Thursday, May 05, 2011

Women were created to imitate who?

On the CBMW blog Mary Kassian writes,
Human sexuality is a parable -a testimony to the character of God and to His spectacular plan of redemption through Jesus. This spiritual truth is so magnificent that God chose to put it on display permanently. Everywhere. Men were created to reflect the strength, love and self-sacrifice of Christ. Women were created to reflect the grace and beauty of the Bride He redeemed.
We need to understand that men and women are both in equal measure created to reflect strength, love and self-sacrifice. Anyone who does not understand this has misunderstood the most fundamental reality of being human, as well as the significance of believing in humans as created in the image of God. Nothing is more fundamental to human nature than having the strength to care for those we love. This is what it means to be created in the image of God.

While I believe that a sense of grace and beauty, an aesthetic awareness and desire to create beauty is given in equal measure to men and women, I do not believe that the basic daily function of men is impaired if they are not encouraged in this direction. However, women who are taught that they do not have the same potential for strength, love and self-sacrifice, are being mislead in a basic way.

I am so sorry to read these things. I am so sorry that young women are being taught such doctrines. My heart goes out to readers of this teaching. The Bible does not attribute strength or the ability to provide to men over women. This is not to be found in the Bible. On the contrary, in Proverbs 31 we read of the eshet chayil, which literally translated is the "mighty woman." I don't think a literal Bible translation actually exists. It is too bad.


Rod said...

I dont see anywhere in the Gospels where it says that Jesus told all males to follow him and that women should "follow" the church. ridiculous.

Donald Johnson said...

All believers are to become Christ-like. I find it sad that some distort the gospel in their pursuit of justifying gender hierarchy.

J. K. Gayle said...

On the contrary, in Proverbs 31 we read of the eshet chayil, which literally translated is the "mighty woman." I don't think a literal Bible translation actually exists. It is too bad.

Reiterating what you've said is the following excerpt from the chapter "Proverbs," by Dr. Naomi P. Franklin, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Virginia Union University, and Preacher at Pilgrim Journey Baptist Church, in The Africana Bible: Reading Israel's Scriptures from Africa and the African Diaspora. Franklin writes:

The woman portrayed in this passage [Proverbs 31] is a married, wealthy woman with servants, her own business, and a prominent husband. Many persons reading this section might question how this section, this paradigm, can in any way be relevant to Black women on the whole, due to the fact that many do not fit into the patterns. The possibility is minuscule at best. However, there are yet possibilities for identification within the text. Were there to be an adjustment in the translation of the adjective used to describe the woman, it would open up the possibility of identifying with this woman being described in the text. The adjective in the text used to describe the wife/woman can also be translated as "strength," "power," or "courageous." Thus, it can legitimately be translated as "a woman of strength" or "a woman of power" or "a woman who is courageous." With this retranslation of the text, by saying "whoever finds a strong woman, a 'courageous woman' or a 'powerful woman,'" one finds a paradigm within which an Africana woman can place herself. Also, it is not necessary to translate the word that is translated to mean "wife" as such. Thus, again with a valid retranslation of the text, a place can be found for the woman who is single with children and who faces life with strength and courage daily. Thus, this woman becomes real for Africana women.


I wonder how Ms. Kassian (D.Th. candidate but 2005 "Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies" in the School of Church Ministries at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) would answer Dr. Franklin's expertise on the scriptures and also her own embodied experience (as a black woman) about their relevance if interpreted and translated in such a weak and skewed way? What is not particularly emphasized by Kassian is how culturally determined the CBMW views are.

Anonymous said...

Mary Kassian makes her living with this doctrine. If she admitted she were wrong, the speaking gigs and everything else would go away.

She has a lot invested in promoting patriarchy.

Anonymous said...

"Women were created to reflect the grace and beauty of the Bride He redeemed."

Does this mean she is teaching that women are to be "church like" and not Christ like"?

She is actually changing the basics of the Gospel. We are "Born Again" to be more like Christ.

Does no one ever analyze this stuff for heresy?

Anonymous said...

Suzanne, have you heard about this?

I know you reach a lot of people through this blog, and was thinking (at the recommendation of Charis) that it would be great if you wanted to get involved. I am *not* affiliated with bWe in any way: just a fan of your work.

Henry said...

I think Mary Kassian is as bad as Peter:

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 1Pet3:7.

Disgustingly sexist.

Donald Johnson said...

Peter was not sexist, esp. not in this verse.

Anonymous said...


they WERE a "weaker vessel" in the 1st Century. It wasn't like they could go to university and work in the corporate world. They were not even considered valid witnesses.

If we know the view of women from the household codes of Rome AND from the Oral Law, it makes Jesus Christ look positively radical in His treatment of women.

Kristen said...

"weaker" may not be catching all of Peter's meaning, in any event. My understanding is that he was comparing women to the kind of household "vessels" that were treated with extra care because of their fineness and value. Suzanne may have more input to give here, since I'm not a Greek scholar-- but that is my understanding.