"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." (John 4:23, TNIV)
Very often the questions asked by those struggling with the gender issue are quite profound. For example, after leading a workshop at the last Urbana Missions Conference, a graduate student from Harvard told me, "If the Bible really teaches that all women must be submissive to males, and men will be the final arbiters of women, then God is basically saying women are inferior to men. And I cannot be party to such an system that places women under the permanent jurisdiction of a male, not because of a man’s character, or intellect, or walk with God, but simply because he is male. This seems unjust and also unreasonable."
Her question was rooted in a desire to know truth. How can you know truth, or theology for that matter, apart from reason and logic? Logic is foundational to theology, and thus logic is essential to understanding the gender debate. Women today are told by secular culture that they are equal to men—a moral principle. Therefore, in culture women can pursue any task a man pursues—a functional consequence of a moral principle—equality. But, when women are told that God created them equal to men—a moral principle of equality, but that they must be submissive to men—a functional consequence of inequality, that does not follow the moral principle. Women and men recognize in their gut, and in their minds, that this does not make sense. It is illogical. And, though they love God and cherish their relationship to Jesus, the call for women's submission smacks not only of illogic, it also seems unjust. Because of this, it erodes trust in God and the church.
Moral principles have logical consequences—to erode women’s confidence in God’s goodness is a salvation issue. This may explain the significant growth in pagan movements—where logic related to gender is intact. For a thorough examination of this issue, see Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, by Catherine Sanders. Friends, let us engage principles of logic and common sense, being confident that God is the author of all truth! Scripture and logic tell us that women and men are equally created in God’s image and share equal responsibility for using their gifts in service to Christ.
May we, as Christian men and women engage our minds fully in loving and serving Jesus! Hallelujah!