My purpose of this blog is to give evidence against the notion that the church’s traditional values should be upheld due to how long and how widely it has been believed.
As a somewhat new convert to Egalitarianism, I can recall many feelings that I had during the process of conversion. Why is this important? Why do women feel the need to have more responsibility? Why can’t my wife just accept the truth? (Sorry, my love.)
Eventually, the only somewhat rational defense to complementarianism that really had any pull was that “Everyone believes this way,” but let’s be real, that is a childish defense. It morphed to a more realistic question. “How could we have been wrong for so long.” Or better put: “How in the world, with all the great minds, could the Church be wrong about this subject.”
To be honest, this sounds like a moving and solid statement. With all of the renown apologists (current and ancient) harping on the subjectivity of women to men it has to be the right answer. It seems plain, “Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands…” (Ephesians 5:22, New International Version) Word for word right? [Now, let’s be clear, I am not here to write about how we should interpret this verse.]
The oppression of women has gone on for years in most cultures today. So naturally, since God’s Word is infallible we could in fact interpret this scripture very literally and out of context. Since of course it fits with culture there is no need to change it. This type of thinking has dug many holes for Christianity.
The church has been majorly wrong before, and it is bound to do it again.
We are subjected to our own culture, presuppositions, and feelings when interpreting a scripture that is written in (realistically) a dead language. Before you go on a tangent about how people still speak Greek, look at the differences between Common Greek of that era and Modern Greek. Not to mention cultural context, author’s intent, and the reader’s goals. Because of these factors, mankind has been chasing the true meaning and intent of these holy writings from conception.
In 325 A.D. the first council of Nicaea was called. They founded the doctrine of the Trinity. Let’s think about this for a second. Trinitarianism is one of those things that just about every Christian believes in. It is in our eyes a fundamental doctrine; a doctrine that is often listed when asking if a person is saved.
For 300 years after the death of Christ, this foundational concept had not even been accepted in all churches. That is staggering. Anyone with any kind of argumentative capacity might say “It was the early church they are bound to make mistakes” or even in a historical fashion, “But that was before the official canonization.” I agree somewhat to these statements, but it still raises the question—how, if this doctrine is essential for salvation, could they have been wrong for so long?
So, if your still not convinced that the entirety of Christianity can be woefully wrong about a subject, lets jump ahead in time.
Quakers are the last people on the list of denominations that most would even consider as revolutionary, relevant, and forward thinking. In 1688 a meeting of Quakers decided that slavery was not biblical. Of course its not, right? Almost 40 years later they officially declared it to be immoral. What a triumph! What a freeing thing for the men and women of God! But come on church, that took an inordinate amount of time to deduce.
It wasn’t until 1995, almost 300 years that the final major denomination, Southern Baptist Council, officially declared slavery, and racial discrimination to be unbiblical. [To the SBC’s merit, I do not believe by any stretch of the imagination that they were all racists until 1995.] Almost 2000 years after the death and resurrection of a man that Love was His definition, we decide “oh wait, the color of your skin doesn’t presuppose worthlessness.”
Church, we were wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. In the most oppressive, despicable, selfish manner. We must put aside the idea that our current beliefs are infallible. The only infallibility can be found in the Scriptures, but we as a people muddy it with our egotistical wants and our egocentric desires.
It is preposterous to say that we have it all figured out. There is no way we can say that. So the answer to the begged question is this: the church has been wrong many times over, and caused terrible things to happen. All because we believed that we knew what the scripture said. In humility and wisdom, we MUST assume the possibility of being wrong about theology. Only then can the church realize that the systematic oppression of women is detrimental to the well-being of the Church and of the family.
Bio: Richard King is pursuing his degree in Christian Counseling with the end goal of becoming a Chaplain in the US Military. He is happily married to his wife of 6 years, Sydney, and they have one daughter and two dogs to make their home with. Richard is very interested in theology and finding the heart of Jesus.
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