The Bible clearly teaches that men and women are equals.
For instance, Genesis 1:27 reads, “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.”
In Proverbs, Wisdom is personified as a woman.
In Galatians 3, Paul teaches, " For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise."
That is, brothers and sisters in Christ are equally clothed in Christ and are equal heirs according to the promise.
There are many more passages, but this is a start.
A core value of Uncommon Pursuit is “truth that inspires love.”
Sadly, and painfully, these truths have not always inspired love. Instead, churches are sometimes known more for mistreating women than for honoring them as equals before God as his image-bearers and as equal recipients of the gospel’s benefits.
I’m curious… how can churches better honor women?
Great question. For me, this depends heavily on how people hold the complimentarian or egalitarian views. For myself, if both doctrines are explored Biblically, then both can have very sound reasoning on the role of women. I also believe that if both views remain true to the text of scripture, women will hold equal value as image bearers of God, and it’s just their role alongside men that’s queried. Sadly, these doctrines can be abused so that either women aren’t honoured as they should be, or they take a high role of authority to the detriment of Biblical manhood. I find this quite overwhelming to explore, as I’ve looked into various viewpoints over the years. The cause of my exploration is probably because I’ve experienced different approaches to women in different churches I’ve been part of and it’s left me with questions.
One example is whether women can preach/teach on a Sunday. I used to attend a church where women never taught men but they could teach other women and children. I struggled with this as I felt that there was a great deal of wisdom that women could offer all members of the body. I found this viewpoint slightly grating, especially as I was a teacher in a school at the time. I have wondered whether a woman who God has gifted with wisdom, the ability to exegetise scripture, and teach with clarity should be prohibited from using her gifts. Should they suppress these things for the sake of what their church teaches to be the word of God?
Likewise, I have been part of a church network that has a lot of women leaders, who actually take a more active leadership role than their husbands, and where women outnumber the men in eldership teams. This also troubles me, and I’m still trying to work out why!
I think that the UP community is doing a great job of providing an equal platform for men and women to contribute, serve, and lead together in a God honouring and also people honouring way. I think that this enables everyone, regardless on whether they hold to complimentarian or egalitarian views, to honour men and women equally as God intended.
As far as churches are concerned, I would suggest that a big obstacle to women feeling honoured might be how ‘macho’ the eldership team is. If they have a group of men who all dominate, it’ll be very hard for women to feel significant and honoured. I think it therefore requires a huge amount of sensitivity and wisdom in any male eldership team to ensure that women are honoured. This includes the way they teach about marriage, relationships, and singleness.