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.
This lecture examines the twelve pillars most often adduced as biblical support for male hierarchy in the church and in the home. It shows that statements in the Bible adduced for this do not, in fact, support male hierarchy. To the contrary, they rather provide evidence for the equal standing and authority of man and woman. It surveys the exegetical, theological, and practical foundations for the equal standing of men and women in the church and in marriage.
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.