To say the least, this summer was an unexpected couple of months. I spent the first two and a half months working at a summer camp, and it concluded with a two-week long vacation in Missouri.
While at the summer camp—almost the first week—i overheard one of my coworkers talking on the phone with a family member. The phone call was a debate on the validity of Christianity. My coworker’s family member gave some popular objections to Christianity, but a key one he tried to use was, “Christian marriage is chauvinistic and oppressive to women.”
Also while at the summer camp, i talked on the phone one evening with a non-believing friend who was telling me about the fact that she watched the show The Handmaid’s Tale. As i had never seen it, she had to tell me the premise of the show. To sum it up, it was something along the lines of, “In a totalitarian government loosely based on Old Testament laws, women guilty of things like adultery are forced to be childbearers for infertile women.” My friend proceeded to tell me, “If I lived in that world, I’d certainly be a handmaid.”
And to be sure, in both of the above situations, i had serious thoughts that needed to be shared. The thoughts are what follows in this post:
Christianity is anything but chauvinistic
The argument, “I can’t believe Christianity because it promotes chauvinism in marriage,” is a bunch of baloney. Plain and simple. When it comes to understanding the message and worldview of the Bible, we need to remember the time in which it was initially written. For the passages in the New Testament that discuss marriage/sexuality—such as Ephesians 5—they were written to people living in the Roman culture.
Roman culture was similar to the culture of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is exactly what the Bible speaks out against. One source explains it as such
Indeed, marriage itself was a lopsided affair. According to the men, women who married should not expect any pleasure or enjoyment – they tied the knot simply to procreate. Moreover, the silent, compliant and subservient wife was expected to turn a blind eye to her husband’s sexual infelicities, while the man could philander as much as he liked so long as the mistress was unmarried, or, if with a boy, he was over a certain age. Brothels, prostitutes and dancing girls were considered ‘fair game.’
Paul Chrystal, published at historyextra.com
Therefore, the contrast is immense when we hear the Bible order:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies.
It gets even more evident when we read what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5,
A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. Do not deprive one another sexually—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
In essence, while society screamed, “Only use your wife to have kids, get pleasure elsewhere,” the Bible screams, “Your wife deserves pleasure too. Enjoy each other! Enjoy each other so much you aren’t tempted to run elsewhere. Love one another!”
When it is put that way, which religion is chauvinistic? Pagan Rome or Biblical Christianity? Modern America or Biblical Christianity? The sad fact about it is that more and more we see our society turning into Pagan Rome. Soon—the time is coming—Christianity will look so foreign to people in our culture that they flock to it because it actually has answers for their troubles. When? I don’t know. But the time is coming.
But the first point is simple: Christianity is anything but chauvinistic.
Christianity is about Jesus who offers grace to the sexually immoral
This is why Christianity will be flocked to in the future. When society turns pagan, and when gender, marriage, and sexuality are redefined, the vast majority of non-believing people experiment sexually. Thus, when someone picks up a copy of the gospel of Mark and reads, “While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him” (2:15), they will recognize themselves in that sentence. Jesus was a friend of the sexually immoral.
However, His friendship with them required that they, “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore” (John 8:11).
Let’s remember that Jesus is King! Let’s not forget that He is ruling and reigning. Let’s remember how He reacts to those guilty of sexual immorality. Let’s also remember, how He defines sexual immorality: Matthew 5:27-30 explains that it is a heart thing not a physical thing. We are all guilty of sexual immorality—even the most externally holy person amongst us.
If The Handmaid’s Tale was real life, and Biblically accurate, everyone would be a handmaid—male and female—which would be a terrible (not to mention confusing) situation.
This should lead us to fall on our faces before King Jesus and praise Him for His grace.
When He died on the cross, He was punished for our sexual immorality. In essence, He became a homosexual, an adulterer, a porn-addict. But because He hadn’t actually committed those acts during His life, He rose from the dead three days later, proving that He had defeated death and sin. This is the Gospel!
Believe in Him today! Place your faith in His victory over sin. And leave your life of sin (Repent!).
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.