On Women’s Protests. What if…

By Cindy Koch

There were quite a lot of protest rallies last Saturday and on inauguration day. The gals got together in Washington D.C. as well. In our modern culture, it seems that if we are disappointed with the way things are going, we’d better show up somewhere with a sign. Admittedly, I was a little slow on the uptake. Sitting here a few days later scrolling through all of the pictures of protest groups proudly gathering to send a profound message, it all made me very sad.

It’s clear we live in a turbulent world, as did the generations who came before us. The villains and heroes change, the manner and media adapt, but our passions are still enflamed about the injustice and suffering all around. Maybe you went out to support one of these protests. Maybe you were defending on the Facebook home front. Maybe you were overwhelmed or isolated from the whole affair. But the timeless problem remains: It’s bad out there.

Although this is true for everyone, my sorrow is particularly for our women—my sisters, my daughters, my mentors who have gone before me. We have been crying out for an answer to our pain for a very long time. Yet, even now our world disappoints us again, but we can’t stop searching for a peaceful and just reality. Despite our unified voice and invigorating numbers this past weekend, deep down, we know nothing has really changed. We will continue to be hurt and unsupported. We will continue to fight and struggle. We will sadly take up another sign another time because the problem is still out there, and we haven’t really solved anything.

But what if…

What if there were no problems to protest? Of course, we would have an amazing world. Friends on Facebook wouldn’t type a single hurtful syllable. Nations and peoples wouldn’t plot and plan to kill each other. Women and their babies wouldn’t struggle against each other for that precious breath of life. The lazy and the workaholic would disappear into pleasing moderate balance. Addictions would cease, anorexics would eat heartily, and cancer would have never taken a single loved one from our arms.

What if…

What if men and women lived in harmony? Fights and disagreements would not divide. A man would protect and care for that beautiful female creation that was taken from his side. A woman would love and be a help to her husband. Divorce would have never been a word. They would never dream of hurting each other. A woman would not long for authority or control. A man would stand up boldly and leave his parents to sacrificially cling to the woman God gave him.

What if…

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What if we still looked like God’s creations in His garden? We would walk around with God, unashamed and without doubt. We would love the Word of the Creator and listen intently. We would be fruitful and multiply, and we would cherish the way God designed His creatures. There would be no sin, destruction, or death. Trees would produce bountifully. Rivers would flow gently with clean life-giving water. We would be fed by the tree of eternal life, and God would dwell with us, His children.

I know, sisters. I see it too. Our world doesn’t look like the “what ifs.”

But what if…

What if you heard that Christ solved this great and terrible problem? Jesus Christ, both almighty God and perfect man, would be the only one who could stand up in protest to the sin that saturates you and your world. Instead of a clever sign, Jesus holds up his unblemished life and chants, “It is finished…” The fighting, the sadness, the grave, the strife, the anger, and the pain are all put to death in that dying protest of God’s beloved Son, never to touch you again.

And what if…

What if you believed that His death restored you? You would still cry over the injustice of this passing world, but you would also trust in the promises of the world to come. Even now you would believe that you are God’s good creation in Christ, designed to love His will. Today you would walk with the children of God, feeding from the tree of life, now hidden in water and word, bread and wine. Men and women would forgive each other, love each other, and imperfectly live in a shadow of harmony. The unfixable problems of this sinful world would be lifted from your shoulders. Resurrected with Christ, you would be free from protest.

What if?

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8 comments

  1. What if …
    The teachings about the authority of the husband and the submission of the wife was a mis-reading and mis-interpretation of Scripture? What if the teachings about the original design were fiction rather than fact? What if all this focus on headship and obedience was taking our eyes off of Christ and how he is gender neutral territory – an example for both men and women to follow? Just thinking out loud.

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    1. What if it became so easy to fall for the Devil’s old line “Did God really say”? Yes, He did. Woman was made out of man, designed to be his partner and supporter. When we try to redesign what God designed perfectly, it is we who will end up in trouble, wondering how we went wrong.

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      1. So people should never ask “Did God really say?”
        Wow, that gives anybody freedom to twist the Scriptures with immunity! It’s a wonder we have the concept of heresy given that everything somebody says that the Bible says is always unquestionably true. So man wasn’t designed to be woman’s partner and supporter and isn’t supposed to help women?

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    2. I’m not sure which theological tradition you come from, Jamie, but in my experience the Lutheran Church is much less heavy handed and over the top on this issue than my former Reformed Baptist Church.

      Most of the people who are harping on the complementarian thing, especially the part about wives submitting to husbands, are coming from either Reformed Baptist Churches (Grudem, Piper, etc.) or from the Federal Vision Movement (i.e. Doug Wilson). Of course, old line Fundamentalist Baptists (Bob Jones) would fall into this category as well.

      However, be careful that you don’t take the extreme and over the top cases (i.e. Wayne Grudem or Doug Wilson) and judge all conservative Christians according to their abuses and errors.

      Wives submitting to husbands is biblical, but it’s not meant to be absolute or abusive. It’s always balanced by the fact that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and they are to sacrifice their own wants, desires, and needs in order to serve their wives. Their leadership in the home isn’t for their own needs/desires, and it isn’t meant to be a one-sided dictatorship. Someone’s got to be the ultimate authority, and in the home that responsibility belongs to husbands/fathers. Outside of the home, it can be a female CEO, Prime Minister, President, etc.

      The ones who use this doctrine to puff out their chests and abuse their wives (even if it isn’t physical abuse) have created an entire extra-biblical system with all kinds of rules (like women should never work outside of the home) that you can’t find anywhere in scripture.

      In my experience, Lutherans, Catholics, most Presbyterians, etc. tend not to take their focus off of Christ to only talk about complimentarianism. That is an error that is limited to certain circles within Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity. Try checking out some churches that are outside of the denomination or tradition where you grew up.

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      1. Southern Baptists – with an increasingly Calvinistic flavor about their theology. Sadly, this neck of the woods is 80% southern baptist churches. There isn’t even a single Lutheran church in this county. One of my favorite shows asks this question: “Do we even need a leader?” You say that someone’s got to be the ultimate authority; but why? Everything Jesus points to isn’t in bearing authority as leaders; but laying it down. Resisting the temptation to give orders and instead being servants who take orders. All this talk about servant-leadership is smoke, when it comes down to it.

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      2. Just think practically, Jamie. I don’t know if you’re married, but there are a lot of issues that need to be worked out in a marriage. Money is always a big one for couples, especially if you don’t make a whole lot.

        My wife and I usually discuss issues that come up, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to say, “I’m the husband, do what I say!” We discuss issues and we come to a consensus. It generally works pretty well.

        But what if we were at loggerheads over an issue, such as whether or not we were going to buy a new car or a used car. Whether we were going to spend $10,000 or $15,000. Assume that a good argument could be made both ways. We share a bank account, and my wife doesn’t work because our kids are all very young. She doesn’t want to work until they’re a little older.

        If we couldn’t agree on how much to spend on a car, we would have to some way of coming to a conclusion. Either she could yield, or I could yield. Someone’s got to make the ultimate decision. In that case, it would be the husband.

        A family is like a miniature business. We have income, we have expenses, we have a budget. Every person in the family has things that they would like to spend their money on, just like a business has various branches that would all like to have a few extra bucks. We save $35 per month so that we can visit my wife’s family in LA about once/year. I get to buy my 6 pack of craft beer every month. My 4 year old just got to sign up for T-ball. We can’t do everything we want to do. As a husband, it is my responsibility to bring issues to the table for discussion and to be active in hearing and considering everyone’s wants/needs. Generally, we build a consensus with discussion and compromise. If we weren’t able to do that, we would have to default to somebody’s leadership. In a business, that is the President or the CEO. In a family, it is the husband.

        It doesn’t have to be oppressive and dictatorial, but there are times in life when the buck has to stop somewhere. Even before that point, someone has to take the lead and facilitate getting things done. I think that is what the Bible talks about when it tells husbands to love and lead their families, and it tells wives to submit to their husbands. When husbands are physically abusive, wives should leave and seriously consider divorce. When husbands are verbally/emotional abusive, wives should seek to address those issues and separate or divorce if necessary.

        The complimentarian model is most disturbing because they often blame women when their husbands are abusive, or they tell women that they cannot leave, separate from, or divorce an abusive husband.

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