gustave Le Bon, on the subject of the evolution of women;
“In the most intelligent of races, as among Parisians, there are a large number of women whose brains are closer in size to a gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment…” Gould, The Measure of Man, 1981, p.104-5
In the Bible, God never created the Man and Woman to war against each other. We were made by the marriage union to be one flesh, a picture of a perfect and nurturing unity. Because of our rebellion in the garden and the subsequent fall, it’s all too natural for the wife to try and undermine the husband’s authority and for the husband to lord it over the wife in an unkind and demeaning manner. This has led to a lot of trouble and divorce, but as Jesus Christ said;
“In the beginning it wasn’t so”. Matt. 19:8
We are in a imperfect world and in a society that is becoming totally unsupportive, even openly antagonistic to God’s original marriage plan and roles of gender. In this the church has not openly confronted the claims of the feminist challenge; instead she has dealt with it just as she has done with Darwinism, she has just cast out the scripture verses that seem to defy the new cultural mandates, or “reinterpreted” the scripture to accommodate them.
How strange that ideas and scientific theories that were formed to deliberately challenge the bible; forged in atheism, now find themselves quite welcome in a church allegedly formed on Scripture. And lo, and behold; they were really in tune with the scriptures all along.
Or we are in a process of wholesale apostasy.