Christian women

Evangelical Misogyny and the Spiritual Oppression of Christian Women

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background-1434679_1280Weak women- always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Captives to false teachers. Led astray by their feelings. There is hardly a better way to describe a significant portion – dare I say, the majority – of evangelical women today.

There’s plenty of blame to go around. Satan dresses himself up like a Christian and deceives as many as he can. Women (and men, too) give in to the temptation to seek out false teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. Pastors fail to fight off, and in many cases, welcome with open arms, the false doctrine and false teachers creeping into their churches.  And the false teachers themselves are out to make a fast buck on false doctrine.

And the result of it all is a generation of evangelical women held prisoner by Satan in the gilded cage of biblical illiteracy and feel-good “Christianity.” And most of them don’t even know they’re inmates.

It’s bad enough that evangelical women are largely feeding their souls on the anti-biblical poison churned out by the smorgasbord of divangelistas lining the shelves of most “Christian” bookstores- poison that, at worst, will leave them doomed to an eternity in hell, and, at best, will stunt their growth in Christ. But there’s another insidious aspect of this issue: theololgical misogyny against evangelical women.

The Bible knows nothing of women as second class citizens. Throughout recorded history, God, and his obedient children, have been the ones to regard women as precious and valuable people with a crucial role to play in the Kingdom, the family, and society. God elevates women while the world degrades us.

Perhaps one of the best examples of this is in an often overlooked phrase in 1 Timothy 2:11: “Let a woman learn.” The pastors and elders of the first century church – in the midst of a culture that devalued and disregarded women – were to proactively make sure women learned the gospel and sound doctrine. The Holy Spirit goes on in that passage to explain how first century, as well as twenty-first century, women should conduct themselves in a godly way while we’re learning, but there’s no watered down, Barbie doll, “pink is for girls” version of theology that women are to be taught while the real thing – serious Bible study and theology – is reserved for men.

Yet that’s exactly what modern day evangelicalism and Christian retailing are doing. They’re establishing a subtle theological segregation in the name of marketing and meeting felt needs. How? Here’s just one example:

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This post, from a major Christian retailer, appeared in my Facebook feed recently. They’re holding “Bible art journaling” workshops to teach women how to color in their Bibles- something we usually teach three year olds not to do.

When was the last time you heard of a Christian retailer or an average evangelical church holding a worshop – aimed at women – on biblical hermeneutics, Christology, pneumatology, church history, discernment, evangelism, or any other serious biblical topic?

Never mind how to properly handle and study God’s word, ladies, here’s a coloring book*! It’s insulting to the intelligence, capabilities, and quest for spiritual maturity of Christian women. And it’s sexist, too. Don’t believe me? Think about it:

How many Christian men do you see taking Bible art journaling classes or sharing about it on social media?

Have you ever seen a men’s ministry share a picture like this in order to reassure men of how special and wonderful they are?

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Over the summer, the hot fad aimed at women was using henna to tell Bible stories. How many men do you think participated in that?

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Contemporary Christian radio intentionally markets to a specific female demographic, resulting in a playlist that’s overwhelmingly comprised of ooey-gooey, salve my feelings, emasculated songs. That’s their perspective of us. That’s what they think we want and can handle.

And it doesn’t stop there. Walk into your local Christian retailer and compare the fluff and false doctrine in the women’s ghetto department to what’s offered in the general (or men’s) area of the store. Christian retailing has been so successful with their marketing plans that they have fairly brainwashed evangelical women into thinking that:

  • only what’s in the women’s section of the store is for them
  • serious theology isn’t for them (because it’s nowhere to be found in the women’s department)
  • women can’t just pick up the Bible and study it for themselves – they have to buy a “canned” study written by someone else
  • that “someone else” has to be a woman (nearly always a woman who teaches false doctrine)

Take all of that, throw it into your gumbo pot, stir it around a little, and what do you get?

Well…you get weak women who are captivated by false teachers and false doctrine, led astray from the truth of God’s word by their passions and emotions, flitting from study to study and event to event, always “learning” but ever biblically ignorant. And you get a church that not only views Christian women this way, but perpetuates this sexist spiritual oppression.

Christian women, you are better, more valuable, and more capable than that. God has more for you and expects more from you than sitting in a corner coloring in your Bible and playing with a theological Barbie Dream House. Like your first century sisters, He wants you to learn.

Strive for more than evangelicalism expects from you and thinks you’re capable of, ladies. Be a strong, healthy student of God’s word. There are women out there who desperately need you: lost women who need to hear the gospel properly presented so they might know Christ, saved women who need someone to teach them the truth of God’s word, women who need biblical hope, comfort, and answers about the trials they’re going through.

Buck the system. Challenge the assumptions. Cast off the shackles, and refuse to be that weak woman any more. Be the full grown, spiritually mature woman God has always wanted you to be.


*Some women are artistically talented and enjoy Bible art journaling as a hobby in their spare time. If that’s you, and you’re already a serious student of God’s word, knock yourself out. But if the majority of your Bible “study” time is spent painting or coloring in your Bible, then this might be a tight, uncomfortable shoe, but the shoe fits.

27 thoughts on “Evangelical Misogyny and the Spiritual Oppression of Christian Women”

  1. Wow!! Thank you Michelle for this article. You “hit the nail on the head”. Now how do we convey this message in a loving manner to our male elders and pastors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thankfully my smart phone has freed me from those banal radio stations. In fact, with discretion, there are very sound expository teachers to listen to every day.

    I despise busy work of any kind. My last church had social circles which featured a short and usually secular speaker then a massive dessert plate. Stopped attending it and was scorned for my nonparticipation. Apparently apostasy likes company.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A hearty amen to that!!! What you described is precisely why I don’t attend a “bible” study conducted by the women’s ministry. My time is better spent listening to a sermon online at home and actually studying my bible.
    Jennifer

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the fellowship we get from women Bible study groups can be helpful as well in learning from how other women handle family matters or if you are more mature then you can help those who are ‘weak’ in the group to grow better with all the ‘learnings’ you are getting from the online sermons and bible study at home. 🙂 You can help other women instead of thinking that you are not benefiting from it. 😃

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  4. You have major points that speak true of how women seem to be left out in churches. It can be a personal choice on the women sometimes. Everything is available for them to use. They just play a different role in the church sometimes and that doesn’t mean they are weaker. They perfectly complete some roles that the men don’t often do, etc. Like childcare, teaching kids, church food and facilities management in small churches. While doing these, they are also studying God’s word, in our church women enrol in hermeneutics. As one body, we complete each other.

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  5. And a hearty amen from me.

    This also explains why I loath those women get togethers. They are completely unedifying, underwhelming, fluff, at least that’s been the case at every church I’ve attended.

    It’s like an excuse to get together to drink hot beverages & eat dessert. And let’s be completely real, most of the time it’s just an excuse to leave their houses & leave their husband with the kids.

    Every woman that I have ever met that actually could impress me with their bible knowledge was always turned off by these female get together where feelings were more important than scripture & where it seemed likemost everyone was bashing their husband & or kids.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean. I’ve been to some get togethers like that in the past, myself.

      Fellowship – getting to know each other better and bonding with one another – is an important aspect of discipleship, though. I’m in the process of putting together a monthly fellowship for the women of my Sunday School class because, while we get good preaching in church, and good teaching in our (co-ed) Sunday School class, we’ve not had the opportunity in those settings to develop close relationships with each other. And close relationships are an integral part of being able to “bear one anothers’ burdens” and disciple each other in the day to day things of life. So we just get together and have dessert and talk and build one another up in the Lord :0)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, that’s wh we left our last church, amongst other reasons. I tried to have a woman’s bible study at my home with the pastor’s permission but when his wife found out she accused me of trying to “take (her) women away from (her)”. I found out she accused any woman who tried to have fellowship with each other of this. So there were NO relationships formed amongst the women unless approved by her, aka she told you who to be friends without & even then she tried to control that friendship. When we decided to go I got three phone calls from older women who told me “oh, don’t worry, she’s done it to me too, she’ll get over it!” Over it? Over what?

        She also told my husband she resented his realtionship with her husband & that they were too close. Hu?

        She was a huge Beth Moore fan & in the year September to September women’s bible study that she ran, we went from Matthew 1 to Matthew 3! That’s it! Why? She spent most bible studies which were bi weekly & ran most of the year talking about herself & her many self diagnosed mental illnesses.

        She’d finish these “bible studies” & call her husband who would be at my house by the time I got home, and she’d tell him that’s she didn’t know why but all the women liked me & trusted me, they liked talking to me. The way he spoke about his wife, speaking about me made her sound ill, like she was jealous of me and anyone who came into her church & befriended one of her women.

        I’m scared to attend another church. I’m honestly burnt out on these types of women & their weak husband/pastors.

        Her husband nearly destroyed another church with his gossip, meddling & insecurities.

        I’m just drained.

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      2. I truly understand what you’re going through, and I know there’s a lot of pain and exhaustion to work through when you’ve been in a situation like that. Perhaps an extremely brief respite from church is in order, but be sure you don’t give into the temptation to stop going to church. They’re not all like that. Find one where you can be fed and fellowship joyfully. Don’t let that woman rob you of that.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is awesome and so true! It reminds me of a toy company (I forgot which one) that made these fake computers for kids. The computers for boys were filled with math, logic and science games. For girls? Shopping. Fashion. Sigh.

    While I do love finding sound women to read and learn from (as I have yet to know any IRL), I listen and read fom mostly all males…and they all have the same high regard for women that you are sharing here.

    Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have always been adamantly opposed to “women’s Bible”, womens study, womens workshop. Why do we leave the men out? Do we do that because we can’t learn if they are sitting beside us too? We have THE Bible. We have THE Bible studies. I have attended one or two of these women Bible studies that purport to “lift” women up. All I ever got was pap and milk. I want steak, thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this excellent post! Very relevant and well said. I am so thankful that I participate in a women’s bible study (at my Reformed Presbyterian Church) that is grounded in the truth of God’s Word. We study…no coloring, haha! I pray these ‘weak women’ are rescued from these wolves.

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      1. Thank you, Michelle. This was a really excellent post. You have helped me so much with this exact same issue. im greatful for the reminder that “this is not about me” it’s about God and His word. He will change hearts and minds not I. Amen! I’m still praying about this and will continue to pray for my sisters in Christ to see through this deception. So far the tesponse I’m getting is that this is just “doctrinal” differences? Ugh, the frustration!

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  9. This is so spot on and important. The Bible journaling thing… I thought I was the only one. I’ve seen examples of pages of scripture completely covered to the point you can no longer read them and wondered “how is this helping if you have literally blocked out Gods word?!” When my husband and I wanted to host a Bible study small group we were repeatedly asked “whose book will you be reading?” When our response was simply “the Bible” people couldn’t understand and no one signed up! We have lost our understanding of its power and place in our lives and have contented ourselves with the fluff as you say and nonsense that leads us nowhere. Thankful for women grounded in the Word who realize it IS actually more than enough!

    Like

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