THE PRINCIPLE : “Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” (I Cor. 3:16-17).
The Greek word translated “temple” here comes from a root word meaning to dwell and is related to the Greek word meaning “ a sacred place. ”
“For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (I Cor. 6:19-20).
THE REALITY The bodies of some are exchanged for money. Others whose bodies are not yet able to bear children are forced to give birth, often dying in the process. Many who survive endure a living death with diseases that make them social outcasts.
Jesus came to release women and girls from the bondage of social custom and give them a place of honor in the kingdom of heaven. Is the church doing this today?
Jesus came to release everyone from the bondage of social custom and give them a place of honor in the kingdom of heaven. Is the church doing this today?
Jesus went out of His way to empower the powerless and give honor to those shamed by social, political, economic, or religious restrictions.
We must examine our own attitudes, as well as the problems in our community. We must ask ourselves, “What am I doing to help protect women and teenage girls in my church?” “What am I, by my unconcern, allowing to go on in my town?” “Am I acting like Christ?”
It is important also to consider the sources of my attitudes. Negative customs and attitudes about women have been codified in the laws of many cultures.
THE RESPONSE Too often Christians adopt the social and political attitudes of their society rather than building a strong biblical foundation which recognizes how much God values every person.
The Christian church bears a moral responsibility to call governments, communities, and individuals to rise to the biblical standard of the high value God places on the human body, the temple of the Holy Spirit and purchase of Jesus Christ.
Before significant behavioral changes can occur or more ministry services are organized, it is important for more church members and leaders to recognize the extent and severity of abuse issues in their churches.
THE EVIDENCE What evidence do we have that God wanted to raise and restore woman to her rightful position?
God forever raised woman’s body from shame to honor, from humiliation to respect.
1.Mary 2.The woman with the issue of blood 3.Mary and Martha
Jesus not only elevates women to new heights, but He honors and respects her capacity to use her God-given mental powers to learn.
Jesus, once again, is breaking the stranglehold of socially assigned “woman’s place” to raise her to the place God has assigned her.
This is what Jesus shows in all these encounters. Understanding this, one can understand Paul’s statement that in Christ, there is no male or female (Gal. 3:28), since their baptism into Christ makes them equal in Christ.
The lesson from Jesus’ encounters with women whose bodies and brains were disdained and abused is that those who receive Jesus Christ must honor and respect women.
The Church can develop a proper theology of marriage, family life, and reconciliation.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 NIV
Servants have little or no control over their lives. Friends have total control of their lives.
The Church can admit that intimate partner abuse exists-- awareness. Conduct an abuse prevention Sabbath/Sunday service each year.
The Church can seek to employ more female pastors.
Women stated in the interviews that they would not confide in a pastor simply because in most cases the pastor was a man. Kathy, a marital sexual abuse survivor, said, “I could never go to a man to tell this stuff to. It’s just too intimate.” In the single case where the survivor’s home church employed a female pastor, the abuse survivor recalled that female pastor as being a “godsent.”
The church can stop creating and sheltering the abusers.
The church can support government legislation that will help protect victims of abuse.
The Church can conduct seminars on intimate partner abuse.
The Church can conduct support groups for victims of abuse.
The Church can conduct men's retreat that promotes equality and partnership rather than male “leadership”. Male and female have equal voice, vote, and power in all human relationships.
The Church Can Teach men how to be good persons. Teach men that they are not leaders by default. Teach that leadership is a gift and not a gender.
"There must be... "a liberation of the male psyche from preoccupation with domination, power hunger, control of patriarchal culture. This requires commitment to deep study, combined with a willingness for painful, uncomfortable, and often shocking change." (Haki Madhubuti)
Instead of telling men to “go home and take back authority, (Tony Evans)” teach men the concept of power sharing and co-leadership in marriage.
The Church can hold the abusers responsible for their behaviors.
"If the problem of wife abuse is one of evil, the church can no longer avoid taking sides.“ A love which intends to be effective in terms of God’s kingdom cannot avoid taking sides," says theologian Jose Bonino...
... In fact the church will be in collusion with evil if it does not a stand on the side of the victim. Only when it becomes an advocate for the oppressed can it fulfill its prophetic role." Battered Into Submission (Alsdurf)
“ In Christianity, I've experienced "leadership" attitudes from men that have been of the dominating perspective than of the understanding guidance perspective. I know many men who have taken "Christian" teachings and used them as their God-given authority to "keep a woman in her place" and maintain their male-leadership role...
... They refuse to let their wives get a job, to go to college, have her own friends, dress the way she wants to, etc. They want to control a person in order to be the "leader." And guess what a lot of Christian men do when their wives won't do what they tell them to -- a little verbal hollering, shaming, a few slaps, a little hitting, to show them who's in charge because God said so in the Bible.”
The Church Can “Teach all to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all human beings.” Titus 3:2
The Church should be a place where men and women are freed from the slavery of traditionalism.
The church is to be a haven of rest and a safe place for the wounded. The church must not be caught between the Devil and a woman. Instead, it must unfurl its waves of freedom and justice.
May the “renewal of our minds ” create new and wholesome ways of relating to one another in Christ, honoring body, soul, and spirit as a gift we give to one another because we recognize the value God places on every person.