When the curtain on male headship is pulled back, it shrinks from the light of logic and truth. Consider the most recent defense of male headship by John Piper. He offers three reasons why he believes it will endure, but in pulling the curtain back, we find each deeply flawed.
When culture values women and men equally, these very attitudes stem the abuse of women. What is more, when dollars are invested in women’s health, education, and businesses, we not only raise women’s standard of living, but that of their families and communities.
The widespread misunderstandings and mistranslations resulting in gender hierarchy are damaging to people, marriages and the body of Christ. I am going to start by diving into the most famous (or infamous) passage on marriage in Ephesians Chapter 5. It’s amazing to discover what this passage really says!
That woman was taken out of man is a recognition that she stands on equal footing with him. This was a beautiful, creative act of God that communicated that man’s suitable helper, the one actually fit for him, would come from him.
Woman is opposite to man, but not in an antagonistic, or inferior, way. Rather, she comes as the suitable one for man. Or as other translations have it, she was “fit for” man. Remember, none of the animals measured up to the ‘ezer role God had imagined for man’s great helper. It was woman and woman alone who met the role.
Womanist interpretation seeks to use the Scriptures to explore and empower the construction of black womanhood, the experiences of black women as it relates to the world, and the black community and church.
According to Genesis, the only cloud hanging over Eden was man without woman. "It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a helper as a partner" (Gen. 2:18, NRSV). What is the good or strong help that women offer?
Throughout the ancient world, gender was identity, and gendered spheres were guarded by the long arm of patriarchy. Yet, notice how Scripture boldly defies patriarchy by celebrating women whose achievements paralleled and often eclipsed men's in business (Proverbs 31), in political strategies (Abigail: 1 Samuel 25, Esther 4:4-17), in military tactics (Jael: Judges 4:17-22, Deborah: Judges 5:7), in theocratic leadership (Deborah: Judges 5:7), in biblical exegesis (Huldah: 2 Kings 22:14ff, 2 Chron. 34:14-33, 2 Kings 22), and in righteously preserving kin (Tamar: Gen. 38:26, Ruth: Ruth 2:1-4:10).