A major Southern Baptist seminary fired one of the movement’s giants of the last quarter-century, Paige Patterson, because of his beliefs about spousal abuse and why it isn’t grounds for divorce. Southern Baptists, who represent over 15 million God-followers, call for male-only pastors and women to “submit graciously” to their husbands. In many countries a Book in God’s name is used to justify women not having the same rights as men to vote, drive, travel, or dress how they want. Such beliefs in the United States or other countries has led to environments conducive for atrocities women have faced at the hands of men throughout history.
Why do men not believe women have equal rights to men?
Not all men who believe roles should be determined according to gender than gifts are pigs? Their motives aren’t always so they can control or be in power. They often believe the way they do because they are convinced a Book teaches this is God’s will for humankind. I am married to a woman for 36 years who believes this and she is a better person than most of you. But, does the Bible teach loving leadership or mutual submission between genders in marriage and that women cannot be in authority over men in church roles?
How we must view the Bible?
I have defended here that the Bible can be interpreted to support loving hierarchal or equalitarian relationships. Too, I am not convinced that God controlled the minds of the writers where they couldn’t misunderstand God at times and needed to grow in their understandings of God. But, I will concede that I could be wrong. That is the point. An infallible Bible still requires interpretations which are subjective. We could be wrong! Certainty must never be claimed on the matter of what God thinks about women’s roles in work and worship according to the Bible.
How can we determine what God thinks?
I believe God speaks through our moral intuitions or how is their practically universal agreement that murder or stealing is wrong. We all have this “ought” inside us to treat others like we want to be treated. I am absolutely convinced equality of the sexes in choices is what God thinks, but if I don’t want others forcing their subjective “hierarchal or loving leadership” interpretations on others then neither must I force my views. We must not handle our differences by being dogmatic in our views of God, especially when scholars who consider the Bible authoritative disagree. We must admit we could be wrong and be open to creative solutions.
What if personally convinced roles are best determined according to gender than gifts?
I cannot in good conscience be a part of women not serving in leadership roles at work or in the church if so gifted. You may be married to a husband who doesn’t abuse their leadership role. Often though in an impasse, men assume leadership is making final decisions. I have never had an impasse in marriage that cannot be solve creatively without one partner making all such decisions. Besides, Jesus said being first is last so maybe the husband should always defer to his wife.
But, many men don’t handle well lack of mutual submission in their marriage. The temptation to abuse emotionally or physically is best removed. I compare it to spanking. I removed spanking as an option as a father because of the impulse to react and not consider creative alternatives. No, my kids didn’t all end up in jail! They are some of my best friends and they aren’t young. One should be free to speak openly if disagree that God ordains roles according to gender than gifts. We can handle differences openly and lovingly without declaring dogmatically because the Bible says so.
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