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.