Christian women

Evangelical Misogyny and the Spiritual Oppression of Christian Women

This week, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite
articles from recent years. Enjoy!

Originally published September 16, 2016woman-1246571_20160915144847652

 

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.

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

  1. Michelle, this is such an excellent article! Now, while I understand that the main thrust of your article is NOT art journaling in your Bible, the last paragraph with an asterisk threw me a bit. Is it your opinion that coloring and painting in your Bible is acceptable as long as you are spending more time reading it than coloring in it? When you look at the provided picture, and many others I have seen, the person actually paints OVER the Word of God and colors and writes on top of it. Forgive me if I sound fanatical, but isn’t it Satan’s desire to taint the image of Christ, and isn’t painting over His Word, covering up, defacing, and taking away from His message? I love reading your articles and was curious your feeling on this, even though I understand it wasn’t the main point of your writing.Thanks for all your work, and God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think people need to have a Bible to study in which they can clearly see every word on the page. If you like to do Bible art journaling in which you obscure some of the words, that’s going to necessitate that you have at least two Bibles- one for studying and one for art. My personal feeling is that Bible art journaling can be the perfect solution for repurposing those old Bibles that are falling apart. You hate to throw them away, but you can’t really use them any more, either. But again, that’s an arts and crafts activity, not Bible study.

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  2. Amen! I totally agree with this post. I call it “coloring with Jesus,” not that there’s anything wrong with coloring, it’s just not the meat and potatoes of faith that we are going to need at some point on our lives.

    There’s another side to evangelical misogyny however, that is also quite real. I’ve been trying to address it for sometime.

    https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/pastor-wilson-about-radicalizing-young-men/

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      1. Red pill is really just a term from the Matrix, it means you have taken the red pill and can now see reality as it really is, and are now free of all your delusions, like love for example. There’s an entire cult built around the idea that has begun to weave scripture around themes of male superiority and dominance, often with sidelines into white supremacy. It’s not all bad, not every so called “red pill” has evil intentions, but often the fruits of red pill ideology as a whole show themselves as some pretty blatant and obvious hatred, and often an expressed desire for violence. It’s frequently graphic, brutal, and full of hatred towards women.

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  3. Have only just found this site. Am from Anglican background and have a few theological differences (mainly end times prophecy on Israel) with my church’s teachings … but love my ladies in Bible study so stayed after reading John 15 and bring in discussion as much as possible.
    Tell me Michelle …would your above article also refer to all those weird and wonderful Bibles and daily reading books for girls and women designed as if we are another species?
    I love that we are different from men … but do we need a Bible that says its just for Women?
    I sometimes look at the “stuff” in Christian bookshop and wonder who buys this?
    Do we think the merchandise junk brings us closercto God or impresses those around us? It only serves to remind me of Jesus overturning tables!
    While I am here … may I mention a great book I just read by Robert Crosby?
    MORE THAN A SAVIOUR, WHEN JESUS CALLS YOU FRIEND

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  4. This may be an odd question, and it may seem off-topic, but I’ve never seen any Christian ministries address it. How should church elders practice the laying on of hands for female members if they are in a culture where it is taboo for men to touch women?

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    1. Teresa- Could you elaborate on the “laying on of hands”? Do you mean as part of the process of ordaining someone as a deacon or elder? Laying hands on someone to pray for her because she’s sick? Could you give me a scenario?

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      1. Well, just off the top of my head…it’s not a biblical requirement for elders to touch someone in order to pray for that person. In other words, elders aren’t sinning or shirking their duties if they refrain from touching someone while praying when touching that person would be a stumbling block to her or others.

        I’m not an elder or pastor, obviously, so it’s not my place to make any sort of official pronouncement, but I would suggest the elders either simply pray for the person without touching her, or bring their wives along and have the wives lay on hands as the elders pray.

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