How bad is the Bible for women?

50 Questions
Guy Harrison

Women no goodThe chapter (’Is Christianity Good for Women?’ ) in Guy Harrison’s book,1 discusses the terrible treatment women get in the Bible. For example,

# 1. The curse on the woman (because of her disobedience to God, Genesis 3:16), “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’”

  • He doesn’t mention that the male, Adam, got an even stiffer ‘sentence,’ ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food….’ 2  It is not as if all the burden is on the woman and the man can gaily sit in the sun and enjoy himself.

# 2. The wife should submit to her husband.

  • What about the command to the man, ‘Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them?’ 3 It is not as if the husband can selfishly do as he likes. He has to care for and love his wife.
  • Both male and female are made in God’s image. They are made of the same ‘materials.’ Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh….’ 4  According to God’s design there will not be male and female in heaven. The citizens there will be like angels. 5  So God cannot give preference to males to the detriment of females, though He assigns them different roles (see the curse when both were disobedient: the male will be the breadwinner and the female will reproduce).

# 3. The role of women in the church.  A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.’ 6 The idea is promoted that God is unfair to women, shut them up and cannot care less about them. It is not true.

  • Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave those instructions to Timothy, because there was a problem with false teachers with wrong doctrine in Ephesus. Some of the women were the primary advocates and promoters of the heretical teaching which upset the accepted patterns of congregational and home life. Paul wanted to rectify the situation.
  • So Paul’s restrictive words must be understood within the context where false teaching was the issue. This is the exception. It cannot be applied as the norm in the Church, although it has been done throughout the ages. 7  That, however, is not God’s fault, but man’s disobedience and in many cases, plain jealousy because some women are gifted.
  • In other places Paul talks about women in prominent positions in church life, like Phoebe, Priscilla,  Junias, Euodia and Syntyche. 9 In Judges 4 we read about Deborah the judge. Today there are international women preachers like Joyce Meyer and I am sure most men are pleased with her ministry (otherwise there would be no men in her audiences).

People do bad things because of sin (disobedience to God’s Word). For example, sin causes men in the Church to abuse women. That, however, does not mean that Scripture is wrong. People’s exegesis might be wrong and then it leads to the false charge that God allows women to be abused. It is rubbish. God loves women as well as men. Both genders are made in His image.

References

  1. G Harrison, 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian, Prometheus Books, 2013, kindle location 1809 – 1862 of 5739
  2. Genesis 3:17-19
  3. Colossians 3:25
  4. Genesis 2:23
  5. Matthew 22:23-30
  6. 1 Timothy 2:11
  7. WC Kaiser et al, Hard Sayings of the Bible, InterVarsity Press, 1996, p 665-667
  8. Romans 16:1,3,7
  9. Philippians 4:2-9

How atheists prove that prayer is powerful

It is always a good thing to look at what atheists teach. We get insight because they have anPraying, Western Wall adviser who knows the Bible inside out. His strategy is to accuse. We read about him in Revelation 12:10c, ’…the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night….’

So when atheists accuse us that we are foolish to serve the Lord God, it is not a surprise. It is exactly what the Accuser did when he tried to persuade Jesus to serve him instead of God. Jesus showed us how to answer, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” 1 

Atheists love to tell us that prayer does not work. Richard Dawkins,2 Guy Harrison3 and many others have the same theme: prayer is a waste of time. Dawkins exults in a failed prayer experiment, preaching prayer is ineffective. He, a complete novice about the Kingdom of God, fails to mention that prayer is more than just an impersonal, mechanical entreaty to God:

  1. Effective prayer is in the name of Jesus.4 That means by a devout follower of Christ who lives in a relationship with Him and has forgiven those who sinned against him.5  1 John 3:22 captivates it beautifully, ‘Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.’  It is useless to select a group of people to pray for others, if they don’t have a deep personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and depend on His leading.
  1. Faith is a precious commodity that Dawkins, Harrison and other prayer critics don’t have. This faith is so precious and important that Jesus teaches us in the parable of the persistent widow never to stop praying. ‘…they [we] should always pray and not give up.’ 6  Why? Because Jesus will answer when He sees we have faith, “Have faith in God. …if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” 7

Neither God nor Jesus is threatened by atheists who spread doubt about prayer. They gave a promise to their followers, Ask and it will be given to you….’ 8  However, when the Pharisees and the Sadducees asked a sign from heaven, Jesus answered, A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah [the resurrection].’ 9 Atheists’ attempts to extract a sign from God will never be answered.

For those who know God and love Him, prayer is powerful and effective. The reason why the devil spreads doubt about prayer is because he knows the truth. He knows that prayer works and that he is at a disadvantage when believers call on the Lord. That applies especially in critical times. We can take comfort in the fact that the enemy of God takes special trouble to identify the believers’ potent weapon, prayer.

References

  1. Matthew 4:8-10
  2. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Bantam Books, 2006, p 61-66
  3. Guy Harrison, Fifty Simple Questions for Every Christian, Prometheus Books, 2012, p 33-39 of 324 (Kindle edition)
  4. John 14:14; 15:7
  5. Mark 11:25
  6. Luke 18:1-7
  7. Mark 11:22-24
  8. Matthew 7:7
  9. Matthew 16:1-4

 

Why do Christians do bad things?

One of the questions Guy Harrison asks is,1 Why do the ‘Christians’ do such horrible things (which atheists Bad Christians copy

50 Questions

presumably never do)?  To reframe it a bit and make it more understandable, if I claim that I am a multimillionaire, does that mean I am one?  I doubt. Nobody will believe me, unless I can furnish proof. Which of course I can’t.

 

The same applies to some ‘Christians.’ Claiming something doesn’t necessarily make it true. Jesus said it is not enough to praise and worship Him, sit in church and be busy ‘with the Lord’s business.’  He asked, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?'” 2

 

Jesus gave two commands that are very pertinent to the question, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’ This means, among other things, that we should be like Jesus who gave His life for others.

 

Jesus’ second guideline is, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 4  This means that you will not harm others.  A person who follows these two commands will not hurt others or do bad things like steal, murder, et cetera.

 

This should answer why Christians do bad things? They were not followers of Christ in the first place. Out of expediency, political power, or plain deceit, they claimed to be ‘Christians,’ but they were not. Jesus will separate Christians at His second coming, ‘The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.’

 

Till then we have to accept that there will be people who claim to be Christians but do bad things. Many of us have had some bad experience at the hands of some of them. God will sort it out. We just have to be sure we have forgiven them and pray for them.

 

Real Christians are taught to forgive and not to retaliate. Could it be that somewhere, somehow one of these ‘brothers,’ or ‘sisters’ have done you a bad turn? Have you forgiven? We had to learn through bitter experience the only way to keep one’s sanity and health is to do just that, forgive.

 

References

  1. Kindle location 1177-1235 of 5739
  2. Luke 6:46
  3. Matthew 22:37
  4. Matthew 22:39
  5. Matthew 13:41
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