From the Bible


Regarding women, some verses of the New Testament are typically interpreted as binding for all time, but others as cultural and not for today. The difficulty is determining which are which.

In my view, these so-called cultural teachings are actually errors; the apostles thought they were teaching truth but they weren't.


Wife, obey your husband

A wife is to submit to her husband. Does this mean she is to obey every stupid decision her husband makes, especially when it harms her or her family? And certainly she should reject immoral leadership.

Of course there must be a way to make decisions when both people disagree. Perhaps in most cases of this, the decision should be to wait and continue with discussion. In cases of emergency, someone has to decide and the other person should usually go along. Preferably the person having the better track record of making wise decisions should be the leader, but often the most headstrong person wins out, often leading to stupid decisions.

Anyway, practical matters aside, I personally think the teaching that a Christian wife is to totally submit to their husband is wrongheaded. I suppose it's harmless enough. The problem is when people not sharing this view try to attend one of these churches. Because of the extreme emphasis on this obedience thing, they will feel tremendous pressure to conform. It seems cult-like to me.


No jewelry

Peter seems to forbid certain activities of women; braiding the hair, wearing jewelry, fancy clothes. Presumably cosmetics is included.

So why do so many Christian women continue to do these things? We must consider the plight of women: they are living in a society which exploits them. If they don't do certain things they will stand out and may struggle in the workplace or in social groups. As John Lennon said in a song, "we make her paint her face and dance".

I am highly offended by the comment preachers often make: "if the barn needs painting, paint it". This is a degrading and derogatory statement in the extreme, showing lack of empathy for people, and selling-out to the glitzy, Madison Avenue view of fake, skin-deep beauty. Peter states it well...

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:2,3)

And why don't these men apply the same standard to themselves? Most are not much to look at; covering up their grisly uglyness would suit me just fine. I sure don't want to look at them. Maybe they should wear a bag over their head.


No women deacons

Paul seems to allow for women deacons. I would go so far as to claim that forbidding women to be in church leadership, including bishops, derives from the male-dominated society of the day, even into modern times. Jesus might have been tempted to choose women as disciples and apostles but based on the culture of the day this would have discredited his message.

My main objection to women pastors is: every church I've been to having one was liberal. It seems the feminist movement and liberal Christianity are tangled-up together.

Allowing for women deacons who merely serve coffee is an insult to women.


No speaking in church

I suppose if women (or anyone else) were shouting out their comments during the church service, we would suggest they stop speaking in church. Perhaps in those days and those churches, the culture allowed unruly public gatherings of pandemonium and, just maybe, men didn't want the women to have equal participation due to discrimination against them.

In any case, this doesn't seem to apply to our subdued church services today.


Long hair

Paul seems to think natural law commands women to have long hair. Whenever anyone calls upon natural law as their authority, it makes me nervous.

Christians today don't apply this rule of hair length at all yet Paul makes much of it. How can they reject this as cultural but insist on the others listed in this article? It is all so arbitrary.

In high school, a friend's dad objected to long hair for men because he thought you should be able to easily distinguish between men and women. I wondered why this was so important, perhaps so men could more easily identify women to exploit them.


Headcoverings

Wearing a headcovering in church protects women from evil angels. Who believes this today? Yet Paul emphasizes the point.


Saved by childbearing

Women are saved by childbearing. Probably this refers to the work of bearing and raising children, that women act out their faith by these good works. Notice that the men busy themselves with leading the church, and in teaching and preaching. Again we see the male-dominated society, all-too-common in the history of the world. I wonder what the women thought about their oppressed role?