For years I struggled with my relationship with the apostle Paul. On the one hand, as a teenager, I was completely taken with books like Galatians and Philippians and studied chart after chart of the missionary journeys (I am a missionary kid, after all). But as an adult, I had trouble reconciling the “clobber verses” […]
The creation accounts in Genesis are of utmost importance when discussing gender relations within the Church. “Creation order” is a foundational claim of complementarians, who root their beliefs in the idea that since man was created first, it means that men must lead women. But does Genesis truly reveal a God-ordained male headship through creation order? A close look into the creation account will provide us with a fuller understanding of God’s intentions for men and women.
Genesis 1:27 states that, “God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. Verse 28 goes on to say that God blessed “them” and spoke to “them”. This is the first mention of mankind. It’s important to see that male and female are mentioned, and the blessing that was bestowed on “them”.
The Hebrew word used for mankind in verse 27 is “‘adam” which refers to humanity as a whole .
We don’t see the proper noun, Adam, used until Genesis 4:25, so this common noun refers to the whole human race. One thing that is important to note is that the Hebrew language does not contain a gender neutral pronoun, therefore the word mankind was used.
Many complementarians do not refer to Genesis 1 in the formation of their doctrine, unless it is to make the announcement that God created Adam first, not necessarily acknowledging the fact that the more accurate definition of ‘adam would be humankind. Egalitarians find Genesis 1 to be very telling of God’s heart for equality because these verses make it clear that both men and women were created in God’s image, after which he blessed them.
Hundreds of pages have been written on this chapter, with almost as many interpretations, proving this to be one of the least understood and most contested passages of all time. Yet many Christians continue to cite 1 Timothy 2 as the foundation for their belief in male only leadership in the church. In today’s post Gail shares her “elevator speech” about why we need to stop using this passage in the debate.
It is all too easy for the loudest and most prolific voices to dominate what a young Christian hears about gender relationships in the Christian church and family.
My twenties were found during the 1990’s. Looking back on that era now, it seems like there was a considerable amount of effort directed toward Christian men to “reclaim” what it meant to be a godly man. As a young husband and father, I recall going through parenting workshops and reading family and parenting books emphasizing ideas I now understand to be based on patriarchy and complementarianism to varying degrees.
On the surface these ministries, classes, and books made quite a bit of sense to a young Christian wanting to live right and “biblically.” And I was almost taken in by them. Almost. But there were things that continued to bother me. They taught what appeared to be a singular vision for what a godly man, a godly woman, and a godly family looks like. The implication was that anything else was less than the biblical model.
For over a decade I didn’t know what to do with the discomfort I felt about what was taught to me as the traditions of gender and family in the church. Then a few years ago I began to encounter blogs and books showing there are other ways that Christians interpret and apply biblical texts, including those dealing with gender.
One of my pet peeves about some translations of the Bible is the way translators have added masculine pronouns that don’t exist in the original manuscripts.
in Ephesians 5:24, Greek manuscripts of the New Testament frame male authority or the submission of wives to husbands not as command, but rather as a description.
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one who was deceived, it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women […]
In Lost in Translation, Part 1, Bob showed that some words in the Bible are translated differently when they refer to women as opposed to when they refer to men. Case in point: Phoebe’s depiction as servant and helper rather than minister and leader. Today he addresses the impact of translation on our understanding of […]