True Womanhood – Affirming Female Ordination?

In Women by Caris Adel16 Comments


One of the things I dislike most about fundamentalism is that it automatically pits people against each other.

I hate that the premise of this study is, if you don’t agree, you don’t have the truth, and your faith in Jesus is questioned.

…knowing those truths, and they are truths, about biblical womanhood, how God designed us…”

We’re presenting a message that really at it’s core is, ‘get your relationship with Jesus right.'”

I hate that.

I hate it because it makes me feel like we both can’t be right, and I want us both to be able to be right.  I want to affirm the different ways life works for different people.  Part of sitting in tension means wrestling with the extremes.  I can see why certainty is so appealing.  I can see why ‘the slippery slope’ can be scary for some people and how dealing with the realities of life without a set list of rules gets complicated.

So I don’t really care if people believe this stuff for themselves.  For their lives.  Their marriages.  My problem comes when people start throwing words around like mandate, truth, ordained, and making blanket statements that apply to all people in all countries in all times.

Like it or not, God has ordained that the home is the domain of the woman and that she is to be the worker of the home and she is to be the keeper of the home.”

I believe that God interacted with Sarah differently than he did Miriam, than he did with Mary, than he does with DeMoss than he does with me.

I don’t believe we can read and apply the Bible so easily, as well as claim that this is the only way to do it.

The Bible has a whole different message about womanhood.  And of course, that’s our authority, that’s what we’re looking to if we want to be true women; we need to think biblically, think christianly…”

When I hear the true woman is tethered to the Word of God,” the seeds of feminism…are actually just sin,” we’re in a mess because “if you go back to the 1960’s, you see everything pivots from that time…women have not been true to what God has called us to do, to what God has ordained for us to be.  We have believed a lie,” I recoil.

Well, recoil is probably putting it mildly.  The adrenaline starts flowing, my cheeks get pink, and my voice….changes.  When I see and hear this, I get angry.

First of all, it just makes me want to walk away.  When a system and the people in it are so dogmatic that they label all differing opinions as sin, I don’t even know how to respond.

Because, HISTORY.

And yes, I know part of their issue is that history was the same for thousands of years, and so changing something in 1960 is radically changing allthethings!  But is it possible things were rotten for women for thousands of years?  The longevity of a system shouldn’t guarantee the validity of it.

If you cannot be open-minded enough to consider the possibility that other people love Jesus and massively disagree with you, then I don’t even know what to say to you.

And I don’t want to settle for ‘I’ll tolerate you having a different opinion.’  Or, as this study so graciously says,have grace toward women who differ in life circumstance and application.”

I don’t need tolerance or grace for having a different opinion.  I want interest and validation.  A desire to understand.

‘Agreeing to disagree’ works to a point.  But when you say, ‘you don’t agree because you don’t want to read the Bible’ or  the truth didn’t seep in; that’s just f$#@ing offensive.  And when it’s coming from people in churches????  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I can believe a lot of things, and the truth of their essence isn’t determined by how strongly I believe them.  I’m sure I believe some things wrongly, but also, some things rightly.  I don’t have enough certainty to tie anything to the message of Jesus, other than Jesus.  And when you do; I’m suspicious of your confidence.  Especially when I completely disagree.

Maybe it’s easier to write off my generation leaving the church as ‘they’re walking away from Truth.’  And maybe other people leave for other reasons.  But for me, this stubborn insistence on only one TRUTH for everyone is only an ignorance of reality.

When you promote yourself as having the absolute truth without also talking about cultural and historical differences, without acknowledging differing biblical interpretations, then I don’t trust you.  I don’t trust your flatness, your simplicity, your oblivion to the world.

And when you equate my trust in what you’re saying with trust in Jesus……………………..I’m just out.

It is not worth my time or emotional energy to convince you that my feelings have validity or that my opinions are justified, that my interpretations do not come out of thin air.  The attitude I’m looking for is not ‘you disagree with the Bible and that’s ok’ – it’s ‘you follow Jesus different than me and that’s ok.’

I do not believe the story of the Bible, the full message of Jesus, can be reduced to or restricted to gender roles.

Gender displays God…who we are and how we relate as women and men is an object lesson………Gender exists to tell the love story of the gospel.”

And it’s fine if you disagree.  I don’t think people’s decision to follow Jesus rests on whether or not people agree with me.

But as long as major movements in evangelicalism believe so, more and more people will walk away.





This post is part of a series reviewing and discussing the True Woman 101 Divine Design study, by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss:

Part 1 – True Womanhood – Why Airplanes Aren’t in the Bible

Part 2 – True Womanhood – Death to Certainty

Part 3 – True Womanhood – Affirming Female Ordination?

Part 4 – True Womanhood – June Cleaver as Jesus

Part 5 – True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel

Part 6 – True Womanhood – Compassionless Christianity

Part 7 – True Womanhood – Oppressing Women since Creation

Part 8 – True Womanhood – Get Abused, Win A Crown!

Part 9 – True Womanhood – Cookies and Chains

Part 10 – True Womanhood – Tension, Cracks, and a Concrete Faith

Let's Connect! facebooktwitterpinterestrssinstagram

One Pingback/Trackback

  • Matt Appling

    If evangelicalism rests on people thinking the same and agreeing, then you are right, people will walk away, and deservedly so. :)

    • Caris Adel

      It’s just frustrating to see that cycle going. People leave and they say they’re abandoning truth, so they double down on their fundamentals, and more people leave….it’s just hard and sad.

  • Bethany Grace Paget

    The things, words and “truths” this study teaches and preaches makes me sick. I had a hard time even reading their words. The Gospel encompasses so much more than just “the woman’s domain is the home” I don’t believe that Jesus spoke words that would so forcefully put women in a single place and demand that’s all they be. For the first 5 years of my single motherhood I tried to figure out how I could be a true biblical woman, with domain over my home. To me that meant figuring out how I could stay home and homeschool and be a single mom. Cause ya know that’s the “Christian way” and.i.nearly.died.
    It puts people in boxes. It puts God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in boxes and it puts the bible in a box when we aren’t able to to just be who God wants us to be. Not a systematic, church based, bible study says we have to be.
    I’m loving you.

    • Caris Adel

      One of the posts is going to be countering their double-speak. B/c they say a few times ‘this isn’t about creating a cookie cutter mold,’ and ‘there’s no one right way to be a woman’…..but then they say all this junk that denies that. So frustrating and dishonest. If you want to believe this, then believe it. Don’t try and act like you’re really not requiring all of this stuff out of women. Argh.

  • Jeremy Manuel

    It seems to me that so often use this kind of argumentation is on issues that are not fundamental to the main thrust of what the Bible is even about. Not that the issues may not be important, but I’m pretty sure role of gender isn’t equivalent to the centrality of God, Jesus and his life and work on the cross, or what Jesus encapsulated as the greatest commandment. To love God and love neighbors. Maybe I missed the translation that added and make sure women stay at home while the men go to work, but I’m doubtful.

    One thing I do wonder is why we base the Bible off of industrial era society? While I imagine that people in the time of Jesus did “go to work,” I would think that agrarian lifestyles would also be more prominent. Growing crops, raising livestock, maybe even performing your trade from your home. This would hurt our modern readings of going to work and staying home in the first place at least as used by this study.

    Got to give you credit though I don’t know how you make it through watching these videos. Must take a lot of patience or a lot of stress relief after or maybe even during.

  • Abi Bechtel

    This is such a great series, Caris, and I applaud you for tackling it.

    I was scanning through the True Womanhood leader’s guide that you linked, and the author’s assertion that those of us “on the left” want to “throw off all distinctions between male and female… and seek an egalitarian, gender-neutral type of existence” caught my eye. Along with the statement you quoted above about gender displaying God — it really hit me that the authors really do think the primary defining characteristic of people is their gender, and that bearing the image of God is entirely wrapped up in how well we do Man or Woman. When in fact, at least some of us “on the left” aren’t trying to “throw off distinctions” at all, but rather to throw off oppressive rules that reduce people to merely their gender and instead embrace the diversity and uniqueness we’re all created with as image-bearers of God. And so we just keep talking past each other.

    But you’re right: any nuanced discussion about this is lost when people cling to their certainty about What The Bible Says and believe — however politely — that anyone who disagrees with them is sinning. I could do without that kind of “grace.”

    • Daisy

      You said, “When in fact, at least some of us “on the left” aren’t trying to “throw off distinctions” ”

      The funny thing is, I’m right wing. I’m not a liberal. I’m not left wing. For years I have been a social conservative. But when it comes to Christianity and gender roles, I am egalitarian, and I did not become one by influence of secular culture or feminism, but from reading the Bible itself. (Usually, gender comps claim that women who are egalitarian are so because they were influenced by feminism.)

      Anyway, gender comps tend to cling to one or two Bible verses (the one about women not teaching, and a wife submitting) and ignore or downplay the numerous other passages that affirm a woman’s right to teach and lead men, or examples of such, such as God placing Deborah in charge over all Israel (in the Old Testament).

      Gender comps are misrepresenting their advocates on this topic by portraying all of them as career obsessed, left wing, man hating feminists – because we are not. At least I am not.

      • Daisy

        I meant “opponents” – not “advocates” – in that last sentence.

  • Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    Yes! Feisty!! I love this. All of this.

  • Beth

    Oh man. There is so much ICK in the quotes you used. Just…ugh. Shudder. Thank you (THANK YOU!) for calling that sh*t out. <3

  • Megan Westra


    i, in my brazen denial of God’s obvious will for my life, am preaching about this on Sunday.

    thanks for stoking the fire that was already in my heart and on my heels.

    • Caris Adel

      you rebel. Haha!!!

  • Daisy

    Regarding this quote by the gender complementarian: “Like it or not, God has ordained that the home is the domain of the woman and that she is to be the worker of the home and she is to be the keeper of the home.”

    Some women don’t have a choice but to work outside the home because they are single and live alone and must pay rent on their own, or their husband’s job (if they are married) does not earn enough.

    I’m not an expert on all things ancient Mid-East, but, other than doctors, religious teachers, farmers, market place owners, there weren’t many jobs around were there?, and the ones that were were off limits to women anyway.

    It’s not like there were strip malls and McDonald’s, Star Bucks, nursing jobs, interior design jobs, public school teaching jobs, newspaper journalist jobs, etc. around way back when. What choice did a woman really have BUT to work inside the home back around the time of Christ?

    Back then, about the only thing a woman could do was work as a prostitute. One of the few exceptions I can think of: didn’t a woman who owned a cloth dying business financially support the Apostle Paul? To extrapolate from that, why can we not assume that maybe God’s intent for women is to own their own business?

    Even in American society, women, for a long time, have been pretty limited to school teacher, secretary, and in the 19th century, maybe factory workers.

    You said, “And yes, I know part of their issue is that history was the same for thousands of years, and so changing something in 1960 is radically changing allthethings!”

    If you consider that women being under male rulership has been the norm for much of American society for years, still is in other nations today, and historically has been the case in many nations, there is nothing counter cultural about gender complementarianism, a claim which gender comps make at time. Wanting women to return to male headship is a return to the status quo, not really being “counter cultural.”

    God predicted in Genesis that woman would desire man to rule over her (to get love, get her needs met) rather than turn to God Himself to get her needs met. Asking women to allow men to rule over them is actually fulfilling what God said would be an outcome of the Fall (sin entering the world). In other words, God did not intend for men to rule women, or for women to seek out men to get all their needs met through men; those are results of sin – but that is precisely what gender complementarians are seeking and asking.

    • Caris Adel

      “God predicted in Genesis that woman would desire man to rule over her (to get love, get her needs met) rather than turn to God Himself to get her needs met. ” I totally never saw it like that before. That is so true. Wow. Yeah, the failure to understand history in order to perpetuate this viewpoint drives me up a wall.

  • Mags

    I fundamentally love this :-) Couldn’t read that load of poop as I think my head might explode. Women are trying to find ways to be themselves, to discover their true identity as women, uniquely created and to keep perpetuating the myth that they belong in the home and there is one set of absolute truths to follow is tragic….by even calling it by True Woman 101 you might as well put a cookie cutter on the front shaped like Barbie holding a spatula in one hand, a kid round her ankles and Proverbs 31 template across her head….

  • Pingback: True Womanhood - Why Airplanes Aren't In the Bible - Caris Adel()