This account is the testimony of Liz Beyer, the CBE bookshop co-ordinator
My life was a series of contradictions before I confronted the issue of biblical equality. Growing up, my family went to a restrictive church, but my parents were very egalitarian. They encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do. From the outset, the church sent one message, my personal life sent another.
Life turned around when I became a Christian. My relationship with Jesus was joyful and full of possibilities, but the church I was attending kept putting restrictions on how I could express that. I wanted to study Scripture and teach; to tell everybody what God had done in my life! But once I started going to church again, I encountered walls – ‘you can’t’ ‘there’s no place’ or people would literally ignore me when I spoke!
During this time I got married and struggled with the issue of submission, which in this case meant doing what others told me to do. I found that I was trying to live under multiple masters. Jesus said that a person can only have one master – God. Yet the voice that was speaking in my heart was the one I listened to the least! I found that I was walking through a maze trying to figure out what messages I should obey.
We didn’t have kids for 6 years, which made me an outsider- the subtle message in my church was that to be ‘spiritual’ was to have many children. I wanted to go to medical school but didn’t go because of the messages I received about my role as a woman. If I obeyed others ‘in authority over me’ I was told I would also be obeying God.
25 years later, I was severely depressed. I saw no future in the church, I had foregone my chances at education, my marriage was in shambles and there seemed to be nothing worth living for except my kids – all because I had an incorrect understanding of biblical submission. The ramifications of the church’s teachings in my life were misleading and very damaging. I finally realised that I needed to know just who I was in God. I literally had nothing left to lose. My sister put me in touch with CBE and I found the materials I desperately needed! I began to read Katharine C. Bushnell’s “God’s Word to Women” and it was like a salvation experience all over again. I went from death to life, when I learned what the Bible really says! CBE literally saved my life!
Before I was connected to CBE, I had lost everything that had any meaning, including my dignity as a human being. To all the authors who spent their time and money, along with those who have endured the costs to health, family and work to seek the truth, I want to say thank you! You are a prophetic voice to the world. I believe there will be many people in heaven who will line up to shake your hand, give you a hug and tell you how your writing changed their lives. Most importantly, our Lord will say “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in to the joy of your master!”
It would be good to hear others’ stories of how they came to see things differently and how it changed their lives. Every person is unique and yet there are similarities in the story – it sounds familiar!