Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Response to 'A Woman's Place in Christianity' #2

If you're just tuning in for the first time, check out my previous posts about 'A Woman's Place in Christianity' and then read my response to Cline's post with us:
Response #2
In Austin Cline's post, 'A Woman's Place in Christianity', he used 10 quotes from historic "Christian" figures and authorities to prove that Christianity promotes a negative view of womanhood. In his post, Cline uses a quote from Tertullian as the 2nd of 10 to 'prove' this point:

Tertullian (160?-220?)
: "Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil's doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags."

I, however, believe that this quote from Tertullian only paints a portion of the picture here (whether that was his intent or not ... we'd have to see the original text in full context). Some of you may be surprised that I'm even giving the quote this credit, but I believe that Proverbs is very clear about the power that women have to lead people astray when we pursue folly over wisdom, and in those instances it's probably appropriate to paint such vivid images as "a temple built over a sewer" and "the gateway to the devil." Proverbs 5:3-6 says this (this is one of many examples I could use):
For the lips of an adultress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.
Now, when we first read this, it can be very easy to skip right over these verses because we would never consider ourselves an adultress, and for the most part, I hope that's true. But, if we read past the label that this woman is given and into her actions, I don't believe that we're too far off at times. How many times have we used crafty, coy words to get our way ... to talk our way around something ... to ultimately lead someone astray without even realizing it. We're sinful beings, I don't doubt that we haven't done this! If it's for our own gain, for our best interest, I'm sure that it's happened. But we know deep down that the life of folly is not the path to true life. There is hope and a woman's only fate is not destined to that of "a temple over a sewer." Jesus offers us new life and that's the part that is left out of Cline's argument! He forgot to read Romans! Romans 6: 22-23 says this:
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is true for both men and women, and this is far from life of folly ... and from a life as a fake temple over a sewer, but the real deal, thanks to the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16)! If Jesus lives in us, we have his Holy Spirit shining through us to resonate the beauty of Christ, not the rankness of sewage. But we have to be cautious not to give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27) and to not lose sight of the grace we have in Christ Jesus.

And to touch on the last part of this quote, "It was your fault [Eve/woman] that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags." This part is untrue. No where in scripture does it say that "woman caused the Fall."But I think that we can infer that it was a 3-tiered problem: 1) The serpent, 2) Eve, and 3) Adam. God reprimands all three in Genesis 3. The serpent was deceptive. Eve stepped out of her bounds, left Adam, took control and was 'convinced' to eat the forbidden fruit. And Adam, in his apathy, just sat back, didn't ask any questions or speak the truth that he knew and ate the fruit that Eve gave to him. Adam failed too because he did not carry out the role God created for him, to "rule over ... every living creature that moves on the ground," including Eve. He just sat back, twiddled his thumbs and allowed her to succumb to her desire to control.

Thus, although it would be easy for me to say, "this statement is not true because I just simply don't want to be blamed for the Fall" and stuck in mourning and in rags my entire life, I know that I can confidently say that this is not true because scripture says that it is not true in Genesis.

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