The Religious A priori
Women And Christianity
Neither Male Nor Female:
|Galatians 3:28,For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither F67 male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.
IV.Neihter Male Nor Female.
Paul tells us that if anyone preaches another Gospel he is condmened:"if we or an angel from heaven teach any other gosepel, let him be anathama! And what is the proper Gospel Paul preached? The introduction to the letter to the Galatians, where he raises this specter of another Gospel, tells clearly the Gspel that Paul preached:
Galatians1:Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised R4 Him from the dead), 2 and all the R5 brethren who are with me, To the R6 churches of Galatia: 3 Grace R7 to you and peace from God F1 our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave R8 Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this R9 present evil age, F2 according to the will of our R10 God and Father, 5 to R11 whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.
(that is a prefect statment of what paul calls the Gospel)
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him R12 who called you by F3 the grace of Christ, for a different R13 gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing R14 you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an R15 angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary F4 to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! R16 F5 9 As we have R17 said before, so I say again now, if R18 any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary F6 to what you received, he is to be accursed!
The other gospel to which the Galatians were turning was a "Judauizing" Gospel; it was a Gospel which said that in order to be in Christ, one had to first be a Jew, which meant keeping the law. This has profound conseuqences for the gender issue as well. Paul goes to great pains to demonstrate that salvatin is by Grace through faith and that it is an act of the heart which turns to God, not the keeping of the law, or of any rules or regulations which saves. Yet today a whole branch of the chruch are laden under the false gospel of gender hieararchy, teaching that women must keep to a subordinate position in order to be right with God. The consequences are much more profound that just missing one verse in Galatians. The whole book of Galatians is a manifesto of gender liberation and social action, in a very real way. This is so because the consequences of missing the point have social implications. It is also because the Gospel itself has social implication. These are real and pracitel and deal with how we treat people. Paul makes it quite clear that the Gospel has soical reprocussions.
The context of the letter deals with a conflict that arose between Peter and Paul. We see in chapters 1 and 2 that certain representatives of the Chruch in Jerusalem came to visit the Galatians while Peter was there;these elements of that chuch were very suspicious of Paul and who were nt on board with the Jerusalem council's decision to accept Paul as the representative to the gentiles. Peter had been eating with the Gentiles and had accepted their fellowship, but when the representatives form Jersalme came, he withdrew and would not eat with the gentile believers. Paul saw this as hypocracy.
11 But when Cephas R79 came to Antioch, R80 I opposed him to his face, because he stood F23 condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, R81 F24 he used to eat R82 with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing R83 the F25 party of the circumcision.
He points out that this is a violation of the Gospel, because not only is the Gospel about grace, but it is also about inclusivity. All who give thier lives to Jesus are equally followers of Jesus and all deserve to be treated the same. We would apply the social implications to race; in the early 1960s Christians used this passage to justify support for the civil rights movment. There is no reason why it does not also appy to women in the chruch and in the home, in all positions where women feel that God has called them to service.
This is especially so since Paul states: there is enither Jew nor Greek, Slave nor free, male nor female in Christ Jesus.
Let's look at the full context:
I said to Cephas R87 in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live R88 like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? F27 15 "We are Jews R89 by nature and not sinners R90 from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a R91 man is not justified by the works of the F28 Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith R92 in Christ and not by the works of the F28 Law; since by R93 the works of the F28 Law no flesh F29 will be justified. 17 "But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, R94 is Christ then a minister of sin? May R95 it never be! 18 "For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove R96 myself to be a transgressor. 19 "For through the F30 Law I died R97 to the F30 Law, so that I might live to God. 20 "I have been crucified R98 with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ R99 lives in me; and the F31 life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the R100 Son of God, who loved R101 me and gave R102 Himself up for me. 21 "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if R103 righteousness comes through the F32 Law, then Christ died needlessly."
How seldom we consider what these words really mean! They mean that being right with God is not a matter of fitting into some kind of heirarchy, obeying rules, or even being good, but it is a matter of trusting Jesus' saving agancy and God's Grace,and knowing God in the heart!
It is through this trust and this Grace that we become heirs to the promsie of Abraham. It does not matter what gender, race, color, social position. To place such false barriers in the way of a person's relationship with God is to teach another Gospel. To refuse to see the social consqeunces of the Gospel, to back away from eating with the gentiles, wheather that refusing to notice the black man who is banned from eathing with whites, or refusingt to allow a woman to speak in the church, is the same kind of social hypcoracy and sin!
The conseuqences of this doctrine were racial in Paul's day, they were ethnic and they were gender oriented, for he includes both race and gender:
Galatians 3:14 in order that in R124 Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come F55 to the Gentiles, so that we would R125 receive the R126 promise of the Spirit through faith.... 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being R143 shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor R144 to lead us to Christ, so that we R145 may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. R146 F66 26 For you are all sons R147 of God through faith in Christ R148 Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized R149 into Christ have clothed R150 yourselves with Christ. 28 There R151 is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither F67 male nor female; for you R152 are all one in Christ R153 Jesus. 29 And if you R154 belong F68 to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, F69 heirs according to promise. R155
Heirs according to the promise! What this tells us is that anyone who has been baptized into Christ is an equal heir and deserves all the benifits of the promise; some of those benifits must include the right to serve God, to use one's gifts for God as one feels called.To place barriers to exclude people on the basis of gender, reace, and social status is a violation of the Gospel. There are those who argue that this is just "before God" and not for society. Paul felt otherwise, since he did not tell Peter it was fine to withdraw from the gentiles, but rather said that he was not being true to the Gsoel! We are not being true to the Gospel when we exclude women from the exercize of heir God-given talents and thier callings. We are not being true to the Gospel when we decide that women can't have certain callings.
The Religious A priori