Dennis Peacocke comments

Dennis Peacocke
Dennis Peacocke

Jesus Christ changed women's lives infinitely more than Molly Yard, Margaret Sanger, Gloria Steinem, the "pill," women's-lib, and all the so-called "equal rights" legislation that ever will be passed. He never marched for equal rights; He simply died for them.

It amazes me (I'm obviously still naive) that both Christians and non-Christians alike fail to verbally appreciate or highlight Christ's accomplishments on behalf of women in a day and age which spends so much time analyzing women's rights and roles within the culture. Until Jesus came along, women were not just "second class citizens," they were virtually chattel in every culture. In spite of their God-given rights and the requirements to protect them, as spelled out in the Pentateuch, even the male Jews prayed and thanked God that "they were not born women."

Prior to Christ, to be a woman was, at best, a benevolent curse. Even Plato and the Greek culture, whose intellectual foundations are worshipped in the West, viewed women as inferior in every way. They were good only for procreation; their highest station in the culture outside of the home was to be a carefully attended mistress/prostitute who could, with intrigue, fascinate the probing intellects of the men who were her benefactors.

Christ amazed and scandalized the religious community, and even His disciples, by the unprecedented way He related to women. He openly engaged them in the "men's things" by discussing theology and world management issues. His most powerful teachings on the resurrection were delivered to Mary and Martha, and likewise, He first made known His own resurrection to His women followers. It was the women who financially bore the weight of Christ's ministry support and a woman, Mary, who elicited his first miracle. His teachings on divorce and remarriage literally rescued women from the capricious and arbitrary male practice of dismissing a wife because she didn't please her husband. Paul, following in Christ's footsteps, recognized the reality of the female prophetess, which was no small feat in first- century Jewish religious circles. In every way, the manner in which Jesus responded toward women as first-class human beings indicted both Jewish, Roman, and Greek culture's place and treatment of them.

What About An Open Debate?

I rhetorically ask the question, for I believe I really know the answer, "Why don't Christian women challenge Islamic women or Buddhist women or Shinto women to an open debate on women's roles in religion and life?" Why don't we challenge Hurley Gurley Brown, Gloria Steinham, and Molly Yard to openly discuss the debris from their movement, the growing army of middle-aged, single women who will never marry, and whose fears and frustrations cloud their faces on every street. Men cannot properly address these issues because both our chauvinistic history and perceived self-interest tend to disqualify us. Thank God for Jesus; He at least shows women the real possibility and example of a liberated and secure male in terms of how He relates to them.

Jesus Stands Alone

Let the other so-called gods and prophets of the ages be openly shown for their true anti-women attitudes. Let Marx and his ideals of a society of shared women and polygamy sit down and shut-up. Christian women of the world unite: Jesus, the Standard-Bearer, has given you a ton of ammunition with which to light up the sky of debate. No, unlike Mohammed, who is known to have owned slaves and to have multiple wives, and Buddha, who allegedly deserted his wife and child to pursue enlightenment, Jesus stands alone, and that is the bottom line.

Reprinted by permission. This article is excerpted from Dennis Peacocke's book "The Emperor Has No Clothes" available at CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.