Here is a link to an amazing sermon by John Ortberg on Jesus Christ’s counter-cultural treatment of women. (Preached at Willow Creek on May 8, 2011 and entitled “You are More.”) I was touched and encouraged by the sermon, and thankful for the increasing number of Evangelicals speaking out with more egalitarian views.
I am saddened by the women turned off of Christianity because they perceive it as anti-woman. For example, here is a quote from a secular feminist group explaining why they are “secular” and anti-religion:
Secular means i.e. ‘without religion’ and include atheists, secularists and anti-theists, who see the harm that has been done to people, particularly women by the patriarchal religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam that treat women as second class citizens.
Jesus Christ’s treatment of women was counter-cultural for the patriarchal time in which He lived 2,000 years ago. He treated them as equals. It is understandable that the early church struggled to follow the example of Jesus in this regard since it was different than the status quo. Changes must come slowly sometimes. In Paul’s New Testament letters we can see the church starting to work through this issue, and women gaining more dignity and ministry opportunities. Yet, the positive progress did not seem to keep advancing, and patriarchal tendencies remained. Sadly, over 2,000 years later, the church as a whole still seems behind on this issue. And too many modern women see the church as patriarchal or unfriendly towards women.
Since we are still living in a fallen world (Genesis 3) and awaiting the final redemption that will come when Christ returns – it is not surprising that women world wide still struggle for equality. However, the church should be leading the way and should be a positive example for the treatment of women. Sadly, this is too often not the case. The church needs to catch up to Jesus!
I am thankful for the organization “Christians for Biblical Equality” which affirms and promotes the biblical truth that all believers—without regard to gender, ethnicity or class—must exercise their God-given gifts with equal authority and equal responsibility in church, home and world. Jesus Christ IS good news for women!