Deliberations and Resources on Radical Christianity

Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood

I realise this is quite lazy of me, but this isn’t so much a blog post as it is a redirection to one. My friend Jason Barr, over at Absolution Revolution, has written a highly interesting article about the relationship between Galatians 3:28 and gender equality. This is an issue which is of a bit of frustration to me as well, as many Christians choose to focus on the issue of its salvation rather than the important socio-economic implications in the here and now (both of which are important, of course). Since Jason echoes many of my thoughts, I give you an excerpt of what he wrote without further ado…
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One thing I’ve heard on a couple of message boards lately is the statement that Galatians 3:28, which says “For there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female, but you all are one in Christ Jesus”, does not in fact refer to a social equality that is expressed in the practice of the church. That is to say, specifically, they say this verse does not speak in favor of women having co-equal roles in leadership with men. They say it refers only to some kind of equality within the kingdom that is spiritual, eschatological, and referring to salvation, that all are saved alike in Christ and that Paul is merely expressing that converting to follow the laws of Judaism is no longer necessary for followers of God.

This interpretation is highly inadequate for many reasons, a few of which I will highlight here. Since E.P. Sanders wrote his major works on early Christianity and its relationship to ancient Judaism, the old Reformation assumption that Judaism was a religion based on “works” and Christianity was based on “grace” is no longer tenable. The ancient Jews, in the various sects, were every bit as dependent on grace as any Christian, and the workings of the law were properly seen as a response to what God has done, not as a way of earning God’s favor. In light of that, it is extremely difficult to defend the case that Paul is simply putting the law aside in favor of a new grace-based understanding, as his understanding of grace is already quite Jewish. Rather, it is more accurate to say that Paul shifts the locus of our response to grace from Torah observance to following Jesus, with baptism as the sign of the covenant replacing circumcision. If you follow the argument through Galatians 1-3 with this in mind, other conclusions follow…

Read the entire article here

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