Revolutionary Christianity- Living the Revolutionary Lifestyle in the Treatment of Women, Part 1

“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. -1 Timothy 5:1-2

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:25

One issue which really burns me about how the world views Christianity is in the treatment of women. So many people want to criticize the church as being neglectful or oppressive towards women. Even many inside the church attack conservative Christianity as being behind the times or too fundamental in its interpretation of the role of women. Therefore, it is necessary that we set on firm ground just exactly what the revolutionary Christian should believe. (Note: this is a look at treatment of women only. The role of women in ministry will not specifically be discussed, but if you wish to email me I would be glad to discuss this with you as well).

The main complaint is that the church is oppressive of women because of verses such as Ephesians 5:22 (“Wives, submit to your own husbands…”) and 1 Peter 3:7 (“…showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel…”). The feminist movement of the late 20th century argues that women are not weak and should not be “forced” to submit to any man, particularly their husband. Women are equal members of society, they say, and as such should be treated equally with and by men.

In response, many Christians (men, specifically) have failed in illuminating the texts. They say, “Yep, Ephesians 5:22; that’s what it says,” and then they expect the world to do the exegesis itself (or worse, they expect the women to be swayed by that evidence). However, as a Christian living the revolutionary lifestyle, it is important that we make the connection between the two sides.

First, we must make clear that this is a commandment being directed to believers. In no way should the church expect a non-believing couple to follow this model (see 1 Corinthians 5:12). Second, it is important that we assert what the Bible is truly saying to us here if we take the whole context and section. It tells us specifically two things: (1) women should willingly come under the authority of their husband. This does not mean that she is forced into submission, nor does it mean that she has relinquished all of her own opinions and identity, but just simply that when it comes to spiritual matters where there is disagreement, the woman should willing give way to her husband for direction. But this is checked by (2) which is that the husband is also to be in submission himself, that being to God. So, in as much as the wife is in submission to her husband, she can have faith knowing (hopefully) that her husband is in submission to God, and through her husbands submission the will of God can be done. Notice also that this doesn’t mean that the man is always right, but instead that when he is wrong then through his submission to God he will be corrected, and so this relieves the necessity for the woman to do the correcting.

We also must realize that the charges of misogyny can not be leveled against the revolutionary Christian male if he is in exercise of 1 Timothy 5:1-2. In this passage the young man is given direction for how to treat various gender/age groups, including older and younger women. Of older women he is instructed to encourage and treat her like a mother, which is certainly a good thing since the fifth commandment is that we are to honor our mothers. And of the younger women we are told to treat them in all purity like sisters. This again is a positive image, as I don’t know of any guy who would not want his sister treated well (see Genesis 34).

This point about younger women I believe is especially poignant. If there is anything that I could stress to young Christian males it would be the necessity for treating young women, whether they are believers or not, as sisters. The prevailing attitude of most young guys is to treat girls as objects, as pursuits and idols of sexual worship. This is why the call is made to treat them in all purity! Especially within the church, men should not take that to be there own personal dating service. Instead, we should treat these girls as sisters. We should love on them, encouraging them with kind words, telling them that they are beautiful and building them up. So many young girls struggle hard with their self-image, but a group of compassionate, God-obeying men could make a great difference in their lives by making them feel loved as they are. Notice that I said “God-obeying”? This isn’t about chivalry and some belief that men should just be courteous and open doors; it’s an observance of God’s command to treat young girls properly, out of love and respect, with pure thoughts, motives, and actions.

The world criticizes Christianity because of our perceived (or actual) attitude towards women, but the revolutionary Christian male can make a real difference in living out a life which treats women in the appropriate way which God has laid out: like mothers and sisters, in all purity.

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