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Warning! If you are a man who believes that it is most important to “keep a woman in her place,” you should not read this. It will be bad for your blood pressure.
The subjugation of women is the result of the fall. Redemption provides all that is necessary to restore women to the positions that God intended for them. However, in order for this restoration to take place the other half of the human race, the men, must participate.
God’s original intent was to create a partner for man who would also give birth to future generations and partner with man in the dominion of the earth. The fall brought terrible consequences upon both man and woman. Those who do not believe in the consequences of the fall often strive harder to restore women than those who should know better than to continue keeping women in bondage as second class human beings.
In order to understand how redemption works out among humankind it is necessary to understand the progressive revelation found in the scriptures. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit did not indwell humans. He only came upon the leaders of God’s people, Israel, in order to give them super human abilities to subdue the fallen world around them. Because of this times were hard, violence was common and women were absolutely at the mercy of men. Even in those times there were some previews of the liberated woman.
Far right legalistic Christianity still oppresses women across the board. This is partly due to a misunderstanding of the scriptures regarding women and also to the fact that for centuries men have made the rules and men without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit just naturally oppress women.
JESUS AND WOMEN
Jesus is the friend of women. The New Testament says in many places that many women followed Jesus. Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman openly and freely. This was never done in his day. Jesus honored his mother Mary from the cross by assigning John to take care of her. A woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first to see Jesus after he was resurrected.
The sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, were close friends of Jesus. Jesus not only forgave the woman caught in adultery with the warning not to do it again, but he dealt with the hearts of the crowd which had been taught the way of the Jewish legalists on the matter. He did not deal with the extreme right Pharisees directly here. One has to wonder where the man was that was involved when the extreme right was dragging this woman to judgment.
Extreme right legalists are hard on everyone. They are hard on men. But, the extreme right legalists are even harder and more severe on women. The self righteous man is always ready to blame it on the woman. “It was the woman that you gave me that caused me to sin.” Genesis 3:12.
Most American women now believe that they are equal to men. Along with men they also love liberty. However, since their personal and professional liberties are newer and fresher to them, they tend to value them more. After all, women did not even get the vote in the United States until 1920 and in many places equal pay for equal work is still not a reality.
Amazingly, nature will produce one half females and one half males when left to its own. China, for instance, has severely modified this because it sees a lesser value in female babies. About one half of the people in America are females. The influence of women should never be underestimated.
Men should encourage women in every possible way to thrive as equals in America. Some may say that the Bible teaches that women should be subject to men. The only verse that necessarily applies to this concept is that a woman should be in submission to “her own husband,” (Eph. 5:22) not to every man that she meets or knows or works with. However, there is more to that story.
PAUL'S APPARENT CONTRADICTIONS
Paul’s Corinthian letter is written to a single church which was in pandemonium. Order was needed above all things. “Let your women keep silence in the churches . . . they are commanded to be under obedience as also says the law.” (I Cor. 14:34) Paul tells them that he is forced to put them back under the law, the rules. “I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. . . . I have fed you with milk, and not with meat. . . .For you are yet carnal . . .” (I Cor. 3:1-3)
Context in scripture is very important and in some cases, such as this one, the writer explains the context in which the passage should be understood. “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” (Gal. 4:1-2) “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”( Gal 3: 23-24) As long as believers remain childish the law, the rulebook, is necessary to maintain order and decency and to teach them how to graduate into a productive walk in faith.
When both the men and the women are mature the law is no longer necessary. “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal 3:25-27) Galatians is written to a group of churches in a certain area.
These churches were not out of order. So Paul told them, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28) Another version makes it clearer, “There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. (Gal. 3:28 Amplified Bible) “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:18)
In summary, as mature believers they are not under the law. Peter says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) Actually the final word is to be humble and therefore everyone is subject one to another. To be subject to one another means to “cooperate.”
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