Distinction, Dissension, and Dominion

The Church loves the concept of redemption.

We sing about our living Redeemer and we praise the One who paid our debt week after week in our worship services. We’ve created after-school programs to redeem education inequalities, championed sponsorship programs to redeem third world poverty, launched non-profits to redeem racial divides in our culture, and pioneered conferences to redeem tired leaders who need a break.  For thousands of years Christians have been lending their voices for redemption to nearly every crevasse of society and thank God for that. It is needed and it is the Gospel made tangible to the world.

However, as we have made progress in many areas and are pursuing growth in others, the Church in America still has a long way to go when it comes to the respect and treatment of its women. Rather than go to war for our women, we have told them to get used to spaces that value them less because, “some people just think like that.” The Western Church has been willing to fight for the redemption of so many things, but for some reason on our own soil we have settled for a post Genesis 3 view of women.

In the creation account in Scripture, man and woman live in perfect harmony until sin enters the world. God grants dominion over all the earth to men and women together (Genesis 1:28-31).  There are no separate commands or expectations given to one gender over the other. Men and women are both created by God with equal expectations, equal opportunities, and equal adoration from their Creator.

When we read Genesis 3, we find the account of the fall of humanity and the entrance of sin into the world. It’s not until this point that we discover dissension between men and women. Men ruling over women is a curse of the fall, not a precedent set by God for humanity to live by (Genesis 3:16). The dominion of men alone is as a result of depravity. It’s at this point in the story that humanity moves from distinction to dissension.

Distinction and dissension are not synonymous concepts. Distinction, put simply, occurs through the contrast of two similar things. The distinction of men and women is the result of the creation of two beings, male and female, both made in the image of God and both given dominion over the Earth. The elevation of one over the other occurs only through the dissension of the fall, not the distinction of creation.

Let’s put this in real time.

If man alone was not pleasing to God for dominion over creation, then why do we find men alone carrying dominion over our Churches sufficient? If the God of the universe was not satisfied with men existing as the sole leaders over the Earth, then why have we created systems that allow men alone to represent the fullness of God at decision-making tables?

We have given dissension a voice of dominion in the Church.

As the Church, we should not be accepting the repercussions of the fall of humanity as our cultural norms. On the contrary, we should be fighting for the Garden of Genesis 1, a representation of Heaven right here and now, in every space we find ourselves. We should not tolerate the world post Genesis 3, rather we should use our every thought, action, and breath to destroy the mentality that’s already been conquered by the cross and move from dissension back to distinction alone.

We don’t need the patience to endure culture. We need the courage to combat culture because we believe with every ounce our being that the world was created to be better than how we’ve inherited it.

God called the dissension between men and women a curse, not an example of how women should be treated. After Genesis 3 and for the remainder of Scripture, God can be seen acting on behalf of mistreated women.

  • In Genesis 6 when God announces destroying the Earth with a flood, the announcement is preceded by naming sexual sins committed against women.
  • When Judah chose sleeping with a temple prostitute instead of honorably fulfilling his responsibility to give Tamar a child, God grants Tamar a son.
  • When the tribe of Benjamin horrifically abuses a young woman in Judges 19, God sends Israel into a civil war in Judges 20.
  • In 2 Samuel 6 when Israel was trying to overthrow David and couldn’t decide who would lead them, God used a woman to restore order.
  • When the Pharisees wanted to throw stones at a woman, Jesus drew a line in the sand.
  • When the disciples didn’t want to have a conversation with a woman, Jesus revealed his identity at the well.
  • When Judas wanted to sell a perfume, Jesus received a woman’s worship.
  • When the disciples overlooked a woman at the feet of their leader, Jesus healed her because of her faith.

God went to battle for women and ensured they were provided for. Jesus raised daughters from the dead and entrusted women with the Gospel.

Yet, in the 21st Century, the Western Church is giving more effort toward building hedges of protection around celebrity pastor reputations than it is protecting their women.

Why are we okay with letting our daughters live in a world that values them less? Why are we okay with letting our women be treated with less respect than our men? Why are we okay with having women with doctorate degrees in every place but the pulpit?

Why have we dressed up dissension in its Sunday’s Best and created people of celebrity who are set apart instead of creating communities that honor the distinction of men and women who collectively represent the Imago Dei to a world in desperate need of the right Savior?

God is not selectively redemptive.

Church, if we are to redeem all things, we need to start freeing our women to step into the fullness of who God has created them to be. We need to protect our women with the ferocity of the God willing to go to war for them. We need to treat our women not just like they are created by God, but with the knowledge of the Truth that they are created in the entire image of God. We need to be people seeking the restoration of the Garden, not people complacent with culture and satisfied with the repercussions of Genesis 3.

If the Gospel is not redemptive to all things then we are missing the fullness of it.

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