Monthly Archives: April 2013

Notable Quotes: Gender Roles and Legalism

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John Piper’s view on women defending men ~

~ “Suppose a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.”

 ~  John Piper

A response to John Piper’s “Jason and Sarah” situation ~

~ “The really interesting thing here is that while Piper acknowledges that gender stereotypes do not always line up with reality, and that clinging to traditional gender roles is not always the most efficient, effective way of getting things done, he insists that it is right to cling to them anyway, even at the cost of life, limb, and a competent woman’s conscience. It seems to me that this is because he views masculinity, femininity, and the relationship between men and women as symbolic, almost a Christianized version of Plato’s Theory of Forms. In this paradigm, the individual is subsumed by the ideal, the here-and-now human relationship by the eschatological one it points toward. It doesn’t matter if Sarah has a black belt, and Jason is physically handicapped in some way–the important thing is that they live up to some cosmic ideal of manhood and womanhood, as a way of representing God and humanity’s relationship with Him.”  

~ Jenny Rae Armstrong

And another response ~

~ “The complementarianism of, say, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Owen Strachan and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood relies heavily on demanding that all men conform to rigid, prescriptive standards of manhood and that all women conform to rigid, prescriptive standards of womanhood, regardless of personality, giftedness, culture, circumstances, and perhaps most ironically, the very complementary character qualities that often make a relationship work!

This is legalism, plain and simple, for it  reduces faithfulness to a list of rules and roles that must be maintained…even when maintaining them is absurd or destructive.”

~ Rachel Held Evans

Lost Women of the Bible: Eve Part II

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The Birth of Shame. BIBLE SCRIPTURE: Genesis 3:8, "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden."

 

The chapters in this book are long, but well worth the read!  I’m going to sum up the rest of the chapter on Eve as best I can.

From the book ~

“The Bible’s very first statement about Eve is without question the single most important fact we can know about her.  ‘God created [mankind] in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27, emphasis added).  God created Eve to bear his image – to be like him.  This is the Bible’s starting point for any definition of what is means to be a woman.”

“Eve was created to know and walk with God and to make him known to others by reflecting his character in her life.  This is a woman’s true path to fulfillment and meaning – the only way we will ever discover who we are and find our purpose.  And it is accessible to all of us.”

What is a woman’s purpose?  To glorify God and know Him.  It’s simple, and anyone can do it!  I love it because it’s completely freeing! There have been some who have attempted to define what it means to be a woman of God, but sadly, these definitions are restrictive and promote legalism.

Eve is also created to be an ezer, because, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”(Genesis 2:18)  This used to be interpreted in such a way that the woman’s purpose revolved around homemaking and  childcare.  But,

“Thinking regarding the ezer began to change when scholars pointed our that the word ezer is used most often(sixteen of twenty-one occurrences) in the Old Testament to refer to God as Israel’s helper in times of trouble.  That’s when ezer was upgraded to ‘strong helper,’ leaving Christians  debating among themselves over the meaning of ‘strong’ and whether this affects a woman’s rank with respect to the man.  Further research indicates ezer is a powerful Hebrew military word whose significance we have barely begun to unpack.  The ezer is a warrior, and this has far-reaching implications for women, not only in marriage, but in every relationship, season, and walk of life.”

Oh, how I just love this!  Women are made to be strong companions, not dependent burdens.  The traditional view of what a woman is – physically weak, too emotional, unreasonable, illogical, and in need of male protection – doesn’t sound like a strong helper to me. As James says ~

“God created the ezer as the man’s staunchest ally in the life of faith and in fulfilling the Cultural Mandate.  Together they exercised dominion and labored to advance God’s kingdom in their own hearts and on earth.”

It really is a shame that for so long, the world, including the Christian Church, has viewed the sexes as being at odds with one another.  Whether it was the perception of women as not quite human, as temptresses, or as solely put on earth to serve men, these views have been destructive to the Church’s mission in the world.  I’m hoping that through books and blogs like this one, we can learn just how important it is that men and women work together, not in separate spheres.  We are truly each other’s strongest ally, not opposites fighting for who has the most power.

“God was forging a powerful union between the man and the woman that was essential for the challenges they faced together.  Eve brought to this alliance everything God called her to be as image bearer and ezer.  God’s plan to reveal his image through humanity involved both male and female.  Nowhere does God’s image shine more brightly than when men and women join in serving him together.  This vital interaction between men and women enriches every aspect of life.  Adam needed Eve’s gifts and strengths to fulfill his calling, and she needed his gifts too.”

It’s because of the fall that we have the never-ending “battle of the sexes”.  But it’s not the ideal.  Men and women, especially Christian men and women, should be emphasizing what we have in common so we can work together.  This would mean putting aside the obsession with the “equal but different” mantra I keep hearing.  As Adam did in Genesis 2:23, let’s celebrate the creation and unity of men and women in the Kingdom of God.