Hey, all, it’s me, Jim Stock. I’m pretty new to this blogging thing so thanks for bearing with the long silence. First off, I had a great time worshipping God with The Bridge yesterday. (You’ve got some great folks, Timmas!) Second, your job is very, very, very, very, very secure, Timmas, my friend. Lastly, in light of Mother’s Day, I spent much of the previous week thinking about the role of women in the expansion of Christianity so my brain is entirely too full with good information. Therefore, I shall spew forth some of the more significant things I learned.
The New Testament and church history show that Christian women enjoyed greater status and power in both the family and the church because the early Christians valued women more than the prevailing Greco-Roman culture of the first 300 years of Christianity. In effect, the early Christians were the first advocates for women’s rights and equality and this was a catalyst for the growth of the church. Consider the following . . .
1. The New Testament reveals that women were often the most sensitive to God’s working (Mt 27:19) and often the first to respond in faith to the gospel (Acts 16:14; 17:34). I’ve been a pastor in Belarus and the Philippines and I’ve visited churches in Kenya, Ukraine, Russia, Kosovo, Albania, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Spain, Netherlands, and Poland and I can attest that even to this day women are usually the first to respond to the gospel and that they typically make up the largest portion of faithful church members.
2. Because the early Christians protected the sanctity of life, female babies were as sacred as male babies and therefore, they were not subjected to infanticide which was a common Greco-Roman practice utilized to conceal adultery, to ensure a male child, to avoid economic hardship and simply because women were not valued as much as men in the Greco-Roman culture. In his book The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark writes, “Exposure of unwanted female infants and deformed male infants was legal, morally accepted, and widely practiced by all social classes in the Greco-Roman world.” More female babies survived in Christian homes.
3. Because the New Testament demands chastity and marital fidelity of women and men, Christian women were not subjected to the double standards of the Greco-Roman culture which insisted upon chastity and fidelity for women but released men from the same. Clearly, Christianity was again at the forefront of protecting women’s human dignity and condemning double standards. Additionally, the New Testament commands Christians to flee from soul-vexing and family-destroying practices like polygamy, adultery, divorce, and incest – all common practices of the Greco-Roman culture. Women are as valuable as men and men are subject to the same standard of righteousness as women.
More info coming soon . . .