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Professor Howdy said...

Isn't the Bible Sexist?
Amy Orr-Ewing

There is a widespread belief around about the Bible that it is some kind of
powerful patriarchal conspiracy which has been used to oppress women. As a
female speaker I find that this question is frequently asked: "How can you
as a woman promote such a sexist book? The church has tried to keep women
down!" As Christians we need to be sensitive to the issues which underlie
such an emotive question. While it may indeed seem to be the case that
women have been discriminated against by religion, the Bible itself
deserves closer examination on the subject. How is it that many of the
greatest Jewish and Christian pioneers have been women? What does the
Bible really say about this subject?(1)

Throughout the Bible there are numerous positive images of women and
stories that involve women. In the Old Testament women share the image of
God at creation. At the end of time at the Second Coming of Jesus, the
church is represented as the bride of Christ. All the way through from
beginning to end, the Bible includes the feminine as an integral part of
the Judaeo-Christian tradition. While it is true that the Bible is
written over a long period of time into specific cultures and that some of
these contexts did not give equal social advantages to women, it would not
be true to say that the message of the Bible is sexist or discriminatory
against women.

In the New Testament, there are quite a number of significant events
involving women, particularly considering the conservative cultural
attitudes of the context into which it was written. This context is
demonstrated by a simple statement in John's Gospel in the famous
encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. There is a
telling little sentence in 4:27 which sheds a great deal of light on just
how radical the Bible is in affirming women. The disciples come across
Jesus during his conversation with the woman and we are told they "were
surprised to find him talking with a woman." This is the context of
Jesus's ministry and yet he goes against these cultural trends time and
time again.

He does this firstly by having female disciples. In a culture where the
idea of women travelling around with a group of men, or having the status
of disciple was seriously questionable, Jesus has a number of women who
are included in his travelling circle who contributed financially to the
needs of the group. In fact, when Jesus is told that his mother and
brothers are waiting outside to see him, he points to his disciples and
says "here are my mother and brothers." This statement is unthinkable
unless there were women among his disciples. In the Middle Eastern
culture of the 1st century, it would be unspeakably offensive to point to
male disciples and use female imagery to describe them. The group of
disciples referred to must have included some women.

We also see Jesus teaching women in the New Testament. In Luke 10:38, we
read of Mary who "sits at the feet of" Jesus and engages in theological
study, much to her sister's chagrin. This phrase "to sit at the feet of"
is the same formulation as Acts 22:3 where Paul describes his training
under Gamaliel. The clear implication here is that Mary is affirmed as
worthy of a Rabbi's theological instruction; indeed, it is interesting
that later on in John's Gospel we read of Martha, Mary's sister, who is
the first to be taught one of the most astounding theological statements
of the New Testament. Jesus says to her "'I am the resurrection and the
life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies" (John 11:25).
In contrast to the cultural norms of the time, Jesus made a habit of
revealing great theological truths to women. The first person who
discovers Christ's true identity in John's Gospel is the Samaritan woman
at the well. We must not underestimate how radical this is: Jesus was
turning cultural taboos on their heads by teaching women and allowing
women to be his disciples.

In reality, it is clear that women played a full and vibrant role in the
ministry of Jesus, both as examples within his teaching and as recipients
of it. While this may seem absolutely right and proper in our 21st
century context we must remember how radical this was in first century
Palestine. Jesus intentionally affirmed and included women. We see a
continuation of this in the early church, from Lydia and Tabitha to
Philip's daughters, where women undertook various roles. While it is true
to say that there are two particular passages in Paul's writings which seem
to go against all of this, by commanding some women to be silent and
forbidding others from teaching, these must be read and interpreted in the
context of the rest of the Bible. Paul himself gives guidelines for women
when they publicly prophecy and mentions women who do teach like

When we come to the text of the Bible with the issue of sexism in mind, we
must be clear that while God is predominantly spoken of with male imagery
and ultimately is incarnated in the man Jesus, this is not to say that
women are undermined or undervalued. Some female imagery is used of God,
and Jesus constantly affirms the value of women, teaching them and
interacting with them as human beings. Both male and female are created
in the image of God and both are so precious that Christ comes to the
earth to redeem both male and female with his blood shed on the Cross.

Amy Orr-Ewing is Training Director at Ravi Zacharias International
Ministries in the United Kingdom.

(1) A version of this article was first published in Idea Magazine,
Jul/Aug 2005. See also Is the Bible Intolerant? by Amy Orr-Ewing
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
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Professor Howdy said...

Did you hear about the lawyer hurt in an accident?

An ambulance stopped suddenly.

Professor Howdy said...

Things That Take Years To Learn

The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number
of helicopters in it.

You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely
suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual
baby emerging from her at that moment.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age,
gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep
down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race
has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that
word would be "meetings."

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is
to annoy people who are not in them.

You should not confuse your career with your life.

A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter/janitor,
is not a nice person.

Professor Howdy said...

A Cause for All of Us

It started out as an unimpressive ripple in the weather off the coast of Africa. By the time it was over, it had become Hurricane Katrina, pummeling Florida as a category one storm, and then surprising most observers by becoming a category five monster over the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina's last minute shift to the east nearly destroyed the city of New Orleans. Yes, we saw some of the darkest side of human nature as people looted beyond things they might have really needed, and some even tried to shoot some of the very people who were coming to help. But on a much greater scale, the aftermath to Hurricane Katrina was a massive outpouring of heroism in many flavors.

As Americans learned of the desperation of the victims of the storm, thousands mobilized to give them a chance to live. We won't soon forget the military helicopters, launching and re-launching every fifteen minutes to look for more people stranded in the toxic floodwaters that buried parts of the city. There were those memorable scenes of the rescuers coming down the rope from those choppers to save people trapped on their roofs. Doctors and nurses came from all over the country. So many came and did what they knew how to do - from cooking, to counseling, to contributing, to caring enough to take in whole families - because lives were at stake.

Thousands of lives were saved, many of whom would have died otherwise because of a massive rescue operation where everyone did what they knew how to do; each one realizing that a rescue effort means all hands on deck.

It's a picture of the largest scale rescue operation on the planet. It is the rescue mission for which Jesus Christ gave His life, to as His personal mission statement in Luke 19:10 says, "to seek and to save what was lost." His final command: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15). Because it really is a life-or- death situation, where the eternal destiny of millions of people depends on the rescue efforts of God's people - all of God's people.

The orders are summarized in Proverbs 24:11-12, our word for today from the Word of God. "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter." Those stark words describe every person we know, every person on this planet who has not grabbed the only one God provided to rescue us from the eternal punishment that our sin deserves. That Rescuer in Jesus! The next verse says, "If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?'" God will not excuse us for being AWOL in His all out mobilization to rescue the dying, whatever it takes.

He's expecting you to do what His Son did - to do all you can to rescue the lost. If you cook, cook to rescue the dying. If you're musical, if you're mechanical, if you're a techie, if you're in the media, if you're a prayer warrior, if you contribute to God's work, do what you do to help people go to heaven instead of hell. And if you have influence in anyone's life - and we all do - don't just use that influence to be a nice person for them. Use the relationship you have to tell them about the Rescuer from heaven who rescued you - and who is their only eternal hope.

In the wake of a hurricane, we saw thousands of people on the verge of dying without hope - and an army of us who said, "We can't just let them die." If you'll ask Jesus to help you see the world through His eyes, you will see millions on the verge of dying with no hope of heaven, headed for an awful eternity. And some of them are right there within your reach. Can you see them? Will you do something about it? Will you do more than you've ever done before? We're losing so many because no rescuer came.

Ron Hutchcraft

To find out how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit: or call 1-888-966-7325.

Professor Howdy said...

A married couple (both UNC grads) trying to live up to a snobbish
lifestyle went to a party. The conversation turned to Mozart.
"Absolutely brilliant, magnificent, a genius!"

The woman, wanting to join in the conversation, remarked
casually, "Ah, Mozart. You're so right. I love him. Only this
morning I saw him getting on the No. 5 bus going to Coney Island."

There was a sudden hush, and everyone looked at her. Her
husband was mortified. He pulled her away and whispered,
"We're leaving right now. Get your coat and let's get out of here."

As they drove home, he kept muttering to himself. Finally his
wife turned to him. "You're angry about something."

"Oh really? You noticed?" he sneered. "I've never been so
embarrassed in my life! You saw Mozart take the No. 5 bus to
Coney Island? You're crazy! Don't you know the No. 5 bus doesn't
go out to Coney Island?"

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