This passage is used as a key building block in theologies portraying gender hierarchy as God’s will. This is while the exegetes offer very contradictory interpretations of the text, typically concluding that Paul was not very logical in his argumentation or alternatively parts of the challenging text are simply ignored. In this workshop, an interpretation is presented that assumes that Paul is logical in his argumentation.
It is good to bear in mind that traditions – whether Jewish or Christian – have not always stayed loyal to the biblical truth. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the value and status of women throughout the centuries.
We will examine some of the most crucial New Testament texts dealing with the condition of women in the first century society and church. Is the speaking in congregation permitted for women? How about the meaning of ”submit to your husbands” or ”the husband is the head of the wife”?
Cultures of hierarchy maintain authority by claiming ontological distinction. The power and dominance inherent in hierarchy, which directly conflict with ontological equality, perpetuates abuse. This session will examine the abuse that results from hierarchical human relationships and the biblical response to dominance.
The church in Africa has not been able to name and shame sexual harassment and abuse in society in general or in Christian families specifically. The silence has led to untold misery for sexual harassment survivors. In order for the church to remain credible in society, it must name and challenge sexual harassment, and must offer safe places for survivors of the same to find healing and wholeness.
Some areas of sexual violence have been perpetuated by cultural practices like wife inheritance (a male relative inheriting his kinsman’s wife after he dies). While on the surface the church seemed to challenge cultural practices, this has not been the case with practices that have been sexual and which largely affect women. Wife inheritance and gender prejudice is a major contributing factor to the spread of HIV and AIDS.