A Challenge: For Proponents Of Female Subordination To Prove Their Case From The Bible. -- By: Gilbert Bilezikian

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 15:4 (Fall 2001)
Article: A Challenge: For Proponents Of Female Subordination To Prove Their Case From The Bible.
Author: Gilbert Bilezikian

A Challenge: For Proponents Of Female Subordination To Prove Their Case From The Bible.

Gilbert Bilezikian

Gilbert Bilezikian is professor emeritus of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College (IL) and cofounder of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Among the books of which he is the author are Beyond Sex Roles and Community 101.

Challenge #1

Cite a text from the Creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 that enjoins or entitles men to exercise authority or leadership over women, or that designates men as “head” or “spiritual head” over women.

The purpose of this challenge and the nine to follow in succeeding issues of Priscilla Papers is to prompt Christians to grapple with biblical facts rather than to accept without question traditional assumptions about female roles and to follow blindly institutionalized misreadings of Scripture. What is at stake in addressing such misconceptions is not the role of women as much as the definition of the church as an authentically biblical community. It is difficult to conceive how a local church can aspire to define itself as biblical community when more than half of its constituency is excluded from participating in the most significant aspects of its life.

In the course of history, the church has often lost its way. For instance, during a thousand years, the church forgot something as crucial as the way of salvation and replaced it with methods of salvation by works that never worked. The biblical teaching was finally recovered by the Reformers. Likewise, many present-day Christians believe that the church has lost its own definition as community and replaced it with false definitions that reduce it to the status of institution, establishment, hierarchy, corporation and programs. This challenge provides an incentive to help Christians rediscover for themselves the biblical definition of the church as God’s community of oneness.

The Facts

There is not a hint, not even a whisper, about anything like a hierarchical order existing between man and woman in the Creation account of Genesis 1 and 2. In fact, the exact opposite is clearly taught in these two chapters. Both man and woman were made in God’s image (1:26-27), and both participated in God-assigned ministries without any role distinctions (1:28).

The creation order established oneness, not hierarchy (2:24). The first indication of a hierarchical order between man and woman resulted from the entrance of sin into the wor...

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