Women-the reason we can’t win the war in Afghanistan

The killing of the 10 medical men and women in Afghanistan is symptomatic of the whole country.

We may as well pull out of Afghanistan today because we cannot win this war.  This war is being waged by a secular military force against people who are Muslim.  Deep in their hearts they do not believe that the United States is right.  In their souls they subscribe to the Taliban because they believe that they are obeying Allah (God). 

Among other ways, the Taliban manifests its religious beliefs in the subjugation of women.  Both women and men believe that women are destined by Allah to be subjugated and you can’t change that belief.

I am Southern Baptist, and that belief is as prevalent in churches in my home town as it is in Afghanistan.

You can’t change that attitude in the United States, and you can’t change it in Afghanistan.  We may as well get out right now and save the lives of our soldiers.

Those same soldiers who are fighting against the Taliban and indirectly for Afghan women’s rights, will come home and be told in their churches that they have authority over their wives, that their wives must submit to them.  The returning women soldiers will be told that they must submit to their husbands, similar to what the women in Afghanistan are told.

Baptists, Catholics, Churches of Christ, Mormons, and many Evangelicals all seek to hold women to a rigid Middle Eastern custom.  We see this when Christian women are denied full equality based on their gender, because “the Bible says so.”

The Bible was used as an argument for slavery at one time. Just as owning another human being is now recognized as being evil, someday we will recognize that men claiming authority over women is not what the Bible teaches. Having authority over women puts husbands in the line of divinity, and we know man is not divine.

I sat in an Assembly of God congregation in Springfield, Missouri, where 2,500 people were told that we women knew that our husbands had authority over us. Recently I was told that that I had the “Spirit of Jezebel” which is the equivalent of calling me a witch because I calling for women’s equality. It is awful when a Christian man in my home town in Texas calls a Christian woman a witch. Read about the Spirit of Jezebel and you will see that women who want to be treated as equals are being accused of witchcraft by many in our churches today.

A friend told me last week that her pastor didn’t preach that wives must submit to their husbands.  I know her pastor, and I am sure he doesn’t.  I also know that their church is affiliated with Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Convention and this is what many of them believe.  Unless her pastor is standing up for women, he is allowing this preaching against women by his inaction. Some pastors are actually standing in the pulpit and preaching submission by women in their churches on Sunday.  Most by-laws of Baptist churches specify men only as deacons. There is not a woman deacon in any Baptist church where I live.

Whether in Afghanistan or your city, women are the standard bearers of religion. Even if it is not visible by the wearing of headscarves or burqas, the very fact that they are told that men have leadership over them, and authority over them, keeps them in a subjugated position.  The position is voluntary by women in Afghanistan and voluntary by many women  across our nation.

To show you what some Baptists believe in our churches, I have copied a letter I received from a woman who is a member of a BGCT church.  She uses words from the The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood which was written in 1987 by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood as a backlash against “feminism” in the church. 

 This is the attitude that many Christians have and it almost mirrors what a woman in Afghanistan believes.

Dear Shirley,

God does value women!  He puts men and women on the same plane, breaking down barriers.  However, He has also made us different and clearly knows how we can complementeach other.

I have witnessed a breakdown in families and society stemming from individuals being basically self-centered and insisting on their rights.  There is balance and harmony in the body of Christ and in the home when individuals accept their roles in an humble, submissive manner to the Lord.

I have observed God honoring marriages that are a picture of Christ and the Church.  This harmony comes through submission, not demanding our rights.

My husband and I have two daughters that have been married for a number of years.  We are very proud of them as wives and mothers because I can see them modeling the Ephesian passage.  One of our daughters has always been very head strong.  She has chosen to trust her husband in matters of leadership and management.  He responds to her in love and a desire to provide for their family.  Our other daughter is married to a very strong-willed man.  Her marriage has sometimes been difficult, but I can see the fruit of her submission. 

As you well know, the subject you have addressed is controversial and divisive.  I want to see only men in leadership as deacons and pastors.   I do not have a beef.  However, if this issue is ever confronted in our local church, I will have a beef, and predict that it would be very divisive.

That is the reason we should pull out of Afghanistan right away.  If we cannot change this attitude against women here in the United States, and in our churches, how on earth can we change the attitude of a tribal Muslim country? 

Are you willing to work for a change in attitude so women in America can be free from subjection in their churches?

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Equality for women in Southern Baptist churches, The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Women-the reason we can’t win the war in Afghanistan

  1. Jane says:

    Hi, can I share a bit here, I have worked with RAWA and I once was engaged to a Muslim from Afghanistan [back in 90s] so…when you all were in the church, dealing with the comps, etc.,

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  2. Jane says:

    [see above] Oh, so you can see yourself, RAWA does not support either Taliban, USA or the War Lords, but because they do not have power [at all] they will get under which ever umbrella that at least gives them ample chance of Survival, if they are all dead, they can’t fight for a better future–this is something Western women don’t get–because we have the Luxury of being able to choose philosophy, religion, political ideology here,

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  3. Lydia says:

    ” However, He has also made us different and clearly knows how we can complementeach other.”

    This poor woman does not really understand what she is saying. She is parroting what she has heard. I would love to ask her some questions if she is reading this blog.

    1. God made us differently PHYSICALLY. So, putting the biological differences (for the sake of pro creating) aside, what are the other innate SPIRITUAL differences between men and women.

    2. Do you believe that men and women are saved in a different way? Are we sanctified differently?

    3. According to scripture, men and women both get FULL inheritance of what salvation means. Can she tell me why that is taught in scripture but then she thinks in other places there are limits to the inheritance?

    4. Can she tell me why there is NO prohibition to women teaching and leading men in the Old Testament but AFTER the Cross and resurrection and the temple veil torn in two, there are NEW prohibitions on women?

    5. Do you really believe that Jesus Christ gave males special anointing He does not give females? Do you really believe that there is an earthly layer between women and Jesus Christ?

    I think that many get this wrong because they have a wrong understanding of authority in the Body. They think in terms of human authorities. (Boy does that get us in trouble. We end up with Ted Haggards and Mark Driscolls!) Our authority in the Body and marriage is Jesus Christ. He sent us the best TEACHER: The Holy Spirit. You do not have to hide behind your husband or pastor. The Holy Spirit can teach you, too. Many women do not thnk it is their repsonsiblity to be theologians. For some reason, they can only learn from men instead of their Savior. It is very sad. What is even sadder is that many women who believe these things never grow spiritually past another depraved HUMAN saved by the same grace.

    When a group of believers are being limited in their full inheritance of salvation by other professing believers, of course it is divisive. Slavery was divisive yet taught by many that it was God’s will and they could make their case from scripture. Yet, the abolitionist movement was started by Christians in churches. And yes, it was divisive for very good reason.

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  4. Mabel says:

    Well said, Lydia.

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  5. Kristen says:

    Letter to the Baptist woman who wrote to Shirley:

    Yes– do be submissive and honoring to your husband. He should also be submissive and honoring towards you. This is what the Scriptures teach. All Christians should submit to one another, and husbands should respect and honor their wives and lay down their lives for them, and wives should respect and honor their husbands.

    But the Scriptures do not teach that God has given your husband divinely sanctioned authority over you. The Scriptures only teach that Christians should submit to man-made, cultural authority structures for the sake of the spread of the gospel. Husband-rule in Bible cultures was the product of the institutionalization of the Curse, “He shall rule over you.” God permitted aspects of husband-rule in Israel just as He permitted polygamy and slavery– but nowhere in Scripture does He ever tell husbands to rule over their wives.

    The problem with inserting husband-authority into Christian submission and honor is this. If you believe your husband has God-given authority over you, then if you have the type of husband who lords it over you, you will submit. When he raises his unrighteous and selfish demands ever higher and higher– you will submit and submit and submit, destroying his Christian character and your very soul. If you believed that he did not have this authority, you would lovingly and firmly confront him in his sin and not let him get away with lording it over you– which is clearly wrong according to Scripture– and you could save both of you a world of grief.

    If, on the other hand, your husband is the type of man who will not lord it over you, but will lay down his life and serve you as the Bible says, then you may still believe that leadership of the family is his responsibility and not yours. So when he makes a stupid decision and disagrees with your input, you will give in to him much sooner than you might if you believed you had equal responsibility with him. (You might even give in to him without any input, despite your reservations, because you don’t feel the responsiblity for the family decision.) The result is that the family may make some very stupid decisions. Your husband will also feel alone in the stress of sole responsibility that was meant to be shared. God gave him a wife to be his face-to-face partner and strong aid– that is what the old words “help meet” really mean in the ancient Hebrew of Scripture. God did this so the man would not have to rule the creation alone. When your husband considers himself to be in authority over you, then he has made himself alone again. This is, as God says, “not good.” This is what my marriage looked like at one time. My husband and I are much happier now that we share leadership and responsibility as equals.

    Either way, giving your husband authority that was never divinely granted is bad for both of you. It can still work, if both parties will do as the Bible says– if the husband lays down his life and serves his wife, and his wife submits to and respects him– because Paul’s advice to Christian husbands and wives living under cultural husband-rule was designed to work for them under that system. But Paul told husbands in that system to do as Christ did for the Church: to lay down their privilege and give themselves to raising their wives up to rule beside them. This amounted to an overturning of husband-authority from within Christian marriage, even though Paul was against attacking the system of husband-rule from the outside, because it would have hindered the gospel.

    It is true that submission and honor work in marriage. Both are of God. But husband-rule is not of God and should not be perpetuated in His name.

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  6. Lydia says:

    “If, on the other hand, your husband is the type of man who will not lord it over you, but will lay down his life and serve you as the Bible says, then you may still believe that leadership of the family is his responsibility and not yours. So when he makes a stupid decision and disagrees with your input, you will give in to him much sooner than you might if you believed you had equal responsibility with him. (You might even give in to him without any input, despite your reservations, because you don’t feel the responsiblity for the family decision.)”

    And what is worse, many comp women wait around for their husband to be the “spiritual leader” of the family and instigate bible studies and devotions at home. I saw this over and over in comp circles…as the women waited and waited. It was so very sad for the children.

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  7. I have never understood how they feel someone having authority over you is not also lording it over you. We are human, and not Jesus after all. When people feel that they have authority they also feel they can demand things from others below them on the authority chain.

    The submission that is required is that of a free woman, given by her own choice.

    It can’t be demanded by the husband, but only offered by the wife.

    If she is not free to say no, she cannot say yes.

    If she is not free to refuse, she cannot submit.

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  8. Our other daughter is married to a very strong-willed man. Her marriage has sometimes been difficult, but I can see the fruit of her submission.

    Yikes! Place the burden on the daughter, because cowards within the church can’t hold him accountable. They say submission is a command, but the very next portion is Love your wife as Christ loved the Church. Its sad that they pressure one side, and ignore the other. They hurt both, and yet they don’t even see it.

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  9. Mabel says:

    Hannah said,

    “If she is not free to say no, she cannot say yes.

    If she is not free to refuse, she cannot submit.”

    Excellent rebuttal to the warped teaching of submission prevalent in the churches today.

    Like

  10. madame says:

    Hello!
    I’m jumping in here a few days late, I realize….
    I wanted to reply to the woman who wrote the letter in the original post.

    you say:

    – I have witnessed a breakdown in families and society stemming from individuals being basically self-centered and insisting on their rights. There is balance and harmony in the body of Christ and in the home when individuals accept their roles in an humble, submissive manner to the Lord.

    Very true. I have witnessed it too! Men demanding their “right” to more freedom than their wives, their right to choose the church that suits them regardless of what their wives or children need. Men pursuing their “calling” regardless of what it means to their wives and children.
    Yes, I agree, when individuals demand their imaginary rights be bowed to, they destroy their families. And that is one very good reason why I oppose Complementarian teaching. Read it well, and you will see how husbands could easily believe they are not just entitled to, but called to impose their will.

    – I have observed God honoring marriages that are a picture of Christ and the Church. This harmony comes through submission, not demanding our rights.

    Yes! Mutual submission. The husband laying down his life for his wife (not just if it should come to it, as I’ve found it tought on CBMW) and the wife submitting to him, not his perceived authority. Notice wives are told to submit to their own husbands, not their own husband’s authority.

    I believe the well-known passage in Ephesians 5 can be understood as the guidelines to mutual submission in a patriarchal setting. The absence of any command to husbands to lead, exercise authority, or rule is very telling. Why didn’t the Apostle Paul tell the husbands to lead lovingly? Rule as Christ rules the church? Why didn’t he say that the husband is head of his wife, as Christ is head of the church, his body, if which he is Lord, or King, or Leader?

    What isn’t there is as telling as what is there.

    Finally, I hope your daughter’s husband, the headstrong husband, is learning to love her, listen to her, and honor her as he should.

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  11. Pingback: Does it matter who is behind the wheel? | bWe Baptist Women for Equality's Blog

  12. Retha says:

    True. God cannot trust us with changing the world if we cannot even change ourselves.

    As for the letter you quote: “I have observed God honoring marriages that are a picture of Christ and the Church. This harmony comes through submission, not demanding our rights.”

    Women should, at the very least, be taught that they simply cannot picture Christ and the church by submitting to any request/order which goes into the directions of selfishness or foolishness. Because Christ’s will is perfectly good.

    Besides, the “husbands are made to picture Christ” idea cannot work. How can, before man, woman, or sin, existed, man have been made to piture the redeemer from sin and woman a redeemed sinner? Unless, of course, God wanted people to sin all along. And that is heresy.

    But she’s more right than she know when saying harmony comes throuh submission- mutual submission is just the thing for harmony!

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    • Welcome! Thank you for joining us!

      When this lady wrote the letter that you are quoting about harmony, I had no idea where that came from. I’ve since found out that it is from the Danvers Statement. But you know where it else it comes from (and this lady would be shocked to know it)? It also comes from the teaching of the Fundamental Latter Day Saints as stated by Carolyn Jessup in her book.

      True harmony does come from mutual submission.

      Thank you so much for writing. We look forward to hearing from you again.

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  13. Lydia says:

    “If she is not free to refuse, she cannot submit.”

    Yes! This is the meaning of Greek word used for submit. It is voluntary. A believer does not submit to an earthly “master” because one cannot serve two masters. Or ne can submit to a “brother in Christ” one is married to.

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  14. Michelle says:

    Oh, we’re perfectly free to refuse to submit.

    It would just mean that we were choosing our own sinful nature over God’s wonderful design.

    That’s how some folks understand the “voluntary” nature of submission.

    Like

  15. Mara says:

    Some aren’t even as gracious as that.
    Some actually hold a woman’s very salvation hostage, if she doesn’t submit in the manner they determine that she should.

    Like

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