Christianity Truly Offers Gender Equality

October 4, 2010

The Scranton Times-Tribune ran an article on October 2, 2010 about a recent lecture celebrating “Feminist First Friday” at the University of Scranton. The emphasis is to provide full equality for men and women. As Christianity is often criticized for not offering full equality for men and women (particularly against women) I thought it helpful to articulate an important thought: Christianity truly offers gender equality.

Now, first some caveats. I would imagine that no one would think there are no differences between men and women. There are obvious physiological differences (a fourth grade anatomy class can tell us that) and obvious relational differences (any new married couple can tell us that) but I would imagine the University would accept these differences. But, besides these basic differences, can there be true equality?

Biblical Christianity is criticized because it argues that women cannot fill the office of bishop (or elder or pastor). They articulate clearly from such passages as 1 Timothy 2:12 which reads “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” that in the church women cannot have the top leadership position. The reality is that the plain sense of this passage is clear and unless you want to throw it out of the Bible then it’s there and we need to deal with it. But that’s another matter. Also, Biblical Christianity recognizes that the husband is the head of the home. Ephesians 5:22–23 reads “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Again, a face value reading gives a quite obvious meaning of these verses. So, Christianity articulates that some roles and responsibilities are intrinsically different between men and women. But, at the foundational core, Christianity teaches complete equality. What do I mean?

Before God all people are sinners; completely equal in their sin (Romans 3:23). It does not matter whether they are men or women, Jew or Gentile, or whatever, all people everywhere are sinners, and equally condemned before God (Romans 5:12). And while this is incredibly bad news for all, both men and women, there is great news for all too. Christ died for sinful men and women. “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). And now, Christians, stand before God, completely equal. Galatians 3:28 reads, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” All people, whether male or female, if they trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, are completely equal before God: they are all God’s children.

So, who offers complete equality between men and women? Secular feminism? Not likely. Only Biblical Christianity offers complete equality between men and women where it counts: before God.

Is Green Godly?

August 9, 2010

Whether it be the three R’s of reduce, reuse, recycle, questions about man-made climate change, questions about things farther away like the BP oil spill, or things closer to home like the use of the Marcellus Shale, we all have opinions on the environment. Some say that we should do everything in our power, and at any cost, to be as “green” as possible and protect the earth from the unfortunate influence of man. Others see the earth as being solely for the unfettered use of mankind with no cause to consider any harmful effects we might be having. But for Christians, the question arises, “is green godly” or simply, does the Bible have anything to say about how we should treat the environment?

While the Bible states that when God created man He gave him the mandate to have dominion over the creation (Genesis 1:28), it does not mean we have the authority to destroy what God had created. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently said in Christianity Today that “A proper understanding of dominion includes stewardship.” God created the earth to magnify His glory and we are entrusted with it to use it and care for it so that it continues to magnify the glory of God. It does not mean that humanity is a blight on the earth as some would argue but if God demonstrated His love and care for the universe in His creation of it, we too should care for it in the same way.

In fact there are a number of reasons why Christians should care about the earth. Psalm 24 teaches us that the earth is the Lord’s. If it is the Lord’s, it is not ours to destroy! Psalm 19 teaches us that it reveals to us the power and glory of God. If we destroy it, we mar the opportunity we have been given to magnify God! God Himself has asked us to care for it in Genesis 2:15. And, God’s plan for the earth includes its restoration to full glory in eternity (Romans 8, Revelation 21).

Like so many things, creation care takes balance. We are to use the resources available to us as God has provided for our benefit. But that must be balanced with a desire to preserve and care for the earth as well, not to pillage it and leave it stripped of all that is good. Ultimately, God called the earth good when He created it. He called people to care for it and use it. Christians understand that we must care for the creation because God Himself cares for it! So is green godly? Well, for those who love God and call Christ their Lord, to care for what God cares for certainly is pleasing to Him!

Evolution Necessary for Scientific Discovery?

March 19, 2009

I work in the riding where Gary Goodyear represents the fine people as Member of Parliament in the Conservative minority government. Gary, a former chiropractor, has served as MP of Cambridge, Ontario  since 2004. He is a devout Christian and a member of Forward Baptist Church in Cambridge.

In Tuesday’s Globe and Mail in an article by Anne McIlroy titled, “Minister won’t confirm belief in evolution” we have the finest example of hardcore scientism and secular humanism determining who should serve in a particular office than I have ever seen. Goodyear is the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology. And while not a scientist per se, as a former chiropractor, Goodyear certainly took his share of classes in science in university.

What is the problem that the article is expressing? Essentially, when asked whether Goodyear believed in evolution his answer was “I’m not going to answer that question, I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is important.” What has irked the scientific community is that Goodyear has not confirmed nor denied a belief in evolution.

Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers writes, “The traditions of science and the reliance on testable and provable knowledge has served us well for several hundred years and have been the basis for most of our advancement. It is inconceivable that a government would have a minister of science that rejects the basis of scientific discovery and traditions.”

The assumption is that since evolution is a scientific fact to deny so is to deny the very basis of scientific discovery and therefore Goodyear would be hurting scientific research in Canada. This is of course a non sequitor. Just because someone denies evolution does not mean they are opposed to scientific discovery. The historical reality is that most scientific inventors prior to Darwin and other evolutionists did not believe in evolution but in creation. The biggest issue though here is the continued confusion between facts and theories.

A scientific fact is an objective and verifiable observation. So, in some ways, evolution is a fact in that changes in populations of organisms can be observed over time (these facts only relate to micro evolution [change within a species] not macro evolution [change from one species to another]). The theory of evolution is quite another thing. The theory of evolution is what the scientific community has developed to explain those changes within a population of a species. Therefore, one can interpret those “facts” in a different way, i.e. from a creationist standpoint. One does not have to accept the theory of evolution in explanation of these facts.  It certainly does not mean that one must believe in the theory of evolution to be a firm believer in scientific discovery.

The real problem in this discussion is not whether one must believe in evolution to be the Minister of State for Science and Technology. The real issue is that people do not like Christians. And they especially do not like Christians who seek to consistently live out what they believe.

No one truly believes that there are not reputable scientists in the world who are Christians. The problem is they do not want them to truly be reputable scientists. So they complain, they chide, they do anything besides actually listen to what they have to say. Who are the ones that are against scientific discovery? It is the atheistic secular humanistic scientists who are against it as they do not approve of Christian scientists.

This is of course no surprise to Christians. Christians in the public sphere are always criticized and denigrated. Yet, they persevere and keep moving on. They continue to serve the scientific process because they serve God. And in the pursuit of God’s truth they pursue all truth. Some of the best scientists in the world are Christians, in my opinion, simply because they are scientists.

So, I am glad Goodyear is Minister of State for Science and Technology. He is a great man with a proven track record of faithfully representing the people who has a scientific background. He’s the perfect choice for this portfolio. And, he will be willing to ask the tough ethical questions that come up with regard to the scientific process. I for one am thankful for that. The scientific process is one that, for too long, has been allowed to go it their own without control or guidance. Having a scientific man who is a Christian working in this area will be just what we need to hold scientists accountable.

Goodyear is the man for this job and I applaud the Conservative government for giving him this portfolio. Now, all we need is for all the naysayers to be quiet and actually get to work on all those scientific discoveries that we need. In the end, I’m pretty sure we do not need to believe in evolution to find a cure for cancer or build the tallest building.