Is Paul a misogynist and sexist or a radical feminist?
This week in our sermon series Questions Christians Fear, we are moving to the topic of Paul’s view on women in the home and in the church. For many outside and inside the church, Paul is a tipping point when it comes to how we view scripture. Throughout Paul’s letter there are several passages with very specific instructions regarding the roles of women. These passages are often a tipping point because we read them and usually do one of the following things: we ignore them because they are difficult, we embrace them at face value and possibly miss the point, we dismiss them because we have outgrown them, or we dig into them thoroughly to really understand what is going on.
I am hopeful this week will we will do the last of these options. We will push beyond fears, our own cultural bias (as much as is possible), and cross the cultural divide to really see Paul’s message for what it is. I have been doing a lot of reading in preparation for this talk and the two resources I recommend most on the issue are Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet for a quick read that is very well done and Man and Woman, One in Christ by Philip Barton Payne for a more scholarly read. They are both excellent.
At the heart of this conversation is our big picture understanding of Paul’s theology and practice over and against the culture of his day. Did Paul prop up and support cultural structures in the church and home? Did Paul preach a message of radical freedom for women in these structures? Was Paul a friend to women or an enemy?
What are your thoughts?
What are the most important passages to discuss?
Sunday we will look at Ephesians 5/Colossians 3 to talk about the role of women in the home and 1 Timothy 2 to talk about women in the church. Any thoughts you would add on those passages?