The other day, the excellent editor I’m working with on the book I’m compiling, The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church, asked me a question on the manuscript.
I’d written, “God nowhere in Scripture commands men to rule over women.”
Her comment was, “This is a big statement. Do we know it is true?”
There was only one verse in Scripture that I was aware of that might say this. In Genesis 3, God says to Eve that one of the consequences of the Fall was that her desire would be for her husband, and he would rule over her. I’m persuaded this is descriptive (ie., God is telling what will happen) rather than prescriptive (ie., this is the way God wants it to happen). If it is prescriptive, and knowing that God is always consistent with himself, how do you explain Deborah, Esther, Priscilla, Phoebe, let alone a host of other women God has used in positions of leadership down through the pages of history?
I couldn’t think of any other verses. But was I totally sure, without any shadow of a doubt?
So I posted the question on Facebook and had a slew of fascinating responses. I’m very thankful for all of them. Most were very thoughtful, and one produced some verses I’d never thought of in this context. Nearly everyone agreed with my statement, and I was very grateful for the person who contacted some theologians on my behalf, who also agreed with me!
Assuming, then, that the statement is true, what difference does it make in our churches?
Adapted from Felicity Dale's blog, Kingdom Women. Felicity Dale is the author of numerous books including Simply Church. She is an an advocate for women in the church and trains people to start simple, organic house churches around the world.