Is Christianity Oppressive or Liberating for Women? – page 3




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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In the Old Testament women were called to be prophetesses, God’s mouth in the world. Miriam is an example of this in Exodus 15:20, but there are others, like Deborah who in Judges 4:4–7 has a lot to say. There’s a woman called Huldah who’s really important; we’ll come to her in a minute. Joel predicts that in the last days the Lord will fulfill the prophecy that all of God’s people, men and women alike, would prophesy. That’s the hope of the Bible, that as women we would prophesy, and we see it in the Old Testament. In the worship life of God’s people, women played an important role. Huldah played that role during the rule of Josiah. Those who were repairing the temple found the book of the Law; you remember that story? It had been neglected, and Josiah directed five leaders to seek guidance from God about this book. They didn’t know what it was. “We need help to decide what this book is.” These five leaders didn’t know, and they thought, “Who could we go to that could help verify the Bible – God’s Word?” That’s what it was. And rather than going to Jeremiah, the most famous prophet of that time, guess who they went to? They went to Huldah.

One scholar comments that officials from the royal court going to a prophetess relatively unknown with so important a matter is a strong indication that in this period of Israel’s history there was little if any prejudice against a woman’s offering of prophecy.

Don’t buy into the lie that the Bible is down on women. Women were equal with men in prayer, covenant women prayed directly to God. They didn’t require a husband or a priest to pray on their behalf. They could pray to God directly.

Now of course it’s true to say that the Old Testament contains stories in which terrible things happen to women, things like rape, things like violence, things like a father saying a stupid thing and killing his child. But these things are not condoned. You’ve got to remember when you read the Old Testament that much of it is narrative in style, and sometimes the author doesn’t condemn or condone a particular incident. This is a historical account of what happened. The reader is encouraged to reflect and to respond. As we read the laws of the Old Testament, we read an ancient text given at and for a particular time, and Christians read the text through the lens of Jesus who claimed to fulfill the Law and the Prophets as well as upholding the moral law of the Old Testament.


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