Equality & Respect
In 2014 the UN rolled out a campaign, titled HeForShe, aimed at getting men and boys across the world involved in the gender equality movement. Actress Emma Watson, a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, promoted this campaign by tweeting out, “Gender equality liberates women but also men from prescribed gender stereotypes.” This campaign was partially successful. They didn’t get the number of men involved they wanted, but they were successful in getting men involved. On January 21 men, alongside women and children, marched loudly and proudly in Washington, D.C. to declare everyone’s right to freedom from these perceived stereotypical and outdated gender roles.
This idea of marching for rights goes back to the 19th century when suffragettes fought tirelessly and marched ceaselessly for their right to legal equality with men, including, most importantly, the right to vote. Their relentlessness paid off, and in 1920 President Woodrow Wilson signed the 19 Amendment guaranteeing all female citizens the right to vote. Historians call this the first wave of feminism. The version of feminism we see today stems from what historians call the second wave of feminism. This wave came about in the 60s when women began fighting for abortion rights, equal pay, sexual freedom, and equality in the home to name a few. No two women fueled these arguments better than Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
In 1963 Betty Friedan wrote a book called, “The Feminine Mystique” advocating on behalf of bored housewives who felt insignificant. These women viewed their husbands and family as a trap that would not allow them to fulfill any purpose in life. I have many friends who are either working or stay at home mothers, and their lives are anything but boring and unfulfilled. These women Mrs. Friedan wrote about were constantly focused on what the world had to offer as fleeting, superficial moments of fulfillment. Instead of looking to the world we must look to the bible and see our significance is found in Christ and in fulfilling the role God created us for. When we take care of the household and raise and educate Godly children, we ultimately fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.
Where do we find this purpose in scripture? In Genensis 2:20-25 we see God’s plan and purpose for women. We were created to be companions and helpmates to our husbands and bear and raise children always teaching them the gospel. Women were created for man from the side of man to be equal to the man, but with different roles to fulfill. Men were created as the head of the household and to hold authoritative positions in the church, and as women we must submit to them as the head. This is God’s perfect order, and anything else creates and breeds chaos. Women are to be submissive to their husbands not over them.
Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:23)
This is not a suggestion, but a command from God. Wives are to submit themselves to their husbands, but this in no way gives husbands the authority to mistreat and disrespect their wives.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church , and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that liveth his wife liveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord of the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (Ephesians 5:25-30)
The husband is to love his wife by providing for and protecting her. Your wife is to be loved and respected as an equal in your marriage. Yes, you may be the head of the home and primary decision maker, but your wife has a voice and an opinion of her own, listen to your wife and take her opinions into consideration when making these decisions, especially since they involve her.
When it comes to the church women should never hold any authoritative position, i.e. pastor, elder, or deacon. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:12, instructs us that women are not to teach or usurp authority over the man in a church. Why? Because Adam was not the one deceived, but Eve was. She wavered in her faith and allowed herself to be deceived. There are many women today who have allowed themselves to be deceived leading them to boldly and unashamedly mock God’s word by falsely teaching over meant, such as Paula White-Cain, Beth Moore, Joyce Meyers, and Christine Caine just to name a few. They’ve led millions of people, including pastors, astray with their false version of Christianity. Women lead based on emotions and feelings, and we see in every shade of grey. Very often this will lead to false doctrinal beliefs that will eventually creep into the church. Men were created with a more direct way of thinking and decision making, black and white separated from emotions. Their decisions are based on the facts, and that is what is required when leading a church.
The women’s movement has relentlessly worked to reverse God’s created roles and make them genderless. Gloria Steinem, another feminist hero, has, since the 60s, been a very outspoken advocate for the women’s rights movement. She has been on of the most prominent voices helping women argue for their rights to abortion, sexual freedom, equal pay, and numerous other equalities they seek. She has tirelessly protested to help give “nasty” worldly women a voice, and now younger generations, such as Lena Dunham and Emma Watson, look to women like her and Mrs. Friedan.
It is now more important than ever that the Christian community rise up and become the role model for the upcoming generations. This must start with the parents. Mothers and Fathers is it is imperative you teach your children the word of God, take them to a biblical Christ centered church, and be that example of a Godly man and woman. Show little girls they are to be virtuous God fearing women who cling to Christ and not “nasty” worldly women who seek to undermine God’s authority, and show little boys they must be strong leaders who love and protect the women in their lives as Godly men ought to. The only way to prevent children from becoming worldly adults is by constantly teaching them the gospel, because only the gospel has the power to save. Without the gospel your children will be lost wandering in this world fighting for its causes, instead of serving in the local church, contending for the faith, and subjecting the world to the truth that only belief in Jesus Christ can save them and bring true equality between the sexes.
Written by Skye Waddle
#imwithHim is a blog series written as part of the Standing in the Gap ministry from West End Baptist Church located in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.