If you recall, a couple of episodes ago, we did an episode titled, Social Justice & the Gospel. In that episode we talked about and defined the liberal social justice movement's Radical Feminism. In this episode, we don't talk about that kind of radical feminism. Instead, we talk about another kind of feminism, Biblical feminism. And given that Biblical feminism is highly in the minority and looked down on and even ridiculed by the world, it’s the real radical feminism. Spoiler alert - We do NOT use Proverbs 31 to define Biblical womanhood!
Episode 89 – Real Radical Feminism
Welcome Back! If you recall, 2 weeks ago, we did an episode titled, Social Justice & the Gospel. In that episode we talked about and defined Radical Feminism. Just as a reminder, radical feminism that is the part of the liberal social justice movement today that is trying to eliminate what they call male supremacy by usurping men from all authority and completely emasculating them.
In this episode, we aren’t going to talk about this kind of radical feminism, because, as we said it is unbiblical. But if you haven’t listened to that episode, #86, we encourage you to. What we are going to talk about is another kind of feminism, Biblical feminism. And given that Biblical feminism is highly in the minority and looked down on and even ridiculed by the world, it’s the real radical feminism.
Now most sermons, teachings, books, etc. on Biblical womanhood always begin and end Proverbs 31 – the wife of noble character. But, we aren’t going there. And we aren’t using Proverbs 31 because one, we have already done an episode, 2 in fact, #23 & #24. And if you have listened to those episodes, you know that while we gave a few different theories on what some believe the Proverbs 31 woman is, we concluded, using Scripture, that, and I’ll quote, “Proverbs 31 woman is to be read as being the perfected Church, the Bride of Christ, doing what she’s supposed to be doing – ultimately glorifying God!”
Right. And part of that conclusion is based on that Jesus is the perfect son of Proverbs. He is ultimately who Solomon is talking about, because Jesus is the only one who has perfected the kind of wisdom described in Proverbs. In fact, Jesus is the personification of that wisdom! So it absolutely makes sense that His bride, the Proverbs 31 woman, would be the church and not an actual woman. It’s a picture of what the perfected church (God’s people) looks like. Its like the beatitudes. It is about our relationship to God and what kingdom life should look like, but none of it will be perfected on this side of heaven. Anyway, you can go back and listen to the 2 episodes we did on Proverbs 31 if this is confusing.
So we won’t be using Proverbs 31 to define Biblical womanhood, but don’t worry, there is plenty of Scripture that clearly tells us about what being a godly woman looks like, and it may not be what you think. The world has this image (and maybe even some Christians, too) that to be a godly woman, you have to be frumpy, boring, and either timid and sickeningly sweet or abrasive and harshly judgmental. And most of all, I think the world (and again, some Christian) view Christian womanhood to mean that you are a doormat to be trampled on by men, especially by your husband. But none of those characteristics was ever in God’s design for women. So let’s dig in and find out what is!
As we usually do, before we dig into what Scripture says, let’s take a look at what the world believes. We looked up the most popular women in 2020-2021 – and the criteria to make the list was success, following, and influence. Let’s take a look at some of them, their beliefs, what they do, their values, etc. We will start with Katie Perry. Supposedly, Katie Perry’s parents are Christian and she was raised in, and even sang in, church. She was even going to pursue a career in Gospel music, but instead released a song called, “I kissed a girl and I liked it,” which became a #1 song, so she changed course. The video for another of her songs, Dark Horse, is a reenactment of a satanic worship ritual.
Another female who made the list is Taylor Swift. We should note that Swift identifies herself as a Christian. Which is ironic considering a recent tweet of hers, which says,“Witches be like “Sometimes I just want to listen to music while pining away/sulking/staring out a window.” It’s me. I’m witches. Never fear, the “willow lonely witch remix” is here.” Swift is famous for writing songs about her boyfriends and break-ups – and there have been a lot! She even writes songs about fights she has with other female singers. Her song list reads like a tabloid of her life, making private details public in the name of fame and fortune. She recently has ditched the country / pop scene, and has taken her music to a much darker place.
We will just do a few more. Beyonce is on the list. Besides extremely raunchy lyrics, most of which are so foul and disgusting, we can’t even quote them, Beyonce and her husband were on the forefront of the BLM movement and defunding the police. She appeared on the Superbowl halftime show and did a whole anti-police set. Funny, though, when we tried to find tangible things Beyonce has done or is doing to help the black community, all we could find is that she takes on acting roles that showcase struggles that black women face. Sounds a little self-serving.
Paris Hilton has made the list for one reason. Her ingenious at publicizing a sex tape of herself to help her propel to stardom. And we will just finish up by naming some others on the list and let you draw your own conclusions about their character: Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Cher, Hilary Clinton, and Justin Beiber (apparently, you don’t have to actually be a woman to make the most popular women list.) Okay. So, we get the idea of what the world thinks is a successful woman – powerful, rich, famous, lots of followers, indiscreet, self-serving, and most are concerned very little, if at all, about morality, integrity, or sustaining a monogamous, lasting relationship.
Now even if some of these women claim to be Christian, there is little evidence in their life that that is the case – although we would never blatantly judge someone’s heart, that’s God’s job. So let’s just say they certainly aren’t living out the faith they proclaim to have. They are of the world – so we shouldn’t expect them to act any different than those who say they are not Christian. So if this is a secular list of women, using secular qualities, and these women are being emulated by non-believers, why should it matter to us as Christians? Well, because it’s not just unbelievers that are looking up to and emulating these women.
Our daughters, and maybe even some of us, are looking up to, and in some cases emulating these women. We mentioned this in the social justice episode, but its worth mentioning again, the successful woman of the 21st century doesn’t need a man for anything. She may have one as a companion, but she doesn’t need him. There is nothing she can’t accomplish on her own. She is self-efficient, self-sustaining, self-aware, and self-reliant. It’s her call if she wants to have a baby, her body, her choice. She may be 5’2”, 100 lbs. soaking wet, but she can still kick the butt of a bad guy 6’6” and 250 lbs.(or at least that’s what t.v. and the movies tell us) She is the one making the important decisions because she is smarter, more aware, and more clever than any man in her circle.
And if you think we are exaggerating, just turn on your t.v., listen to many podcasts, read a magazine, watch Youtube videos, go on social media, whatever. Its all around us. Women don’t need men for anything except perhaps to help out when we want to have a baby, (but not to be involved in that baby’s life unless they say so) Or maybe a man is needed to stay home with that baby while we go out and pursue our dreams. Think we are exaggering? Why then, do all the diaper, detergent, and baby stuff commercials always have dads with the kids and not moms? Okay, now that we’ve seen the view the world has on womanhood, let’s look at what Scripture says. Rose, you want to start?
Well, Chris, you and I always say the place to start in the Bible is the beginning, so let’s go to Genesis. And I’m sure this is a very familiar passage to many. Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” And then if we flip over to Genesis 2:18 – 23, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
There are a few things these verses tell us. First, the verse in Genesis 1 tells us that God created both man and woman in His image. In God’s eyes, men and women have the same worth. One is not superior or inferior to the other. However, when we read the verses in Genesis 2, we see that while men and women have equal worth in God’s eyes, they are not the same. Adam was given dominion over every living thing on earth, he needed another human, one like him, but not an exact duplicate. He needed someone who would compliment him, and help him to be all that God wanted him to be. So out of Adam’s ribs, God created woman to be his helper. Rose, this often gets cited to mean that a woman’s main job is to help men, specifically her man. They aren’t suppose to pursue their own dreams or have their own desires.
And that is not what this verse says at all. God’s first pronunciation is that nothing else living on earth was suitable as a companion for Adam and that it is not good for man to be alone. Adam was a social creature, he needed someone suitable to socialize with. In fact, that’s how all humans are wired – to be in community with other people. This applies to a husband and wife, but its not limited to just that. All people need other people. They were never designed to live in isolation. Theologian Albert Barnes, says this, “He (Adam) is formed to be social, to hold converse, not only with his superior(God), but also with his equal. As yet he is but a unit, an individual. He needs a mate, with whom he may take sweet counsel. And the benevolent Creator resolves to supply this want. “I will make him a helpmeet for him” - one who may not only reciprocate his feelings, but take an intelligent and appropriate part in his active pursuits.”
Matthew Henry and many other Biblical scholars reiterate this commentary. He says, “How God graciously pitied his solitude: It is not good that man, this man, should be alone. Though there was an upper world of angels and a lower world of brutes, and he between them, yet there being none of the same nature and rank of beings with himself, none that he could converse familiarly with, he might be truly said to be alone. Now he that made him knew both him and what was good for him, better than he did himself, and he said, "It is not good that he should continue thus alone." It is not for his comfort; for man is a sociable creature. It is a pleasure to him to exchange knowledge and affection with those of his own kind, to inform and to be informed, to love and to be beloved.”
So when it says Eve was created to be a helper to Adam, it is first a small picture of what marriage is designed to be. Both men and women are essential in God’s creation and both need each other. Think of it this way, men are like green crayons, and women are like blue crayons. They are both crayons and of equal value, but there are some instances where a green crayon is better – like when you want to draw trees or grass. And there are some instances where a blue crayon is the best choice – like to color a picture of water or the sky. But to do a complete landscape picture, you need both green and blue! As 1 Cor. 11:11 – 12 says, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.”
This was God’s original design, and it worked perfectly for Adam and Eve. But this was before the fall. As we all know, after the fall, their relationship changed – with each other and with God. And the curse they and every human after them came under has deeply affected how men and women see each other and their relationships. The perfectly designed relationship between husband and wife, and men and women, was turned upside down. And here is a reminder for everyone of what the curse for Eve and all women was. Gen. 3:16, “To the woman he (God) said,’I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.’”
So we won’t even go into the whole pain in childbirth thing. Any of us who have had a baby know that is reality. But the second part of the curse, Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you, needs a closer look. What does this mean exactly? We should note that this verse has been hotly debated by Biblical Scholars throughout history. In fact, there are 6 major interpretations of this verse. But we think there is really only one that is truly supported by other Scripture.
Yeah. Like we said, Adam and Eve’s relationship was perfect, and although they were equals, Adam was the head. Since neither had sinned, Adam was able to lead Eve, and Eve was able to submit to Adam in perfect harmony. Neither felt vulnerable, bullied, or manipulated by the other. Their relationship was so perfect, they were able to be naked in front of each other all the time and not even think anything of it. There was complete trust and faith in each other. But part of that first sin, among other things, was that Eve took the lead and gave the fruit to Adam, and told him to eat it. Adam, instead of being the godly leader to Eve that he was supposed to be, meekly accepted it and ate it. So part of this first sin is that Adam and Eve reversed the roles God had given them.
Right. So this part of the curse that “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.’” Is that the desire to lead and be head will be a constant temptation for women, but they will still be subject to man. When God created Eve, He planned on blessing her and all women with the privilege of bearing children. The fall didn’t change that design, but now, because of the fall, there was a curse attached to it – pain in childbirth. The same is true of this second part of the curse. God had always intended a harmonious relationship in marriage where the man would lead in godliness and the woman would submit in godliness. After the fall, He didn’t change that design, but now, women wouldn’t so easily submit. They would desire to want to lead and take charge over their husbands.
And an outflowing of this curse is that sometimes women have been forced back into submission and servitude by being mistreated and abused by men, and sometimes, men have weakly stepped aside and done nothing while women have taken the lead. Neither is a godly response, and both are sinful. So we see that from the fall, men and women’s rolls have been corrupted by sin. But thankfully, God doesn’t leave us to our own devices. Believers have the Bible to look to to see what God expects of men and women, and we have the Holy Spirit Who affirms the Truth of the Bible and sanctifies us so we are able to apply that Truth to our lives.
So we said that women were not meant to lead over men. Is that in all circumstances? Does that apply to all men? It’s no to both. And we find these answers from Paul. Paul often gets a bad rap for being a misogynist because he advocated if someone was single and wanted to serve God, they should think about remaining single, and because of some of his writings that often get taken out of context. Let’s start with are women to be subject to the authority of all men. Paul tells us in 1Cor. 11:3, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” He says this again in Eph. 5:22 – 24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
So Paul, and Peter in 1 Peter, say that women are to be led by and submit to their own husbands, not every man they come into contact with. And, just like the original mandate given by God, this is a 2-sided covenant. It’s not just that women submit to their husband. Husbands have to hold up their end of the covenant of marriage. Paul goes on in Eph. 5 to tell us what the husband’s end is, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Biblical marriage is meant to model Jesus’ relationship with His Church for Christians and to the watching world.
Okay, so biblical womanhood means letting your husband lead and be head of the family. It means encouraging him and helping him to be a godly man so he can lead in a way that builds everyone in the family up. Basically, wives are to help their husbands be the man God means for them to be, while they help their wives become the woman God intends her to be. When this is played out in the way it is meant to, it is a beautiful thing; and Chris, you and I can both say this from experience. We have both been married well over 30 years each. We have both had rough patches, definitely times we didn’t necessarily agree with our husbands. And neither you and I are the timid type to quietly go along with something even if we don’t agree. So how would you tell Christian women they should handle it if this situation comes up in their marriage?
Well, first make sure that both sides of the disagreement are Biblical. For example, if your husband wants to stop going to church and sleep in on Sundays, then you need to gently remind him that God intends for His people to meet together in community and it would be dishonoring to God not to do so. But if it’s something that neither perspective violates Biblical Truth, then pray about whatever the disagreement or situation is. Let’s say your husband wants to move, but you don’t think it’s a good idea. You can have an honest, respectful conversation with your spouse. Both can layout the pros and cons as they see them. And then, if you still have not come to an agreement, and some of you aren’t going to like that I am saying this, wives need to let their husbands lead and they need to submit.
And if that really grates on you, think about something. Jesus submitted to the Father’s will while He was on earth. In the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father that if there was another way to bring about redemption of His people, then please do it. But if not, He willingly put aside His own feelings and acquiesced to the Father’s Will. God is not asking us to do anything Jesus hasn’t done! And I will tell you that the situation Chris talked about – moving, happened in my marriage twice in the last 2 years! Both times I was not for it, but both times, I submitted and let my husband lead. And you know what? Both times it was the right decision for us. Now I’m not saying that that will always be the case – our husbands are human and will make mistakes, but you can never go wrong when your motivation is to honor God and obey what He has commanded of us.
And, Rose, we should say here that this doesn’t mean that anyone should allow themselves or their children to be abused by a spouse. Remember, this is a two-part covenant. And, like we said, of course there will be slip-ups and even sin on both parts, but if one person, whether the husband or wife, is completely disregarding their part of the covenant and is physically, emotionally, or spiritually abusing their spouse or their children, you certainly do not have to submit and you need to get yourself and your children to safety and get help
Amen. Okay, back to Paul who gives another great insight into Biblical womanhood. First, let’s deal with a verse that often gets misinterpreted, and that is 1Tim 2:11 - 12, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” I am going to quote Gentle Reformation here on how these verses should be put into context and interpreted. They say, “Paul's prohibitions against women teachers have a context. They are not absolute prohibitions. For starters, reading the verses surrounding those quoted above shows us, without question, that the context of the requirement for silence is the church. Paul here is not making any comment about women teaching in schools or universities or in other settings. I have known men, who objected to women teaching adult men in ANY setting, but this is simply not what Paul is talking about. It is a perversion of this text to insist that women are never to teach men.” 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are Pastoral Epistles. They are basically a book of church order – how the church should function and run.
Right. So Paul isn’t saying women are never to teach men. He is saying that they should not be Pastors or elders, and let’s realize the terminology is hairy on this. Pastors and elders meaning they should they preach from the pulpit in the worship service when the entire body is together. And how do we know this is what Paul meant? Let’s go back to 1 Cor. 11. In verses 4 -5, Paul says, “ Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.” We aren ‘t going to get into the head coverings thing today, because there is so much disagreement on that, and that isn’t the point of us reading this text. What is the point is that Paul makes a matter of fact statement that women, as well as men, were prophesying. So women prophesying or teaching was not an extraordinary event, it was as common, or almost as common, as men prophesying. Young’s Concordance defines this word as public exposition, in other words, teaching! Prophesying in the NT is used to mean the same as teaching. False prophets – false teachers, same thing. Strong’s concordance says that the word here that the prophesying going on here was meant to encourage, console and build up the church.
And the ironic thing here is that Paul gets flack from women for the verses in 1 Timothy, but Paul is telling women to learn. This shows that he is encouraging women to study Scripture. His good friends, Priscilla and Aquillia were teachers. When Paul talks about them, he lists Priscilla first – which some commentators take to mean that she was the main or more knowledgeable teacher of the two. He also mentions other women in his epistles, calling them fellow servants in the faith. Okay, so to be a Biblical woman, you may not be a pastor, elder, or preach on Sunday morning from the pulpit. These are clearly stated in the Pastoral epistles, and they go along with the original design that men are to lead. However, women may teach in other settings, and they can certainly correct false teaching, even if its from a man. Acts 18:24 -26 shows Priscilla and Aquilla doing this with Apollos. It says, “Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”
Okay, let’s go a little faster now and talk about attributes of godly women. Godly women are strong – Mary, the mother of Jesus, is an excellent example of strength. There is also Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna who traveled with the Apostles, even supporting them financially. Godly women have a quiet strength that they recognize comes from God and enables them to handle whatever is thrown their way with the help of the Holy Spirit. Godly women are also modest. They are not trying to get attention or make men stumble into lust by what they wear. They don’t use a sex tape like Paris Hilton to gain notoriety! 1Tim 2:9 – 10, “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. Godly women know their worth is found in who they are in Christ, not what they look like. But notice nowhere does that verse, or others about women dressing modestly say we have to look frumpy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with dressing nice, wearing make-up, doing our hair, and feeling confident about our appearance so long as we dress modestly. Modesty is kind of a subjective term, but you shouldn’t have anything hanging out or showing that is only appropriate for your husband to see.
The problem arises when we are dressing, not so we look attractive for our husband or to feel good about ourselves, the problem arises when we dress to get the attention of others – especially other men. And as Paul says, our beauty should be radiating from the inside out – because of our godliness and good works. Not from the outside in. Prov. 11:22 reiterates this, “Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” We have all known people who at first we didn’t think they were attractive, but then once we got to know them, because of who they were and their behavior, they became attractive. And, of course, the opposite is true. There was a movie called Shallow Hal, and he was given the gift of seeing people on the outside as they were on the inside. So those who may not have been physically attractive as the world defines, looked very attractive to him because he was seeing what they looked like on the inside. And many physically beautiful people, looked very ugly to him.
Another attribute that has gotten devalued over the years is our ability to bear and birth children. The bad radical feminists say this reduces women to an incubator. I even saw a tv show recently that a female surgeon was lamenting that women have to be the ones to have babies and thereby curtailing their careers and pursuits. It is an incredible honor and blessing God has bestowed on women to have children. And it is dishonoring to God and insulting to those women who aren’t able to conceive to even suggest that this devalues a woman’s worth in any way. The Bible is full of women who begged for the chance to have a baby. The world is full of women who desperately want a baby. John 16:21 is a beautiful verse that encapsulates, even with the curse of pain in childbirth, what our attitude on child bearing should be. It says, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
May those of us with children, whether natural born, adopted, or those under our care in the church, never forget the privilege of God putting His precious little ones under our care. There is nothing degrading or devaluing about it. Other than being saved, it is the highest calling on our life. Okay, let’s end with one more attribute Biblical women have. And that is that they pass on their wisdom and knowledge to the younger generation of women – whether it’s their daughters or younger women in the church. Titus 2:3 -5 says, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
We started off by showing who the women are that the world is looking up to and emulating. If we don’t want the younger generation of women to think that these women are what Biblical womanhood looks like, we need to teach them – teach them by example and by words. And although there aren’t any guarantees, Proverbs 22:6 gives up encouragement, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Like we said, there aren’t any guarantees that teaching the younger generation will lead to them to becoming Biblical women – that is up to the Holy Spirit, but there is a guarantee that not teaching the younger generation will result in their fall, or at least their stumbling as Prov 29:15 tells us.“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
That’s all we have time for. We would love to hear your thoughts, comments, feedback, or questions! Message us on whatever platform you are listening on or email us at [email protected]. And please make sure you subscribe to our podcast on whatever platform you are listening on. Thanks everyone, Have a blessed day!
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