Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Posts tagged ‘gospel’

Salvation is a BIG, multi-faceted, all-including, relational story (with some social justice and revolution included)

I have heard evangelicals say that Christians should focus on the gospel – other concerns should be forgotten for the sake of the gospel. Others say the church should focus on both the gospel message and Christian actions like feeding the hungry, helping the abused, etc.

What if the gospel looks different from what we have been taught? If they are both right about a single-minded gospel focus, and about helping those who need it? What if the gospel actually includes, among others, feeding the hungry and helping the abused?

gospelasusualAs a young evangelical, I attended classes where I learned to “witness.” What that actually means, is that I was taught a formula to repeat to others: (more…)

Why Biblical Womanhood theology is even worse news for single women than for married women

Biblical™ Womanhood theology, if consistently applied, is worse news for widowed women, divorced women, not-married(-yet) women, and girls of all ages, than it is for married women.

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does not officially say women should live with male relatives, not go to college, not work outside the home, and not be independent. But they are – I will motivate my accusation just now – on a road that logically leads towards these views. I will quote some Biblical™ Patriarchy supporters, which openly expresses the logical conclusion of the CBMW view:

1) “And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?” – Brian Abshire, quoted from now-deleted material at the Vision Forum ministries website.

2) Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner believe parents should not raise daughters who are going to compete with men in the marketplace,” but should train their daughters to be “a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man so he can compete in the marketplace.” They speak out against female independence.* (more…)

Paul envisioned complementarian marriages in Ephesians 5 (Part 2)

Part 1 showed how a 1st Century husband could picture Christ, and a possible reason why the Bible asked Christ-like behaviour of husbands in particular here, while elsewhere all Christians are called to act Christ-like.

The same way the Bible calls everyone to be Christ-like but repeats it to the one who is, like Jesus, in the stronger position, the Bible asks all believers to submit to one another, but in Ephesians 5 repeats it to the wife: “Submit as to the Lord.”

How do we submit to the Lord? We love Him (and submit to Him) because He loved us first. Submitting to the Lord is never about fulfilling Jesus’ selfish desires or ego trips, because Jesus is not selfish. It is about learning from the one who knows best, and living by that knowledge. It is about accepting the glorious riches of heaven that Jesus shares freely. It is about doing the same things Jesus did, and even greater things. (John 14:12) “The same things Jesus did and even greater things” doesn’t sound like gender roles at all!

We saw how the red and blue lines do pretty much the same thing in the second picture as in the Gospel picture. The difference is that the start of the male/ female picture was equality (we do not have that with God), and a total restoration to what God created us to be would also be equality.

Can complementarians today fulfil the gospel picture? Here is a picture of what happens when you impose complementarianism on today’s society:

Does this spell gospel 3

1) Eve was made as an equal to Adam, and the first picture is of equality. 2) In modern Western society, men and women have basically equal rights before the law and equal opportunities. (There are still problems, reasons why feminists rightly complain, but the big picture is one of roundabout equal rights.) (3) Complementarians impose hierarchy and gendered responsibilities on two people with equal opportunities and gifts. Instead of moving them closer together, it moves one person who don’t have more rights (thus no more ability to get legal protection for them both) or wisdom or perhaps even money above another, and turns him into the leader seemingly simply because he has the right genitalia.

Does this look at all like the gospel? To me, it doesn’t. I think modern day Christians can learn from Jesus and the church in Ephesians 5:

When one party has way more of the good stuff (opportunities/ property/rights) than the other party, it seems the Bible suggests a “complementarian” relationship whereby the one with more helps to lift up the one with less, and the lower has the responsibility to learn to use good things wisely (submit to the teaching and discipline needed to handle the good things). But this complementarian relationship does not suggest eternally separate roles, but the lower one becoming more like the higher one.

Of course, this passage does have applications for modern cultures, where a woman can be as likely as the man to be the one with more (knowledge, education, wisdom, opportunity or whatever good thing): Use whatever  you have more of for the benefit of both you and your spouse, lifting him/ her out of their bad situation.  When your spouse is the one who has more, work along with him/her, learning to use the good thing wisely.

Paul envisioned complementarian marriages in Ephesians 5 (Part 1)

My egal friends may shoot me for this, but I am 100% sure Paul envisioned complementarian marriages in Ephesians 5.

But, please do not quote- or argue with – that statement without the rest of this article. (more…)

Gospel marriage – Stop selling the gospel short!

Suppose, for a moment, that you saved me from a horrible fire when I was a little girl. I escaped unharmed, but you almost paid with your live and have horrible burn scars.

Assume, now, that a few business owners say they want to celebrate you and your great sacrifice, and celebrate [fill in your name] principles at work. You were friendly when you saved me, and they will celebrate by being friendly with their workers. And just like I should be very grateful for your great sacrifice, the workers should celebrate [fill in your name] principles by acting very grateful – they should willingly work overtime at short notice, accept low pay, obey all commands immediately…

Will you think these employers are celebrating you, or that they are trying to pull a fast one on the workers? (more…)

Just a coincidence?

When reviewing one of my older posts (which disagrees with a Mary Kassian idea that sex symbolize our unity with God), I found this sentence again:

Believing that sex is the main way people can understand the gospel, would lead to one of two ways of treating children: You could either get to the conclusion that the gospel is not meant for children, or that sex and marriage is meant for them.

“Biblical” patriarchy supporters  promote several books (To train up a child; Child Training tips) that imply the spirit of God cannot work in children to teach them to act right, out of love for Jesus – you have to install obedience by beating them the moment they disobey. This, insists their child raising books, readies them to obey God without your help one day when they are adults. The gospel of God’s love and mercy is seemingly not for their children.

They also believe in marrying very young if possible.  Marriage is, in their view, for the very young who never experienced decision-making apart from their parents.

I never heard one of them say sex symbolize our unity with God, but they do believe in the “man symbolize Christ, woman symbolize the church” idea, which is the logical predecessor to “sex symbolizes our unity with God”.

Coincidence – or is it?

What gospel is reflected in your marriage?

NN made this comment on Cheryl Schaltz’s blog:

…let us not forget the metaphor which God has used to express this truth [of the husband as Lord, king and master like God]. Marriage. For as God’s metaphor our marriages are supposed to reflect this truth; to ourselves, to each other, and to those around us.

Later he elaborates:

A shorthand expression which has stuck with me describing this is “Man cannot shut up about the gospel – He may be telling the truth about Jesus or telling a lie about Jesus but he is always, always talking about Jesus.”

I would agree with NN that we are witnessing for Jesus, so we should think about the message we send. This is what I answered:

NN, you say people should reflect the gospel in their marriages? For the sake of this argument, I’ll assume you are right about that.
By that view, if a wife obeys a simple selfish demand (For example, “Make me a sandwich, now”, when both are equally busy with something else*) it shows the world that Christ is selfish and we Christians are just giving in to God’s egotism. When, as patriarchal teachers recommend, a wife submits to the point of death to an abusive husband and don’t ask the help of the police, she teach a gospel, according to you. That gospel would be: Christ destroys your life, and Christians are really suckers for punishment to listen to him when they could be saved from this tyrant.
Would you agree that, to reflect the gospel, women have to respond to good things the man gives? When he don’t give good things, she cannot respond as to Christ? Because the gospel include that we love Christ because He first loved us, that we know that what He asks now is right and wise, and therefore we can do it.
For that reason, I believe wifes who submit in areas where husbands are wrong or selfish, are presenting a distorted gospel. She should rather help him to overcome his flaws, as his helpmeet.

We, in modern culture, teach a terrible message when women’s submission is emphasized: Rightly or wrongly, we send a message of God having unjust and arbitrary rules. Complementarian men often give the world the impression of selfishness (they support what works for them). Comp or egal, we should think really hard about the gospel we portray to the outside world.



* About the sandwich example: The circumstance and dynamic of every situation is different, and I can, of course, think of many situations in which it will be good and right to just make that sandwich without thinking again of it, through situations where it will be wise to mention his minor self-centredness, up to situations where she will edify him best by simply saying “go do it yourself.” This is a tiny issue, but an unbelieving observer may get a distorted gospel even from such a minor exchange.

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