Haven’t you heard? Everything is sexist these days. Movies, music, television, politics, the media, the army, the workforce, air conditioning. Yes, air conditioning. If you don’t believe me check out the article here. It seems that a day can’t go by without the internet adding another thing to the list of things that are sexist. Many would like to add Christianity to that list.
And I might too, but I look at the whole situation a little differently.
But before you go about deciding whether or not I’m right or wrong, which you may have already, let us first look at the definition of sexism. Because you can’t really decide whether you can label something until you know what the label means. There are a few different definitions of sexism. One is “prejudice or discrimination based on sex”. Another is “behavior, conditions, or
attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex”.
I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (1 Timothy 2:8-12)
Man, do people hate that. It’s cultural, they say. Despite the fact that there is really nothing within the text that indicates this was a cultural mandate only, in fact much to indicate the opposite, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s extremely sexist. A woman is to remain quiet? That’s certainly discrimination based on sex. And if 1 Timothy wasn’t enough:
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 13:33b-35)
But, then, we have verses like this:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
What gives? How can the Bible claim to make no distinction between the sexes, then tell women to shut up? How is that fair?
All natural questions.
I’ve written before about the fact that every human relationship mirrors our relationship with God in some way. Just as a wife is joined with her husband, we are joined with Christ. However, the picture of marriage goes beyond the relationship we have with each other, and with God. The relationship between a man and a woman is also a picture of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. 1 Corinthians 11 says that just as man is the head of woman, the head of Christ is God. The members of the Trinity are not more God or less God because one is the head of the other. They are all equal in their divinity. However, there is a definite hierarchy. Jesus did not consider it unfair to submit to his Father’s will. If it cannot be beneath the Son of God to be under the headship of God the Father, it is not beneath a woman of God to be under the headship of a man of God. Spiritually, there is no difference. There is nothing about a woman’s soul that makes her less than a man. This is simply the way that God has designed the relational chain of command. There is nothing about the chain of command that makes one link less important than the other.
Part 2 coming soon.