How churches don’t want to be “like Jesus”

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which most Baptist churches accept, says “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” (V1. The Church). Jesus placed no such qualifications on pastors or preachers.

The Danvers Statement Affirmation #9 says: “With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world.”

No matter what shape the world is in, the writers of the Danvers Statement would never have chosen the woman at the well to be the instrument God used to win people to Christ.

But Jesus did.

Everyone knows her story. In fact, hers is one of the longest detailed stories of an event in the New Testament. It was her story. She told it to everyone who would listen. This man she had just met at the well knew that she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband.

Jesus was not judging her for that. He was offering her something that no man could offer a woman. He was offering her living water—from a well that would never run dry. And he told her that he was the source of this living water.

This was a woman experienced in the ways of men, and she knew this conversation was different from any she had ever had. She was certainly not the one who would be expected to announce the news that prophecy had been fulfilled and that the long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived for the Samaritans. No one would even listen to a woman proclaiming this momentous event, would they? But for some reason, Jesus chose her to reveal his true identity.

She took that message and ran with it.

It was Jesus who brought up the subject of living water. He told her that if she drank from the water he gave, she would never be thirsty again.

She wanted that. She said she did not want to keep coming to the well to draw water. She was probably teasing him at that point as she had no idea what he was talking about. Then Jesus did something surprising. He told her to go call her husband and then to come back.

Aha! Finally Jesus brings male headship into the conversation! “Go, call your husband and come back,” Jesus said.

The woman answered, “I have no husband.”

Was Jesus surprised at this? Did he ask her to go call her husband just to embarrass her?  No, its significance is greater than her confession that she was not married to the man with whom she was living. She was worthy in her own right, as a woman, to be told directly by him that he was the Messiah.

They then engaged in a theological discussion. This woman was not learning in silence. And Jesus did not rebuke her for it. She talked back and told him that she could see that he was a prophet. She declared “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

And he did explain—right then and there—to the woman at the well, a woman who did not have a husband to tell her if what she was hearing was right or wrong. She heard, she accepted, she told.

This story of the woman at the well is found in John 4:4-42 and begins by saying, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” It is best translated that “he purposed in his mind” to go through Samaria, because the Jews had found a way, even though it was inconvenient, to avoid Samaria. They thought they were better than these poor cousins, the Samaritans, and for a Jew to deliberately go through Samaria was unusual.

There was something in Samaria that Jesus needed to do in order to complete his earthly work.

It appears that Jesus was covering the bases with women. Every message of importance was given to women:

  • Women could learn the scriptures. The Jewish woman, Mary of Bethany, was welcomed by Jesus to sit at his feet right beside the men, and learn at a time when learning scripture was forbidden to women.
  • Gentiles would be in the kingdom. The Gentile woman was told by Jesus that he was sent not only to Israel, but to all people, which included her.
  • The Messiah had come to the Samaritans. The Samaritan woman received the news that he was the Messiah, whom the Samaritans were also expecting, since they claimed theirs was the true religion of the ancient Israelites.
  • The resurrection. At the tomb, a woman would be the first to see and speak with the resurrected Jesus.

These are pivotal stories because they show that Jesus gives the voice of the gospel to women just as he gives the voice of the gospel to men. These stories also set the stage for the empty tomb where it was women who first encountered the resurrected Jesus and where the full gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus would unfold. So, yes, Jesus purposed in his mind to go through Samaria, because he had something to complete in Samaria.

The completion of this mission was so satisfying to him that he told his disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” The conversation he had with this woman had an effect upon Jesus that was profoundly different from his other encounters with men or women. This is the only scripture passage in the Bible where Jesus said that what had just happened was so meaningful to him that he felt that he had been fed. In other words, mission accomplished.

Verse 42 says “…we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” These men first heard the words of Jesus from a woman, and then they heard the same message from Jesus himself.

Male headship was dethroned and women elevated by Jesus when he said to the Samaritan woman “I, who speak to you, am he.”

from my book “Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition

2018. What are you doing to be “like Jesus?”

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Time’s Up! There is a crack in the wall

Once again, it is the secular world who is speaking up about social justice. Social justice for women. They are declaring “Time’s Up!”

Christian women are largely silent. What will Christian women do? Nothing, is my guess. We will sit back. We will blog. But we won’t actually do anything.

I want to remind you of something. During the Inquisition, thousands of women were burned at the stake or otherwise killed because it was believed that women were more susceptible in listening to the devil. Many religious leaders had doubts, but they wouldn’t go up against the established church. The following is from my book “Dethroning Male Headship.”

That happened with the Malleus Maleficarum, or the Witch Hunter’s Bible, which is a work of absolute hatred against women. This book describes how women could naturally be more susceptible to practicing witchcraft because of their inherent weaknesses and sinful natures which they had because they were born female.

Even then, many in the Christian community such as scholars and theologians doubted that there were creatures such as witches, but they became silent because of the overwhelming influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

“The immediate, and lasting, popularity of the Malleus essentially silenced those voices. It made very real the threat of one being branded a heretic, simply by virtue of one’s questioning of the existence of witches and, thus, the validity of the Inquisition. It set into the general Christian consciousness, for all time, a belief in the existence of witches as a real and valid threat to the Christian world. It is a belief which is held to this day….Estimates of the death toll during the Inquisition worldwide range from 600,000 to as high as 9,000,000 (over its 250 year long course); either is a chilling number when one realizes that nearly all of the accused were women, and consisted primarily of outcasts and other suspicious persons.” (Malleus Maleficarum).

This is what is happening today. The Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical churches that have followed suit, desire to keep women under submission to all males (husbands in particular). Even those who know this is wrong are not stepping up and speaking out.

Christian women, time’s up. There is a crack in the wall that the secular world women have made. Run! Run! Run through this wall.

It is 2018. Time’s Up.

www.shirleytaylor.net

 

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The last day of 2017

The last day of 2017 will pass and so will opportunity for women to have made any headway among religious leaders.

Oh, we have blogged advocating for women’s equality. We tweeted and retweeted those things that we liked and those that we didn’t like.

We have replied to and retweeted Rev. John Piper’s stupid tweet from his Desiring God site “Husbands, get her ready for Jesus ” written by Bryan Stoudt. If you haven’t read this, you ought to. This is the kind of crap that we are fighting against. John Piper is a BIG MAN among Christian leaders, especially Baptist leaders. Young men follow his every word as ardently as they read the letters from the Apostle Paul.

Husbands, you have not been charged with getting your wife ready for Jesus. The very idea makes you godlike. You have enough to do to get yourself ready. Churches are full of women who have taken the kids to church while daddy is home in bed or out playing golf or working on a car or fishing.

Ok, this is what this poor misguided pastor says, “Like us, one day our wives will meet Jesus and be perfect, “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing . . . holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). But until that day, until death do us part, husbands have the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband. With God’s help, and for his glory, may we correct them with the grace and truth that we’ve received.”

I have news for you, pastor Bryan Stoudt. My true husband was Don Taylor. It is not Jesus. If I have to have Jesus as a True Husband, who do you have? A true Wife Jesus? Why do I have to have a True Husband and you don’t have to?

It is hard to believe the stuff they make up.  We will wake up 2018 still tweeting and lamenting the same thing.

2018 is just around the corner. What are you doing for women’s equality? 

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Advent Love – The Christmas Gift

Thirty years is a long time to wait to see what your Christmas Gift will actually do. Two thousand years ago, the Christmas Gift came with no instructions but with lots of promise. Kings journeyed far in order to see for themselves this Gift, and to bring gifts of their own in honor of this birth.

The people wanted a mortal savior, but their hero arrived as a baby and with his own life in danger. What could he do to help them against their enemy? They expected their savior to be a man among men and they would rally behind him. They wanted another David with a bag of stones.

Jesus did not have a bag of stones.

Suppose one of you has a friend who comes at night when the house has been closed and the doors have been locked, and everybody is sound asleep. He knocks on the door. He tells you that someone has just arrived at his house from a long journey and he needs some bread to feed them. Will you tell him that it is late at night and that the kids are in bed sound asleep, and to quit knocking at your door because he will wake up the whole household?

No, he gets up to stop the racket of the knocking, not because it is his friend at the door, but because he wants the knocking to stop.

The Christmas Gift says “I am not that way. Just ask and it will be given, seek, and you will find it, knock and it will be opened. What man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?”

“Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them; for this is the Law and the Prophets” (paraphrased Luke 11:5-10 & Matt 7:5-12).

Father, we have traveled far and we are knocking at your door. We have been at the church house, but the doors are closed, and the people are inside sound asleep. We are your children and we are asking for a loaf. We have had the stones. We’ve been turned away by men for centuries, and now we are standing at Your door. Hungry for the bread and for a place at your table.

Hear our knock, our Father.

Will you join us in praying to the Christmas Gift for the whole loaf?

(reposted from the past three Christmases)

www.shirleytaylor.net

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Advent Joy – Hunger for God

We are in the third week of Advent, which is Joy. Sunday a pink candle will be lit for preparation of the birth of the little boy who would become the Christ. It is fitting that we read the Magnificat. Elizabeth had just told Mary that the baby she carried in her own womb leaped for joy when Mary came into her home, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:46-55 NIV)

The Jews yearned for a Savior, and I imagine each had his or her own expectations of what that Savior would look like. I have heard that at each wedding, they expressed wishes that the new couple would bring forth that baby boy. We should not be surprised then, when we learn that a couple who had not yet consummated their marriage would be the bearer of that baby.

But let’s go back to Mary’s words. “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” Before Jesus is even showing in the womb, Mary told us what he would do.

This is not about money at all.  It is about their spiritual condition.

So exactly what did Mary say?

She said that those who hunger for God will be filled, but those who think they are already rich in the knowledge of God will be turned upside down and the money they hold in their pockets (what they think they know about God) will fall out on the floor.

Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 23: 23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

God, I pray that those who are filled with their own sense of righteous riches and who claim to know that you favor males for your kingdom work, will have their eyes opened to Justice, mercy, and faithfulness to you.

(reposted from December 2013).

http://www.shirleytaylor.net

 

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Mosque taught me True Meaning of Christmas

Years ago I was watching television while wrapping Christmas gifts. There was a television show about the ‘true meaning of Christmas.’ They promoted the popular idea of giving gifts because the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. I knew they were wrong, but truthfully, I did not know the true meaning of Christmas.

It would be many years before I learned the true meaning of Christmas, and it would happen at the last place you would expect to learn about Christ. I learned the true meaning of Christmas after visiting a mosque.

The Missions Division of the Baptist General Convention of Texas took us on a trip to a mosque in Richardson, Texas, near Dallas. The imam met us, asked us to remove our shoes, and then he showed us where to put them. Next he showed us the wash room where Muslim men wash their hands, elbows, feet, face and nostrils before going into the main worship room.

We women had the option of wearing a headscarf and I did like the rest. We sat on the floor while the imam told us about their worship. He pointed to the upper room where he said the women chose to worship. He said they could worship with the men, but they chose to climb the stairs and privately worship there. The women also had to perform ritual washing of their body parts, separately from the men, of course.

The main worship area was a long rectangular room. The front row was what we would normally consider to be a side. The imam pointed out that the room was long so that it made the front row longer and, therefore, more men could be on the front row. He said they all wanted to be on the front row because it showed their devotion to Allah. He made his arms into wings, and he showed us how they would nudge the other men out of the way with their elbow, and make their way to the front.

On the wall was the 99 attributes of Allah. My supervisor, who was a Christian Arab, said that none of the attributes said that Allah is love.

After it was over, we thanked the imam and put our shoes back on, we women took off our scarves, and we all climbed onto the bus to go back to our offices. One supervisor who was also a preacher (as they all were) threw his hand up high in the air and said:

“Thank God for Jesus!”

That is when I learned the true meaning of Christmas.

The Jewish people looked for a Messiah like King David. A powerful leader who would take down their enemies, make Jerusalem Jewish again, and who would die a mortal death, as all humans do. The scriptures promised them a savior and they anticipated his arrival.

What they got was not what they expected. Instead of a physical warrior who would defeat the Romans, they got a spiritual warrior who, instead of turning his eyes upon their enemies, turned his eyes upon their relationship to God. In particular, the laws they had expanded to make life miserable, and then the artful and deceitful ways they had of getting around those laws. Read Matthew 23 to see what Jesus had to say about their spiritual condition.

Jesus came to free us from the rigmarole that man had bound God with.  All those laws didn’t mean anything (Matthew 24, Amos 5:21-24) because men had found ways to get around them. Jesus told them to love God with all their heart, and to love their fellow-man. When love is the motivator, our worship of God, and helping our fellow-man, will take on a different meaning. We will feed the hungry, help the poor, heal the sick, treat others as we want to be treated, and give the Good News to everyone.

Instead of being like Jesus, we still desire to make laws for Christians, especially laws about what women can and cannot do, and I wonder if Jesus would have turned his eyes upon us.

The true meaning of Christmas is the freedom that Jesus gave us. No more rigmarole such as the way to wash your hands before eating, and not working on the Sabbath – things that had absolutely no spiritual significance in them. In doing away with these things, Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my load is light.” Matthew 11:30.

Thank God for Jesus!

repost from  December 8, 2012 by bwebaptistwomenforequality

 

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Advent Hope – free from oppression

Last Sunday in church, we sang “Hail to the Lord’s Annointed.” When James Montgomery wrote the words in 1821, it is doubtful if he was speaking about freeing women from oppression. It is sure that when congregations sang the song, the fact that women were being oppressed was not on their minds. Just as it is not on the minds of most congregations when they sing the song today.

“Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
great David’s greater Son!
Hail in the time appointed,
his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free;
to take away transgression,
and rule in equity.”

Even as congregations sang the words and cried out for freedom that was promised in Christ, for years they were confident that they had the right to oppress women and slaves in their households, in their cities, and in their churches.

In fact, it was in churches where slavery and oppression found favorable breeding ground, as pastors regularly preached against giving them freedom. Congregations took it to heart and kept their slaves. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed expressly to keep black representatives away from annual Baptist meetings. Women continued to be silenced in service and in the pulpit.

The Civil War had yet to come and the outcome would not be seen for another 140 years when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave women and blacks the same freedoms that should have been acknowledged by the church a long time ago.

2017 has brought many changes. A new president took office. Women’s voices were heard, really heard, for the first time when they told about sexual abuse and harassment. Movie moguls, business leaders, news media personalities and Congressmen and Senators fell from grace as their abuses were exposed. Time Magazine chose “the Silence Breakers” as their Person of the Year.

But the church is silent. The church is silent when they should be standing up for women. As usual, the church doesn’t stand up for anything. The church is more likely to stand against social justice, claiming biblical authority. Traditionally, the church stands up against civil rights for all.

“For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight. (Psalm 72)”

Advent Hope – Hope that justice for women will prevail, and that what is happening now will bring a lasting change for women and that the church will realize, that, just as it was finally recognized as being wrong to own another human being in slavery, it is wrong to deny women the right and privilege to serve God as she feels she is called.

2018 is coming. What are you going to do for women’s equality?

www.shirleytaylor.net

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Advent – Anticipation

Advent. How can we anticipate the coming of the Christ and still refuse to recognize the equality Jesus showed to women? Actually, more than equality, for he brought them up from the depths and gave them the good news first.

In keeping with Jesus’ teaching, it is appropriate that at this beginning of Advent, CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) has released their new marriage book titled “Mutual by Design: A Better Model of Christian Marriage.”

“Marriage certificates don’t come with how-to-manuals, and marriage is full of tough questions like “How do we manage our money?” “How do we build a healthy sex life?” or “How do we handle serious arguments?” While an actual how-to-manual may not exist, we’re here to help.

CBE is proud to announce the release of our new marriage book, Mutual by Design!

Mutual by Design lays a theological foundation for egalitarian marriage; provides practical help on issues like communication, sex, and money; and doesn’t shy away from thorny topics like abuse, divorce, and “male headship.”

With exercises and discussion questions, Mutual by Design is great for individuals, couples, or small groups.”

This is a book that we have anticipated for several years. It was with much concern that egalitarian Christians looked at the materials available and could not find any good materials for Marriage Seminars, Bible Studies, Christian counseling, or sermons that promoted healthy mutual submission in marriages.

So we set about to write our own. CBE Houston Chapter, which I am a founding member, donated money, as did many others, to make this possible.  We are proud of the work and recommend that you, individually, or within your church if that is possible, use this new marriage book “Mutual by Design.”

2017 is coming to an end. Something substantial happened in 2017 to make everybody more aware that women are not playtoys and that they should be treated equally. The church hasn’t realized that yet, but we look forward to 2018, and are eager to help Christian leaders get on board with equality for women.

 

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Industry Standards

I wrote about Hollywood pedophilia in 2011. We are not calling these assaults pedophilia today, maybe because the ones we are hearing were assaulted are a little older, but in 2011 it was well-known.  Read actor Anthony Edwards’ story on how he was molested as a child actor by Gary Goddard. Following is a repeat of my blog.

The shocking story of Hollywood pedophilia with child actors is just industry standard according to the story that broke in 2011. It was common knowledge and everybody knew about it. Nobody did anything about it because it affected their paychecks, their careers, and their reputation. Why should any other actor stand up and speak out.

The parents knew it, but they knew on which side their bread was buttered. The kid earning the money made them wealthy. So they turned their backs on their own child to keep the money coming in. The other workers knew it, but they made their livings by being in successful television shows or movies and they would not jeopardize their livings for the sake of a kid. The kid knew it, but how could he or she speak up? Who would listen? Kid actors like attention and according to the report, they were perfect targets for such an atrocity to start with, and once started, could not end it easily.

At first glance that is shocking. But it should not be. We all seek to protect ourselves and our jobs and security. The attitude often is, “If nobody else speaks up, I’m not going to.” We put up with the most awful things because they are just industry standards.

Churches and denominations have industry standards. Someone sent me a link to a church in Canada that flatly says that women cannot read the Bible in Worship service, because it is the Word of God and women cannot teach the Word of God. That, too, is shocking at first glance. But it should not be.

When was the last time you heard a woman reading the Bible out loud in a Worship Service? Probably never, because it is industry standard that keeps women from standing before the congregation and reading out loud from the Bible. Will you help us shine a light on these practices that restrict women in a worship service? Will you speak up and tell them that we will no longer put up with these “industry standards? (from my book Women Equal-No Buts: Powered by the same Source Page 33)

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Speaking truth to power

Want a little early morning reading? I have just posted letters I have written to various Christian leaders such as Dr. Paige Patterson, Timothy Keller, Mike Slaughter, and the list goes on. Also, my letters to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Sid Miller (TX Agriculture Com). You can find the letters here, in the column Speaking Truth to Power.

It is 2017. Will you join me in speaking truth to power?

 

 

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