“If the Son Shall Make You Free. . .” -- By: Peter Geoffrey Bolt

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 005:2 (Fall 2000)
Article: “If the Son Shall Make You Free. . .”
Author: Peter Geoffrey Bolt


“If the Son Shall Make You Free. . .”

Peter G. Bolt

Jesus and the liberation of men and women

While the movement towards the liberation of women is well underway, many within the movement wish to press further. Though some seem to be fairly disillusioned about achieving much more, others continue to work aggressively toward a more complete liberation.1

At the present time some feminists are urging the use of the blunt instrument of International Law against religious groups who promote any distinction between men and women. They consider that the “liberty and equality rights” of women should belong amongst the “human rights and fundamental freedoms” protected by the United Nations Charter of 1948. If such a move is successful, then those who hold to the biblical portrait of male-female relation — a view which I will call Biblical Relationalism — will be amongst those targets whose beliefs and practices will be declared illegal at the bar of International Law.

After discussing this move, I will attempt to show that this attack upon orthodox doctrine springs from feminist fundamentalism. Against the assumption that Biblical Relationalism is a slavery from which women need to be liberated, the article then shows how this pattern of relationships between men and women actually flows out of the great freedom that can be enjoyed in Christ and promotes the common good of society. Since the United Nations protects religious belief and practice, and encourages every person to pursue what is for the common good, it is a pity that feminist fundamentalists seek to use its political power against those who are explicitly protected by it.

No Exemptions for Churches

In February 2000, Hiliary Charlesworth, professor and director of the Centre for International and Public Law at the Australian National University, an international lawyer with Roman Catholic roots, argued that International Law should be used as part of the strategy to prevent church practices which assume that men and women are different.

Due to previous successful lobbying, Australian churches enjoy exemption from certain aspects of the Sex Discrimination Act that protects, for example, the beliefs and practices of those churches which still only ordain suitable males. This exemption is problematic, according to Charlesworth.

As well as using all the normal means of political lobbying, Charlesworth thinks that Australian women should also “use available international remedies to argue against the exemptions.”2 Under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Australians can take a case to the United Na...

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