Jesus & the War on Women

This blog post has been revised and turned into a chapter in The Rethinking Series.

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About Frank Viola

Frank Viola is a best-selling author, A-list blogger, speaker, and consultant to authors and writers. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply so they can experience real transformation and make a lasting impact. See his About page for more information.

  • PicnicAnt

    Joe, you said, “Family must again reside at the center of our society and, of course, no proper appreciation of women… means no proper appreciation of family.”

    Joe, I’m a Christian lady, in my early 40s, and I’ve never married, though I wanted to be. I have waited for marriage to have sex, but marriage has not happened for me.

    While I can appreciate the fact you feel you are defending women in some manner, I have to point out that many churches in America today have made marriage, parenting, and “family” into a deity, and this is not a good thing at all, and it’s actually damaging family and “family values.”

    Celibacy for older Christians and singlehood status itself are not valued, encouraged, and normally not even spoken of or noticed.

    There is way, way too much preoccupation already with “family” among conservative Christians, to the point older singles (as in never married over the age of 30) do not feel welcome at most churches, so many of us stop attending.

    It’s doubly worse for unmarried Christian women, because most churches do not allow women to have any role in church except for stereotypical wife and mother roles, such as baby sitter in church nurseries. As an older single woman, I have no interest at all in working in, for, or around children and babies or teenagers. Most churches have no place for me, and I am excluded and feel excluded.

    The church does nothing to assist Christian singles who want marriage. They go on and on about how great marriage and family is, but will shame us if we speak up and say, “help me get married, I want to start a family of my own. Dating sites are not helping me.”

    We will often be shamed by other Christians for admitting to wanting a spouse, told we are “idolizing marriage,” and that we should “be content in our singleness.” None of this is helpful for the Christian single who desires marriage.

    Further, the genders are basically taught to avoid one another by preachers and by Christian dating literature, to be suspicious of one another, because of fornication and sexual purity concerns. This teaching results in adult Christians who are afraid of the opposite gender and/or who have no idea how to date – which is one reason in part why Christians are not getting married even into their 30s, 40s, and older.

    The church in America today is acting as an impediment to marriage and family, ironically.

  • Manny Fragoza

    DEACONESS:The ordination, however, was expressly understood to confer no sacerdotal functions of any kind. The 4th council of Carthage (c. 100) expressly orders that no woman should venture to baptize. It appears that certain sects of the Montanists ordained women as priests and even as bishops. In opposition to these Epiphanius, while speaking of them as an order in the Church, asserts that they were women-elders, but not priestesses in any sense (irperrfivTepidas ij iepitra cts), and that their mission was not to interfere in anyway with the functions allotted to the priests (lepareveiv), but simply to perform certain offices in the care of women (Epiph.Haer. 79. cap. 3). Tertullian also says that it is not p
    ermitted to a woman to speak in the church, nor to baptize, nor to make the oblation (offerre), nor discharge any of the offices allotted to men (virile muiius) (Tert. da Vel. Virg. c. 9), and is indignant at the forwardness of women who take upon themselves to teach and to baptize contrary to the express command of the Apostle (Id. De U iptis. c. 17). T(iii.9)The Constitutions (iii. 9) emphatically deny the right of women to baptize, asserting that priestesses are ordained for female deities, and are a heathen, not a Christian institution; and that if Our Lord had wished them to baptize, he would himself have been baptized by his own mother rather than by John the Baptist. The latter argument is also used by Epiphanius, who says that if Our Lord had ordered women to exercise any priestly or ecclesiastical ministry, he would first have given that office to- the Virgin Mary (Hacr. 79, cap. 3)

  • Joe Anderson

    I just wrote a longish message to you and then there was some kind of server glitch and my words disappeared into cyber space. Long and short of it. I have been familiar with Patheos for some time but found your blog through a web search as I was looking for articles about the “war on women”. I have written about this myself as I mentioned above because this is a component of our culture that we must better understand and live if we are to reclaim our society for the good, the true and the beautiful. Family must again reside at the center of our society and, of course, no proper appreciation of women (or man or children, for that matter but it is woman who is most under attack) means no proper appreciation of family.
    With warmest regards,
    Ps: I am following you on Twitter: @SensibleLifeJoe

  • Jose

    Hi Frank
    Thank-you for this article. At the very least it has put a check on my thoughts.
    I agree on the equality before God, and God knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, that makes us incredibly precious and undoubtedly equal, but God did make us different and ordained different roles for us in society and in His order. So we are different but equal.
    I have a struggle with this because a part of me senses some truth in the orders of Paul, probably more out of male insecurity than anything else. I sense in my nature a rebellion at being presided over by a woman, although I have no problem with equality, I learn from and have emense respect for women, and I work for a woman and many women that I respect unconditionally.
    But then thinking more on the subject, I don’t think it is women at all, but the sense in some (I honestly don’t know how many, I only attend one) traditional churches that some are “more equal” than others, the fact that some elevate themselves (physically and psychologically) above their brethren leaves me cold (before I detract from this and start some debate let me say that I am sure most have good intentions, but bad teachers).
    In the articulation of this post, I think I have been lead to what my REAL issue is, so I guess I should revise my post, but I will leave it for others to decide. I have come to the conclusion in and during my reaction that I agree wholeheartedly with you.

  • Frank Viola

    Thanks Joe. How did you find this blog?

  • Joe Anderson

    Great article!
    Along similar lines, I have written (or paraphrased) a short article about the real war on women at The real war on women is the one in which the forces of secularism, using the tools of their trade with which we are all too familiar, attempt to coerce women into believing that that which makes them women, the gift of their womanhood, is of no value and needs to be put aside in order that they might truly succeed in this world.

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    this is the Jesus that i know and serve. beautifully put, frank.

  • Frank Viola

    Thx. Adrian. This article transcends both categories, as do my own views on the subject. I appreciate your kind note on your blog. Peter K’s line was so good that I revised what I had to incorporate his.

  • Frank Viola

    Sure. Please put a link to the original post in your translation.

  • Ronny Dee

    I like your article. May I ask your permission to translate some part of this article into my languange (Indonesia)? I will put your name below the article. Thank you

  • Kelly J Youngblood

    I love the fact that you agree with every word of this this post too! :)

  • Adrian Warnock

    Love the fact that as a complementarian I agree with EVERY word of this post

  • Frank Viola

    I’ve dealt with the Timothy text here: – hope it helps.

  • Summer Smith

    Very liberating. I’ve always felt my passion was an uphill battle in a man’s church. I’ve wrestled with Timothy on the subject and that one little passage could ruin me for months at a time.

  • Frank Viola

    Thx. Alise. Three cheers.

  • Alise

    I think that last line is the important one. Regardless of the obstacles stacked against us, we are called to serve. I think that’s so important to remember when we’re feeling beaten down by the negativity – we still must serve God, in whatever way that we’re called.

    Thanks for this reminder!

  • Kelly J Youngblood

    Loved that chapter in the book and plan on using it as a reference for something I am working on for a Sunday school class for church.