fall   ::   2009

GWTW Newsletter


  1. “Male and Female Created He Them” (Genesis 1:27)  by Barbara Collins
  2. A Woman’s Place: Keeper at Home  by Charis Hart
  3. Patriarchy and Abuse: Have We Read the Scriptures Correctly?  by Catherine Clark Kroeger
  4. What's New?

“Male and Female Created He Them” (Genesis 1:27)

by Barbara Collins

Differences between man and woman.

What does the Bible have to say about men over women? Are men superior to women, and are women really destined to be second-class kingdom citizens?

What is woman’s true place in God’s economy? Why haven’t more women informed themselves by searching the Word’s original languages for concrete answers, rather than parroting traditional teachings? The inspired Word of God is not our English version or our modern translations, but the original languages. Jesus denounced the misinterpretation of the Scriptures by the traditions of the Jews. (Mark 7:9-13).

“What is man that thou art mindful of him?” is the King James translation of Psalms 8:4. Yet, Today’s New International Version reads, “What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them?” However, most translations continue using the word “man” when man and woman are meant, thereby multiplying confusion.

God’s Original Purpose and Woman’s Original Position to Which He Wants to Restore Her.

For instance, Genesis 1:26 in the KJV says, “Let us make man in our image . . .” Is “man” the single male being created here?
Artwork by
Karen Davidenko
No, because the rest of the verse 27 reads, “. . . male and female created he “them.” For clarity’s sake, in v. 26 the Hebrew word “adam” should be translated “humankind” or “human beings” instead of “man.” After the woman is taken out of man, “Adam” with a capital “A” becomes the name for the first individual male.

When God created human beings, He said in Genesis 1:26, “and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” (NKJV). Woman was not created after man, but both were created together at the same time.

Man and woman are equals, and both need each other to complement and support one another. Man and woman were co-workers and co-regents, ruling together. God gave the orders, and both of them fulfilled those responsibilities. God said, “Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish (or fill) the earth and subdue it . . .” (1:28). In other words, in the day of mankind's creation, God made them in His own image. He created them male and female, and on that day he blessed them and named them human beings.”

As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are co-equal as persons so man and woman are co-equals as well. To challenge the previous statement, as some denominations do that limit the ministry of women, is to challenge the very heart and nature of the triune Godhead and to subscribe to the heresy which says the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father like women are to men.

The man carried the woman part of humanity inside, but she was yet undeveloped when he was placed in the Garden. I. Timothy 2:13 says, “Adam was first formed, then Eve.” Woman was “formed” when God brought her out of Adam’s side. Do you see the picture of the church, the woman, coming from the side of Christ prefigured here? We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world and would come from Him and return to Him.

Genesis 5:2 confirms simultaneous creation saying, “. . . and called their name adam (or mankind) in the day when they were created,” belonging equally to male and female in one person. As previously stated, in the beginning “adam” meant “humankind” or “human beings.”

What did they have dominion over? As long as they continued to obey God, their dominion would be over fish, birds, cattle, and every living thing; but they would not have dominion over one another.

Man is not superior to woman. Nothing in the creation account shows that God ever intended for man to be superior when He originally created him, nor does He intend it in the new creation.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is

neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.

Because man and woman were created equal, woman is not inferior to man; but she complements and supports him while he does the same for her as they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22, 24). God created humankind as one, yet male and female. Man is not the chief and woman under him. She was brought “unto the man,” not under the man. (2:22). Both are equals and equally responsible. Nowhere in the creation account do we see man ruling over woman or woman living out the idea that the primary reason for her creation was to serve her husband. Man and woman are equal in God’s eyes.

Genesis 1 and 2 are not contradictory accounts. Genesis 2 merely gives a more detailed explanation.

A Woman’s Place: Keeper at Home

by Charis R. Hart

Note: Links to word study resources are underlined.

In Titus 2, Paul instructs the elder women to teach the young women to be “keepers at home”. What does this mean? The Greek word translated “keepers at home” (KJV) or “homemakers” (NKJV) is oikouros. This compound word is from oikos- house, household, family; and ouros- a guard, guardian, a watcher, a warden. Let this thought sink in for a moment: the word “oikouros” translated “keepers at home” carries the meaning of “watching the house, of a watchdog” {source}

The commission to “keep” was first given by God to Adam in Genesis 2:15: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” In this case, we are looking at the Old Testament and a Hebrew word. The Hebrew word in Gen 2:15 (Adam’s assignment) is shamar, translated as keep , observe, heed, preserve, beware, watchman, wait, watch, regard, save. The next occurrence of the word shamar is in Genesis 3:24 where “Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Can you see similarity in meaning of the Hebrew word shamar translated “keep” and the Greek word “ouros” translated “keeper”? The “keep” commission of Gen 2:15 and Titus 2:5 are about protecting, watching, guarding.

From what danger do you suppose Adam was supposed to “keep” the garden? [to Full Article]

Patriarchy and Abuse: Have We Read the Scriptures Correctly?

by Catherine Kroeger

(reprinted from Fall 2009 PASCH Newsletter)

On April 28, 1757 John Wesley made the following entry in his diary:

I talked with one who, by the advice of his Pastor, had, very calmly and deliberately, beat his wife with a large stick, till she was black and blue, almost from head to foot. And he insisted, it was his duty so to do, because she was surly and ill-natured; and that he was full of faith all the time he was doing it, and had been so ever since.

The account contains no record of any sort of protest, and yet Wesley’s own compassion is evident. Like many another Christian, he was caught between the desire to honor the ministry of another clergyman and his own sense of social justice. Wesley’s description reflects his discomfort and dismay at the abuse that the woman has suffered, but what sort of questions did he pose to an abuser who acted out of religious conviction and upon the advice of his pastor? Did he ask how this accorded with the command for a husband to love his wife and cherish her? Did he dare to criticize pastoral advice that had been given or to question a theology that justified the abuse?

Two hundred and fifty years have passed since Wesley made that entry, and the dilemma still remains. Today we stand at a critical crossroad. Increasingly there is an acknowledgment that a major contributing cause of domestic abuse is a societal acceptance of male dominance and an accompanying sense of entitlement. Males have a right to control their intimate partners, or so it is supposed. Lundy Bancroft maintains that the common characteristic of abusers is their fundamental mindset, and to this we have an opportunity to address ourselves. Evangelical theologian John Stott used to say that the church needed to engage in a double listening: with one ear to the needs of contemporary society and with the other to the Word of God. We have come to a juncture of one issue where this double listening and reflection is incumbent upon the church of Jesus Christ.

The abuse of women appears to be growing at an alarming rate. In America some fifteen hundred women are slain yearly at the hands of their domestic partners, about half of the number killed on September 11, 2001. Many others are permanently maimed, and far more bear deep emotional scars. More critical yet is the harm done to children, both those who suffer actual abuse and those traumatized by the presence of abuse in their homes. Research shows that children are far more aware and far more deeply impacted than parents often imagine.

Though it is sometimes fashionable to blame the victim, the basic responsibility must be placed upon those who abuse. Lundy Bancroft describes the mindset shared by perpetrators in this manner: the root lies in the offender’s concept that he has fundamental possession of his intimate partner, and from this arises the trunk of the tree: entitlement. Out of this trunk branch forth the various forms of abuse that ensure the victim’s compliance with his wishes. We must observe that in some ninety percent of cases, the victim is female and the offender male. Douglas Gaudette, director of the Family Safety Project of Caritas Holy Family Hospital puts it more bluntly: “Patriarchy is the breeding ground of abuse.”

Concerned Christians involved in intervention programs are well aware that a misinterpretation of the biblical concepts of “headship” and “submission” is a major obstacle in working with Christian batterers and victims. Jesus warned about the destructive effect of bringing a wrongful message and added “by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-16). We need to think this one over.

Even though earnest Christians deplore the atrocities of domestic abuse, they simply do not know how to handle the scriptural statement that man is the head of woman (1 Corinthians 11:3). It is time to deal with the issue forthrightly, to lay out the concerns, both theological and practical, and to move forward to new understandings. In point of fact, the same First Corinthians passage also says God is the head of Christ. The Greek-speaking Church Fathers were quick to point out that this meant not superiority but rather sameness, that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were equal in goodness power and love. So too woman, as drawn forth from man, is of the very same substance “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh” – not inferior having but the same intellect, the same emotional capacity, the same personhood and longing for God.

There are certain contemporary theologians who comprehend that if they maintain the subordination of women to men, to be consistent they must also say that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinated to the Father. Recently a new theological seminary has been established to propound precisely this view. We are entering a time of theological crisis, especially as it impacts family life. Of course there is a need again to ask what the Bible really says, and not what some popular guru says.

Ty and Barb Schroyer, directors of the Christian model of the Duluth batterer intervention program, were anxious to have a biblically-based discussion that would face the dilemma so often faced in support and intervention groups. How are caregivers to deal with the concern that clients express about headship and submission? How can we be both faithful to the scriptures and faithful to the wounded. Are we betraying offenders when we do not offer a corrective interpretation affirming the full equality of both male and female and their full right to respect, dignity and decent treatment?

The time has come for us to step into the ring. Sometimes we have just made polite noises because we didn’t want to “rock the ship.” We don’t want to alienate believers, but neither should we allow them to engage in, or ignore abusive behaviors justified by faulty theology.

This was the basis for our planned panel at the August 7 event, in which there was an honest discussion of the problems created by patriarchy and also of the theological challenges that must be met. We sought to bring about an interchange between representatives of biblical and theological thought along with the practical evidence, frustrations and sometimes desperation of care givers and healers. We say that praxis flows from theology, but we have usually sidestepped the issue of patriarchy. The results of remaining are simply too costly.

Why did we plan such a feature at an event that we hoped would be attractive to secular caregivers? Because we are being told that they are desperate for such an interaction. They do not know how to cope with the religious batterer or the victim who insists that she must submit to the mistreatment no matter how vicious. Here, as at many other points, we believe that the scriptures can bring healing rather than harm and that there are many ways in which we can serve the secular DV community as we are faithful to the wounded and faithful to the Word.

  1. Del Birkey has just completed a revision of his book The House Church: A Model for Renewing the Church (1988 Herald Press). The book is 20 years old and out of print, and many significant issues have arisen in our postmodern culture and the emergent church movement since then. New material has been added to define the house church both as the first-century New Testament model and as a worldwide reality. The revision is an eBook titled The House Church Book: Non Emerging New Testament Prototype. You can immediately find it on-line at http:/www.TheHouseChurchBook.com. To help you become acquainted with the book you will find Dr. Dean Arnold’s Foreword helpful, as well as a personal description of the content in Birkey’s Introductory Word. Free, and available in PDF download, are two chapters—the first and last.

  2. Del Birkey, the author of The House Church Book passed away unexpectedly on May 13, 2009 at the age of 76, after suffering an intracerebral hemorrhage. (source)
  3. Our first GWTW chapter began this year in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya under the leadership of Sr. Gladys Masore along with her husband and pastor, Zaphania Masore. GWTW couldn’t help but think why not? Jesus was born in a manger/stable, and our first chapter should be surrounded by humble beginnings as was GWTW at its founding in 1998. Can you believe a more insignificant place than the slums? Sr. Gladys just completed a Leadership Conference there on October 8-10, 2009 and is planning another one in December. Go hereto see pictures of her and her husband and to read of her vision for the women of Kenya.

    In October of this year, our second chapter began in South India. Again, GWTW begins there in humble surroundings. Watch the home page for an article about India.

  4. Women of the United States, elections are November 3. Read about the very courageous women who fought for our right to vote here: "WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE!" Remember to vote. Every time you do, history is being made.
  5. New page: "Who is God?"

  6. J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma magazine and author of 10 Lies the Church Tells Women. Through his ministry, The Mordecai Project, he confronts the abuse of women and helps churches train and release women leaders. Visit themordecaiproject.com for more information. His recent article, Breaking Up the Good Ole Boys' Club is reprinted with the gracious permission of J. Lee Grady and Charisma Magazine, Strang Communications.

    "It’s time for us guys to drop our fears and our macho attitudes—and anything else we’ve used to stop our mothers, sisters and wives from claiming their spiritual inheritance. I challenge you to open as many doors for them as possible." -Lee Grady [more...]

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