3 years ago, I saw Andy Crouch, Skye Jethani, and Bethany Hoang, among others, talk in Chicago. It was part of the Lausanne Movement, an important part of evangelicalism, and justice was on the docket. I listened to a very pregnant Hoang talk about justice and the church and her work with IJM.
Lately, I’ve been listening to different voices. Voices saying that women should only be at home. That women shouldn’t be fighting for justice. Shouldn’t be working to right the wrongs.
Because men are the sinners when people aren’t treated right, and women are the sinners when they get involved. So it’s up to men to fix it all.
“If you go back and look, especially in the history of what’s happened to women in the Western world, there were some real injustices, some real crimes against women, some real sin…..and now we can start to see this repeating itself in the developing nations, and you see the pattered where, oh, ok, there’s inequality and there’s really bad treatment of women, will we offer these same solution? Or will we come in with a gospel-based solution that brings real reconciliation and repentance?
…My concern is there’s this big push now for what they call ‘The Girl Effect’, to invest in women and girls around the world. Which, on the surface, is a good idea. But what’s lurking underneath it is this idea in certain cultures, like, well, as aid groups, we’ve given money to the men and we can document that this aid money goes to prostitutes and candy and alcohol and this money doesn’t go to the family. But if we give money to women, then they use it to feed their families and build up their communities.
And so they’re all rushing to fix this problem by throwing money at women. Now, I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be educated and women shouldn’t have an opportunity to use their skills in the marketplace, but what I’m saying is, I look at that and say yeah, that’s a big problem, but now we’re going to recreate the same issues here and we’re not going to actually bring these men to repentance and reconciliation apart from the gospel. So my heart is that Christians are on the frontlines of this, especially those of us who embrace biblical womanhood.”
So you are telling me that because it’s informed by feminism, we can’t help women. That investing in women couldn’t possibly be linked to Jesus, no, it has to be sheer anti-God feminism, and therefore it’s sin. Even if it means children are sold, if the solution is tinged with feminism, it’s no good.
How is that ‘only men repenting’ thing working out, anyway? And what about the people that aren’t Christians? Is there no safe and healthy way for them to live, at least earthly lives? If the only solution is conversion to Jesus and a specific way of following him, then we’re leaving millions of people stranded in oppression. Not to mention, framing the discussion solely in terms of gender also ignores the fact that men are sinned against and trafficked and oppressed.
Danielle said it best yesterday – “Why can’t we prioritize funding toward education, economic empowerment through job training or microfinance, health and sanitation efforts, safe shelter and housing, and family planning while also preaching the gospel? How is the provision of these basic human needs any less emblematic of the gospel than a come to Jesus sermon or the sinner’s prayer?”
If, in a culture of ‘thank God I wasn’t born a girl’, you oppose giving women money to raise their families right, to help keep them out of prostitution, from starving, from dying of preventable illnesses, then you had better be damn sure your theology is right.
There is no ideology that is solid enough to defend letting potential victims remain helpless. There is no ideology that is sane enough to defend defying success, and giving only men and not women money.
And what really gets me, is that this is all predicated on a technicality.
“The New Testament teaches that Adam’s position of firstborn has ongoing implications for the responsibility of all human males. The responsibility that God put on Adam’s shoulder extends in one way or another to all of them. To all men. Paul tells Timothy that the reason that male’s bear the responsibility for spiritual oversight of God’s family, the church, is that Adam was formed first.”
Adam was formed first. And therefore, men must be in charge of everything. Even when their failure means that women are killed, only men are still the answer. That must have been such a bummer for Jesus when he woke up and popped outside the tomb. ‘Augh, it’s a woman standing here. How in the world do I get around this? A woman can’t talk to men about me! What to do, what to do.’
And then you know he was all, FTS. Because, hello, it’s Jesus.
So yes, I agree with them that Christians should be at the frontlines of addressing injustices around the world. But we should be following in the footsteps of a person, not an ideology.
Because it should continue to be normal to see women, pregnant or not, working for change.
If you are interested in learning more about empowering women and girls, check out these organizations:
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 2 – True Womanhood – Death to Certainty
Part 5 – True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel
Part 9 – True Womanhood – Cookies and Chains