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Ordination of Women and the Old Testament
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Ordination of Women and Paul
Pauline Passages about the Role of Women
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No. Unlike slavery and social class distinctions, which are human institutions, sex and gender roles were created by God (Gen. 5:2; Matt.19:4; Mark 10:6). God’s creation was perfect! Neither slavery, racial segregation, castes, nor economic station can, therefore, be compared to gender roles. The assumption that defending gender role distinctions with the Bible is like using the Bible to defend slavery is based upon the idea that gender role distinctions are just as unjust and oppressive as slavery. But this is not a biblical notion.

In the biblical worldview, God created men and women different, with different roles from the beginning, and He called this creation “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Christianity does not seek to remake society by tackling all of its sinful institutions, but by first converting people and changing hearts and minds, one person at a time. These converted people, when they reach critical mass in a society, will eventually seek to reform their society’s institutions.

The early Christians did not attempt to destroy the deeply entrenched institution of slavery in Roman society; had they done so, they likely would have been quickly eliminated by the Roman authorities. But Paul’s epistle to Philemon effectively demolishes slavery’s philosophical underpinnings, and replaces them with a Christian worldview that makes Onesimus the brother of Philemon, to be treated as his brother, not as his property. So it is not true that slavery can rightly be defended from Scripture, and some of history’s most prominent abolitionists and anti-slavery activists, such as William Wilberforce, have been committed Christians.