The enemy would have you believe that God is the one to blame for the oppression of women, and that feminism is a way to get back what God took from us. If you believe for one minute that God wants women to be oppressed, I have a bridge to sell you. I’d like you to read Isaiah 54 to see just how much God loves women, and not just virgins! He loves those of us who are despised, childless, house full of kids, divorced, never married… He LOVES His women!
We see patriarchy in the Bible, and some mistake cultural systems for doctrine. We confuse the establishment of men for Gods intent, never bothering to discern the difference. In the Gospels Jesus often confronted church people for upholding the letter of the law without the spirit of the law. Remember the adulteress caught in the act but that was to be stoned without her partner in crime (John 8)? And one additional note… just because it was reported in the Bible doesn’t mean God approved it!
The desire to establish equality in a discriminatory and abusive society is righteous. Women should be contending for equal rights, pay, and protection. I do, however, feel the presentation and some of the ideals of feminism are contrary to God’s heart for women and thus disqualify Christian women for the very things we’re praying for. On the flip side, God is not honored by the woman whose life solely revolves around the getting and keeping of a man. Having a husband is work work work work work, but if a woman’s relationship with God is not in tact, she will still be dissatisfied with her life.
Here is what I believe the Bible speaks about God’s intent for the relationship between husband and wife.
- God intended for husband and wife to be treated AS ONE. When God created Woman, He pulled her from Adam’s side. Years ago, I heard Bishop Jakes preach that the side signified equality, companionship, and protection. If she had been pulled from the head, she would have ruled over Adam. If she had been pulled from his feet, Adam would have ruled over her. God’s original intent was to have the two walk side-by-side AS ONE. Not as equals. As one. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and CLEAVE… become one. Being one is GREATER than being two equals. Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. Selah.
- Woman was to be provided for and protected by man. You’ve seen the statistics about how women are compensated compared to their male counterparts. Women SHOULD earn equal pay in this context, but what if I told you God had a better plan in mind? It was Adam’s original assignment to do the work and for Woman to assist. Her needs and wants (because I want fine jewelry and perfume, and I serve a God who wants me to have them) were to be fulfilled by her husband. And not that in grouchy, controlling sense either. 1 Peter 3:7 tells men to give HONOR to their wives as the weaker (more sensitive and delicate) vessel. Honor means money, honey!
- Disobedience on Adam and Woman’s part caused an imbalance, thus the declaration “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). Did you know Adam named Eve AFTER they received their punishment? Before the fall, they both were called Adam (mankind), and she as an individual was referred to as Woman. Again, we see this idea of ONE, not two equals. Eve was given a name, thus a separate identity after the fall. I don’t understand it all (sounds unfair, right?), but I believe most of the problems women experience are a result of this statement (I hesitate to call it a curse) in Genesis 3:16. For all the longing women seem to have for a husband, all the tugging and pleading and compromising we do to keep men in our lives, all the abuse we tolerate from our male leaders… we do it because we think it validates us. To be a good woman you must check of these boxes, and all of that pressure is a result of this curse. The curse is being in desire to a man who is not your loving, doting, faithful husband, and this is not God’s intent.
- We are redeemed from the curse through the blood of Jesus Christ (Galations 3:13). We have to believe this, confess it, and walk in it.
What does all this mean for the SINGLE, Christian woman?
- Negative patriarchal practices are RAMPANT in the church, and rather than attributing it to old systems, I’m going to call it what it really is… a spirit of control. There are church leaders who are obedient to God’s Spirit and do not rule by control, fear, and manipulation. Find a church that has one and flourish. (For clarification, I do not believe just going to a church pastored by a woman will solve this problem. A spirit of control and manipulation is just that, a spirit. It can use a person of either gender, and women leaders are sometimes more overbearing and controlling because they feel the need to overcompensate. I know that’s an unpopular opinion, but there is no lie.)
- We DO need equality in America and in the church, and you can uphold the ideas of equality without taking on a critical or angry spirit. Reading materials and commentary from some feminists will have you angry and hating men. Though the anger is justified, we must guard our hearts against wrong attitudes (Proverbs 4:23). The body of Christ itself is not complete without the full expression of the gifts that God placed into both men AND women.
- You don’t have to date, court, or marry patriarchal jerks. God has prepared men who have tender hearts and understand what it means to love and care for a bride. Some married women in the church will sell you a formula to get a husband, but you don’t want her man or the dirt she’s brushed under a rug. Seek out married and single women with soft, tender hearts and follow their example in disposition and character for your own development.
- Don’t buck at every idea that seems patriarchal. Ask the Lord for understanding about the issue be it hair style, weight, clothing, or how to date. Some tenets of feminism have put up blocks in our hearts making it hard for us to receive from the Lord. For example, God has told me several times I need to lose weight. If I uphold the idea that I don’t need to lose weight to attract a man because he should love me as I am and take me as I am or not at all– I’m missing out on God’s best for me, and my future will be that not at all. That’s horribly transparent, but very real. What IF God wants you to change your weight, hair, or style of dress? What IF he uses that young, obnoxious pastor to say so? He used a donkey to speak to Balaam. Don’t buck. Pray about it, and find out what the Lord is saying to you.
For your edification, read the Scriptures posted throughout. I know this post may ruffle some feathers, and while I am not prepared to debate feminism, I will gladly do my best to respond to questions and comments about the Bible and some things that seem horribly unfair to women.
Pray the following:
- Lord, remove any area of hardness towards men from my heart.
- I forgive the men who were in authority over me who hurt me.
- Help me to see my brothers in Christ the way you see them.
- I decree and declare that I am free from the curse of being in desire (needy, helpless, wanting, and incomplete) to any man who is not the husband you have ordained for my life.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,