Is Christianity Oppressive or Liberating for Women? – page 2

 

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VOLUME 3 NUMBER 2 ISSUE OF BROADCAST TALKS

Is Christianity
Oppressive or Liberating
for Women?

by Amy Orr-Ewing,
Europe/Middle East Director for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and Director of Programs for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA)

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The Old Testament

Let’s think for a moment about the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, there are numerous images of women. Eve is described in that first initial text as Adam’s helper. The Hebrew word there is ezer. I don’t know the visual image that comes into your mind when you think of Eve being Adam’s helper. I imagine an apron and a washing-up bowl with a lot of bubbles in it, and the woman is there doing the washing up; the bubbles are at least up to her elbow, and then there’s a chain on her ankle chaining her to the kitchen sink. That’s the visual image. It’s not actually a helpful visual image, because that title ezer, that word helper is elsewhere in the Old Testament only ever used of guess who? — God. God is humanity’s helper.

In Genesis 3:15, Eve is the recipient of that first redemptive promise of the Bible, that theological promise, the hope of Scripture that Messiah will come and crush the serpent’s head. The primary teaching text of the Old Testament describing a female role model doesn’t conform to our visual image of religious women. Proverbs 31:1–31: This woman lacks nothing in value. She assesses, buys, and sells property. She’s entrepreneurial. She employs multiple people. She works hard. She provides for employees as well as for her family financially. She plants a vineyard. That means she’s a strategic thinker as well as an implementer. It took time for vineyards to come in; you had to plan ahead to do it. She could implement strategy. She studies as a scholar, and she teaches other people. She embraces the intellectual life. She cares for the poor. She gives things to the poor and needy around her. She commands respect from influential people. She is loved by her family. She’s creative. She designs nice things. She even has nice bed linen. She has strong arms. She can laugh at the future. She is not afraid. She has authority in her home. When she speaks, people listen. She has the ability and the inclination to encourage other people. That is the Bible’s role model for women. Praise God.

Probably lots of us are going to think, “Oh my word, I can never live up to that.” But what we’re not to think of it is, “Oh go on, drudge. Get back in the kitchen.”

What the Bible esteems and admires and holds up as a woman to be praised is all of those things. Be encouraged if you’re in the workplace. Don’t buy into the meme in the church today that in order to be fulfilled you have to be married. I am sure there are single women here today. God loves you, and He has tremendous purpose for you today, now. Maybe you will get married soon or one day, but don’t live your life in a waiting room for that to happen.

 

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