Keepin’ the Women in Line
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
Ok, I guess I will just open this post with the following rather long Scripture text. We need to read the whole thing to get the gist of what’s going on –
Esther 1:10-20 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, (11) to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. (12) But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.
(13) Then the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for this was the king’s procedure toward all who were versed in law and judgment, (14) the men next to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom): (15) “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?”
(16) Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. (17) For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ (18) This very day the noble women of Persia and Media who have heard of the queen’s behavior will say the same to all the king’s officials, and there will be contempt and wrath in plenty. (19) If it please the king, let a royal order go out from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes so that it may not be repealed, that Vashti is never again to come before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. (20) So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike.”
I really don’t need to write much more, do I? Here we have the king and the big men of the kingdom a little bit panicked. Maybe pretty well scared in fact. The thing could get way out of hand. The Queen could be heading up some kind of suffrage movement and that can’t be let go. Harsh repercussions are necessary or every king of his own castle is going to be facing a rebellion when he gets home from work. “There will be contempt and wrath in plenty.” We gotta show ’em, King! Put the hammer down on Vashti!
I would really appreciate your comments on this. As I study the subject of abuse and hear the stories from victims, especially victims who are Christians and have received injustice from their pastors and churches, I am seeing more clearly that whether we like it or not, we in the conservative, Bible-believing churches have to admit that we have shown partiality to men. After all, we are men. That is what Scripture says, and we need to obey God’s Word – men are to be pastors and elders. But pastors and elders also need to remember that they are men. When a woman comes in to tell us her tale of woe, how do we see her? I am afraid that we see her as a woman – and by that I mean, as…. I’m not sure how to describe it. As someone who is not our equal?
And if we have this kind of attitude, are we not pretty well guaranteed to be infected to some degree by the same attitude that the King and his officials were? I think it was Elizabeth who wrote to me recently who said that she thinks pastors and churches are not giving creedance to abuse victims because they are afraid that if they do, there will be repercussions for them and the other men in the church with their own wives.
I, Anna, believe that men can be the leaders, both in their homes and in the churches, while still treating women with respect, while still listening to them, only when they first love God as they ought to. Male headship isn’t a trophy to be waved about but, rather, a trust to be honored. It is a trust that starts and ends with honoring, obeying and glorifying Jesus. When men commit their lives to Him–through continued self-examination and repentance–then they will be enabled by Him to treat others–including women–the way He would treat them. If you have any doubts as to what that might mean, then head on over to the Gospels. You will find that Jesus was gracious in His treatment of women. Period. Men in the church would do well to emulate Him.
What do you think? Is it true? Are we guilty of this? I think we know the answer – maybe we just haven’t realized it yet?