The greatest commandment embraces equality

I have a one-track mind.  All the tracks in my mind lead to women’s equality, or the lack thereof.  That makes me a narrow-minded person, but I believe that I can find justification for that in the scriptures.  In fact, I believe that I can find justification for that in Jesus’ own words.

Today I met with the owner of a company that I do business with, but a man whom I had never sat down and talked with.  I knew beforehand that he is of another denomination – one that does not teach that women are equal.  The purpose of my meeting had to do with the CBE Houston conference in April, and I could easily have discussed this with one of his assistants.  But when I called for an appointment, I asked specifically for him. He is a gracious, cordial man, an elder in his church and very committed to the words in the scriptures. 

During the hour that we discussed what I came there to discuss, I heard several different sermons from this man. While I kept bringing the subject back to women’s equality, he kept getting away from it.

That is when I discovered that I am narrow-minded.  I believe with all my heart that until we resolve the situation about women’s equality, that we cannot love God fully, nor can we serve him completely.  Whether it is a preacher, an elder, a Sunday school teacher, or a person in the pew.  When we deliberately choose scriptures that deny women equality, and then make our church by-laws uphold those denials for women, we have forgotten the words of our Savior. 

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”        Matthew 22:36-40.  

Did you see anything in that scripture about keeping the women silent, or placing a restriction on them, or demanding that they be in perpetual submission?

I gave this businessman a copy of “Half the Church” that I happened to have in my tote bag.  I hadn’t intended to carry it into the meeting, but it was raining and I didn’t want my other papers to get wet, so I had my tote with me.  He promised to read the book.  He called in his wife and told her that I had given her a book to read.  Then he said that they both would read this book.

Will you pray with me that the words of this book and the words that I spoke – together with the words of the Scriptures – will cause this man who loves the Lord, to consider that he might be wrong in what he always thought and taught about women serving during worship service?


About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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6 Responses to The greatest commandment embraces equality

  1. Mara says:

    I go back to the 2 Greatest Commandments all the time. I throw in the Golden Rule and sometimes even mention the 10 Commandments. They are absolutely silent on anything gender related. They are silent on separating men and women and giving different rules to each.

    When God gives commands. He’s very clear on what they are so that there is no confusion.

    But men, who apparently love to confuse things, certain men go to places that aren’t talking about God’s laws, God’s commands, aren’t even clear on what they mean, and they try to pull implications from them, calling them God’s “intentions” concerning gender.

    Then they cancel out the words and LAWS of God that God spoke to all people for all time with what they want God’s “intentions” to be using the words of Peter or Paul in letters to specific churches for specific times. They are good letter that we can learn from and gain understanding from. But they do not have the authority to make God’s words, the ones that came out of His own mouth, null and void.

    It’s pretty sad what me will do to gain the best seats in homes and churches.


    • In my little book “Dethroning Male Headship – because it doesn’t have a leg to stand on” I add the 11th commandment about wives submitting to their husbands. You are absolutely right. The man I speak of told me yesterday that where the Bible speaks, he speaks, but where the Bible is silent, he is silent. (of course he wants women to be silent all the time).


  2. Mabel says:

    I cannot name one single area that Christians are so adamant in defending, other than this gender divide. I totally identify with Mara. I couldn’t have said it better. Everything can be explained away (women’s head covering, raising up holy hands in prayer, cutting out your eyes if it caused you to sin, do not call anyone teacher, father, greet ea. other with a holy kiss, etc. etc.) except this: women cannot be ____________ (you fill in the blanks, Wayne Grudem listed 80+ lines in the sand for you to pick your choice), husband is head (boss) of wife, and head of family. They are patronizing at best, and demeaning and abusive at worst. Like Shirley, I am one track mind. I tried to see if I have any blind spot, but so far I can’t find anything wrong in believing that the Holy Spirit is gender blind. It angers me whenever people use the biological difference between men and women to argue that a spiritual gender caste system is therefor just. It is not.


  3. Kristen says:

    Not only does the Greatest Commandment say nothing about male or female– but to relegate someone else to subservient roles based on a physical characteristic that cannot be changed, is breaking the Greatest Commandment. If you would not like to have that done to you, guys, don’t do it to us gals!


    • Mara says:

      Definitely Kristen. That’s step two.

      First step: Note that there are no gender specifications in the 2 Greatest Commandments and the Golden Rule.

      Step two: In the absence of gender specifications, in order to obey the 2 and the Rule, one cannot say, “Well, if I were a woman rather than a man, I would expect to be treated differently.” Or “But women were created to be treated one way and men another.” Or anything along those lines. If men don’t want to be treated certain ways, then DUH!!! don’t treat women a way you don’t want to be treated. Don’t make extra rules for them that you would not want to follow. And don’t go searching out scripture and changing the meaning of scripture in order to support a doctrine that you would not want to be subject to yourself. This is kindergarten stuff. Yet grown men still don’t get it.


  4. Anne says:

    I believe in judging and discerning for oneself whether a pastor’s words fit with the Bible/God’s spirit or not. Paul himself said to do so. If a church preaches something that breaks the first or second commandment, I take it very lightly. There may be some truth in it, somewhere, but it must be picked out from among the lies. To take the whole package as is, without thought, is why we have this problem with patriarchy in the first place.


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