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Misogyny in the Church

15 May

This is the main statement made by the SBC President Mr. Steve Gaines. He said that there is no room for misogyny in the church. He said in the article found at the following link

https://www.christianpost.com/news/so-baptist-head-steve-gaines-asks-for-forgiveness-over-paige-patterson-controversy-the-church-is-no-place-for-misogyny-223984/

But what comes to our mind when we read that statement was one particular question- who is going to create the definition for misogyny in the church? Will it be men? Will it be humble true Christian women? Will it be those supposed Christian feminist women and their male supporters? Many other questions can arise but we first must look at the dictionary meaning of the term ‘misogyny’:

Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

{https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/misogyny}

Webster defines misogyny as:

a hatred of women

{https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misogyny}

Another question that needs to be asked and answered is ‘what actions are going to be included in this definition?’  But first we should define the 4 terms found in those dictionary definitions. All definitions will come from the Oxford dictionary at the link above:

#1. Dislike– Feel distaste for or hostility towards.

#2. Contempt– The feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration

#3. Prejudice– Preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Dislike, hostility, or unjust behaviour deriving from preconceived and unfounded opinions.

#4. Hatred– Intense dislike; hate.

The third question that arises is how are these definitions going to be applied? Will they be employed with an objective mind or a subjective one? Those terms are defined as follows:

#1. Objective–not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Not dependent on the mind for existence; actual.

#2. Subjective– Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions

Dependent on the mind or on an individual’s perception for its existence

Let’s go through these questions and examine the state of the church according to what is happening in certain cases we have already addressed recently.

Is saying a woman is well-built, showing hatred, dislike, prejudice or even contempt for a woman? Objectively, the answer is no.  It is describing the physical features of a woman who is attractive to the speaker. Subjectively, the answer is, depends. It depends on the mind and perception of the listener to those comments. If those minds are hyper-sensitive, then most likely the answer will be a yes. But if those minds understand and know the speaker of those words, then the answer is probably, no.

Of course, those minds may be influenced one way or the other by current secular cultural thinking. Which should not be involved when the problem is found inside the church. God’s culture is not the same as secular culture.

But what about Ms. Moore’s complaint when she was told by a male church leader that she was better looking than another woman. Was that comment something that was prejudicial, showing contempt for, disliking and hating women? No. It was a comment comparing the outward physical appearance of two women. Now of course, Ms. Moore’s mind applied a different idea to those words making her complaint subjective and not objective.

It may not have needed to be said and does show that the man thought more highly of Ms. Moore than the other lady but in no way did it reflect on either women’s intelligence, abilities or ministry. Nor did it stop either women from having a career. Because women think differently than men do, his comment was not applied properly by Ms. Moore. It was applied by her perception and assumption not actual fact or intent. She read more into the statement than the speaker said.

Then, Ms. Roys comment where she said in her article that women had no need for patriarchy. Did that comment show prejudice, dislike, contempt and hatred for male leaders? Of course it did. This conclusion is not based on perception of our minds or personal feelings and so on. It was based on the fact that the statement is very clear, the intention is very clear and the rejection of God’s stated way the church is to be guided.

Since we have studied both Christian and secular feminism we also come to the conclusion we did because of the facts surrounding the feminist movement, the rejection of God’s instructions and so on. It is not based on our personal opinion.

But what about God’s word? Can divine instruction be seen as misogyny? We should ask a few more questions. Can it be declared that the church has a prejudice against women? Or a dislike towards them? Or contempt of women? And finally a hatred for women?

For subjectivity, the answer to all those questions may be a strong yes. The way some women are described may show hatred towards women if the description is filtered through the 2 definitions of the word subjective given above. The fact that women are treated by God a little differently in their minds may also support their positive answer. Adam received a different curse than Eve, which in those subjective people’s minds is showing prejudice against women. Or the fact that women  are given a divine ban from leading the church is another piece of evidence the subjective mind would use to say that God, the Bible and the church were showing some hatred towards women.

They would be very wrong, of course. Because their opinion may be influenced by secular cultural ideology, their how personal views and a lack of the truth. One of the problems that make this issue worse than it should be is, that many women and men cannot or refuse to see the difference between real misogyny and God’s rules/instructions for the church.

We know that real misogyny takes place in the church. Many men take advantage of God’s word and use it to further their own goals or purposes. BUT the existence of misogyny in the church does not invalidate divine instruction and make those passages of scripture as part of any movement to hate women. Nor do the existence of certain passages of scripture make women second class or inferior to men. Any women who thinks that they do, are not using the objective definition for their analysis but the subjective.

There are reasons for this stand.

#1. God’s curse- God is just, fair and honest. His curse will fit the nature of the crime committed regardless of who committed the infraction. Saying God is wrong, is saying that God sinned, played favorites, is not just or fair. Many men were punished harshly for their sinful deeds just like Eve was. Remember that when God applies judgment, he is not looking to satisfy a blood lust, a hatred for women or evil. He is looking to see the sinful person to come to repentance and be restored to the faith.

As we see by Eve’s reaction when she bore Seth, his punishment worked to bring her back to a right standing with God. It was also at the birth of Seth’s son Enosh that men began to call on the name of the lord

25 Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord. (Gen. 4 NASB)

#2. God’s Church- This is the sticky issue in this whole mess. Too many people think that they own the church and have the final say on all things spiritual whether it be altering divine instruction or how the church should be led and by whom. They feel that they overrule God and try to make the church after their own thinking. This attitude allows for subjectivity to reign and the truth to be thrown out the door.

But God never gave up ownership of the church. As Paul said,

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything (Col 1:18 NASB)

The church has to use objective thinking to get to the truth and deal with the problems that arise when those people who call themselves Christian resort to subjective or secular thinking. We must also follow the Holy Spirit to the truth. We can’t get to the truth without his help.

#3. God’s Instructions- This is where everyone,  including the secular world, can see where subjectivity raises its ugly head. Too many people have their own  ideas on how the church should be run and who should lead it. Their rejection of God’s instruction tells us that they think  they know more than God and that they have the authority to alter those instructions to fit their personal ideas and perceptions.

It is why we have over 40,000 different Christian denominations and cults today. People stray from the truth and decide they cannot worship with other believers, so they go off on their own and start their own denomination. Sometimes this is done amicably and other times, the split is very traumatic and hostile. Jesus lamented this fact when he was still on this Earth. He said

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46 NASB)

This is why so many people like those described above, think that misogyny is in the church. They disagree with God’s instructions and apply their own subjective perception to God’s word and then cause trouble for innocent men and women. They think their own ideas are better than God’s truth and apply their own ideas to certain words, statements or actions conducted by male leaders or sometimes female Christians.

This is also why Dr. Patterson and other men like him are being held to a standard they were not raised by or given prior to their saying or doing those supposedly objectionable things. This is a key fact that their attackers miss. Those attackers are applying ideas and standards that were not taught anywhere but in their own  minds, their personal families and sometimes in secular institutions.This is unfair and wrong.

SInce the secular world is not the light unto the Christian world, using their ideas and thinking is sin and lets evil dictate to God’s church and people how their lives and organizations should be run. This goes counter to biblical teaching. Since we brought up the supposed Christian feminist movement in the church and have commented on it recently, we will repeat and say that that movement is not of God, it is sin and leading people to sin. It is leading people to reject God’s instructions and following deceived and false teaching.

God’s instructions are his choice. Since he still owns the church, it is his decision on who he wants to lead it. Those who have a problem with God’s instructions should be wrestling with themselves to see how they can humble themselves and obey what God has written. God did not write the Bible and then say, okay humans, think about it and see if you can make any improvements on what I have said.

Jesus said:

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:14 NASB)

There is no room for subjective thinking in those words. Nor are is there any room for any subjective thinking in God’s instructions. Those instructions are not misogyny in nature. God does not hate women, he has no contempt for them, he is not prejudice against them and he does not dislike his female creation. He has provided the instructions we need to follow in order to achieve living a holy life.

It is subjective thinking on some women’s, and their male supporter’s, part that says other wise. Misogyny is often read into the words, deeds and other actions of those in the church. While there are true cases of it, God’s word and his church are not misogyny in nature. Neither hate or are prejudiced against women.

Then, finally, it is not right to say that men and the church are misogyny in nature when they tell women to obey God’s word. It is misogyny when male leadership allow women to disobey God. Love does not want any person, male or female to sin. Hatred, contempt, dislike, etc., of women lets women go against God and pay the price for their disobedient acts and words.

Reminding and instructing women to adhere to the word of God is showing love for them. God said

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Heb. 12:6 NASB)

The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. (Prov. 29:15 NASB)

Letting women get away with sin is not showing any love for women at all. Those women who have applied their own subjective ideas to certain words spoken by male leaders need both rebuke and correction. They should not be allowed to bring evil into the church. But with that said, those in charge should make sure that the women’s allegations are true or not. An honest investigation following the HS to the truth is the only way to go.

The church does not have time to be pulled apart by subjective accusations that have little to know basis in truth. The church does not work by appeasing women.  It works when it obeys God correctly and learns the difference between terms so that they know which path to take to get to the truth. Women are not hated by the church or God. The instructions found in the Bible for them to follow are holy, divine words that need to be humbly accepted and followed.

The same goes for men. They cannot let their personal feelings about women influence their behavior but deal with those sinful feelings and exchange them for God’s way. Not only does this include abuse, it also includes those feelings that support women pursuing positions in the church that have a divine ban on females occupying them.

We are not followers of subjective thinking but the objective truth given to us by God and directed towards by the HS. No one is denying women access to God but to get to God women need to start humbling themselves and living the Christian life correctly.

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Posted by on May 15, 2018 in academics, Bible, church, comparative religions, controversial issues, education, faith, family, General Life, Justice, leadership, theology

 

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