Over the last few months, we have witnessed one story after another where powerful men exert their authority and influence to engage in sexually abusive behaviors toward women.
While these situations are not exclusive to Christians, an argument can be made that the church has a theological culpability in these matters.
When the church teaches young girls to be subservient, the church fosters the idea that women are less important than men.
When the church argues for complementarianism (men and women have specific roles that “complement” each other), this empowers men to believe they have a distorted right to treat women in a lesser role.
When the church denies women the same rights as men when it comes to marriage, parenting, home and the church, then the church is giving society permission to treat women as a sub-class of humanity.
These church teachings are wrong and must be called out. They have contributed in creating the environment in which sexual abuse prevails under the cover of a culturally perverse mindset empowered by theological malpractice.However, calling these ideas and behaviors immoral and wrong is not enough. As followers of Jesus, we must follow his lead in attempting a course correction when we are theologically adrift.
The church must speak out as the Old Testament prophet did when he boldly condemned King David. The church must take seriously the teachings of Jesus by pointing out systems, both secular and religious, that propagate attitudes and perspectives in which women are viewed and treated as servile objects.
The church needs to fervently promote an egalitarian theology that empowers women to fulfill their divine callings.
Equality will never be achieved as long as the church continues to turn the other way.
We must strive to do better for the young women growing up in our churches, for God’s mercy may be withheld if they grow up in a church that remains silent while predators are lurking in the shadows – or in plain sight.