View Full Version : What is your religious title now?
12-14-2004, 09:14 PM
I get confused over this. I get confused over what to call my beliefs, and how to encourage people or be concerned over people's actions. I have been reading about the church history of women in jewish and christian biblical times and it is driving me away from the God of the bible. I don't know why women were singled out for oppression for being simply the weaker sex by a God that made them that way to be sensitive. And I am very afraid of being abused in a marriage with the "submit in all things". No one should follow anyone blindly. God didn't make a woman's mind to work like that so is this the real God?
12-15-2004, 12:49 AM
My opinion - and ONLY my opinion, I might add - is that woman was created as equal to and partner with man until the Fall blew that. Then, in accordance with sin and sin nature, those who were strong enough took advantage of those who were weak enough until after enough generations it was culturally acceptable (though from what I can tell, never in God's original design for the relation between women and men).
Taken in chronological and cultural context, then, Jesus was a radical - as far as he was concerned, women were equal with men. Fancy the thought. :eek: :cool: :rolleyes: And although within the early church organization, men were given the roles of leadership, that did not mean the women's roles were not important; women were IN COMPARISON TO THE SURROUNDING CULTURE given much more freedom of thought and expression within the aegis of the church.
Of course, there were other ancient cultures that gave their women much more freedom... including voting rights and property ownership... but God has been working to restore the disrupted balance for centuries, and the women in "jewish and christian biblical times" were run roughshod through some of the most unbalanced stuff.
BTW, there are several examples of women who didn't "put up or shut up" - Deborah, Abigail, Lydia to name a few... and they worked within their culture to effect change.
*sly grin* As regards "submit in all things".... that is one of the most twisted doctrines there is. God created woman to be a partner to man - but not a doormat. The "submission" intended is not a universal thing (cf Abigail above!) nor does it apply to all issues. It is only intended that the final decision in a matter - and the final responsibility - should ultimately fall on the shoulders of the husband. And if the husband acts in defiance of the clear revealed will of God - for example, has an affair, beats his wife, doesn't take care of his family, etc. - the wife has the permission and responsibility to NOT submit in common sense.
Just my opinion, of course. ;)
12-15-2004, 05:43 AM
. . . if husbands were to love their wives as Christ loves the church, this whole "submissiveness" issue would be moot. Maybe it's hard for me to understand the conflict in the whole "be submissive" thing between spouses because I won the lottery when it comes to husbands. No, he isn't rich or soap-opera handsome, but we have never had a fight or even so much as a conflict. In fact, the most frustrating thing about him is that he is so anxious to please me that even if I don't care what restaurant we go to, he insists that I be the one to choose!
When it comes to big things - like buying a house or car, spending money, disciplining the children, etc., we just talk about it and we both always come to the same logical conclusion.
I have seen men who believe their wives should wait on them hand and foot and be perfect housekeepers and who never allow them to spend a dime on anything without their approval. Where does that come from? Lack of trust? Power and control issues? A wife who has no common sense when it comes to making good choices? And, even so, why is it so hard to not simply sit down and talk about what the best course of action is?
Help me out here - what brings about this whole "I have to submit to my husband whether I like it or not" thing? I don't understand it.
12-15-2004, 06:40 AM
In the New Testament, Paul seems to be the purveyor of the submission doctrine. I am one of those people that take the bible as it is. There's lots of cultural stuff that doesn't apply to me and isn't necessarily the mind of God. If you notice Jesus' action toward women, it's alway one of liberation and empowerment. I can't think of a moment (off the top of my head) that the red words in the bible promote some kind of inferiority of women message.
That's my take on it.
12-15-2004, 08:18 AM
I can't think of a moment (off the top of my head) that the red words in the bible promote some kind of inferiority of women message.
That's my take on it.
THANK YOU Willow - I don't believe there is a moment that Jesus "looks down" on women. Every encounter he has with them elevates them. If I didn't have so much other junk to do, I'd prove it out. I'm certain that it can be done.
So far - this whole thread has given me a lot of perspective on this issue that I really needed.
I know that the leaning of the church is really messed up on the issues that relate to marriage. I've just been trying to understand it well enough to fight it.
The subject line here is "What is your religious title now?" I consider myself a radical follower of Jesus. As I see it in scripture, Jesus mingled with sinners and responded to the religious heirarchy with pure rage - ultimately at least.
Someone once told me that because Jesus was perfect - the only perfect person ever to walk the earth - that everything in the Bible should be seen through His words and actions. In other words, all right interpretation of scripture puts all the weight of authority ultimately on those "words in red".
Part of the trouble of the church, I believe, is that they put more emphasis on Moses and Paul, than Jesus. The strangest thing about the people who wear those "WWJD" bracelets and stuff is that they don't really seem to know what Jesus would do.
OK - I'm rambling now....
Equality in Personhood and Importance
Just as the members of the Trinity are equal in their importance and in their full existence as distinct persons so men and women have been created by God to be equal in their importance and personhood. When God created man, he created both "male and female" in his image (Gen. 1:27; 5:1-2). Men and women are made equally in God's image and both men and women reflect God's character in their lives. This means that we should see aspects of God's character reflected in each other's lives. If we lived in a society consisting of only Christian men or a society consisting of only Christian women, we would not gain as full a picture of the character of God as when we see both godly men and godly women in their complementary differences together reflecting the beauty of God's character.
But if we are equally in God's image, then certainly men and women are equally important to God and equally valuable to him. We have equal worth before him for all eternity. The fact that both men and women are said by Scripture to be "in the image of God" should exclude all feelings of pride or inferiority and any idea that one sex is "better" or "worse" than the other. In particular, in contrast to many non-Christian cultures and religions, no one should feel proud or superior because he is a man, and no one should feel disappointed or inferior because she is a woman.  If God thinks us to be equal in value, then that settles the question, for God's evaluation is the true standard of personal value for all eternity.
When in 1 Corinthians 11:7 Paul says, "A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man," he is not denying that woman was created in the image of God. He is simply saying that there are abiding differences between men and women that should be reflected in the way they dress and act in the assembled congregation. One of those differences is that man in relationship to woman has a particular role of representing God or showing what he is like, and woman in that relationship shows the excellence of the man from whom she was created. Yet in both cases Paul goes on to emphasize their interdependence (see vv. 11-12).
Our equality as persons before God, reflecting the equality of persons in the Trinity, should lead naturally to men and women giving honor to one another. Proverbs 31 is a beautiful picture of the honor given to a godly woman:
A good wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels....
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
(Prov. 31:10, 28-30)
Similarly, Peter tells husbands that they are to "bestow honor" on their wives (1 Peter 3:7), and Paul emphasizes, "In the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman" (1 Cor. 11:11, 12). Both men and women are equally important; both depend upon each other; both are worthy of honor.
The equality in personhood with which men and women were created is emphasized in a new way in the new covenant church. At Pentecost we see the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy in which God promises:
"I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy
... and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days
I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy."
(Acts 2:17-18; quoting Joel 2:28-29)
The Holy Spirit is poured out in new power on the church, and men and women both are given gifts to minister in remarkable ways. Spiritual gifts are distributed to all men and women, beginning at Pentecost and continuing throughout the history of the church. Paul regards every Christian as a valuable member of the body of Christ, for "to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Cor. 12:7). After mentioning several gifts he says, "All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills," (1 Cor.12:11). Peter also, in writing to many churches throughout Asia Minor, says, "As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace" (1 Peter 4:10). These texts do not teach that all believers have the same gifts, but they do mean that both men and women will have valuable gifts for the ministry of the church, and that we should expect that these gifts will be widely and freely distributed to both men and women.
It seems, therefore, pointless to ask, "Who can pray more effectively, men or women?" or, "Who can sing praise to God better, men or women?" or, "Who will have more spiritual sensitivity and depth of relationship with God?" To all of these questions, we simply cannot give an answer. Men and women are equal in their ability to receive the new covenant empowerment of the Holy Spirit. There have been both great men and great women of God throughout the history of the church. Both men and women have been mighty warriors in prayer, prevailing over earthly powers and kingdoms and spiritual strongholds in the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Equality before God is further emphasized in the new covenant church in the ceremony of baptism. At Pentecost, both men and women who believed were baptized: "those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41). This is significant because in the old covenant, the sign of membership of God's people was circumcision, which was given only to men. The new sign of membership of God's people, the sign of baptism, given to both men and women, is further evidence that both should be seen as fully and equally members of the people of God.
Equality in status among God's people is also emphasized by Paul in Galatians: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:27-28). Paul is here underlining the fact that no class of people, such as the Jewish people who had come from Abraham by physical descent, or the freedmen who had greater economic and legal power, could claim special status or privilege in the church. Slaves should not think themselves inferior to free men or women, nor should the free think themselves superior to slaves. Jews should not think themselves superior to Greeks, nor should Greeks think themselves inferior to Jews. Similarly, Paul wants to insure that men will not adopt some of the attitudes of the surrounding culture, or even some of the attitudes of first-century Judaism, and think that they have greater importance than women or are of superior value before God. Nor should women think themselves inferior or less important in the church. Both men and women, Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, are equal in importance and value to God and equal in membership in Christ's body, the church, for all eternity.
In practical terms, we must never think that there are any second-class citizens in the church. Whether someone is a man or woman, employer or employee, Jew or Gentile, black or white, rich or poor, healthy or ill, strong or weak, attractive or unattractive, extremely intelligent or slow to learn, all are equally valuable to God and should be equally valuable to one another as well. This equality is an amazing and wonderful element of the Christian faith and sets Christianity apart from almost all religions and societies and cultures. The true dignity of godly manhood and womanhood can be fully realized only in obedience to God's redeeming wisdom as found in Scripture.
12-17-2004, 03:44 AM
That "submit in all things" is very decieving when the whole text of context isn't considered.In that very same discourse men are commanded to love their wives as Christ Loved the Church.If a man loves his wife enough to die for her,sees after her needs ,physicaly and emotionly,cherishes her above all else,I think few women would have a problem submitting to such a man.My wife submits to me in this way.That submission doesn't mean she has no rights.My wife is the thing that makes my life complete,she makes every day special for me ,even my bad days when I am a jackass.Dolphin please don't buy into that religious B.S.that would have you believe that a wife should be a doormat.My wife is no doormat,no woman who is truly loved by her husband is a doormat!
12-17-2004, 10:29 AM
Thank you for your responses. I can't write anything more right now I have to register for more courses.
12-22-2004, 07:20 PM
I still call myself a Christian, although I do not really claim a denomination. If someone asked what I prefered, I would say Methodist or Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I like how these churches work with other denominations as though they are 'members on the same team'. This is, after all, what they are...but other groups I have been part of have said anything but.
I don't think I could follow another religion after knowing Jesus. I just feel very strongly that often what is of Him and what is taught by the church are two different things...
12-22-2004, 07:27 PM
Willow, I completely agree. I believe you *must* read the Bible contextually because if you take single verses out of context you often miss the entire meaning. People can (and often do) take single verses out of context to prove a point and that is a problem because people can twist the meanings to make it say whatever they want it to.
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