In This Biography
Christianity and Submission
Earlier Christians lived in a male-dominated society and the holy book (Bible) reflects this. The belief that men and women should have different roles is still common in some Christian communities today. This is because they believe that God made men and women differently.
Some Christians believe there should be gender equality while some do not.
In Ephesians, St Paul explains that husbands and wives should ‘submit’ to one another.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself”.
Some Christians believe that men and women were made in the image of God and should be treated equally while some believe otherwise however We all are created in the image of God. As bearers of God’s image, we all share the same value and dignity. We are true “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14)
SEE ALSO: Are Married Women Expected to be Submissive in Islam??
Males and females are both the same in essence as fully human beings, but at the same time, they are different. So, it becomes imperative to clarify if these gender differences
It has been written down in the Bible that a woman should be submissive although the questions most women often want answers to are “Should women lead men? What do submission and headship mean? “
Feminism combined with expressive individualism has totally reordered the way many people think about what it means to be male and female.
It has become challenging to fully understand the scriptural texts dealing with male and female roles.
Let’s look at the role of genders in Christianity through the Egalitarians.
Who are the Egalitarians??
Egalitarians are people who believe in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
Unlike liberal theology, egalitarianism claims to uphold the authority of Scripture while also embracing a feminist understanding of equality between men and women. Not only do men and women share equally in the divine image, but they also share equally in leadership roles in the church, the home, and beyond: the Bible does not assign leadership in any sphere of life based on gender.
Egalitarians have pioneered a variety of hermeneutical innovations to explain biblical texts that do not seem to fit their paradigm of equality. For example, the command about wives submitting to their husbands in Ephesians 5:21–22 is really about mutual submission not husbandly authority. Likewise, when Paul says that the husband is the “head” of the wife in Ephesians 5:23 or 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Greek term for “head” means either “source” or “preeminent one,” but it does not mean “authority.” When Paul writes, “I do not allow a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1Tim 2:12), he means to prohibit women from teaching in a domineering fashion or perhaps teaching with an undelegated authority. But he by no means wishes to say that women cannot teach or exercise authority per se. He simply wants women to engage in teaching and leading in the right way.
SEE ALSO: Passing Down Religious Beliefs
Through these kinds of readings, egalitarians conclude that men and women are equal before God.
This reflects the biblical teaching that God has designed males and females as both equal and different. They are equal bearers of the divine image, equal partakers in the grace of life, and equal partners in the creation mandate. None of this precious equality diminishes at all the biological and social differences that God has woven into his design of males and females. These beautiful differences are not contradictions but complement.
Facts you should know about the gender roles;
- The man was created first and given the responsibility to lead: Scripture teaches that first the man was created by a direct divine act of creation and given the responsibility to lead; subsequently, the woman was created by God from the man (Gen 2:5–9) and for the man (Gen 2:18–20). He is to subdue the earth and is given the name “Adam,”
- The man and the woman are partners in exercising dominion over God’s creation: The man and the woman jointly receive God’s mandate to multiply and fill the earth, and to subdue it, exercising dominion. God creates the two as genuine partners, and this partnership envelops the man’s leadership and the woman’s support.
- The Bible’s teaching on God’s design for man and woman is consistent and coherent.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible paints a unified picture of what it means to be a man or a woman. The dual pattern of male leadership and male-female partnership pervades all of Scripture: from creation to the fall to redemption in Christ and to the final consummation.
In conclusion, Although women have traditionally fulfilled supportive roles in serving the church and gained their greatest joy and sense of accomplishment from being wives and mothers, the feminist movement has successfully influenced many women to abandon these divinely ordained roles. Unfortunately, this movement has made headway even in the church, creating chaos and confusion regarding the role of women both in ministry and in the home.
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