Opinions on faith and life

Misogyny’s War Against Egalitarianism

2007-12-07

Every war has its roots; they don’t just pop up suddenly and without warning. If you’ve read some of the material here on the issue of women and the Bible, you know that this war began with God’s putting hostility between Eve and the serpent, between her “seed” and his. Women have been the devil’s object of supreme hatred ever since. We see this played out in the general oppression of women by men in history, even in the Bible.

But when Jesus came, he proclaimed freedom for the imprisoned and healing for the sick. There were no disclaimers about this being only applied to men either. What he did by example, and taught expressly, was to restore women to their rightful status as fully human. But although women and men were made equal, he went even farther to turn the world’s notion of society upside down: the “greatest” were to put themselves on the lowest level, to support and serve the “least”. Think of this as an inverted pyramid, with Jesus as the “cornerstone” that holds up everything else. Greatness in the Kingdom was to be found in a person’s willingness to serve and support, not command and control. No disciples of Jesus were ever to “lord over” each other, and again there was no disclaimer that this only applied to men.

Yet no sooner than the ink dried on the last pages of the New Testament, misogyny overtook the assembly, and it has reigned ever since. Like the rabbis before them, the early “church fathers” pulled no punches in their views of women. Some quotes from a decent article (but painful color scheme!):

This sort of material should make every honest believer turn away in disgust. Instead, we have a resurgence of it in the churches. There was no excuse for it any time in history since Jesus came, yet it lives on and prospers. This deplorable mindset is absolutely satanic and obviously the antithesis of everything Jesus and the apostles set forth. They should be ashamed of themselves! But they are proud, arrogant, and intent upon doing to women what the Pharisees did to everyone: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Mt. 23:13) Women in the churches can honestly say along with John, “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.” (3 John 1:9)

Anyone who “loves to be first” is least in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said so.