This topic often comes up in Christian and church circles. What is a woman's place? Is it the biblical definition? Surly all Christians agree that this is the God given role for all women.
But this isn’t true. Many Christians follow the western world view of equality between the sexes, at least that was how I was raised. It wasn’t until recently when I realised that this was a very sensitive topic for a lot of people.
Growing up in The Salvation Army I am very accustomed to women being in leadership and pastoral roles. I didn’t know this was controversial.
Last November my Youtube feed was flooded with people commenting on the drama between two well known American pastors: Beth Moore and John MacArthur.
MacArthur had been asked to comment on Moore’s ministry to which he simply said (while laughing) that she needed to “go home”. The conversation online was full of outrage.
The Atheist channels were saying evangelical Christianity is regressive. The progressive Christian channels were challenging MacArthur's words with bible verses and social science and the conservative Christian channels were quoting Paul in 1 Timothy chapter 2, verse 11.
I was just listening to all the opinions, seeing the hashtags #Iwillnotgohome and #metoo that followed. All while I wondered what year I was currently living in.
So the question must be asked, what is a woman's place? The simple answer is “whatever she wants it to be”. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.
Well, I wish it was that simple. Paul did make those challenging claims.
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” (1 Timothy chapter 2, verses 11-12).
Paul made a few comments about women that are often a cause of great stress for many Christian women reading the bible. As a woman who lives in the 21st century this doesn’t measure up to our modern idea of equality.
From this view, Christianity is regressive. But is it the final answer? Are we just a regressive religion with some progressive churches who have strayed from the true path? NO!
Paul was a man of his time. A time that had traditions and customs that excluded women. He was speaking from that world view. We should look to Jesus’s treatment of women.
Jesus restores people. He doesn’t put them in a box or force them to live a life that is harmful. He broke cultural norms that we wouldn’t even think of in our modern world as being progressive (as they would be normal by our standards but unheard of in his time).
Women funded Jesus ministry and were the first to see him when he was resurrected. Women were prophets, leaders and teachers throughout the bible.
God calls people everyday into ministry and teaching roles, so why would God do this if only a small percent (ci-genderd hertrosexual males) were the only ones permitted to take up the calling?
I know for myself God called me to more than the role of a biblical wife.
If Paul was right then technically I shouldn’t be writing these articles. But God gave me a voice and something to say, so best believe I’m going to say it.
Chanell Diaz is a member of The Salvation Army in New Zealand. She and her husband Ronald both work as child care workers and Chanell is also a qualified Youth Worker through Praxis. Chanell has a heart for justice and enjoys creating art and writing in her spare time.