There are past blog articles in the archieves where I tackle this issue in greater detail. I still want to offer some quick thoughts. Lately I’ve downloaded some pod casts of “Ex-Christians” and others who go on about all that is wrong with believers and the Bible. So I’m writing various thoughts I have as I process the critics. One criticism I still hear is that we don’t like women or that the Bible doesn’t like women very much. This article is very similar to the one I just wrote about slavery but I’ll give it a go.
First we again must admit that there are those who do oppress and minimize women in history that have quoted the Bible (not correctly I add).
We also have to admit that the role of women in the church is not universally agreed upon. There are those who do not hate women and are not abusive but feel women are equal to men but should not be pastors or deacons or leaders in the church. I disagree with that but that doesn’t make them cavemen who want to club women and drag them into caves.
We need to realize that women historically have been treated unfairly and this is true not just among Christians but all civilizations in history. It’s a fact that women have often been seen as inferior or less important. It’s sad but it is a reality in global history.
And so the Bible is a book (66 books) shaped over a history where women are not treated equally anywhere. I believe this was not God’s desire and the Bible does not support this inequality and hatred. Genesis shows us that the fall of humanity brings division and one of the examples of that division is that between men and women. This is not God’s desire but a part of sin. So our job is to try and bring healing in this area and not to continue in such division. The Bible tells stories of women being abused and it is clear this abuse is not supported by Scripture. These stories are told to give voice to women and to point out this wrong. If people of faith wanted to hide this the stories would not be told. And throughout the Old Testament unique role models pop up- Ruth, Esther, Deborah, Huldah, etc.
In the New Testament we see the church living in a man’s world. Yet healing is again offered. Jesus includes women and gives them a higher place than anyone else would. Paul does not hate women but is actually much more progressive than men of his day. Women are very highly placed in his churches and serve as apostles, deacons, etc. Women preach and lead in the early church. Paul’s statements that are used to put women down later in history are actually trying to do the opposite. In Ephesians Paul is trying to point out ‘mutual submission’ then detailing how this works. In a world where women would be told what to do Paul actually tells men what to do too. I see a liberation and a movement forward that is actually amazing. The NT goes against the grain of its day.
One amazing and radical change is baptism. When Jews had their mark it was circumcision and that of course really leaves women out. Baptism is inclusive. Men and women are baptized in faith. It really is an inclusive act.
Regardless I really think people are looking for something to attack when they claim the Bible is anti-female. Even those who do not support women in ministry are not all attacking women. Some do of course but today this is not the norm. I personally support women in all roles within the church but the point is that God is moving us to break down barriers and to not treat our sisters in faith as second class citizens. So does the Bible hate women? No! It’s not a fair charge.