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8 Great Lies That America (and some of the world) Has Embraced

#4 The Battle of the Sexes

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(2/9) Dec. 16th, 2013, Time magazine ran an article called, The Sweden Experiment -In Sweden, Boys Won't Be Boys, A bold social experiment to erase gender boundaries has some Swedes complaining about political correctness. In one area of Sweden, a school has removed all references to male and femaleness, except that both boys and girls are now referred to as hens. There are no gender references to cloths or toys or the way genders typically play. Boys are encouraged to do what girls typically would do and girls are encouraged to do what boys would do. Neither are ever corrected for doing what would be typically gender explicit. Boys can play with dolls and girls can play with trucks, etc. Is this a picture of the future?

In January 2013, just one year ago, Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women serving in U.S. combat units, thus opening the doors for women to serve in front line fighting units.

Where has all of this and more come from? In short, it has come from the way women have been and are presently treated in many countries including our own. Consider, that women were not given the right to vote until 1918 in England, and 1920 in the U.S.A. During WWII, women were called on to do the work that the men would normally do but couldnít, because they were serving in the military. But when the war was over, those jobs were given back to the men and women who were married had to give up their jobs so that married men could have them. From then until now many women have not been paid on the same scale as men and have, as a whole, not had the promotion opportunities that men have had. If I understand correctly, only 5% of Americaís big businesses have CEOís that are women, and only 10% of the CFOís are women. America has never had a female President or Vice President, though the world has had such figures as Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto (PM of Pakistan), Mary Robertson who served as President of Ireland, Edith Cresson who served as Prime Minister of France, and Angela Merkel who is the current Chancellor of Germany.

Also consider, that for much of history, women were treated as property and not on the same level as men. Part of an old Jewish prayer says, "I thank you that I am not a Gentile, a Slave, or a Woman." John Stott in his book, Issues Facing Christians Today, (page 330), gives 4 examples of mistreatment of women in our cultures. "Firstly, from Gandhiís autobiography, "a Hindu husband, regards himself as lord and master of his wife, who must ever dance attendance upon him." Next consider, Sura 4 of the Koran, entitled, "Women": "Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the otherÖ As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat themÖ" My third example comes from the Eskimos. Raymond de Coccola spent twelve years as a Roman Catholic missionary and got to know them well. He was shocked when an Eskimo hunter used a word of a woman which was also applied to a she-wolf or a bitch. "Trained to do all manner of mean tasks," he reflects, "the Eskimo woman is used to enduring the weaknesses and appetites of men. But I still could not get used to what appeared to be a master and slave relationship between the hunter and his wife." As my fourth example, I choose pornography, a major symbol of Western decadence, in which women are made the objects of male abuse and violence."

This might be the hardest of all the sermons in this current series. Many, not all but a substantial number of women not only want the recognition of equality but want to do what has been typically male roles, such as police, fire-fighters, Priests, Pastors, combat military, and CEOís. Some of you might remember the Miss America pageant of 1968 when women from all over the United States came to New Jersey to protest the pageant and declare their liberation by putting bras, girdles, frying pans, panty hose, etc, into trash containers, protesting what they believed to be the exploitation of women. This all reminds me of this from Annie Get Your Gun (Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better).

This could take weeks, but I want to do my best to tell you the truth about the Worth, Roles, and Responsibilities of Men and Women. But before I do, I want to do an object lesson (Board, hammer, saw). Which is the most important and which is the most inferior tool? A hammer is not used to cut the wood, nor is a saw designed to drive a nail. Neither is superior in worth. Each was designed for a specific role and purpose.

I. Where and when did this Battle of the Sexes begin? The answer is in Gen. 3:16. Please look at it with me. To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." Part of the consequences of Adam and Eveís sin upon the whole human race would be the sorrow and pain of bearing children, which in my opinion is more than labor pain, and includes the knowledge of what our children will face in this fallen world. It will also include the desire to be a wife and a mother. But this verse is not just about the desire for a companion but the desire to rule over that companion. Cp. the language of 4:7, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Just as the sin nature wants to control us, a woman will want to control the man because many women will feel that men are incompetent or indecisive as Adam was when Eve handed him the fruit. And the men will want to rule over women to avoid the mistakes that Eve made, believing she is too gullible. This was not Godís will, but it would become the consequence of the nature that we are all inherited.

II. Godís Creative Design. Godís will and design was that man and woman would rule as co-regents over His creation. Look at Genesis 1:26-28 again, "Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Listen carefully! Are you listening? Say, Amen! The worth of men and women is in the fact that they both reflect the image of God. Together they reflect the total image of God. Though the Bible refers to God in the masculine, the total nature of God includes feminine characteristics and before you gasp at that consider verse 27 again, 27 "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

Consider Deut. 32:18 that refers to the God who fathered you and who gave birth to you. Or Isaiah 42:14 that refers to God crying like a woman in labor or 49:15, as having more compassion than a mother who nurses her children at her breasts, or 66:13, as comforting you as a mother comforts her children.

III. The Value of Women in the Bible. Proverbs 31, sites for us the values of a virtuous woman who is able to not only take care of her family, but she also runs a business, and gives to charity. Nowhere does it say that a woman should be just raising children and working in the kitchen. Though Titus 2 does imply that a home is a womanís primary concern.

Certainly, Jesus confirmed the creative worth of women. In a culture where women were treated as property, and Rabbiís prayed to thank God they werenít women, Jesus treated women with dignity as with grace He spoke to and revealed His identity for the first time to the Samaritan woman at Jacobís well, and used Mary Magdalene as the first evangelist.

Women were part of the company that traveled with Jesus and the Apostles and ministered to them (Luke 8:1-3; Mark 15:41), probably financing them as they traveled. Romans 16 and various N. T. texts show us that Women were major supporters of the Apostle Paul and shared their resources and talents to help grow the church. Paul even confirms to us that in Christ, there is no inequity at all, "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahamís seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29 NIV).

Peter likewise affirms the equality of men and women when he says, Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)

But, here is where we have to pause and camp for a few moments. Many of you are saying, "Well, what about the passages where Paul and Peter say that wives are to be submissive like Sara who called Abraham, ĎLordí?" Or, where Paul says that, "women canít teach or exert authority over men?" Or in 1 Cor. 11 that says a man is the head of a woman just as God is the head of Christ, or 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, that says that a woman is to remain silent and learn in silence or ask her husband when she gets home? Doesnít that imply some inferiority? The answer is, "I donít know!" Just kidding! The answer goes back to our hammer and saw. Each is designed for an equal, let different purpose. Look at 1 Cor. 11 for a moment. "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. 6 For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man is not from woman, but woman from man. 9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man. 10 For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

Now, Paul Himself, tells us that this matter of women praying with or without a head covering was particular to the Greek Culture, but he makes several important points like that of verse 3. The Father, Spirit, and Son are all equal. All are said to have created the world, all are said to have raised Jesus from the dead, All share absolutely every attribute of Deity, All have given us Godís Word. But for the purpose of your salvation, The Son submitted to the will of the Father by coming to be your substitute, and dying and rising again. One day, He will Rule and Judge on behalf of the Father. He came to do the Fatherís will as John and the author of Hebrews remind us. The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son and His purpose, according to Jesus, is to glorify Jesus, not Himself.

Consider also verses 11-12, neither man or woman is independent of the other, both exist because of the other, but verses 7-9 tell us that there is a specific role and purpose for our genders. And in that role and purpose we are not created equal. We are created different. And those differences were designed not as inferior or superior but to complement each other.

IV. Our Created Differences. Obviously, we are physically different, sexually different, and mentally and emotionally different. Dr. John Gray wrote a book called, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. In it he states that we are so different it is as if we are from different planets. Men value power and achievement, women value love and relationships. Men are empowered when they feel needed. Women feel empowered when they are cherished. Women have more estrogen then testosterone and men have more testosterone than estrogen. We are different. There is a reason why more men than women hunt, fight in battle, and play contact sports. Men were designed that way. Studies have been done where small children are given a box of toys, and the girls went for the dolls and the boys went for the toy guns and cars. When small girls were handed trucks they used the beds of the trucks as beds for their dolls, and when boys were given dolls, they twisted them to be used as toy guns. We are different by creative design.

Men and women have different brains. A womanís brain is designed to be able to multitask whereas a man is basically designed to focus on one thing at a time. One teacher described it as, women have radar brains and men have laser brains.

A woman is more emotional and relational and a man is designed to think more logically. Take for example, when most women are expressing a problem to their husbands, what they are looking for is understanding, concern, empathy, support, but what a man wants to know is, how can I fix this? When a woman is hurting she wants to talk but when a man hurts he wants to withdraw and be quiet. Studies have been done that show that when men are afraid or in pain their hearts pump more blood to their brains enabling them to make decisions and causing them to want to fight or do heroics. When a woman is in pain or frightened she has less blood going to her brain causing her thoughts to be more muddled. This is true in 100% of the studies. A 220 lb, man is able to do in those situations more than 120 lb. woman. Women are so much better nurturers and caregivers then men. And all of this is by design by the God who created us in His image. We are of equal worth, but we are different. (A little pet peeve I have is that there is supposed to be no discrimination between men and women. Yet to be a soldier, or police officer, or firefighter, the physical requirements are lower for a woman than they are for a man. Isnít that discrimination? But I digress.)

V. Our Designed Roles. By design, we were designed for different roles. By role, a man is supposed to provide and protect his wife and family. By design a wife is designed to complete, and complement the man. That is what the phrase suitable helper means in Gen 2:18. Over 300 years ago, Matthew Henry wrote: "She was not made out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved."

But by design she was made to help the man rule both the home, and creation. When Paul speaks of the order of the home and of submission he is speaking of responsibility not of value. Listen to me. Nowhere does it say for a man to demand obedience. The call for submission is one of created design that recognizes that a saw and a hammer are different. In fact, to really understand headship, consider what Paul says about the headship of Christ to the church. (Eph. 5) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Does that sound like inferiority and superiority to you? Even Our Lordís commands are for the glory of God and the good of His people. It doesnít say husbands bark orders, rather, it says love sacrificially, and care selflessly and lead courageously. It says focus on your own purpose and do it because of your creative design. The responsibility for leading the home is primarily the manís and it is as well for the church. My wifeís differences are so designed that she sees things and has insights that I donít have, so her input to our decisions are essential. The worse decisions I have made in my life were when I did not seek her counsel or I ignored it. It is my responsibility to lead my family, not my superiority. Ladies it is your responsibility to help your husband make the best decisions and accomplish the goals and purposes of God for your lives and homes. Nowhere does the Bible say who prepares the meals, cuts the grass, or washes the cloths.

Though they are equal, they are different.

The same thing is true for Church. When you look at the passages such as 1 Tim. 2:11-13 that says, "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. The prohibition is not to teaching, for the scriptures show that women did teach, women did evangelism, women served in the church. But the creative design is that the responsibility for authority in the church is for men. Being created first, he has responsibility like that of the first born in eastern Culture. The responsibility is given to men to establish and teach the doctrine of the Church, because Adam was created first and because Eve was deceived. Ladies this isnít going to win me any points but as a consequence for original sin in which Eve was duped, but Adam knew better but did it anyway. God has designed the leadership and the role of establishing the doctrine of the Church to men. There are many that donít like that, and I donít always like that, but that is the role and responsibility that God has established.

Summarize

Are we the equal? Absolutely!

Are we different? Absolutely!

We were designed to be different to complement each other not to control each other. Like a hammer and a saw we have our own God given responsibilities and roles. We are not to confuse the two, nor are we to desire the otherís roles.

I think that Paul summarizes it well in 1 Cor. 11 11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

Jesus is our Role Model. As head, He loved sacrificially, cherished and served selflessly, as men are to do for women

As submissive Ė He sought to accomplish the plan of God for the Glory of God as one equal to and respectful of the Father.

Guys do you need to repent of treating women like property or as a servants?

Ladies do you need to repent of wanting to assume the role God has designed for a man?

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman