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|Gender and Christianity|
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Early Christianity was marked by the elevation of women by Jesus' impartiality and Paul's words, "In Christ there is neither male nor female" (Galatians 3:28). Western culture has generally caught up with New Testament teaching regarding equality and in some cases goes farther than the teachings of the church at large. Some Christians oppose this apparent secular intrusion, while other Christians believe the church succumbed to historical sexism and no longer teaches God's original equality. The issue is often muddied by being conflated with homosexuality and gay rights.
Divisions of thought are not well defined. Many Christians do not know what they believe or may believe very differently from the creed of their attending church.
Conservative Christians tend to teach that men and women are equal but have different gender roles in accordance with how God created them. Eastern Orthodoxy shares the same basic view as most conservative Christians on gender roles, although in some cases it appears more limiting to women.
Egalitarianism, in its extreme form, says that the gender roles of men and women are the same, that God may (or may not) call either sex to perform any duty. Many Christians who hold to this view look for support in the Bible, holding that the Bible has been misinterpreted in parts.
Issues in Scripture
Biblical statements concerning women include:
- God's Law of Marriage in Genesis 2:24 - "A man will leave his family . . ."
- Controversy about Eve's Role in Genesis 3
- Woman being created from Adam's Rib (Genesis 3:21 - Genesis 3:22)
- Head Coverings (1 Corinthians 11:2 - 1 Corinthians 11:16) - Women must cover their head when praying or prophesying
- Women must keep silent during church services (1 Corinthians 14:34)
- Paul's instructions to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:8 - 1 Timothy 2:15)
- Submission in Marriage (Ephesians 5:21 - Ephesians 5:33)