I have just been browsing a website which promotes roles for women and men as God’s ordained will for all time. It showed again the enormous power of words to create impressions and convince people of a point of view. History shows that many strong people convinced others that what they promoted was the ‘truth’ and consistently it has been done by ridiculing those who have a different way of looking at the same facts.
I am not writing this merely to criticise those who made the statements I will reproduce below, but mostly as a reminder to those of us who believe in true biblical equality that how we say things is vitally important. We do not want to have a reputation for gaining ground or new adherants by misrepresenting those who have another opinion. We want to recognise that those who believe in gender roles have varying degrees of that doctrine and hopefully, many are in the process of examining history and biblical scholarship for themselves.
The article I read was about Deborah from the book of Judges and was quite long, covering many aspects of her life. Three statements stood out which I believe should be refuted and they are in italics. They all use Deborah to portray how the author believed Deborah would have acted had she been an egalitarian.
“Egalitarian women want to replace men in these roles”
Biblical egalitarian women do not want to replace men but desire to work alongside them in the spirit of unity and deference to one another while recognising that Christian service is not about leadership but servanthood and working together for the cause of the gospel.
“Her goal would have been to take Barak’s job”
This is suggesting that if Deborah had been an egalitarian she would have had unworthy motives and not been listening to what God had to say to her in this instance.
“She would have filled her hymn with her own achievements”
Would it have then been acceptable for a male judge to write a song about his own achievements instead of honouring God who is ultimately the one who raises up and puts down all leaders and gives victory to his people? I’m not at all sure that God would have been happy with such a song being written by a man or a women on this occasion.
Rather than being inspired to retaliate for such misrepresentations of our biblical beliefs, let us resolve to honour God by writing of his great deeds and wonderful redemption where we all have been given freedom and equal standing as much-loved children.