Many scriptures in the Bible cannot be understood as written. But one scripture, 1 Timothy 2:15, has theologians, seminary professors, and pastors creating a separate step that women must take in order to enter into heaven. Men can simply ask for forgiveness for their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
But certain complementarian Christian leaders are introducing a new element into salvation for women. So great is their desire to keep women subordinate, that they have reached into salvation itself and changed the way women are saved.
“But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (1Timothy 2:15).
Bruce Ware, a prominent member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and a professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where Al Mohler is president, is someone who uses this scripture to change the way women accept Christ as their savior. What Ware says is shocking and you must read it carefully. Look for two things: 1) that women cannot become Christians (submit to God) until they accept the fact that they are not men; 2) Ware’s elevation of earthly men by putting a man as a factor in a woman’s salvation.
Read Ware’s words in the following interview as reported by Bob Allen, then a reporter for ethicsdaily.com. Allen quoted Ware when Ware spoke at a church in Denton, Texas:
“Ware also touched on a verse from First Timothy saying that women “shall be saved in childbearing,” by noting that the word translated as “saved” always refers to eternal salvation. “It means that a woman will demonstrate that she is in fact a Christian, that she has submitted to God’s ways by affirming and embracing her God-designed identity as—for the most part, generally this is true—as wife and mother, rather than chafing against it, rather than bucking against it, rather than wanting to be a man, wanting to be in a man’s position, wanting to teach and exercise authority over men,” Ware said. “Rather than wanting that, she accepts and embraces who she is as woman, because she knows God and she knows his ways are right and good, so she is marked as a Christian by her submission to God and in that her acceptance of God’s design for her as a woman.”
We remember that in Genesis 3:4, Satan tempted Eve with the fruit by telling her that God knew that their eyes would be opened and they would be like God, knowing good and evil. God was the ultimate Being, there was none like God. Now Ware claims that women want to be men and I find his comments very disturbing. Ware says that women’s salvation depends upon their denouncing their desire to be men. In this way, Ware has elevated men on earth to the status of God on earth. This doctrine diminishes God and elevates man to the status of earth-gods. In addition, Ware is claiming that women are still seeking to be as God just as the serpent said in the Garden of Eden (only now it is an earthly man-god that Ware claims women desire to be). My message to these complementarians: It is not women who desire to be God.
Ware is not the only seminary professor who subscribes to the belief that women must first bow to human males before they can be saved. James (Jim) Hamilton, Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) where Bruce Ware is a professor, says the same thing as Ware. Before coming to SBTS, Hamilton served as Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Houston campus and was the preaching pastor at Baptist Church of the Redeemer. This connects two major Southern Baptist affiliated theological seminaries with Ware’s theology.
Hamilton says, “All women must embrace their role as women and bear children, and if they do so in faith they will be saved.” Hamilton continues, “And I agree with Schreiner and others on the point that Paul wants women to embrace what it means to be female, and he has chosen childbearing as an example of something that only women can do. This doesn’t mean that single women or barren women can’t be saved, but they should by faith embrace what it means for them to be women.” Thus, these words by Hamilton make a woman’s salvation dependent upon a human male, because it is only human male sperm that can impregnate a woman. The woman also has to put aside her so-called yearnings to be a male and accept the fact that she doesn’t measure up.
Not all complementarians believe that a woman must denounce her desire to be a man, and then have sex, in order to be saved. Tom Challis is often quoted and he weighs in on 1 Timothy 2:15 by saying that the scripture means that women in general have been given the chance to redeem Eve’s sin by bearing children.
Challis says, “There is good warrant to expand the word childbearing here so it points not just to the act of giving birth, but to all that Paul has just discussed a couple of verses earlier—godly womanhood. In the wider context of the passage Paul is referring to the whole of a woman’s calling within the family, within the church, within the world. She is to embrace godly womanhood, to be who and what God has created her and called her to be. She is to fight against that tendency to usurp authority that is not hers.”
According to complementarians, Godly womanhood is totally dependent upon human males. It is solely a woman’s relationship to a man determines that whether or not she is exhibiting Godly womanhood. Depending upon which complementarian you believe, 1) women are saved by having a baby and denouncing their desire to be men; or, 2) women have a chance to redeem all mankind by having sex and giving birth to babies and not usurping authority from males.
It appears that Ware, Hamilton, and Challis believe that a woman’s salvation is dependent upon the sex act by a man inserting his seed into the woman. If this is the case, then it is as if he has inserted his godliness (giver of salvation) into her; or if she has no male to have sex with (marriage does not come into the picture), she must be willing to have sex with a man (because sex is the way children are conceived), and it is only then that she, or mankind, can be saved.
The one thing all these men have overlooked is that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that would signify that men no longer would have saving power for women. Of course men never had saving power for women in the first place, but why let a few facts get in the way of demeaning women.
If they do not believe it this way, then why are they saying it? There is no justification for making such outrageous statements about women. There is no justification for making women’s salvation different from a man’s salvation. It is their desire to be god – giver of salvation – that compels them to do this.
Can you imagine Jesus telling women that in order for them to be saved, they must denounce their desire to be men, and then be willing to have sex with a man?
Pastors, you who have studied the Word, do you have no understanding of what you are saying! How is it that you do not understand that in your desire to elevate man, you have diminished God? My soul, my heart, cries out for to you to repent. Do you not see your own desire to be God?
Exodus 20: 1-5 “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. Do not worship any other gods besides me. Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god!”