As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
“Church members should be active in society to defend and give refuge to the battered women”, says a group of evangelical professionals and church leaders.
Working towards equality is one of the main aims of the annual International Women’s Day.
A group of professionals and church leaders in Spain, men and women of evangelical faith, recently reflected on equality in society and in church from a biblical perspective.
A Christian view of the relationship between men and women takes in consideration the curse in Genesis 3:16. “In a world redeemed by Christ”, the group writes, “we have to fight to eradicate those sins that do not belong to the world designed by God, but are a consequence of the Fall”.
“Violence against women is the tip of the iceberg of a deeper problem”. From a biblical perspective, “the separation between man and God brought a separation with other human beings, which leads to hate and violence”. Among many other forms of violence, appeared “male chauvinism”, an “ideology that considers women to have an inferior social and intellectual condition, which leads, in some cases, to physical, psychological and sexual violence”.
As Christians, “the problem of violence can only be solved bygetting to the root of the problem, returning to our Creator and reconciling ourselves to God. Only Jesus can offer a complete and profound healing, restoration, meaning and hope to both men and women”.
DIFFERENT BUT EQUAL
God created men and women equally, “both were made in God’s image, but have physical and hormonal differences”. These differences “are never an excuse to promote prejudices against women. The Bible condemns inequality and violence against women, and informs us that men and women were made by God with equal dignity, freedom, rights and intellectual capacity”.
The central figure of the Bible and of Christianity, Jesus Christ, is the main model. “He came to restore the creational structures and dignified the woman. This can be clearly seen in the gospels. He faced religious people and rulers of his time and stood up for women. In Jesus there is no censorship or repression for women.”
The group, which has worked under the umbrella of the Bible Groups of Graduates and the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, also suggested some principles to work towards equality.
In the local church, “both men and women should be able to develop their gifts and capacities to respond to the mission” (Matthew 28:19). “The calling of God is for men and women alike, regardless of their gender”.
“Married women” are not more valuable than “single women”, the groups emphasises. Churches should remind their members that “both are valuable options for the life of a woman and a man”. Families are a “foundation” of society, but “single Christians are as key in building society if they choose to serve while remaining single”.
The education of children which follows a “biblical model” should include male Sunday School teachers to give good male role models. Additionally, “the role of women in teaching in all expressions of church” should be considered.
Women should be encouraged to take more public roles, both in church and in society, so that they can access to equal opportunities. In the Christian world, more women could be invited as speakers in conferences and included in the leadership of Christian organisations and in decision-making organs.
DEFENDING BATTERED WOMEN
Among other initiatives, the group also says churches should offer “training about the tragedy of violence against women. With a pastoral approach, victims should be protected no matter the cost”. Christians should “shed light on cases in which women have been abused in churches, and church members should be active in society defending and giving refuge to the battered women”.
Therefore, “evangelical Christians should use the pulpit to promote respect and the appreciation of women in society and in church”.
MORE ABOUT THE “95 THESES” PROJECT
These ideas are a part of a larger document called “Project 95 theses”, which suggests new ‘Protestant theses’ for the 21st century in Spain. The full text, including Christian views on many spheres of society, will be made public on October 31, 2017.