The saying, “It’s a man’s world” is a sad reality. One half of the human race is treated as less and not as worthy from birth and the worst of it is that some Christians claim several reasons for male superiority.
1. Women are Biologically Inferior to Men
Proponents of male headship say because he was created first, God intended for Adam to rule over Eve. If we followed this idea through to its natural conclusion, we might imagine monkeys have headship over all humans because they were created first.
Because Eve was created from Adam’s rib, some claim women were meant to be an extension of Adam, but these theories leave out the fact that the Godhead said, “Let us make humankind in our image.” This would include Eve as well as Adam. Eve reflects the feminine side of God.
Did God create Eve to be some bimbo brain to carry Adam’s water bucket? I think NOT. Consider the wise women of the Bible who saved many lives. There is Abigail whose husband was foolish. Deborah who was a judge and leader. Esther who took the risk of sacrificing her life for her people.
The New Testament is full of examples of women and Jesus–some supporting Him with their own money and the woman at the well who carried the gospel to her entire town. It’s obvious God gave women with an equal mind and I believe He intends for us to use it.
2. Women Need to Submit to Men for Their Own Good
At the heart of all misogyny, patriarchy and false male headship is Adam’s denial of his own sin while blaming Eve. Proponents of male headship claim it was a woman who was deceived first, so it’s essential for woman’s salvation to allow a man to be her priest. This is supposed to protect her from being deceived like her great grandmother Eve.
This idea seems to leave out the fact that Adam knowingly sinned. Eve’s deception is no worse than Adam’s willing sin. “All have sinned and come short of God’s glory.” God’s glory is His character and no one misrepresents God’s character more than men who abuse their privilege as the head of the home.
3. Patriarchy is a Biblical Institution
Yes, but so is slavery and polygamy. God was working with people wherever they were at throughout the Bible. There is no peace in the home where one partner gives up individuality to meet the other’s needs. To sacrifice our selfish desires is one thing, but to sacrifice who God created us to be is a crime—not only against self, but against our Creator.
There is nothing wrong with a man being the head of the home if—and only if he is kind to his wife and treats her like he himself would like to be treated. Unfortunately this is rarely the case in most male headship homes. For many wives and children living in homes filled with domestic violence, male headship equals slavery.
4. The Bible Must be Taken Literally
Proponents of male headship insist on taking the Bible literally—especially the words of Paul. Other verses are often ignored in favor of certain choice verses that sound like Paul is a misogynist. They cite Paul’s words that the wife is to obey her husband. They use this to command respect and duty from their wife and children, but Paul also tells us that the husband is to love his wife like Christ loves the church. If only more Christian marriages could reflect this as a reality.
When people choose to take a fundamentalist approach, they ignore the over-arching principles in scripture and the culture of the day. The Bible says “in the last days knowledge will be increased.” God has allowed knowledge to increase to help us understand the Bible better and to give us evidence so we can spread the gospel.
If we ignore the evidence that’s been found to better understand the scriptures, we might fail to use the knowledge that God has provided for us. This leaves lots of room for misinterpretation and possibly a failure to follow Jesus.
5. Great Pastors and Evangelists Support Male Headship, so it Must be OK
Even worse than misusing Paul’s words, is the lie that God created Eve to be less than Adam. This rumor is spread by well-meaning and kind looking preachers who have all sorts of amazing facts on the subject, but lack the true Spirit of Jesus. If you are in disagreement with this, I have a blog about Jesus and how He treated women to end this series.
The Pharisees were great religious leaders in Jesus’s day. They preached about and kept all of the Ten Commandments. They tithed every shekel. They kept the Sabbath like experts and taught everyone else to do the same. From all outward appearances they were lacking nothing, but they also made sure Jesus was dead so they could rush home in time to observe the Sabbath. These were the leaders of the church and many people followed them like sheep without thinking for themselves until they too joined in hurting Jesus.
When modern Eves feel disheartened by misogyny and false accusations, they are in good company because Adam not only blamed Eve, but he blamed God too. In Adam’s version, he was an innocent victim. He points to Eve for causing him to sin, them points to God for giving him the gift of Eve. Many modern Adams have blamed the companion God provided for him, while ignoring his own sin. His own neglect and selfishness have contributed to destroying the love they once shared, but he feels better blaming Eve.
Whatever we do to someone else—it’s the same as if we did it to Jesus. Jesus always stands with the marginalized. Jesus stands with women whether they have been beaten and abused or ignored and shunned. If men insist on subjugating women, they are actually subjugating Jesus Himself because Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you have done it to Me.”