Women Like Me Are Abused Worldwide. Here’s Why.

As a female preacher, I have firsthand experience of the way religion can discriminate against women. But religion is not the problem.

Jimmy Carter has my respect as a former President of the United States. His humanitarian efforts since leaving the presidency reveal his heart to do what he can to make our world a better place. I especially appreciate the emphasis he is now giving to the worldwide status of women and girls in his new book, A Call to Action.

I have only had the opportunity to read the introduction, but I applaud Mr. Carter’s defense of the equality of women. I agree that women are being discriminated against at almost every level. In almost every nation. In almost every culture. Simply because they are women.

I have experienced this discrimination firsthand. I am a woman. And I am a preacher. That combination has cost me privileges and position in the man’s world in which I have moved. I have stood up to speak and had men turn their backs on me. I have been offered a seminary professorship, only to have the offer revoked when I refused to sign a statement that said women were to submit to men. I have had invitations withdrawn because of the threatened furor my presence on the platform would create. Multiple times, I have been directed to speak from a microphone positioned on the sanctuary floor of a church because I was not allowed into the pulpit.

While I have experienced personal discrimination within my own world, I have never been beaten because I walked through the mall without my husband in front of me, or stoned because I spoke to a man in public, or arrested for driving a car, or shot because I went to school, or imprisoned because I was raped. Yet I know women around the world have been subjected to this type of “discrimination,” and worse. I weep for them. And with them.

So I would like to add my voice to that of Mr. Carter’s, calling for change in the way women are treated. But I take exception to the reason that he gives for this discrimination. He says that it is religion. I say that it is sin.

The hardness, hatred, anger, cruelty, arrogance and meanness that erupt in rejection and discrimination of women are sin. While various religions may justify discriminating against women, and even defend and promote it, religion is not the cause. Sin is.

And sin is not confined to religion. It is found in agnostics and atheists as well as in priests and imams. It is in every nation and every culture and every generation.  Because sin resides in the human heart. The only solution is to have sin removed and our hearts made clean, then filled with God’s love and compassion for others.

If you doubt that sin is the root of the discrimination of women, look at Jesus. He was raised in a religious culture where people were taught that women, at the very least, were much less then men. As a rabbi (as his disciples called him), he should have discriminated against women as every other man did. But there was a significant difference between Jesus and everyone else. He had no sin in his heart.

As a result, we see him. . .

honoring women as he did when Mary anointed him with oil during a dinner in Simon’s home,

singling women out for praise as he did the widow who placed her “mite” in the temple treasury,

caring for women as he did the desperately ill woman who reached out to touch the hem of his garment,

protecting women as he did the one caught in adultery who was in danger of being stoned to death,

giving women new purpose and elevated status as he did the ones who were the first to encounter him after his resurrection and were commissioned by him to go tell the men what they had seen and experienced.

The solution to discrimination against women is to be like Jesus. And to be like Jesus, the sinful condition of the human heart has to be acknowledged and dealt with according to the way God has prescribed.

God has said we must come to the cross of Jesus Christ, own up to and confess our sin, claim the death of Jesus Christ to make atonement for our sin, then ask God to forgive us in order to receive his cleansing. Once we are in a right relationship with God personally and our hearts are clean, he will transform us from the inside out. God will replace hardness with his tenderness, hatred with his love, arrogance with his humility, anger with his peace, cruelty with his kindness.

This is God’s call to action — so that real change can begin now for women and men alike.

Anne Graham Lotz
Written by

  • ezee

    no no no. “I have only had the opportunity to read the introduction.” What? You only read a tenth of the book and can confidently ‘applaud’ his arguments/ efforts? Is this a joke? In no sphere of academia (or the world) can you produce a thesis based on someone’s efforts when you didn’t even read the work. Come on…

  • christine

    I think you are leaning a little to far away from scriptures on this article, dear sister. I pray that you prayerfully reconsider and even maybe revise this article a little more closer according to how God would have us behave as woman. Just saying, scripture does not back you here at all as far as I can tell. Please share scriptures that support where woman are not to submit under the men in families or leadership. Don’t get me wrong, I will never defend a man who stomps over and abuses a woman as Christ himself is very clear in their roll here too… as the word tells the man that he is to treat us as Christ treated the church….Christ died for his church! Just because men are abusing their power and not following holy word does not allow us to go against his word either. I personally think you have taken more liberty here than God has allowed you and I not only think you are on thin ice here, but you are going to cause many to stumble as well. Please scripturally reconsider your position on this subject, I pray.

    • Teresa Rincon

      Lotz does believe in submission to her own husband, but NOT submission to all males, which apparently she was asked to sign in that document.

      • Jessica

        Nowhere is a husband told to lead a wife, but a husband is told in Ephesians to submit to his wife, just as a wife is told to submit ot her hsuband. Jesus also tells us all to submit to serving others and to strive to be the youngest of all and the servant of all.

        • Chase

          Ephesians 5:22-28
          22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

          25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

        • christine

          Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. –Ephesians 5:22

          Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Col 3:18

          Be a helper to your husband –Gen 2:18

          Respect your husband — Ephesians 5:33

          Love your husband –Titus 2:4 calls for wives “to love their husbands.

          Submit” to the leadership of your husband — Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them (Colossians 3:18-19).

          • christine

            Our men have a role as well in all of this:

            Be a leader. (1 Corinthians 11:3). Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body

            (Ephesians 5:22-30)

            In his commentary on Ephesians, William Hendriksen points out that God “… placed ultimate responsibility with respect to the household on the shoulders of the husband . . . The Lord has assigned the wife the duty of obeying her husband yet . . . this obedience must be a voluntary submission on her part, and that only to her own husband, not to every man.”

            Love your wife unconditionally. Ephesians 5:25 reads, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Your unconditional acceptance of your wife is not based upon her performance, but on her worth as God’s gift to you. If you want to love your wife unconditionally, always be sure her emotional tank is full. One of the best ways to do that is to affirm her constantly. Let her know verbally that you value her, respect her, and love her. I have discovered that I simply cannot do that enough.

            Serve your wife. According to the New Testament, being head of your wife does not mean being her master, but her servant. Again, Christ is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). Christ, the Head of the Church, took on the very nature of a servant when He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7).

            One of the best ways to serve your wife is to understand her needs and try to meet them. Do you know what your wife’s top three needs are right now? If she is a young mother, she has a certain set of basic needs. If your children are grown and gone and you are in the empty nest, your wife has a different set of needs that you should try to meet. What is she worried about? What troubles her? What type of pressure does she feel? Learn the answers to questions like that, and then do what you can to reduce her worries, her troubles, her pressures.

            ;)

      • christine

        good point. thank-you

      • christine

        So you are saying we are not to submit to the very leaders of our own churches?

        • Jill Johnson

          Not blindly…

        • Teresa Rincon

          No, and I don’t think Lotz would say that, either. I think what she is saying that all women are not required to submit to all men.

    • Jessica

      She is inspiring many, many women and men to follow JESUS. This IS how Jesus wants her to behave. Please step up and be the woman He’s called you to be instead of making so many of us stumble with your self-hatred, projected on your sisters in Christ.

      Women should submit to ALL men, and men should submit to ALL women. JESUS tells every believer to submit to one another. But that’s not what the SBC is teaching. It is teaching something that has NOTHING to do with God or the Gospel and everything to do with some twisted interpretation that is sinful.

      Go preach the Gospel instead of being a stumblingblock to those who are trying to live out the Great Commission. Please pray for yourself as you pray for Lotz and ask God to show you the truth.

      • christine

        Jessica, I think you need to calm down a bit, I was merely asking a question…are we not to question one another? Not sure why you are so up tight about my question here and why you are attacking me for asking Ann a question? I think we are called to test all spirits, are we not? If I am wrong then fine, but I think you need an attitude check. For you to be so bold to say this is what Jesus wants her to behave? really? I like your point about we should all submit to one another. Not sure what SBC stands for? I think you are assuming that you know my heart and intent here and you clearly do not.

      • christine

        I really think you miss judged what and where I am coming from. I was honestly asking a question. I think you could use some prayers yourself. ;)

    • christine

      For those who seem to be taking great offence at my simple statement here. I am not saying I am right but merely questioning. Am I going against scripture in doing so? Let’s check in here:

      “…but test them all; hold on to what is good,”

      –1 Thess 5:21

      “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” –

      -1 John 4:1

      So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

      –1 Thess. 5:6

      Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

      –2 Timothy 2:15

      I think we all tend to get a little overly protective of the wrong things. I am going to take this off my mail alerts as every time a comment is left here it seems to be another so called follower of Christ lashing out because I questioned here. Ann is not a God she is a follower Christ just like you and I and we are all called to watch out for one another. Part of the problem in our culture as I am seeing it is that we are making gods out of people and taking everything they say as gospel truth. The problme is this:you make gods out of people and they then become unapproachable and they then are in danger of not listening to anyone. She may be right here, but she may be wrong. I have enjoyed Ann’s devotions and actually just finished reading one of her books that I even sent a note thanking her for writing as I was very encouraged and uplifted by it and some healing has started to take place as a result of reading it. “When gods children hurt you” I am feeling here, by many of you, put on the defense by merely pointing something out. I didn’t realize it was un-scriptural in doing so. As I prayed over it and dug a little deeper into the word I am seeing that to question is indeed the right thing to do. I sent her article here to another follower and she sent it back to me she broke it down beautifully and it made a little more sense to me. She didn’t lash out she merely gave her thoughts and ideas over the article. Your harsh words hurt people and I think we need to take a kinder more gentle approach with one another and stop thinking you know each and everyone of our intentions here. I was merely pointing out something that doesn’t seem right. If we think someone is in danger don’t you take a stand to warn or try and help out?
      That is all.
      ***Jessica: I know she is inspiring to others…where did I say differently? I am sorry sister, IMHO you seem a little to quick to judge me. So she has helped many others, does that men that she is always right? Do you kind of see what I am trying to say here? You are attacking me for things I did not even mention or say in my note up there. You then attack me and say that I am making people stumble with my self hatred? projected on my sisters in Christ? Where did that even come from sweet one? You are completely missing the mark of how and what I said up there. Then you say, “Go preach the gospel instead of being a stumbling block?” You are not alone here sweet one, as others here have called me ignorant, etc, etc…is this truly how Christ has called us to behave? Do you have the first clue as to who I am and what I do every single day? Do you know anything about the ministry I am evolved in? The ones I question are those who quickly lash out at the few who dare question those with opinions on a platform the ones who merely step into the arena and take the time to question and maybe warn.

      I find it interesting that even when Jesus brought fourth questions to the self righteous spiritual leaders of his very own days here on earthly soil days, that they lashed out just like some here. How dare we ask questions, how dare me! Do you see it? The log coming out of our very own eye is the one he tells us to work on, me included. Blessings and may we all make it across that finish line with gusto! Thank-you to the sister who actually took the time and broke her article down for me and sent it my way. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

  • arman

    You should look into the Baha’i Faith with an open heart so your questions wil, be answered. No other place will you find your answer.

  • Cathy

    Thanks for speaking out Anne!

  • Joy Fuller

    Sorry – I accidentally hit the up arrow on Christine’s comment. I wholeheartedly agree with Anne.

  • Lemon

    Bravado, Anne! Keep up the good work! Ignore those ignorants who don’t study DEEP ENOUGH into the word of God!

    • christine

      Ignorant? Don’t study deep enough into Gods word? Who are you refereeing to? I would welcome your scripture to back what she said here about woman not having to submit to the men, especially in the fellowship? Are you sure that you are not the one who has not gone deep enough? I am honestly asking you to fill us ignorant people in here from Holy word and not your feelings regarding these issues. Thank-you in advance. ;)

      • Jessica

        You should submit to men, and men should submit to you. EVERY believer is called to submit to every other believer. NO believer is called to lead another believer, based on gender. Read the Bible for yourself, and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you instead of listening to a popular teacher. You are precious to Jesus, and He can use you mightily if you step out in faith.

        • christine

          Jessica, I do read and I do study and I do question. You seem very angry here and I am truly sorry that my comment to someone, other than you, has you this upset? I am truly sorry for your anger over this. Love is kind…and we are going to be known by our love…I pray you find your peace in Jesus.

      • Lemon

        Let me know if you want MORE… I’ve been in this for years and years. I believe in submitting to one another in LOVE, NOT IN DOMINEERING WAY. I have seen too many incidents in my life to know better what is right.

    • christine

      Deep enough?

      “A woman” means a particular woman–not women in general

      Some say that say that 1 Timothy 2:12 is not referring to women in general but to a particular individual that Paul had in mind that had been teaching false doctrine. Does this view work? No, it doesn’t, for several reasons.

      First, it doesn’t fit the context.

      In 2:1-8 he is dealing with prayer for a tranquil life, God’s desire to save all, Paul as an appointed apostle, and he wants men (andras) to pray. In verses 2:9-14, Paul switches to give instructions to women (plural) about adornment, submission, authority, the created order (Adam first), and Eve being deceived first. Verse 15 deals with women and childbearing. Paul then continues with more instructions. In 3:1-10, Paul gives instructions regarding the requirements to be overseers (plural) and deacons (plural). 3:11, Paul again gives instructions concerning women (plural). In 3:12-13, Paul gives instruction concerning deacons (plural). 3:14ff, Paul then stops giving instructions for a while and speaks about coming to see them, etc.

      Question: Why would 2:12 suddenly be dealing with a single, unnamed individual woman when it doesn’t fit the contextual pattern of dealing in the plural with groups such as women, bishops, deacons, and women again?

      Second, if it is “a woman” specifically prohibited from teaching heresy to men, does this mean she can teach heresy to women?

      It is not dealing with heresy but teaching men–which makes the most sense.

      Third, in chapters 1 through 3, Paul repeatedly uses the plural when describing those who teach error–not the singular except in 1:20 where he names the individuals.

      Question: If 2:12 refers to an individual woman, why did Paul not name her as he named Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1:20?

      Note: Paul mentioned Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Tim. 2:17 as men who have gone astray from the truth.

      Fourth, the word “quiet” in verse 12 is hesuchia not sigao.

      Hesuchia (used four times in the NT–see notes below) means to be subdued, to be quiet and but not necessarily completely silent.1

      Hesuchia

      Acts 22:2, “And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet.”

      2 Thess. 3:12, “Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.”

      Sigao (used nine times in the NT–see notes below) means absolute silence.2

      Question: If it is an individual woman Paul had in mind, is he telling her to speak her heresy a little more quietly instead of remaining completely silent; after all, Paul didn’t command complete silence in teaching heresy?

      Fifth, the word “teach” is from didasko–not heterodidaskaleo which would be to teach heresy, to teach a different doctrine.

      heterodidaskaleo is used two times in the New Testament, both in 1 Timothy.

      1 Tim. 1:3, “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.”

      1 Tim. 6:3, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness.”

      Question: If Paul is referring to a certain woman in 2:12 who is teaching false doctrine, then why does he not use the word heterdidaskaleo when referring to her?

      Sixth, didasko “to teach,” is used four times in 1 and 2 Timothy. Aside from 1 Tim. 2:12, the passage under discussion, each time it appears it is in reference to teaching sound doctrine.

      “teach” is from didasko

      1 Tim. 2:12, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

      1 Tim. 4:11, “Prescribe and teach these things.” (teach sound doctrine, avoid fables, discipline yourselves for godliness, etc.)

      1 Tim. 6:2, “And let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.”

      2 Tim. 2:2, “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

      Question: If “didasko” (teach) in 2:12 is referring to teaching false doctrine, why is the implied use of the word not consistent with how Paul uses it in both epistles to Timothy?

      Seventh, verse 11 says, “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness.”

      The Greek adversative “de” (“but” in English) links verse 12 back to 11. Paul wants women to learn in the entire submissiveness.

      Question: If verse 11 and 12 both refer to an individual, unnamed woman who was teaching false doctrine and not to women in general, are we to conclude that women in the church need not receive instruction with submissiveness but that only heretical women need to?

      Doesn’t this go against the headship of males?

      1 Cor. 11:3,10, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ . . . 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.”‘

      1 Cor. 14:34-35,

      Context including making spiritual judgments. Verse 29 says, “And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.”

      It makes no sense to teach that 1 Timothy 2:12 is referring to an individual woman who was preaching false doctrine. It doesn’t fit the context. The woman isn’t named even though Paul names at least two false teachers. Paul consistently uses the plural when referring to heretics–not the singular. Hesuchia is used instead of sigao which would mean that the heretical woman should teach her heresy in a subdued manner–and this makes no sense in light of the argument. Paul doesn’t use heterodidaskaleo (false teaching) when referring to this supposed woman’s false teaching even though he uses the word before and after 2:12 in the same epistle to refer to heretical teaching. Didasko (teach) is used three additional times besides here in 2:12 and in 1 and 2 Timothy, and each time it means to teach good doctrine. Why is it different in 2:12? And, if “a woman” is a single person and not women in general, then should we conclude that only heretical women should learn with submissiveness? Of course not. Therefore, for these reasons, we cannot conclude that “a woman” is in reference to particular individual female who is teaching false doctrines but to women in general.

      The truth is that women in general, married or not, are to learn in submission in the church and are not to hold authoritative teaching positions such as pastor and elder which are repeated stated to be held by men.

      1 Tim. 2:12 refers to a Wife and Husband

      Another argument offered concerning 1 Tim. 2:12 is to say that the Greek words “gyne” (woman) and “andros” (man) mean wife and husband. This would render the verse as, “But I do not allow a wife to teach or exercise authority over a husband, but to remain quiet.” (1 Tim. 2:12). Supporters of this argument then conclude that this would not prevent a woman from being a pastor since this is not speaking of women in general but only wives in relation to their husbands. Is this argument sound? No, it isn’t.

      If a wife were a pastor and her husband were in the congregation, then when she taught, she’d be teaching her husband. This can’t work–unless the husband has to leave the church each time his wife teaches. Ridiculous? You bet!

      In all of the 17 English translations of the Bible I have (Darby, ASV, ESV, HCSB, ISV, KJV, NASB95, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, WUESTNT, RSV, GNB, WorrelNT, YLT), none translate the verse as wife and husband, so why do people assert that it is about a husband and wife?

      The context of 1 Tim. 2:9-15 is dealing with all the broader context of all women in the church. That is, Paul wants all women to adorn themselves with proper clothing. Following the address to women, he then expounds on the issue of teaching and authority; and then later in 3:11 he addresses women in the plural again.

      Usurp Authority

      Only the King James Version translates verse 12 as “usurp authority.” To usurp means to take the authority by force or without legal right. The logic goes that if this woman, or any woman, were to teach in the Christian congregation, she should do so without usurping her authority. That is, women can teach men in an authoritative context as long as they do so properly. Of course, defining what is proper would be a problem since opinions abound.

      The problem with this is the Greek word here “authenteo” is used only once in the N.T. and is translated as “usurp authority” only in the KJV. Of all the translation I examined, none other uses “usurp.”

      “exercise authority,” Darby, ESV, NASB,

      “have dominion,” ASV

      “have authority over,” HCSB, ISV, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, RSV, GNB,

      “usurp authority,” KJV

      If the broader context of 1 Timothy is a warning against false teaching, then it would follow that Paul is warning against the position that women can teach and exercise authority over men in the church.

      But, Paul tells us why he’s writing his epistle. “I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15). So, in proper conduct in the church, a woman is not to teach (didaskolos–sound teaching) a man or exercise authority over him.

      Is preaching in the pulpit authoritative?

      Some have said that preaching from the pulpit is not authoritative. This way, they can have women be preachers but without them exercising authority over men who might be listening in the congregation. But is it rational to say that when the church gathers together for the purpose of fellowship, participating in the church ordinances of baptism and communion, and to sit quietly as the inspired word of God is faithfully presented, that somehow the preaching therein does not carry authority? Of course not!

      The word of God, by nature, is authoritative. When the word of God is preached in the church context, from the pulpit, as the body of Christ has gathered to hear the word of God, such preaching is authoritative. It is the exposition of the inspired word of God. If it isn’t authoritative, then what is it, a bunch of suggestions?

      Only those who do harm to the text and the meaning of the text would then turn their attention to the pulpit and the preaching of God’s Word and lessen its authoritative proclamation in order to elevate women to an office to which they do not belong.

      Still, there is a verse that sheds light on this issue. The New Testament church is modeled after the Old Testament synagogue.

      Nehemiah 8:4, 8 “And Ezra the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose (of presenting the law) . . . 8 And they read from the book, from the law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading.”

      Presenting the law from a wooden podium/pulpit was, of course, authoritative. Are we to say that there is no authority when the teaching elder (1 Tim. 5:17) ascends to the pulpit, opens the word of God, and faithfully declares what God says to God’s people? Such an idea is ludicrous.

      1 Tim. 2:13 “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.”

      Paul tells us that the reason women are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church is that Adam was created first and then Eve. The statement clearly removes the previous verse (v. 12) from being culturally motivated. Paul equates the issue of authority with the created order.

      It is in the created order and in the fall of Adam and Eve that the curse is given to Eve. “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16). The word “desire” is “teshookaw.” It is used only one other time in the Pentateuch in Gen. 4:7.

      Gen. 4:7, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

      Notice that the word “desire” in Gen. 4:7 speaks of the desire of sin to control.

      We see that Eve’s desire shall be for her husband, but it is he that will rule over her. It would seem that the context is dealing with the desire of the woman to be in control–just as Eve did not seek her head, Adam, but took it upon herself to interpret and apply God’s Word. Her proper place was in support of Adam–with Adam’s role being of higher priority.

      This makes sense if you look at the nature of the fall. Adam is the one who is the head of mankind (1 Cor. 15:22;Rom. 5:12), for it was through Adam that sin entered the world and not through Eve even though Eve sinned first. Satan violated the proper authority structure in the family of Adam and Eve and first went to the woman. Eve listened to the lies of the enemy as did Adam. Then God cursed Eve with childbirth pain and the proclamation that Adam would rule over her even though her desire would be for her husband.

      Notice the contrast. Eve will desire her husband, and he will rule over her. By extension, but primarily because Adam was created first, man rules over women which is why the husband is the head of the wife (Eph. 5:23). There is definitely an authority structure established by Paul in Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

      So, 1 Tim. 2:12-13 is not merely a culturally determined truth that can be altered by transferring the verse to the 21st century and stripping away its cultural context. Since Paul dealt with the issue of teaching authority and related it to the creation of Adam and Eve, we can see that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church.

      Conclusion

      It is indeed an unpopular notion that the husband is the head of the wife, that authority in the Church rests in the male, and that women are to learn in godly submission. But this does not mean that the Christian church should listen to the wisdom of the world, for it is not wisdom at all. Like it or not, the Scriptures teach that eldership and pastorship is to be held by males. This is not to say that women aren’t talented or even able to do their jobs in the church better than some men, but practicality does not trump doctrinal truth. We need to be faithful to God’s Word.

      Women are, unfortunately, underappreciated, underused, and undervalued in the church. They contribute so very much to the smooth running and well-being of the sacred community. Nevertheless, whether men like it or not, they are the ones responsible in the church to teach sound doctrine, to refute error, and to lead an a godly manner. But, when they don’t, then women pastors and elders are evidence of their failure.

      • Jeannie E. Hess

        And are you under the authority of the animals because they were created before humans? Do you think women are saved by bearing children? Your exegesis is sloppy and faulty.

        • christine

          Jeannie…you make no sense. And of course not.

        • Lemon

          You do make sense! :)

          • Jeannie E. Hess

            Thanks–and I can “proof text” also. ;)

  • Chase

    Anne Graham, your semantics are rather vague so I’m not exactly sure what is meant by “preachers”. You gave many examples of Jesus elevating the status of women, which I agree, yet none of these infer a “preacher” or a “pastor”. Foundationally, I believe God will be most glorified when we become how He made us to be. Anne, I would love to see biblical references- not only political views, philosophic sentiments, and emotional frustrations- on two things:

    1. Instances in A) the Bible and B) Early Church History where woman were ordained “preachers” or “pastors.
    2. Biblical Doctrine from your exegesis on a theology of women preachers.

    Around the world, humanity should fight for women’s rights, for the poor, for the marginal, for the outcasted, and for the downtrodden (recognizing that those aren’t even close to the same category). However, in America I sometimes wonder if certain powers encourage individuals to beat a dead cat- that women are victims, while funding their weapons to fight an invisible army.

    My intention in this excerpt is love. My hope is for understanding. I pray this doesn’t cause anyone to take up a kind of crusade that would be rooted in anger at “me” and not in conviction for a deeper probing of the Scripture, for this is the natural inclination of a godly disposition.

    God bless you, your ministry, and your call.

    • Jessica

      I know who I am in Christ, and who every woman is. We are no less than a man, and I’m going to stand strong on what JESUS has given me and what His death and resurrection won for me. The devil actually quoted the scriptures to Jesus, and we have to be careful about someone using God’s Word to try to put us in bondage.

    • Jessica

      You sound jealous of her ministry. You should show respect for an elder in the faith who has preached more sermons that you have probably lived in years.

  • Margaret Collins

    Excellent! Thank you, Anne Graham Lotz, for bringing this subject to the forefront of our consciousness.

  • Rebecca Reynolds

    Dear Anne,

    Thank you for your insights. From the comments written below, it seems that a significant number of people have misunderstood what you were attempting to communicate. I’m so sorry about that.

    There are such strong extremes present in our culture right now, I think it’s very easy for misunderstandings to take place. Maybe it would be wise for us all to slow down, step back a bit from our assumptions, and listen a second time to what you meant to say.

    What I heard in your post was a clarification. It seemed to me that you were attempting to show your readers that instead of blaming “religion” for the mistreatment of women (as you feel Carter has done), “sin” should be recognized as the root cause of abuse. It seemed to me that you were urging readers to turn to the living Jesus as the solution for this problem, instead of only to the solutions and methods of man.

    You validated this point by showing us how the life of Jesus was respectful to women. You let us see that His life demonstrated gentleness and openness to the gifts of women instead of harshness and repression. Christ’s track record means that our abiding in Christ will produce respect and honor to women as well.

    In your opening, you seemed to be attempting to acknowledge that certain forms of oppression do exist in the world today. And you seemed to be saying that you have lived some of those experiences yourself. I didn’t think that you were making feminist statements, I thought that you were simply building a rhetorical base, identifying with the reality of this issue before explaining why you disagreed with former President Carter.

    Those examples broke my heart. I’m so sorry that you have been treated so terribly. How rude that people have walked out on you. If those men didn’t want to listen, they should have simply not attended your talk. And how odd that you would ever be asked to submit to “men” in general, instead of to only one man, your husband.

    I am neither an egalitarian nor a feminist; still, I believe that the aggression you experienced was uncalled for. Such behavior should not be seen in the Body of Christ. These are overreactions to feminism, and I do not believe they are Biblical.

    The German philosopher Georg Hegel suggested that society tends to move in a pattern. He wrote that there is first a thesis (a proposal), then an anti-thesis (an extreme movement contradicting the proposal), then a synthesis (a healthy uncovering of the truths of both extremes). I believe conservative, Christian America is currently in a bit of an “antithesis” phase. Many people are angry, frightened by liberal theology and sociology, and so they are swinging to extremes, attempting to get the “old America” back. Yet in doing so, some overcompensations are happening. You have seen some of those overcompensations toward women.

    I am grateful that, although you have seen religious abuse, you do not blame religion as a whole. That is what I loved most about this post. There is a tendency in post-modern America to declare all religion dangerous, but you are attempting to pull the baby back out of the bathwater before it is tossed in the yard. Thank you for that effort. Thank you for reminding us that the core problem is distance from Jesus, not the establishment of religion.

    I have read your other writings on church woundings, and I know that it would be easy for you to have a much different spirit about the religious world. I am thankful that you have seen through your storms, and that you are still willing to put blame where it belongs.

    I love who you are, dear Anne. I love your heart, and how the hub of your wheel is always the gospel. I’m so proud of who you are in this world. Take heart, brave girl. We need your scars and the wisdom you have gained from them.

    Blessings,
    Rebecca Reynolds

  • Melody Crombie

    When I really thought in depth about Paul’s writings in 1 Timothy 2,
    (where he instructs a woman not to teach or have authority over a man) I
    realized that it was God’s way of allowing the church to last for
    thousands of years. Because God created us male and female, (Genesis
    1:27) he knows the female species will likely take charge of a situation
    where help is needed and run the show! The purpose of having these
    Biblical restraints firmly in place (within the church) keep the male
    from becoming emasculated. When a male is the lead in a pastoral
    position it draws other men and the whole family into a place of worship
    within the church. I really believe that in these last days we all
    need to take a close look at Galatians 3, (there is neither male nor
    female, we are all one in Christ and are part of his body) we are all
    called to do the work of an evangelist.

    • Jessica

      But what about the women who are being crushed because they are told they’re second class citizens? Women are …we can’t say emasculated like we can say if a man is being hurt, so what is the word? degraded? dehumanized?…in the world enough. The church is supposed to look DIFFERENT than the world. JESUS is no respecter of persons, and I couldn’t stay in a church where I felt as a woman I was “second class.” I can get that at work with my 79 cents on the dollar, or walking down the street and seeing peep show ads. Why do I want to go to church, looking for God, and hear something negative about myself as woman, when God made me a woman? I don’t.

      • Melody Crombie

        Jessica, you have completely misconstrued my comment and tried to turn it into a civil rights issue! I whole-heartedly agree with Mrs. Graham Lotz and her evangelistic outreach. We all, (men and women alike) need to go forth into the world and do likewise or risk being upstaged by a pile of rocks, (Luke 19:40 “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”)

        • Chase

          Well said, Melody. You are not being ruled by emotions or even politics but viewing gender in light of the Scriptures as a predestined disposition that gives God glory. This being said, both men and women are called to evangelism which is why I stated in my comment below- “God bless you, your ministry, and your call”. However, we agree that the weight of the church is to fall upon a man because God concocted gender that way. Jessica misconstrued my comment as well by rooting her argument in philosophy, not Scripture- like I Timothy 2:11-12, I Corinthians 14:34, etc.

  • Bev Murrill

    I’m astonished at the rudeness of some of the people on this blog. Anne, top blog. Thanks for pointing this out and I wholeheartedly agree.

    Jimmie Carter is a great man, and one who has continued to flourish after his presidency. Not for him the huge fees of celebritydom after his presidency. He has spent his time on the most basic humanitarian projects and turned his influence to whatever he can to make a difference. I salute him.

    And I salute you also for keeping on going despite the ignorance of ‘the crowds’. Truthfully, your father’s legacy has been passed to you and that is God’s sign of approval.

    • christine

      I have read through all the comments and I am not really seeing rudeness? Being alert and questioning should not be confused with rudeness. We should all, including you, test everything. =)

      • Bev Murrill

        ;-}

        • christine

          ..”but test them all; hold on to what is good,” 1 Thess 5:21 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” –4:1 ;)

  • Deborah Brown

    Well said. I appreciate your willingness to stand your ground and answer God’s call on your life. So wish the church would live in the freedom brought about by the cross.

  • Ruthie vase

    Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and fellow prisoners who are of note amount the apostles…Romans 16:7 (KJV)
    Come see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done!…John 4:29 ( NIV)
    Romans 16:1
    Phillipians 4:2
    Acts 9:32
    Judges4&5
    2Kings 14:22
    2 Chronicles 34:22 just to name a few..
    We should not argue with the scriptures
    If any of you lack understanding you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 ( NIV)

    • christine

      But the word tells us this: “but test them all; hold on to what is good,” 1 Thess 5:21 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” –4:1 ;)

      • Ruthie vase

        Amen Sister! Let God be true but every man a liar! Romans 3:4(KJV):-))

        • christine

          Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.” ;)

          • Ruthie vase

            That’s what it means! One other scripture that I will also like to offer..
            Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
            And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby he are sealed unto the day of redemption.
            Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
            And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you!
            Loves bears all things! Aren’t we truly blessed to have such a compassionate, patient, merciful and gracious God that draws us with His loving mercy? :-))
            God continue to bless you as you walk with Him dear sister in Christ!
            Have a wonderful Day!

          • christine

            Thank-you, Ruth, for speaking word! <3

  • BM

    Religion is not the problem???? Give us a break !!!

    Some specifics:

    Islam gives women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Aya-an Hi-rsi Ali in her autobiography, In-fidel.

    “Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It’s a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women.”
    ref: Washington Post book review.

    some excerpts:

    “Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. “No! Please! By Allah!”

    “The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race.”

    “Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating.”

    “The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam”.

  • Elizabeth Saline

    Thank you for this thoughtful and truth-filled article Anne! Thank you for proclaiming the name and nature of Jesus.

  • Dee

    This is my first time on this board and I must say that it seems that people are armed and ready to dispute anything Anne might say. You know, like the Pharisees were always ready to dispute Jesus. I re-read the article and I cannot see the points to support the arguments. In the future, it might be better to just simply state your point and pray for God’s truth to be made evident. Leave off the extra pompous words of strife because that is not scriptural either. Also, there were some post where orher posters were taking jabs at one another, not Christ-like at all. Praying for all of us. His Church. One Mind, One Body, One Spirit.

    • christine

      “but test them all; hold on to what is good,” 1 Thess 5:21 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” –4:1 ;)

    • BM

      A major problem with Christians and their views about women:
      Paul’s “unchristian”, prudish comments about women e.g. Professor Bruce Chilton, a contemporary historic Jesus and Paul scholar says it best:

      “He (Paul) feared the turn-on of women’s voices as much as the sight of their hair and skin….. At one point he even suggests that the sight of female hair might distract any pretty, wingie, talking, fictional thingie” i.e. angel in church attendance (1 Cor. 11:10).”

  • Lisa

    Yes, discrimination against women is sin on both an individual and collective level. I believe Jimmy Carter, being a political leader publicly and a personal believer privately, is addressing the religious leaders of his day as Jesus did with the Sadducees and Pharisees. Ann Graham Lotz is right on both the root of the problem, sin and the solution, follow the examples of Jesus. Here’s why. In love there can be no dominance. When 2 become one it is not 2 halves becoming whole. Submit to one another does not include “sin” defined as that which separates me from love of God, myself and another. Any establishment, religion (particularly one that justifies dominance or exclusion), misses the hallmark of unconditional love. The summit of the greatest religions is love of the Creator comingled with love of other as I love myself. Whether I believe or not, unconditional love trumps all. I can call myself Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Jew…by my fruit I will know who I am. Anything else is a very distant second. When a man loves his wife as Christ does the Church, the Bride of Christ, he willingly lays down his life for her and she for him. Unconditional love requires reciprocity. The two becoming one. Take the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The miracle: all where fed with plenty of leftover food. How could so few loaves and fishes feed so many? The loaves and fishes, the multitudes of people with but a few disciples and Jesus, the Bread of Life, giving bread to feed the hungry with the promise of a bread that will satisfy the hungry heart. The crowd presses in for more so much so that Jesus and the disciples need to retreat, rest, be with one another, with their teacher, with their God in each other’s loving presence. When I love another as myself, as my Creator (Who is love) loves me, both I and the other are transformed (over time) into a more perfect being. I willingly submit my will to be made into the image and likeness of my Creator. Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, you, me, every woman and man, we are commanded to submit to the two greatest commandments: to love God with our all and to love our neighbor as ourselves. For those, who through no fault of their own, do not know God or the Church, the Bride of Christ, they have recourse to know God by the fruits of our love and the discovery of selfless love by freely submitting to loving selflessly. When a husband submits to laying down his life unconditionally for his wife and she submits to him in all things but sin the two become one with God and one another. So becomes the union with God, one another, the family and ultimately the world. The problem with the world is me. The question is not whether I am woman or man. The question is my willingness to submit to the will of God to love God, self and other…unconditionally so much so that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. This kind of holy submission leads to the freedom to love unconditionally, to love my enemies and to pray for those who persecute me. For this, I am assured I will need all the help I can get so I will continue to seek God’s face in prayer and in service to other.

  • Lisa

    Yes, discrimination against women is
    sin on both an individual and collective level. I believe Jimmy Carter,
    being a political leader publicly and a personal believer privately, is
    addressing the religious leaders of his day as Jesus did with the
    Sadducees and Pharisees. Ann Graham Lotz is right on both the root of the
    problem, sin and the solution, follow the examples of Jesus.

    Here’s why,
    In love there can be no dominance.

    When 2 become one it is not 2 halves
    becoming whole. Submit to one another does not include “sin” defined
    as that which separates me from love of God, myself and another. Any
    establishment, religion (particularly one that justifies dominance or
    exclusion), misses the hallmark of unconditional love. The summit of the
    greatest religions is love of the Creator comingled with love of
    other as I love myself. Whether I believe or not, unconditional love
    trumps all. I can call myself Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim,
    Jew…by my fruit I will know who I am. Anything else is a very
    distant second. When a man loves his wife as Christ does the Church, the Bride
    of Christ, he willingly lays down his life for her and she for him.
    Unconditional love requires reciprocity.

    The two become one.

    Take the
    multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The miracle: all where fed with plenty
    of leftover food. How could so few loaves and fishes feed so
    many? The loaves and fishes, the multitudes of people with but a
    few disciples and Jesus, the Bread of Life, giving bread to feed the hungry
    with the promise of a bread that will satisfy the hungry heart. The crowd
    presses in for more so much so that Jesus and the disciples need to retreat,
    rest, be with one another, with their teacher, with their God in each
    other’s loving presence.

    When I love another as myself, as my
    Creator (Who is love) loves me, both I and the other are transformed (over
    time) into a more perfect being. I willingly submit my will to be
    made into the image and likeness of my Creator. Billy Graham, Mother
    Teresa, Jimmy Carter, you, me, every woman and man, we are commanded to
    submit to the two greatest commandments: to love God with our all and to
    love our neighbor as ourselves. For those, who through no fault of their
    own, do not know God or the Church, the Bride of Christ, they have recourse to
    know God by the fruits of our love and the discovery of selfless love by freely
    submitting to loving selflessly. When a husband submits to laying down his
    life unconditionally for his wife and she submits to him in all things but sin
    the two become one with God and one another. So becomes the union with
    God, one another, the family and ultimately the world. The problem with the
    world is me. The question is not whether I am woman or man. The question is my
    willingness to submit to the will of God to love God, self and
    other…unconditionally so much so that the right hand does not know what the
    left hand is doing. This kind of holy submission leads to the freedom to
    love unconditionally, to love my enemies and to pray for those who persecute
    me. For this, I am assured I will need all the help I can get so I will
    continue to seek God’s face in prayer and in service to other.

  • Jill Johnson

    “Wounded by God’s People” sounds very interesting, especially reading the comments from Christians to Christians, not just here, but all over the internet. <3

  • Lee Saylor

    I carefully wade into this conversation with a question. Before I ask, I recognize that as a white, middle class, 30 something preacher, married with a child, I fit the stereotype of what most people either want or loathe from a leader in the church. I identify this to point out that there may be some aspects of this conversation that simply don’t get, and I am up front about that. But Matthew 15:21-28 is always a thorny issue for me when having the conversation regarding women, faith, Jesus and the church. (sounds like a book title there). I would be interested to hear Anne’s view of that particular passage in light of this article. I ask this because I want to better understand, or at least ‘get’ the depth of this question.