equal in being, unequal in function supported from
Kathryn Riss, ThM
traditionalists today want to uphold the equality of the sexes,
they give authority to men while denying it to women based on
gender alone. These proponents of gender hierarchy believe that
Genesis 2 teaches that man has authority over woman because he
was created before her.
The Bible does not
disclose any authority relationship between man and woman prior
to the Fall. The inference that it does comes from two
presumptions The first is that truly mutual, egalitarian
relationships are impossible, even in marriage. The second is
that men are superior to women, for men are viewed as the
natural leaders to whom women must always defer. However,
Scripture gives examples of women such as Deborah and Huldah who
were national and religious leaders. Men including King Josiah
recognized and followed the godly authority of these women.
Being in the right is more important than gender or social
position, for God commanded Abraham to obey his wife, Sarah, by
granting that her son Isaac would inherit the covenant
It is evident that
men are generally more aggressive and domineering than women and
that they have competed with one another for power, but this
does not qualify them for leadership according to Christian
standards – quite the opposite!
The Way of the
Jesus taught, “Do not be called ‘rabbi,’
for One is your leader, Christ, and you all are brethren. And
call no one your father on earth, for One is your Father, Who is
in Heaven. Nor be called leaders, for One is your leader,
Christ. But the greater among you shall be your servant. And
whoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled, and whoever
humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8-10).
Instead of following
Christ’s teaching by seeking to serve others and letting Jesus
be Lord, His followers have all too often applied the ways of
the world to the Church, home and society. Jesus’ 12 apostles
had a very difficult time laying down their ambitions and desire
to dominate others. And for generations since, men have been
unable to imagine, let alone implement, a Christian community
without a hierarchy with themselves at the top.
Leadership emerges in
two ways. The way of Jesus is for those who have excellent
character, wisdom, experience and anointing to be recognized by
others, who choose to follow them. The way of the world is for
ambitious people to jockey for position and privilege,
subjugating others rather than enabling them.
When we follow the
way of Jesus, each person can contribute according to their
personal ability as recognized and affirmed by others. Paul
teaches this process when he encourages Christians to seek and
exercise their God-given spiritual gifts and urges all believers
to submit to one another in love. In this way, the entire Body
of Christ functions cooperatively according to the abilities God
gives to each member. All are free, all have a role to play, and
all work together cooperatively. Each benefits from the gifts of
others, and each has opportunity to contribute his or her own
abilities. Leadership flows according to giftedness and
anointing, which are sovereignly given by God.
The Ways of
leaders have incorporated natural dominance factors into what
should be a Spirit-led community. Rather than mentoring others,
men have often required other men to pay homage to them by
“paying their dues” or “coming under their covering” before
allowing them to function in leadership roles. And, ignoring
their gifts, they have greatly restricted or eliminated women
from the whole leadership pipeline.
Wouldn’t it really be
better to allow everyone to follow the Spirit’s lead and utilize
the abilities God has given each for the common good? Wouldn’t
God’s Spirit have more freedom and power in our midst if we took
away the barriers that block some members of His body from
functioning? If we get out of God’s way, Jesus can be Lord of
His church. The potential is enormous!
But, opposing God’s
Spirit, we have insisted that only men can teach or preach to
the congregation, despite a long record of highly gifted and
successful women who did both. We have imposed rigid sex roles
onto people God intended to relate to Him and to each other
primarily via the Holy Spirit. We have required women to be
followers and men to be leaders, whether the individuals
involved were gifted or suited for those roles or not. This
tension produces stress and dissatisfaction, for the Holy Spirit
within each person longs to be free.
Whenever we impose
restrictions or limitations on people based on natural
considerations, we replace functional authority according to
ability with legalistic authoritarianism, which must be
enforced. Under Christ’s love, men and women can and should work
together cooperatively, giving mutual consideration and respect
The myth that
egalitarian relationships are impossible is disproved by
numerous, successful business partnerships and happy marriages
in which both partners share decision-making. Only domineering
persons cannot conceive of or practice equality flowing from
mutual love and cooperation.
Back to the
Adam and Eve were
both innocent and sinless, so there was no need for a human
authority to bring correction or discipline. Because they were
both created in God’s image, sharing God’s characteristics of
intelligence, the ability to plan, and free will, both were
capable of self-government. Together, they were given God’s
blessing and delegated authority over the earth and its life
forms. Both had the ability and mandate to exercise dominion.
They were created as adults, so neither required guidance as
As male and female,
Adam needed his wife’s companionship and help as well as her
sexuality to reproduce. Eve needed the same things from her
husband. Their individuality was intended to enrich a loving
No inherent authority
existed between Adam as male and Eve as female. Genesis 3 states
that dominion between them resulted from their fallen, sinful
natures. If it is nevertheless argued that God gave Adam
authority over Eve before the Fall, the basis for that authority
must be an assumption of the spiritual or intellectual
inferiority of woman to man. This unspoken attitude underlies
the contemporary evangelical advocacy of hierarchical gender
The Fallacy of
Those today who
insist that only men should teach do so not based on superior
knowledge, but entirely on male gender. Since natural
characteristics, such as sex, do not equip anyone to teach,
traditionalists must buttress this position with the idea that
somehow men always possess more spiritual truth than women
simply because they are male. This fallacy does not line up with
evidence or experience.
Like men, women today
receive education and so have the necessary knowledge. Many also
have evident teaching gifts, some quite outstanding. Henrietta
Mears mentored thousands of college-aged youth who became
leaders of 20th century evangelicalism, including
Dick Halverson of World Vision, Bill Bright of Campus Crusade
for Christ, and Jim Rayburn of Young Life. More than 400 young
men became full-time ministers or missionaries as a result of
her teaching and leadership. So, to maintain their position,
traditionalists must ignore women’s proven abilities and promote
a mythical faith in the supposed spiritual superiority of the
male sex. This deception has produced a further theological
error: the fantasy that maleness is a spiritual quality, rather
than a reproductive one.
If the “right” of men
but not women to lead and teach is not based upon actual
superior knowledge or ability, it must be a custom in which men
are affirmed due to their superior social status. This status is
viewed as so important that it supercedes all other factors.
The questions we must
answer are: Is this discrimination against women a just practice
that reflects God’s heart and Word? Does it line up with the
practices and values of Jesus Christ who sent women to proclaim
His resurrection to the rest of the disciples? Does it serve the
church by providing the best qualified teachers available? Does
it demonstrate to unbelievers that Christians treat each other
in ways that are just, beneficial, and intelligent? Does it
allow God to be God, selecting those whom He chooses and
empowers for the ministries He desires? In short, does “equal in
being but unequal in function” make any sense?
If our answers to the
above questions are negative, we must then ask, “If not, why
would we imagine that it could be God’s will?”
We encourage you to forward the newsletter to those that
you believe would be interested.
View of "Late Bloomers"
Picture revealed to
Jo shared this at the DFW Retreat
November and it was too good to keep to ourselves.
Being an older woman in ministry, I
occasionally found myself looking back and wishing I had stepped
into ministry earlier in life...especially when I considered
what might have been accomplished had I done so. However,
instead of spurring me onward with a greater intensity, those
thoughts began to drag me down. That is, until God revealed the
following picture to me.
In God's eyes, the body of Christ is
like a huge flower garden of various kinds and colors. However,
not all bloom at the same time. There are those that flourish
in the Spring months while others are better adapted to the
Summer heat. Then, come the abundant bloomers of Autumn when
even the trees and bushes become a brilliant display of color.
Eventually though, the frigid climate of Winter arrives and all
appears barren when suddenly flowers such as the winter pansy
burst into bloom in great magnificence.
One thing is now clear to me: just as
God determines the seasons in which flowers bloom, He also
decides the "season" of our ministries. In that I find rest.
Autumn or Winter "bloomers" are not less than Spring or Summer
"bloomers". They have all been ordained by God to bloom in
their appointed seasons. My ministry wasn't late and neither is
yours. Age is insignificant to Him. It is the spirit that
matters, and the spirit is ageless!
Rise up, O women of God! Your
appointed season is at hand. Break forth and bloom gloriously
for the Lord!
on the Web?
Glory of the Lord is Upon You by Carole
Scott This prophetic message,
"Get Up Daughters, The Glory Of The Lord Is Upon You!" was
birthed in that vision and is empowered with an anointing prayer
for women of all ages.
We have now listed all the articles by topic to make it
easier to find what you are looking for. The articles are also
listed on the Articles page in alphabetical order for those who
don't want to explore by topic.
God's Word to Women
by Katherine Bushnell.
All remaining lessons grouped as 10
lessons in each section.
Lessons 91-100. In the near
future we will put up the other lessons in this same format.
Thanks and God's blessings to Gerta Windmill from Australia who
typed this book when it was out of print and sent us her work so
that it would be available to everyone. She saved us hours of
scanning and correcting!
by Gerald McCray - We (Barbara, Gay and
Pat of God's Word to Women) are pleased to be able to put up
Chapter 11 from God's Gals by Gerald McCray.
contacted us a few years ago asking permission to use our
website as a resource, a real complement.
He also wanted to use some of the articles by Kathryn and
Richard Riss, so we put him in contact with Kathryn who wound up
editing his book. We are delighted that he mentions our
friendship on his acknowledgements page.
The book is making an
impact. God's Gals can be purchased from your local
Christian bookstore or ordered from either
Intercessor for GWTW
In the summer of 2001 we used the newsletter to put out a call
for intercessors for God’s Word to Women. It had been a rough
year and we finally realized that as individuals and a ministry
we were really under attack
More prayer support was needed than just the three of us could
Gretchen is the second of our prayer warriors. She
a little over a year ago. Her deep interest in our
has been apparent from the first,
and we are grateful to the Lord that He has put us on her heart.
Hi, my name is Gretchen and I am an intercessor for God's Word
to Women and the site owner for
I am a
40-something woman who desires with all my heart to share God's
love and plan of reconciliation with those around me, either in
the real world or the virtual world.
my relationship with God when I was 5 1/2 years old. My brother
and I attended a "Good News Club" in our neighborhood in Los
Altos, California. It lasted for five afternoons in the outside
garden of the host home. The first day I knew I wanted to know
God, because I was aware (even at that young age) that I had
done wrong and I wanted to be right with God so I could live
with Him forever in Heaven when I died. I understood that He
sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for my sin and by receiving
that gift, I would be right with God. I waited until the fourth
afternoon to get right with Him. Just to be sure, I prayed a
prayer that lasted for over half an hour. I just didn't want to
stop talking to Him. The lady who accompanied me inside to the
living room continued to ask me if I was done. My response each
time was "Not yet."
is something unique and incredible about talking with God, the
Creator of the Universe. We do not have to go through any
mediator but are free to talk to Him at any time and in any
place. (see Matthew 6:7-15)
several years after that summer, my mother and I hosted 'Good
News Clubs' and "Five Day Clubs" in our home. Both of my
brothers got right with God because of "Good News Clubs."
Besides the joy I felt with them accepting salvation, I
discovered an interesting connection. It turns out that our
great-grandfather started the Good News Clubs. He was raised in
and later became a preacher in a church where children were not
given any allowance for Bible comprehension until their late
teen years. He realized, as God showed him, that children of
even young ages are fully able to understand about God, Jesus,
the Cross, sin, and being right with God. He founded a ministry
around the idea and called it Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Unfortunately, there were many in our extended family who were
unable to, or refused to, acknowledge the powerful relationship
with God that Jesus made possible. They chose simple church
attendance, being good citizens, and following a basic moral
code rather than receiving a deep, life-changing relationship
attended Baptist churches through high school as well as a
Christian school through eighth grade. The foundation these
years gave me are so precious even though I have grown up in
Christ, as the Bible says, beyond what I learned there. In my
college and young adult years, I searched for something deep and
meaningful in a variety of churches (Church of God, Baptist,
Non-denominational). It wasn't until I put God and relationship
with Him before church and its related social activities that I
found true peace and fulfillment.
all the years of heartache and joy, of fun and struggle, of
loyal friends and betrayals, One Person has graciously stayed
with me through it all -- God. He has never failed or abandoned
me. Even when I strayed a bit from His path for me He was there,
awaiting my return to His loving care. I am ever so grateful for
His faithfulness and for never letting me get too far from Him.
He rightfully belongs in the center of our lives and when I
honored Him with the center place, He brought me such
contentment. Nothing else in life even came close to meeting my
needs in the way He did, and does.
gave me the idea for a website two years before I even had
access to a computer and the internet. When the time came to
develop this site, He reminded me of what He had told me those
years before...and my joy to do His will consumed me.
is nothing like knowing God and Jesus for not only is it eternal
life (John 17:3) but it also makes life on earth purposeful,
peaceful and pleasant, even during the trials and tribulations
that accompany one who knows God.
created us for relationship with Himself. When sin broke the
fellowship of that relationship, God made the relationship
possible again by giving His most precious gift - His Son Jesus
- so that by receiving Jesus, we are reconciled to God. Life,
with its ups and downs, joy and sorrows, can only be full within
a relationship with God. Life is pointless without knowing Him.
I hope and pray that you can get to
know God or deepen your existing relationship with Him.