Tag Archives: oppression of women

Unbiblical, Part 1 – Submission v. Self-Defense

In a misguided effort to provide comfort and direction to abuse victims, well-meaning Christians will often quote Bible verses out of context or cite biblical principles which do not apply to abuse, thereby actually exacerbating the pain victims feel.

As a result, victims may turn away from the real comfort they would find in Christ.

This series of articles is intended to clarify – both for Christians, and abuse victims interacting with them – certain Scriptural passages and principles that could otherwise be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Submission v. Self-Defense

Perhaps the most damaging is the principle of “headship”.  The basis for this can be found in Chapter 5 of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, among a set of instructions on holy living for both men and women.  The entire chapter speaks of Christians loving and being “submissive” to one another.

The frequently overlooked instruction to husbands (highlighted below) is an integral part of the principle:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her [Emphasis added]…” (Eph. 5: 22-25).

God alone knows how many battered women have lost their lives on bad and unbiblical advice from a priest or minister that they return to a dangerous household, and submit to the will of their abusive, alcoholic, or drug addicted husbands. Continue reading

Advertisements

23 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Unbiblical, Part 1 – Submission v. Self-Defense

In a misguided effort to provide comfort and direction to abuse victims, well-meaning Christians will often quote Bible verses out of context or cite biblical principles which do not apply to abuse, thereby actually exacerbating the pain victims feel.

As a result, victims may turn away from the real comfort they would find in Christ.

This series of articles is intended to clarify – both for Christians, and abuse victims interacting with them – certain Scriptural passages and principles that could otherwise be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Submission v. Self-Defense

Perhaps the most damaging is the principle of “headship”.  The basis for this can be found in Chapter 5 of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, among a set of instructions on holy living for both men and women.  The entire chapter speaks of Christians loving and being “submissive” to one another.

The frequently overlooked instruction to husbands (highlighted below) is an integral part of the principle:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her [Emphasis added]…” (Eph. 5: 22-25).

God alone knows how many battered women have lost their lives on bad and unbiblical advice from a priest or minister that they return to a dangerous household, and submit to the will of their abusive, alcoholic, or drug addicted husbands. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Subjugation

Sadly, the Bible has often been misused to support the subjugation of women. Such abuse is never justified, and is certainly not endorsed by the Bible. It reflects the patriarchal nature of our society (and the sins of individual men), rather than any directive from God.

For those who may wish to challenge this mistaken approach when confronted by it, here are a few observations from the Bible.

In His Image

God created both men and women in His image (Gen. 1: 27). Women are not pets or some lesser form of being, useful only for propagating the species without contributing anything to it.

That woman is described later in Genesis as having been created from the rib of Adam (Gen. 2: 21-22) reinforces, rather than undermines, this equality. Adam describes Eve as flesh of his flesh; marriage is said to require that a man leave his parents, to be joined to his wife as “one flesh” (Gen. 2: 23-24).

Hearts, Minds, and Souls

Both men and women have hearts, minds, and souls with which to love and serve God (Matt. 22: 37). Women have no less an obligation than men to do this. A just and holy God would not have made this command applicable to women, had they not been as capable as men of complying with it.

Equally Responsible

Though the nature of their punishment differed, God punished Adam and Eve to an equal extent for their sin in eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3: 16-19).

Whether the story of the Fall is interpreted literally or figuratively, it confirms God’s view of Adam and Eve as equally responsible for their infraction. And it offers an explanation, i.e. sin, for the distortion of the relationship between men and women [1].

Female Role Models

The Old and New Testaments contain a surprising number of female role models, including women in leadership positions and women active in the early church.

Esther was a Jewish queen who saved her people from destruction (Book of Esther). Deborah served as a judge, successfully working with her general, Barak, to defeat the enemies of Israel (Judg. 4: 4-8). Both Jael (Judg. 4: 21) and Judith (Judith 13: 7-8) took it upon themselves to kill enemy commanders. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Justice, Religion, Violence Against Women