Recently, a baptist church in TN has lost its status with the Baptist Association due to electing a female pastor. Shonda Reynolds, who has a Doctorate of Ministry, is more than qualified for the position, and for a Baptist I would say highly over-qualified in comparison to most of the poor-farmer pastors my childhood was plagued with. Now this church didn’t just have their status stripped from them; a council consisting of 77 association members voted as to their fate resulting in a 73 to 4 vote. This says a lot about the state of the church in modern day Baptist Association for not only were they voted against, it was embarrassingly almost unanimous! To me this speaks volumes as to where women are placed in society in regards to spirituality, which as a Christian – THE ONLY PART THAT MATTERS. The fact that most women within the church disregard this with a smile on their face disturbs me, not to say that I am by any means a feminist, but blind submission because of a “deity” of any sort seems rather adverse to free will. Especially when that said deity, and the divine book chosen to represent it places females in an inferior role, some instances mere reproduction vessels, yet Christian women shrug that off as well like it is nothing. Sure, God use to command rape & Genocide, but let’s just pretend it is cool because we aren’t being raped. That’s a rather passive way to look at something you want to spend eternity with in my opinion. Oh, don’t believe me? Let’s look:
Judges 21:10-24 NLT
So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.
The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked, “How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God’s curse.”
Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes.
or Numbers 31:7-18
They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba Ã¢â‚¬â€œ died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.
Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.
or even when rape is considered bad?
“If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.”
This is clearly disturbing, yet it is shrugged off for the excuse that the “Old Testament” isn’t applicable to the New Testament since the coming of Christ and the doing away of the law. Um excuse me? Jesus came to be the Passover sacrifice, as well as an allegory to the Yom Kippur sacrifice in the Barabbas passage in Matthew. There are multiple manuscripts that read Jesus Barabbas & Jesus Christ rather than omitting the Jesus in front of Barabbas as later preferred. Without going into great detail the allegory makes perfect sense, being that whoever wrote Matthew shows a wider knowledge of Jewish traditions than the other Gospels; anyways, the death and resurrection of Jesus is meant to be a final blood sacrifice. This sacrifice did not do away with following laws; however, the introduction of gentiles into the Jewish-Christian sect by Paul largely demanded that issues regarding law in light of this theological victory arise and be discussed. This is seen in Paul’s aggressive argument in regards to the law in Galatians 3, or a less intense lecture over law in Romans 3 – the largest question to adhering to law being with circumcision, and how going through the law alone no longer grants salvation. This argument is not stating that the law is irrelevant, out-dated, or unnecessary, rather that the obedience to the law was always a flawed means of salvation, and this method of salvation has now been made null. The participation of non-jews into Jewish traditions is where the issues to the “law” start to arise between Paul’s church and the church of Jerusalem. (Again see Galatians 1)
So now that clarification has been given as to what Christ was to represent theologically, showing that the OT passages are indeed relevant to this era, let’s look at what the New Testament says in relation to women starting in sequence of composition with Paul.
1 Corinthians 11
7 For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection[c] of God; but woman is the reflection[d] of man. 8 Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. 10 For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of[e]authority on her head,[f] because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God.
a) 1 Corinthians 11:3 The same Greek word means man or husband
b) 1 Corinthians 11:3 Or head of the woman
c) 1 Corinthians 11:7 Or glory
d)1 Corinthians 11:7 Or glory
e)1 Corinthians 11:10 Gk lacks a symbol of
f) 1 Corinthians 11:10 Or have freedom of choice regarding her head
This passage is pretty indicative of women in the eyes of the church. Women are not equal to men in form or spirituality, and goes quite far as to establish the superior role of males in relation to females. This is also noted in the Pseudo-Paul writings like 1 Timothy 2:12 that states women are not allowed to teach, yet in Romans we see Paul discuss a female apostle and her husband apostle – so clearly females were used by God in Pauline writings.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
This is also seen in the episode of Paul & Thecla – a book that was deemed heretical due to the fact that Thecla was placed in an apostle position that was having miracles occur around her and Paul during their journeys.
What does Early Church Father Irenaeus say in regards to women?
“Why was it, that when these two (Aaron and Miriam) had both acted with despite towards him (Moses), the latter alone was adjudged punishment? First, because the woman was the more culpable, since both nature and the law place the woman in a subordinate condition to the man. Or perhaps it was that Aaron was to a certain degree excusable, in consideration of his being the elder [brother], and adorned with the dignity of high priest. Then again, inasmuch as the leper was accounted by the law unclean, while at the same time the origin and foundation of the priesthood lay in Aaron, [the Lord] did not award a similar punishment to him, lest this stigma should attach itself to the entire [sacerdotal] race; but by means of his sister’s [example] He awoke his fears, and taught him the same lesson. For Miriam’s punishment affected him to such an extent, that no sooner did she experience it, than he entreated Moses], who had been injured, that he would be his intercession do away with the affliction.”
Now most Christians will attempt to save-face by throwing out the Old testament as irrevelant and a reflection of barbaric society, followed by throwing out Paul & Pseudo Paul that demands submissive behavior and silence as in respect only to the church; however, this does not address the passages that peg women as simply inferior to men based on image and creation, and the passages certainly do not limit the superiority to church walls, but extends to the body of Christ as a whole. Another face-saving tactic is to take the Gospels and emphasize the role of Mary, Mary Magdalene, and the other women that are mentioned in the Bible – for why would god place these females at intricate roles if they were inferior? This is exactly why women are depicted in these spots, aside from the necessity to meet prophecy standards in Mary’s particular case. The Gospels utilize lowly females in an important position to show Jesus’ service towards the bottom of society of sinners. Using these as examples of the Bible’s “acceptance” of females is hardly warranted, for Jesus is scorned for associating with sinners, much like Christians today would judge if their pastor was hanging out with a local prostitute. Christian society has came a long way in the acceptance of females into the ministry; however, the conservative right have not done all that is necessary to bring equality to the church. Fundamentalists need to wake up and understand what their theology is doing to the mindsets of males and females by establishing superiority and inferiority between genders.