I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.1 Timothy 8-15
After years of reading the Bible I can honestly say that understanding the Word of God is not easy, at first. Also, that knowledge gained from worldly wisdom, or instruction did not help me to understand the Scriptures. Understanding, and accepting the role of women in the church was as well challenging and in some instances, it seems open to interpretation. Likewise, the idea of old nature versus new nature and identifying sin was problematic. Why? Because as Paul wrote in the letter to the Romans, “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.” Of all the theories explaining the origins of man, the only one that fully explains the workings of man is Creation. It’s the only one that makes any sense.
Ecclesiastics says “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” For me, understanding the Scriptures has been and continues to be a life long journey and for good purpose. It has been a journey divinely designed to bring me to a place where God waits. Admittedly, there is so much written in the Bible, about all sorts of issues that all relate to the attributes of God and of man. And many a Bible scholar has presented their understanding of the Scriptures regarding certain issues. Well, the last few years I have come to believe that these Bible Scholars may not have been working from divine revelation, but rather from mere human insight. Beginning with the role of women in the church this one issue has been interpreted very restrictively. Considering Eve was the one that was deceived I can understand why religious man erred on the side of caution. Well, Eve was deceived, but Adam was also nonchalant about taking a bite of the fruit that his woman presented to him. “Here. Eat.” That was so easy. What happened? Did Adam simply forget God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Was Eve so persuasive, or rather seductive that Adam could not resist her offer? What does Scripture say? “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” So, clearly Eve was easily persuaded to question God’s command. Clearly she did not recognize her enemy. And Adam didn’t even consider what he was doing. He didn’t consider that God’s enemy might be using his wife.
Being a woman of faith does not come with any glory. I realize that God can use woman just as He uses men. The Scriptures tell me that God calls many, but only a handful are chosen. So, who are the chosen? And how does one know if they are chosen? As a woman in the church in the 1980s, I was forbidden to divorce, according to fellow female church members. I was a new believer. I was still learning about God. But, I had come under God’s authority, so now I had to obey my abusive husband. I had to take my beatings. And I wondered if this was what God had called me too, adversity. My husband, on the other hand was told he had to do whatever it took to get me to submit to his authority (He told me this.). The man of God was not to be questioned. He was barely held accountable for his behaviors and actions. If anything his misgivings were often overlooked. I don’t recall where my husband and I were headed, but we got into an argument in the car. I disagreed with him, so what does he do? He reaches over me, opens the car door and tries to throw me out of a moving car. When I mentioned it at Bible study, no one seemed appalled. When I hear of church leaders exposed for immoral behavior, or abuse it does not shock me. The “seasoned women” of the church I attended, truly believed that I had to submit to my abusive husband. They believed that my quiet spirit would change him. One woman told me that if God wanted me out of my marriage He would provide a way out. Well, that’s a story for another post.
I am a woman of faith, but my faith is not in any pastor, or teacher, or theology. My faith is in God alone. Today’s evangelicals can preach all they want that this world has grown ever so immoral. They can protest every law they feel is anti-God. My Bible says I should expect all these things to happen and worse. I should expect persecution. Does that mean I want to experience persecution? Of course not. But I have learned that one man’s persecution is another man’s blessing, as is the case with the issue of abortion. Who is feeling the persecution? I see Christians feeling persecuted because they are losing their God given rights, their civil liberties. My Bible does not mention anything about God given rights. What it does say is, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” It’s like the Great Commission is not sufficient. Turning a democracy into a theocracy seems to be a more appealing mission. One problem with that goal is this…
“There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”Romans 3:10-17
“Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.”
Being a Bible believing Christian in America is a privilege. It’s by the grace of a merciful God that I can identify as a woman of faith. It’s a merciful God that gives those that seek Him understanding of the Scriptures.