As Bible believing Christians, we can often become disheartened by the LGBTQ political movements and their assault on marriage, the family and our faith. And we rightly reject the world’s notion that “all love is good” because the Bible tells us there are such things as “vile affections” in Romans 1:26-27.
But it is stories like this one below that should give us hope and they show that Christ can heal us from any sin if we turn to him in faith and repent asking for his strength.
“Sixteen years ago, Brian Wheelock was fully immersed in the homosexual lifestyle of pornography, lust, and self-gratification. Despite being convinced that he was “born this way” and that his identity was as a “gay man,” he sensed deep down inside that he was unhappy and that he had been created for something more.
“To me it was empty, and a place of depression for me where I just wasn’t fulfilled,” Wheelock told a crowd of ex-homosexual and ex-transgender men and women at the Second Annual ‘Freedom March’ in Washington D.C. on the weekend.
That’s when he made a promise to God that changed his life forever…
“People sometimes ask me ‘so praying this prayer made you straight?’” said Wheelock. “Great question. No. Praying this prayer allowed me to find Jesus and fully focus on him and what He had planned for me. It would take a few more years of staying close to Jesus that He would finally allow me to meet the girl of my dreams, my soul mate, Pam.”
I encourage you to read the whole article above about the daily process and journaling he went through to keep his focus on Christ and his will for his life.
David said in Psalm 51:10:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
And this is what this man asked the Lord to do in his life and he did it.
As believers we must also realize that this principle applies not just to those who must battle against the temptations of homosexuality and transgenderism but it also applies to those of us who consider ourselves “straight”.
We also must battle against sexual temptation and a culture that winks and laughs about sex, even heterosexual sex, outside of marriage. We must also battle against a culture which conditions us to think gender does not matter when it matters very much to God and he designed our two genders for specific and distinct purposes.
So maybe you are a man that is “straight” but you lack the courage to lead, protect and provide for a woman in marriage. Or perhaps you are a woman that that is “straight” but you are full of pride and selfish ambition when you should be humble and seeking to be ambitious for what God wants you to do which is to submit to and serve your husband as the Church submits to and serves Christ.
In either case, God can do for you what he did for this gay man and he can create in you in a clean heart and renew within you a right spirit if you will only repent and ask him to do this for you.
Here is the surprising truth most Christians would not want to hear. Not everything in the world of the Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaids Tale” is unbiblical. In fact, some of it is VERY Biblical. But the haters of Bible believing Christianity are also wrong in saying that the world of the Handmaids Tale is exactly what America would look like if our laws and society were based on the Bible.
The truth as it is in many cases, is somewhere in the middle.
The World of the Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaids Tale” takes place in a future America where the United States Government has been overthrown by a radical Christian sect calling itself “The Sons of Jacob”. This group bases most of its teachings and beliefs in the Old Testament of the Bible.
While Atwood never gives a definite reason for it, the Handmaid’s Tale takes place in a world where nations are dying from low fertility rates. Infertility affects both men and women. There are some theories given at the end of the book that low fertility rates may have been caused by widespread birth control and abortion but others say it was caused from pollution and pesticides. Some thought it was a combination of both. The fact that they have reduced technology use and only grow organic crops definitely gives credence to the pollution and pesticides being thought to be a major factor in infertility. Whatever the cause is, it is clear in the book that the infertility crisis affects the entire world and not just America.
It is apparent that the Sons of Jacob saw women’s economic independence from men as well as control over their own sexuality as a major contributing cause of the infertility crisis even if it was not the only cause.
So, it is in this world that the overthrow of the United States government by the Sons of Jacob takes place. They kill the President, all White House staff and cabinet members as well as all members of Congress and the Supreme Court. They suspend the US Constitution and institute a totalitarian theocratic government which is referred to as The Republic of Gilead or The Divine Republic.
In this new society women have their property seized and given to their closest male relative (husband, father or brother). They are forbidden from working outside the home as well as reading or writing.
The social classes among women in Gilead are Wives, Econowives, Marthas, Handmaids and Unwomen. Wives are the highest class of women, married to the highest class of men known as Commanders. Econowives are married to either Guardians or Economen which are the lowest social class of men in Gilead. Econowives often serve as Marthas while not all Marthas are married. Marthas serve the Wives of the Commanders by caring for their homes (cooking and cleaning). Some Marthas are converted to Handmaids.
And finally, we have the Handmaid class which Margaret Atwood’s book centers on. The Handmaid class is the second to lowest class of women in Gilead with only Unwomen being lower. Most women who are Handmaids became so by either being in a second marriage or living in a sexual relationship with a man not their first husband when the Sons of Jacob seized power. Later on other women become Handmaids by breaking the laws of Gilead. If they were found to be infertile they were declared “Unwoman” and then sent to the Colonies. Not much is known of the Colonies except that it seems to be a nuclear wasteland or highly polluted area because most people ending up dying after working there for a few years.
Handmaids are managed by a social class known as “Aunts” which are typically older or infertile women but they are women who are true believers in the Divine Republic and its beliefs. They are charged with indoctrinating and preparing the Handmaids for their duties.
The Handmaid’s Tale is told from the view of a Handmaid named “Offred”. While the Hulu series reveals her real name, Atwood’s book never does. She is named Offred because all Handmaids are given the name of the Commander they are assigned to and her commander’s name is Fred, therefore she is called “Offred”.
The Handmaids are assigned by the government of Gilead to various Commanders. They have three chances to get pregnant with three different Commanders. If they fail to get pregnant by the third commander, they are declared “Unwoman” and sent to the Colonies.
Gilead is a pious society, although they do have “Jezebels” which operate in brothels which are unofficially sanctioned by the government. These brothels serve foreign diplomats who visit Gilead as well as Commanders. The women there are infertile attractive women who were feminists or other social activists and they were given a choice between being a Jezebel or being sent to the Colonies.
In this pious society, the purpose of sex is seen only for reproduction and not for pleasure. The men when they have sex with their handmaids are required to have their wives in the room and it is a cold and passionless experience as required by the customs of Gilead.
Going beyond the social classes we also see in the story that Gilead routinely executes abortions doctors and leaves their bodies hanging for days in the streets as a warning to others. They also hang men or women caught engaged in any type of homosexual relationship. Homosexuals are referred to as “gender traitors”. Gilead also hangs priests and pastors if they speak against the government’s interpretation of the Bible.
And finally, there is a scene in the book, which was also portrayed in the Hulu series as well. In the scene, a mass wedding ceremony is staged where several men of the Guardian social class are married off to young girls most looking between 12 and 14 years of age. Some of the men may be in their 30s or 40s. One of the men being married to a young girl is Guardian to the Offred’s Commander. The Commander assigned the girl to him for marriage.
While this is certainly not a complete synopsis of the story of the Handmaid’s Tale, it paints enough of a picture to tell us what Margaret Atwood’s imagined future dystopian political system looks like which is what I will be focusing in on for this review.
What is un-biblical About the Practices of the Republic of Gilead?
What follows are several things that are unbiblical about the Republic of Gilead:
Only God can establish a theocracy. God established the nation of Israel through Moses and then he spoke his commands as King over Israel through his prophets until Israel finally rejected God as their direct king and asked for a human king (1 Samuel 8:5-7). Gilead was not a true theocracy established by God as Israel was.
While God does not prescribe a particular form of government for all peoples in the Bible, he does tell us why he instituted civil government. Its purpose is to protect the God given rights of the people and punish those who “doeth evil” (Romans 13:4) by breaking God’s moral law which would include violating the God given rights of others. The nation of Gilead usurped the God given authority of local church leaders (1 Peter 5:1-3) as well as the authority of men over their homes (Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24, I Peter 3:1-6).
The Bible does not forbid women from being educated, reading, writing, teaching or prophesying (Acts 2:17, Titus 2:3-5).
The arrangement of marriage by the Gilead government was an example of a violation of the God given freedom and authority of fathers to choose whom their daughters marry (Exodus 22:16-17, Numbers 30).
The passing around of handmaids between various Commanders to have children for their wives was a violation of Biblical law as well. The Bible regarded handmaids who were given by wives to their husbands as wives in the same way concubines were seen as wives. Take for example Abraham’s concubine – Keturah (1 Chronicles 1:32) who is also referred to as his wife (Genesis 25:1). And the Scriptures tell us that a woman is bound to her husband as long he lives (Romans 7:2-3) therefore she cannot be given to a different man while her first husband lives. The difference between “free wives” and “bond wives” (or concubines as they were called) was that a man did not have to give any inheritance rights to the children of his bond wives. He was however, obligated to give an inheritance to the children of his free wives. But God never allowed women to be passed around to be impregnated by different men. A man had to make the commitment of being a husband to a woman before he could have sex with her even if she was a slave or a prisoner of war.
Obviously the unofficially sanctioned “Jezebels” of Gilead who worked in brothels servicing diplomats and Commanders is also forbidden by God’s law (Leviticus 19:29, 1 Corinthians 6:15-16).
The official Gilead position of sex being only for procreation and not for pleasure is unbiblical as well. The Bible commands men to satisfy themselves at all times with their wives’ bodies (Proverbs 5:18-19) and the entire book of Song of Solomon is dedicated to the pleasurable aspects of sex between a husband and wife in marriage. The Bible even warns couples to come together often to avoid the temptation of sex outside of marriage (I Corinthians 7:2-5).
The Bible does allow for the execution of those who would lead people away from the God of the Bible (Deuteronomy 13:1-11) but it does NOT allow for the execution of those who follow the God of the Bible but have different interpretations and applications of the Bible. Therefore, the execution of those such as Catholics, Baptists and other Christian leaders that were killed in the Hand’s Maids Tale for not teaching and following state mandated interpretations of the Bible was a violation of the Scriptures.
Now we will move on to practices of the nation of Gilead which actually have Biblical support.
What is Biblical About the Practices of the Republic of Gilead?
What follows are several things that are in fact Biblical about the Republic of Gilead:
The sphere of Civil government is allowed by God to execute men and women for adultery and betrothed women for having sex with men other than their husband and covering it up before marriage. So, Gilead in executing people for these violations of God’s moral law was within their rights as granted by God to the Civil government (Deuteronomy 22:20-22).
The sphere of Civil government is allowed by God to execute men for having sex with other men (Leviticus 20:13), therefore Gilead’s execution of men caught in homosexual relationships was allowable before God. While no punishment is prescribed for women in Lesbian relationships, the practice of Lesbian relationships is condemned by God in Romans 1:26-27. So short of the death penalty, it would be Biblically allowable for women to be punished in other ways for engaging in Lesbian relationships.
The sphere of Civil government is allowed by God to execute murderers which would also include abortion doctors (Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21:12).
Gilead’s practice of considering women to be the property of men is a Biblical concept. The Bible list’s a man’s wife as one of his possessions in the 10th commandment (Exodus 20:17). In the Scriptures adultery and pre-marital sex were not just considered sexual sins, but also a property crime against either the father of the virgin woman or the husband of the betrothed woman or wife (Exodus 22:16-17, Deuteronomy 22:20-22). The problem in Gilead though is that they treated unmarried women as the property of the state which is a violation of the God given right of ownership of the father over his daughter.
Gilead’s practice of disallowing women to own property and transferring their assets to their nearest male relative is a Biblical concept. In Numbers 27:1-11 we find that only men could inherit property with one exception. If there were no sons to pass their property on to then the daughters could inherit the property but only as temporary stewards of that property. They were required to seek out marriage and then in marriage the property came under the ownership of their husbands (Numbers 36:10-12).
While Gilead’s practice of executing Pastors and Priests for having different interpretations and applications of the Scriptures than those of the Civil government is not allowable by God, God does allow for the general protection of the faith in punishing those who try and lead others away from the God of the Bible (Deuteronomy 13:1-11). In other words, the Civil government can protect Christianity as the faith of the nation from outside religions and moral systems such as Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam as well as Atheism but it has no authority within the Christian churches to enforce a state sanctioned set of interpretations and applications of the Scriptures.
What About the Infamous Wedding Scene?
Earlier I spoke about a scene from Margaret Atwood’s book that was also portrayed in the Hulu series which shows a mass wedding ceremony of several couples. Many of the girls are very young, perhaps 12, 13 or 14 years of age and they were being married to men much older them, perhaps 10 or 20 years older or more.
The Hollywood Reporter had the following to say about the episode as depicted in the Hulu series:
“In season two’s fifth episode, “Seeds,” which sees Elisabeth Moss’ June almost entirely buried beneath her handmaid alias Offred, Nick and other guardians are at the center of an elaborate mass wedding ceremony. Their brides, all of whom they are meeting for the first time, are children; no more than 15 years of age. According to Miller, the scene comes straight out of Margaret Atwood’s original novel, not to mention true stories about similarly disturbing arranged marriages conducted across the world.
“In the book, there’s a scene where a bunch of children are married to young guardians who they have never met before,” Miller tells THR. “It was such an intriguing part of the book. This is something that’s been discussed as happening in America and happening all over the world. It’s such a pervasive horror for these girls who are married off well before they have any agency and any way to consent. They’re walked off into this life, and it doesn’t matter who they end up with, even if it’s someone you would say is a good guy; it’s just a horrible dynamic…
It was triumphant for Fred, but for me, personally, seeing these young actors come out — and some of these young women looked about 12 or 14 — and seeing them standing opposite their future husbands in this arranged marriage… men twice their age, some of them 40 or 50 years old… it was genuinely abhorrent to see,” says the actor. “It was very, very real. It’s another form of ritual and ceremony which is almost seemingly beautiful and orchestrated in this vaguely theatrical way, which belies the horror of it. When we did the first rehearsal, all of us were very affected by how unnerving and unsettling it was.”
I have already addressed the fact that the nation of Gilead was wrong in usurping the authority of father’s over their daughters. But what if fathers willingly gave their young daughters, even those in their early teens as portrayed in arranged marriages to older men – is this a violation of Biblical morality?
The answer is a resounding NO. It is not immoral or “abhorrent” or “horrific” in the eyes of God. The Scriptures tell us in two passages when God says a young woman is ready for marriage.
In the book of Ezekiel God portrays his marriage to Israel as an older man taking a young woman who has shown the signs of puberty as his wife:
“7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.
8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”
Ezekiel 16:7-8 (KJV)
And in the New Testament the Apostle Paul gives us another qualification for when a girl becomes a woman and is ready to be married:
“36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.”
I Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)
The phrase “if she pass the flower of her age” refers to if she has had a period.
So, God’s allowable age for marriage to a woman is when she shows the signs of puberty, development of her breasts, growth of pubic hair and she has had a period. At that point it is perfectly moral for her to be married.
And her “consent” is not required by God. And God does not grant her the “agency” that we believe women have today. It is her father’s decision (Exodus 22:16-17). And there is absolutely nothing unbiblical about arranged marriages (Jeremiah 29:6). Also, it is not immoral for men much older to marry younger women.
And just for a little historical context on marriage which is sorely lacking in today’s world listen to what Rev. Dr. Eugene Weitzel stated about the Jewish view of early marriage:
“As we noted above, the Jews clearly understood that the first command that God gave to Adam and Eve was “increase and multiply” (Gen 1:28). In fact one rabbi firmly believed that “A bachelor is not truly a man at all.” Furthermore, celibacy was looked upon as an anomaly, almost a disgrace. Now keep in mind that Jesus Christ, a devout, practicing Jew who dearly loved his Jewish faith, grew up with this view of celibacy. He also knew that his people believed in early marriage. Many rabbis, even during Jesus’s time, taught that eighteen was the ideal age for marriage for a man but certainly not later than twenty-four. He knew too that girls were ready for marriage as soon as they were physically ready to conceive and bear children, which according to the law was twelve and one-half years. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably no more than fourteen years old when she gave birth to the Son of God.”
Weitzel, Eugene. J. (2010). I Want to Be a Husband and Father for Life and a Catholic Priest Forever. U.S.: Xilbris Corporation. p. 113
What America Can Learn from the Handmaid’s Tale
Many have come away from the Handmaid’s Tale thinking religion was the cause of the fall the United States in that story. And it is very common today for secular humanists to claim if we just got rid of organized religion the world would be a better place. They will point to the millions that have been killed in religious wars throughout the centuries. But they conveniently forget to mention the millions killed by secularists like Stalin and other Communists around the world.
The actual cause of the fall of the United States in the Handmaid’s Tale is a subject that most Secular Humanists avoid like the plague. And if you are thinking low fertility is the answer as mentioned in the Handmaid’s Tale you would only be describing a symptom of the real problem they want to avoid discussing.
The real problem that caused the collapse of the United States in the Handmaid’s Tale is the same problem that might actually cause the collapse of the United States in the not so distant future. And that problem is the widescale abandonment of traditional gender roles which I would argue are Biblically based.
How America Abandoned Biblical Gender Roles
Before the mid-19th century the United States was in some ways like the world of Handmaid’s Tale except for the Totalitarian government and mass government executions. America had laws against fornication, adultery and homosexuality. Grant it, no one was executed for fornication, adultery and homosexuality but they were imprisoned for such acts. Homosexuality was considered a mental disorder and homosexuals were put away in mental asylums.
Divorce in America was very difficult to get and thus very rare. Women had little to no rights in divorce. When divorce did occur, the men kept the children and the property and the woman walked away with only the clothes on her back.
First wave feminism, which sprung from the abolitionist movement, aimed to give women more rights. So, they began by fighting for child custody and property rights for women in divorce. But their ultimate goal was woman’s suffrage which finally passed in 1919 and was ratified by the states in 1920.
James Madison had warned his wife Abigail Adams when she petitioned him to allow women to vote in the New Republic that if men gave women such rights it would bring men under the “Despotism of the Peticoat”. In other words, if men surrendered their rulership over women, eventually women would come to rule over men.
James Madison’s warning is actually foretold in the account of the fall of Adam and Eve when God told them the following:
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Genesis 3:16 (KJV)
God spoke of sin’s desire to rule over Cain in the same way he spoke a woman’s desire to rule over her husband:
“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
Genesis 4:7 (KJV)
When we think of the Sexual Revolution, we often think of the 1960s. But really an earlier version of the sexual revolution began in America in the late 19th-century with the new practice of “dating”. Women threw off the ownership of the fathers and began “dating” men going out alone with men for fun. This of course led to a spike in extra-marital sex and out of wedlock pregnancies. These numbers only continued to climb until they reached the peak of 40 percent and that was only capped because of modern birth control.
Second Wave Feminism which coincided with the Sexual Revolution aimed to destroy gender roles in America. It was during this time that the words “sexism” and “sexist” were coined to denigrate Bible believing Christians and other Americans who believed in traditional gender roles that men and women had had since the beginning of mankind.
Over several decades the feminists and secularists exploited the US Constitution’s tolerance for non-Christian values, eventually using the force of court rulings and new laws in an attempt to obliterate the Biblically based gender roles America once had.
Feminism and their drum beat of “sexism” eventually lead to the decimation of the family unit with over 60 million divorces and over 60 million abortions.
The Sad State of Marriage and Fertility Rates in Today’s America
As a direct result of the feminist and humanist assaults on gender roles and Christian morality in America, marriage and fertility rates are at a crisis level for Millennials. Many Millennials now are very afraid of marriage or see no value in marriage. Consider the following sobering facts.
In 1968, about 40 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 were married and living on their own. As of 2018 that number has plummeted for this group to around 7 percent. A third of young people in the US, 24 million of those aged 18 to 34, still live with their parents. About 9 percent of this 18 to 24 age group that does not still live with their parents cohabitates rather than marrying.
And all of these societal changes over the last century and especially the last several decades have caused America’s fertility rate to plummet.
“The number of births for the United States last year dropped to its lowest in about three decades, according to provisional data in a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Even though the number of births we’ve seen in 2018 is the lowest that we’ve seen in 32 years, the total fertility rate is at a record low,” said Brady Hamilton, a natality expert at the center and first author of the report…
The total fertility rate in 2018 was below what is considered the level needed for a population to replace itself: 2,100 births per 1,000 women, according to the report.
“The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and consistently below replacement for the last decade,” the authors wrote in the new report.”
It is no coincidence that the national fertility rate began to drop from the 1970s on after the Second wave feminism of the 1960s took a sledge hammer to what was left of traditional gender roles in America.
The only thing that masks our falling population numbers is legal and illegal immigration. And that is a dirty little secret no one wants to admit. If we stopped all immigration into this country for a decade, we would see elementary schools all over the United States closing revealing the fact that our natural born citizen women are having less and less children each year.
America Broke God’s Design of Mutual Dependency Between Men and Women
So here is why we have arrived at continual falling fertility rates each decade since the 1970s with only a few years in between where the fertility rate rose.
America came to reject God’s design of men being leaders, providers and protectors and women being caretakers of their children and their homes. Marriage was strongly encouraged by society and sex outside of marriage and divorce were greatly frowned upon. These values came from the common Christian heritage that most Americans had.
God’s design provided for a mutual dependency between men and women. Women because they had less rights than men and could not own property, sought out men for protection and provision. Men were drawn to women for sex, having children and having someone to care for the domestic affairs of their home as they went out and worked in the world.
But Feminism and the Sexual Revolution that flowed from it broke this mutual dependency between men and women that God designed. Women no longer needed men for their provision and protection. The government offered women protection apart from marriage and women could provide for themselves and own property as men could. Men no longer needed marriage to get sex as women would casually give it to them while dating.
And since marriage became a much risker proposition for men in that they could be financially devasted by a woman in divorce while also having less custody of their children many men opted out of seeking marriage all together.
And this is where we are in 2019 America.
But as Thomas Fuller once said “It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn” and that is so true for us as Conservative Christians in America today.
Hope Is on The Horizon for Conservative Christians While Despair Awaits Secularists
As conservative Bible believing Christians our hope is not in the Republican party (which can often disappoint us) but rather in God. However, God works through the obedience of his children as the Scriptures tell us:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
And the obedience I am speaking of is for us as conservative Christians to raise our sons and daughters to fully embrace the Biblical gender roles God has designed. And to fully accept and embrace God’s Word regarding gender roles we must utterly reject the ideologies of feminism, egalitarianism and individualism which are diametrically opposed to a Biblical world view. We must as a culture stop thinking of only what we want as individuals, and instead focus on what God wants for us and what is best for our families, our communities and our nation.
We need to arm our children with the truth of God’s Word and the facts that are seen all around us about divorce rates, cohabitation rates and falling fertility rates. God’s design works for stronger marriages and families and frankly it produces more children and a stronger society.
The good news for us as Conservative Christians is that we already have higher fertility rates than secularists. Here is some not so good news for the future of secularists in America from an article in the Washington Examiner by Paul Bedard entitled “Study: Conservative baby boom will shift nation further right” :
“A baby boom among conservatives could push the nation’s politics further right in the coming decades, especially since liberals aren’t having as many children, according to a new study of online dating habits of conservatives and liberals.
The study featured in a Harvard University Shorenstein Center review of recent surveys released Tuesday on how political polarization of the nation is impacting Washington’s budget talks is the first to challenge left-leaning pundits who have claimed that as the white population shrinks, the GOP will become marginalized.
Instead, the study in the authoritative journal Political Behavior, conducted by scholars from Brown and Penn State University, suggested that liberals could be the endangered species in the coming decades as conservatives, typically white, have more children than liberals. And those children, this study and others show, commonly follow the politics of their parents.”
The fact is there is nothing secularists can do about their coming demise because their ideology leads to selfish individualistic living which results in low fertility rates while conservative Christianity leads to people who care about marriage, family and God and thus much higher fertility rates.
In years past Secularists in educational institutions were able to convert many children raised in conservative homes but now that trend has changed with the information age and with conservative children seeing the damage secularism has caused to our society.
The Scriptures tell us in 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”. The nation of Gilead in its Totalitarian form of government violated and usurped the authority and the freedoms of the family unit and the churches. It violated God’s commands allowing women to teach and prophesy by restricting women from reading, writing or teaching (except the Aunts). It violated God’s laws by passing around women as handmaids to different Commanders thus violating the Biblical concept that a woman belongs to her first husband as long as he lives. It violated God’s law in assigning econ-wives to men when authority over marriage belongs to the father of a woman, not the state. And it imposed the death penalty on Christians for differences of interpretation and application of the Scriptures and this is something that is not allowed by God.
But some of the things Gilead did were not only Biblical, but they truly are an indictment of our American and Western systems of government. While the Civil government cannot usurp the God given Christian spiritual authority and rights of Pastors, husbands or fathers it is not forbidden from protecting the Christian faith of the nation from other religions and systems of morality not founded in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Many of our founding fathers were good Christian men. But in their efforts to prevent one Christian sect from dominating another they left the common Christian faith of the nation completely undefended and vulnerable to attacks from secularism.
America’s Constitution will need to be updated in the future to address this weakness if we are to survive as a nation. We can protect what should be regarded as the basis for our morality as a nation, the Bible, while at the same time placing safeguards against the state intruding in the spheres of the church and the home.
The removal of the ability of women to own property and placing them back under the ownership of men is the only way we will restore the mutual dependency that God designed there to be between men and women. Also, the removal of no-fault divorce laws and once again making divorce very difficult would help to re-secure the institution of marriage. These changes along with the reinstating and enforcing of the fornication laws America once had would bring men back to the marriage table in droves. And America’s families and fertility rates could once again be restored.
And finally, on the subject of crime and immoral behavior. Our softness toward criminals and immoral behavior has led to the pollution of our society. There is no fear of God or the consequences of our actions anymore in this culture. We must restore a healthy fear of the consequences of doing evil according to God’s Law.
And where does our softness come from? It comes from the feminization of our society. It is somewhat ironic how secular humanists claim to be all about logic and reason yet their social policies are completely based in feelings. Secularism and all of its step children like feminism, socialism and communism are doomed to fail because they deny God’s design of human nature as well as sin’s corruption of the human.
I will leave my fellow Christian brethren with this hope from the Scriptures:
“7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.”
The New York Times published an article yesterday entitled “Pregnancy Kills. Abortion Saves Lives.”. This is just the latest salvo in the cultural civil war going on in America.
Below is the absurd premise of this article written by Warren B. Hern who is described as “a physician and epidemiologist who specializes in late-abortion services”.
“Pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. Women die from being pregnant. We have known that for thousands of years…
The measure of risk to a woman’s life from pregnancy itself is called the “maternal mortality ratio.” That is the number of women who die of causes related to or aggravated by pregnancy per 100,000 live births.
In Alabama, the overall maternal mortality ratio in 2018 was 11.9 per 100,000. Among white women, the 2018 maternal mortality ratio was 5.6; among black women, it was 27.6, making black women in Alabama almost five times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women. For the United States overall, the maternal mortality ratio was 20.
By comparison, a study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology on abortion mortality from 1998 to 2010 found that for the 16.1 million abortions performed during that time, the overall death rate was 0.7 per 100,000 procedures. The death rate for early-abortion procedures — those that took place within the first eight weeks of the pregnancy — was less: 0.3 per 100,000.”
Yes, women have known for thousands of years that pregnancy carried with it the chance of them dying either before birth or while giving birth. But women took this risk as a badge of honor because they knew that without taking this risk their people would become extinct. They cared more about their family and their culture then they did their own lives. Women of ages past had something that most women and sadly even many men have lost today.
They had a sense of duty and honor.
Think about it. What kind of parent would kill their child to save their own life? Only the worst and most selfish type of parent.
So yes, there is a tiny fraction of a percent of a chance, 0.02%, that a woman could die as a result of her pregnancy and a smaller tiny fraction of a percent of a chance, 0.0007%, that a woman could die from an abortion.
But guess who has nearly a 100 percent chance of dying from an abortion and only a tiny fraction of a percent chance of living? The human being living inside the woman who has the abortion procedure.
Only in our backward and evil culture would we ever say that a procedure that has killed over 60 million human lives since 1973 actually saves lives!
The only way they can make such an absurd statement is to say that the human being living in their mother’s womb is not a human life.
The Scriptures rightly describe this wicked generation we find ourselves in:
“1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
2 Timothy 3:1-7 (KJV)
Some Christians may take the position of giving up, that there is nothing that we can do nor should we try. And liberal Bible hating unbelievers and even many professed believers hope we will give up. But the Bible does not give us the option to give up and stop trying to influence this world for God.
The Apostle Paul after writing the words above about the evil that would happen then wrote this in response to that evil:
“1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:1-5 (KJV)
Pray that more Christians will have the courage to speak their faith and take a stand against the rising tide of godlessness we find in our nation.
“Genesis 9:6 says it is wrong to shed man’s blood because God made man in his image. But 1 Corinthians 11:7 says only males are the image of God. Does that mean the Bible is saying it is ok to murder women?”. This was a question I recently received from a reader calling himself Jacob.
Below is Jacobs’s complete email.
I have read what I think are all of your writings on the image of God in man. I was hoping you could help clarify some things the Bible says about the image of God.
I was always taught growing up in church that Genesis 9:6 teaches us the very foundation for the value of all human life (both men and women) comes from the fact that they are made in the image of God.
Genesis 9:6 says it is wrong to shed man’s blood because God made man in his image. But 1 Corinthians 11:7 says only males are the image of God. Does that mean the Bible is saying it is ok to murder women? Please do not misunderstand me. This is not a trick question. I do not believe it is ok to kill women but I am very confused by what seems to be a contradiction between Genesis 9:6 and 1 Corinthians 11:7.
James 3:9 has a similar statement to Genesis 9:6 but instead of it talking about murder, it talks about not cursing men because they are made after the “similitude of God”. So, the same rhetorical question would apply, since only men are made in the image of God is ok to curse women?
What about when it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 “Christ who is the image of God” and in Hebrews 1:3 that Christ is “the express image of his person”? What is the difference between Christ being the image of God and the express image of his person and man being the image of God?
Thank you for your time.
I am actually very grateful for Jacob’s email because I have been meaning to write on Genesis 9:6 and how it harmonizes with I Corinthians 11:7 and this pushed me to finally write on this subject.
What is God teaching us in Genesis 9:6?
Genesis 9:6 teaches us that mankind, both male and female, were made in the image of God. This is where the value of human life begins and why God commanded the death penalty for those who shed man’s blood.
Some of my readers may be confused that I have just stated that men and women were both made in the image of God because I have previously stated in many of my articles that Genesis 1:27 does NOT show that both men and women were made in the image of God. And I still stand by that interpretation.
“So God created man [Hebrew “adam”] in his own image, in the image of God created he him [Hebrew eth haa-‘adam”]; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:27 (KJV)
The Hebrew word “adam” can mean “man”, “mankind”, “men” or it can particularly refer to a certain man and sometimes Adam, the first man. To understand the correct meaning of adam we must always look to the surrounding context in which it is used.
In the case of Genesis 1:27, when it says “God created adam in his image” this could have meant “mankind” if there were no qualifiers in the verse to indicate otherwise. But there is a qualifier which is “eth haa-‘adam” which literally means “this same man” and is translated by the KJV as “he him”. This means God was talking specifically about Adam.
The most literal rendering of Genesis 1:27 is as follows:
“So God created Adam in his own image, in the image of God created he this same man; male and female created he them.”
The phrase that follows “male and female created he them” does not indicate that woman was created in the image of God, it simply states that just as man was created by God, so too woman was created by God.
However, Genesis 9:6 is different than Genesis 1:27. Genesis 9:6 is speaking of something which applies to all human beings and that subject is murder. And it uses no qualifiers for handling the murder of women differently than that of men. So, when Genesis 9:6 tells us the reason murder is wrong is because man was created in the image of God, we can rightly understand that “adam” in the Hebrew in this context is referring to “mankind” which includes both men and women.
And on the subject of killing, Genesis 9:6 is not talking about any killing of man by man, because God actually commands men to kill men at certain times as is seen in this very passage. It is talking about unjustified killing.
And who determines if the taking of a human being’s life is justified or not? It is God.
The Bible shows us three major categories of justified killing where the person who does the killing is not considered sinning in the sight of God. Exodus 22:2 shows us the God given right of self-defense. Psalms 144:1 shows us that God teaches men how to fight and wage war in defense of their nations which is another God given right. Numbers 35:27 teaches us that those who have the authority to execute the death penalty for various moral crimes God deems worthy of death are not held guilty for the blood they shed.
This is why abortion is considered an unjustified killing from a Biblical perspective but execution of a murderer on death row is considered a justified and righteous act. The doctor who sheds the blood of the innocent child within the womb is held guilty by God because God does not allow the killing of someone simply because their life presents an inconvenience to their mother. However, the executioner who pulls the switch to kill the murderer is held righteous before God because God ordains this as part of his justice.
Understanding the Image of God in Christ, Man and Woman
Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time will know that I heavily teach on the forgotten and unpopular Bible doctrine that man was created to be the image bearer of God and woman was not. But some misunderstand this to mean that I am saying the Bible says women are not human or are less human than men. And nothing could be further from the truth. My prayer is that after reading what I show here from the Scriptures that you will understand that the life of a woman has equal value in the sight of God with that of a man. All human life has equal value to God.
But we must teach another truth at the same. While all human life, both males and females, has equal value to God this does not mean men and women were made for the same purpose. In this article I will demonstrate that these two truths stand side by side and they do not contradict.
Below is a table which will help to compare and contrast the similarities and differences between what the Bible says about the image of God in Christ, man and woman.
Male & Female Human Beings
Male Human Beings
Genesis 9:6 (KJV)
I Corinthians 11:7 (KJV)
Hebrews 1:3 (KJV)
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: FOR IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN.”
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as HE IS THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD: but the woman is the glory of the man.”
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”
As we mentioned previously, Genesis 9:6 shows us that the value of human life begins with the fact that all human beings, both men and women, were made in the image of God. But then we read in 1 Corinthians 11:7 that the man (literally “the male” in the original Greek) is the image and glory of God but the woman is the glory of the man. Finally, we read in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus Christ in relation to God is “the express image of his person”.
So how do these three passages in the table above harmonize? To answer this, I want to show you another illustration below:
In the table above are a list of characteristics. Some align with God, while others align with man and still others align with women. There is a highlighted characteristic type that intersects God, man and woman. These characteristics of self-awareness, speech, creativity, morality and emotions are what separate man and woman from the animals and they reflect God’s image in all of us. These common characteristics that are common to both God, man and woman are rightly called “Human”.
It is in this way that all human beings are equal in their humanity and all human beings bear the image of God. It is because of these characteristics of God in all of us that all human life has value and it is why murder is wrong.
There are many Christians who would take offense at the table above and they teach and believe that God’s nature is only seen in the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Still others will maintain that some women can be aggressive, competitive and strong while some men can be cooperative and weak.
But this is why I very carefully used the word “characteristic” in the illustration above. The word “characteristic” can be used as both a noun and an adjective. When used as a noun a “characteristic” describes something that is a distinguishing trait or something that is an integral part of something or someone. When used as adjective it refers to something that is typical of something or someone.
I am using “characteristic” in both senses of the word in the illustration above. While there are times that God can act in feminine ways this is not typical or characteristic of God’s behavior. God’s behavior throughout the Scriptures is more typified by the masculine characteristics shown above and it is why God is always referred to in his person in the masculine sense throughout the Scriptures.
But now let’s go back to another question this raises. How are man and woman both made in the image of God, yet man is the image bearer of God in a way woman is not?
To answer this question let’s look at Christ. As we showed in the above table, the Scriptures tell us of Christ regarding his relation to God that he is “the express image of his person”. And in Colossians 2:9 we read of Christ “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”. These passages are teaching us that Christ is the image of God in that he has all the characteristics of God because he is God.
Now let’s compare the image of God in Christ to the image of God in man. Does man have the image of God in him to the same degree that Christ does? The answer is no. Man does not have any of God’s deity characteristics.
And now we can answer the central question of this article. Does woman have the image of God in her to the same degree that man does? The answer according the Scriptures is no. And this is why we read in the Scriptures that both men and women are MADE IN the image of God, yet it is only of men and Christ that we read that they are THE image of God.
Why Did God Make Woman Different Than Himself and Man?
As we can see while women share their common human characteristics with both God and men, they also have characteristics that are not typical of God or man. Why did not God make women with these traits that are uncharacteristic of himself or man?
This all comes down to God’s purpose in creation. Why did God give us the characteristics of our common humanity? The reason is different for men than for women. God gave men their human characteristics along with their masculine characteristics for the purpose of imaging God and bringing him glory. God wanted to create a being that would be like him in every way except for his deity characteristics so that he could watch that being demonstrate his characteristics and thereby bring him glory.
But in order for that being, man, to fulfill his created purpose God needed to create another being. He needed to create a being of a similar nature which could provide companionship. But this being would also have to be created in a way that they would need the leadership, provision and protection of man. So, God created woman as “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7) for man so that he could fulfill his created purpose to image God.
Here is the summary of what the Scriptures teach about the image of God in man and woman and the differences between the two.
While male human beings do not have all the characteristics of God in that they lack God’s deity characteristics there is nothing that is characteristic of male human beings that is not also characteristic of God. The same cannot be said for female human beings. There are many traits that are characteristic of female human beings that are not characteristic of God.
And this is why we can rightly say based upon the Scriptures that our value as human beings, both men and woman, comes from the fact that we were both made in the image of God in our shared human characteristics yet men in their masculine characteristics are the image of God in a way that women are not.
The photo above features a veil like the one that I bought for my daughter a while back from the site VeilsByLily.com. So the question is why did I purchase this veil for my daughter? Was it simply a fashion accessory? Or something more?
For all of Christian history up until the 1960s with the advent of second wave feminism women wore some type of head covering whenever they went to church for worship. The practice of women wearing head coverings is not simply a Christian tradition, but it is actually commanded in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5(KJV): “4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”
Many Christians today argue that Christian women do not have to wear head coverings any more. And believe it or not, there were Christians even back during the Apostle’s time that were arguing against the requirement of women wearing head coverings as is seen in I Corinthians 11:16 (KJV): “But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”
And the great irony is that many Christians today have taken Paul’s rebuke of those who were arguing against women being required to wear head coverings and they attempt to use his rebuke to say women don’t have to wear head coverings! It really is enough to make your head explode if you let it.
In I Corinthians 11:2-16 Paul answers three very important questions about head coverings for women. He answers WHYwomen must wear head coverings, WHAT head coverings are, and WHENhead coverings should be worn.
Paul gives the reason why woman must wear head coverings as an introduction to the conversation on head coverings in I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV): “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
So, the reason women must wear head coverings is because “the head of the woman is the man”. Head here refers to man’s authority over woman.
Egalitarian Christians claim that “head” in verse 3 refers to man as the “source” of woman. The problem with that interpretation is it would then make God the father the source of Christ and that is heresy according to John 1:1-3 (KJV) which tells us the following: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
The context of I Corinthians 11:3 is not the source of man or woman, but rather the authority structure God has created.
But after showing the Egalitarian argument to be faulty, we must now address the Complementarian argument. Complementarians believe in male headship but they limit it to the home and the church. They do not believe male headship over women extends to all areas of society.
The problem for Complementarians is that nothing in the language of verse 3, or the entire discussion of male headship in I Corinthians limits the man’s headship to just the home and the church. It is a broad and sweeping statement of man’s headship over woman.
Is God the Father the head of Christ in all things? Is Christ the head of man in all things? How then can Complementarians claim that men are only the head of women in the home and in the church but not outside those two areas?
And then we must consider the practical implications of the Complementarian attempt to limit man’s headship over woman to just the home and the church. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:24 (KJV) “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”. So, this presents a problem for Complementarians who believe women may take authority over men as long as it outside the home or church.
Let’s take a man and his wife. His wife runs for mayor of their town and she wins. So that means if he were to go to a town hall meeting where his wife is presiding, she now becomes his authority in that sphere. But yet God calls her to submit to her husband in everything. That means in every part of her life. The only exception to her submission to him is the rule the Apostle Peter gave us in Acts 5:29 (KJV) that “We ought to obey God rather than men” if our earthly authority is violating God’s law in what they are asking us to do. The same would go for if his wife was his boss at work.
This is the conundrum the Complementarians run into when they attempt to limit the headship of man over woman to just the home and the church.
But I Corinthians 11:3 is only one part of the Apostle Paul’s answer as to why women should wear head coverings. Later in this passage Paul actually dives into a deeper “WHY” question.
WHY is Man the Head of Woman
God does not always tell us why everything is the way it is. But sometimes he does tell us why some things are the way they are. And in this case of head coverings God caused Paul to fully explain why man is the head of woman in all areas of this life.
Paul writes the following statements just a few verses down in I Corinthians 11:7-10 (KJV) after telling us man is the head of woman and he now explains why man is the head of woman: “7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have been in Complementarian churches’ where they basically take the attitude of “Well God had to put someone in charge, so he picked the man and we just have to accept that”. God did not flip a cosmic coin to decide if man was the head of woman or woman was the head of man. Man being the head of woman was God’s design before he ever created man or woman!
This passage I have just shown from I Corinthians 11:7-10 tells us why man is the head of woman. Man is the head of woman because man is “the image and glory of God” and “neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”. This is a simple and yet profound truth that will change the direction of every man and woman that reads it if they will only accept it and apply it to their lives.
Man was created to image God by living out his attributes and thereby bring him glory. Woman was created by God for man to serve man and bring man glory and in doing so she serves God and brings him glory as well.
And it is “For this cause”, because man is God’s image and glory and because of that woman’s head, that woman ought “to have power on her head because of the angels”. The “power on her head” is the head covering Paul is talking about in this entire first half of I Corinthians 11. When a woman wears a head covering, she is proclaiming to the world that she fully accepts God’s authority over her life and the fact that God has placed her under man’s headship in all areas of life whether that be in the home, the church or elsewhere. Such a woman who fully accepts what her head covering means would never seek to be in any position that would place in her in authority over a man.
Now that we have fully covered the Apostle Paul’s explanation of why women should wear head coverings, we will now dive into what the head covering is that he is referring to.
WHAT is the Head Covering for Women?
Paul gives his answer to what the head covering is in I Corinthians 11:5-6 (KJV) “5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”
The English word “uncovered” in verse 5 and the phrase “not covered” find their root in the negative form of the Greek word “Kalupto” which means “to hide or to veil”. So, Paul is saying when woman does not veil her head, she dishonors her head.
Paul goes on to use a cultural norm that the Corinthians would understand. For a woman to have her hair cut short (shorn) or have her head shaved would be for her to dishonor herself. Paul then goes on to explain where this cultural norm originated in I Corinthians 11:13-15 (KJV): “13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? 14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
Man did not invent this cultural norm, but rather it came from the human nature God designed in man and woman. God put this knowledge into our original nature as human beings to know that long hair on a man is a disgrace, but long hair on a woman is her glory.
Paul talks about this original human nature, our original programming, which tells us right from wrong in Romans 2:14 (KJV): “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves”
In the garden of Eden God created Adam with a perfect male human nature and he created Eve with a perfect female human nature. These nature’s had God’s law directly written into them. Their original human natures told them things like assault, murder and theft were wrong. Adam’s original masculine human nature instinctually told him he needed to lead, protect and provide for his wife. Eve’s original feminine human nature told her she needed to submit to and serve Adam as his subordinate helper.
But both Adam and Eve did not listen to the perfect natures God gave them which told them what to do – instead they went against the perfect human natures they were given and they sinned against God.
From that point forward both human natures, the masculine and feminine, became corrupted by sin. Yet even in its corruption, our human nature can still tell us when something is right or wrong according to God’s law. Now before anyone misunderstands me – I am NOT saying our human natures (either masculine or feminine) are always right and that we can always trust them.
To know where our natures are right and where they are corrupt, we must look to our owner’s manual which is the Word of God. It tells us where our nature is wrong and has been corrupted by sin and where our nature is functioning as God designed it to.
The same thing goes for our culture. If what our culture condemns matches up with what God condemns and if what our culture promotes matches up with what God promotes then we can follow those things in our culture. But if what our culture condemns God approves and what our culture approves God condemns then we must disregard what our culture teaches in that area.
A Woman’s Long Hair is NOT the Covering
The woman’s long hair is “a covering” but it is not THE covering God requires when women pray or prophesy. Let’s apply the “long hair” argument to the passage we have already looked at below: “5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth without long hair dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman has not long hair, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her have long hair.”
Now let’s apply some basic logic.
A woman without long hair = a woman shorn (with short hair) or a woman with a shaved head.
Now let’s apply this to the passage again: “5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head shaven dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 6 For if the woman be shorn, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her have long hair.”
You can’t make a comparison by comparing something to itself. It is like saying “Eating ghost peppers is like eating ghost peppers”. But rather if you wanted to tell someone what eating ghost peppers is like, you might say “Eating ghost peppers is like putting gasoline in your mouth and lighting it on fire”. The comparison of lighting gasoline in your mouth might be a little exaggerated – but it communicates the point of what it is like when you eat ghost peppers. This is why we can confidently conclude that the veil that Paul exhorts women to wear while praying and prophesying is NOT a woman’s long hair. Paul is speaking of two coverings. One is the natural covering (veil) God wants women to wear which is their long hair and the second is the additional physical covering (veil) God wants women to wear over their natural covering when they are praying or prophesying.
Now that we have discussed why God wants women to wear a head covering and we have shown it to be a separate veil in additional to their natural veil we will now show according the Bible when women are to wear this second veil as a spiritual symbol.
WHEN Does God Want Women to Wear a Head Covering?
Before we give the answer as to when women should wear head coverings we need to have a discussion about prophesy since this along with prayer is a central theme of this passage on head coverings.
The English word prophesieth is a translation of the Greek word “Propheteuo”.
Propheteuo is one of those words that you really have to pay attention to the context it is used in. In certain contexts, it refers to someone supernaturally foretelling the future like Christ did in the Gospels or the Apostle John did in the book of Revelation and like the Apostle John these prophets were also ordained by God to speak and write his Word. But in other contexts,propheteuo simply refers to someone teaching, reproving or admonishing others based on the truths of God’s Word.
The Apostle Peter spoke of the prophecy of Joel being fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on Christians in Acts 1:16-18 (KJV): “16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy”
Peter is addressing both types of prophesy in this one statement. He talks about the young men seeing visions and old men dreaming dreams. That is exactly what happened to the Apostles and they wrote about the visions they had in the New Testament. But he also talks about “daughters” and “handmaidens” prophesying. So, what does he mean by this?
In I Corinthians 14:3 (KJV) we read the following statement about prophesy: “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”
Before I explain this passage, I want to make two points. The first thing I want to say is that I love the KJV because even though it has a very old form of English, it is often the most literal rendering of the original text. But like any other translation of the original texts, it sometimes is either confusing because of the old English or it is not as precise as it should be. The second thing I want to say is that I can’t stand all these gender-neutral translations of the Bible. The fact is that the Bible is written in a very masculine tone because God’s nature is represented by the masculine human nature and translations should be faithful to that tone.
But sometimes in the Bible the language used is gender neutral and I Corinthians 14:3 is actually one those passages.
First, where the King James version says “he” as in “he that prophesieth” the Greek Word which is “ho” is actually gender neutral and it would be more accurately translated as “the one”.
Secondly when the KJV refers to hearers of the prophesy it calls them “men” but that is not as precise as it should be when used together with the gender neutral “ho”. The Greek word that is translated as “men” is “Anthropos”. This word can be translated as “man”, “men”, “mankind” or as “people” or a “person” depending on the context it is used in. It is a less precise word than the Greek word “Aner” which is specifically used to refer to male human beings in the Bible or to “gune” which specifically refers to female human beings in the Bible.
With all that being said I believe in this rare case the NIV actually is actually closest to the original meaning with one minor correction: “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
Where I think the NIV is wrong is in their use of the word “strengthening” where the KJV and other translations like the NASB translate the word as “edification” which is a better translation of the Greek word “Oikodome”. Even Thayer’s Bible dictionary states that Oikodome which literally means “the act of building up” also is used metaphorically to mean edifying or edification. The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of edify means to “to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge”.
So, what is I Corinthians 14:3 saying? It is saying that “the one” (man or woman) that prophesies speaks to people (men or women) using the Word of God to instruct them, exhort them and comfort them.
The next verse, I Corinthians 14:4 (KJV) actually mentions the church: “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
Again we have the gender neutral “Ho” for which is translated as “He” and the gender neutral “Heautou” which can be translated as “himself, herself, itself or themselves” depending on the context it is used. And since it is used with the gender neutral “Ho” once again the NIV is the most accurate translation of this verse where it says: “Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.”
And on this subject of prophecy I want to mention one more verse which is found in Acts 21:8-9 (KJV): “8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”
So here is the point I have been building to with all these passages on prophesy. We who believe in the doctrines of Biblical gender roles cannot deny that God gifts some women with the gift of prophecy. And I do not mean the “foretelling of the future and writing God’s Word” kind of prophecy. I mean the kind of prophecy that edifies, exhorts and comforts people and edifies the church as the Scriptures say.
Acts 21:8-9 shows this to be true and the central passage we are talking about here – I Corinthians 11:5 which exhorts women when they prophesy to wear a head covering proves this to be true. I know that many Christian wives have been led astray by false female prophets of God only to see their marriages destroyed. I have had many men write me emails testifying to this fact. Far too many. And it would be easy to say women can never prophesy in any form or venue because we are afraid of false teachings. But gentlemen let me remind you all that women don’t have a monopoly on being false prophets. There are many male false prophets out there today as there have always been.
The Scriptures tell us that God gifts some women with the gift of prophecy so the question then becomes where can they use this gift to edify, exhort and comfort?
Some would wrongly say because I Corinthians 14:4 (NIV) says “the one who prophesies edifies the church” that women can instruct and exhort men in the Church. But such an interpretation ignores clear prohibitions against women teaching men in the Church such this one found in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 (KJV): “11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
And in the same chapter of I Corinthians that we have just mentioned with gender neutral language about people prophesying to the church we find this restriction on women once again in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV): “34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
So how do we explain this? We are told in the Scriptures that prophesy edifies, exhorts and comforts all people and it also edifies the church and we are told that God gives this gift to both men and women. He even tells women when the prophesy to wear a head covering. Yet he tells women to remain silent in the church and learn from their husbands at home.
The answer my friends is found in Titus 2:3-5 (KJV): “3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
When we combine the fact that Bible says some women have the gift of prophecy which includes edification, exhortation and comfort along with this passage we have a clear picture of God’s vision for women. God gifts some women with the ability to be able to edify and exhort other WOMEN “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands” and to comfort them when they are in difficult situations.
Before I show you the final answer as to when a woman must wear a head covering according to the Scriptures, we need to understand one more point. When the Scriptures say “the one who prophesies edifies the church” this is not limited to a local church assembly of men and women together in a worship service.
The church, the body of Christ, is both universal and local. When you go down the street and see a physical church building and see Christians meeting there on Sunday mornings for worship that is a local manifestation of the body of Christ coming together for worship and instruction in the Word.
But then we have the universal body of Christ which includes all saints. There are many ministries which minister to the church on a universal level. A Christian radio show is an example of a ministry which ministers to the universal church. This blog ministry, BiblicalGenderRoles.com, is another example of a ministry which ministers to the universal church. And in this same way Christian women can have blogs which minister to the universal church and are specifically tailored toward women. Even on a local church level woman can have ladies Bible studies or ladies Sunday school classes where women with the gift of prophecy can exercise their gift within the bounds of God’s law.
But as I have said before on this blog – all ministries which are conducted by women, even by those women who have the gift of prophesy, must be done under the headship of man. If it is a single woman with no family that might mean she operates under the authority of the Pastor of her local church. If it is a woman with a Christian father and no husband then she operates under the spiritual authority of her father. And certainly, if a woman has a Christian husband then she operates her ministry to women under the spiritual authority of her husband.
And now we can finally answer the question of WHEN women are scripturally required to wear head coverings.
A woman should wear a head covering, a veil of some sort, during worship services because she certainly should be silently praying together with her local church during worship. Secondly, if a woman is prophesy to other women such as through a podcast or in person in a Sunday school class or a ladies Bible study, she also should wear a head covering.
What about prayer? Well if Paul were talking about prayer and did not mention prophecy then I would lean toward women must cover their head for prayer at any time. But since Paul is linking prayer and prophecy together as the occasion, and we know prophecy can only occur in a church ministry setting (either to the local or universal body) then I believe his command was for women to veil is when they are ministering to the local or universal church. A woman who teaches Sunday school should veil before she opens the class in prayer. A woman who does podcasts to other women and prays and teaches other women should veil as she prays during their podcasts. But if a woman is silently praying at home on her couch, or doing bed time prayers with her children, I do not believe she is required to veil in those instances. Those times are not ministering to church, but rather those times are her ministering to her children.
The “All Times” Argument
Before I conclude I wanted to address the “All Times” argument as to when Christian women should wear head coverings. There are some Christians like the Amish, Mennonites and Anabaptists and others outside those denominations that believe women are to wear head coverings at all times.
Their argument is that the prayer Paul is referring to is not limited to that which occurs in the context of church ministries like worship services or other women’s ministries outside the worship service setting. And they point to 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) which exhorts all Christians to “Pray without ceasing” to say that since Christian women should be in a constant state of pray that they should always have their head coverings.
The Biblical command to “Pray without ceasing” is like the Biblical command for us as Christians to be “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” in Hebrews 10:25 (KJV). In the same way the call to not forsake assembling within our local church bodies does not mean we must be at church 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so too the call to pray without ceasing does not mean we must pray 24 hours a day 7 days a week at all minutes of the day.
Taken together these commands are telling us not to stop the regular practice of meeting together in our local churches or of praying. We as Christians should have regular habits of praying and going to church. This the command of the Scriptures.
Otherwise if we took “pray without ceasing” the way some of these groups have tried to portray it – we could never talk to anyone else because we would be constantly talking to God and if we applied that to forsaking not the assembling of ourselves in the church we would never leave the church building or stop praying. That is not God’s will for our Christian lives. God simply wants prayer and church attendance to be a regular habit for all Christians.
I hope this study has been a blessing to you, I know it was for me as I studied this out again. I have believed in women wearing head coverings within the context of church ministry for many years but God really fined tuned this for me as I studied his Word on this subject once again.
So, we answered here from the Scriptures the three important questions when it comes to Christian women wearing head coverings. We answered the why, the what and the when.
The reason why God wants a woman to wear a head covering is because it is a public acknowledgement by that woman that man is the image bearer of God and man has been designated by God as the head of woman in all areas of this life. It is a testimony to all the people who see her as well as the angels who are watching that she acknowledges the male headship that God has placed her under and she would never seek to take authority over a man.
What is the head covering which God requires when women pray or prophesy? It is the second veil which God requires women to cover their heads with when praying or prophesying. The first veil God requires women to have is the one he naturally gives them the ability to have – and that is their long hair.
When should women wear their head covering or a second veil? Any time a woman prays or prophesies in the context of a local church setting, a ladies Bible study group in her home or even if she did an internet podcast.
As I conclude I just want to give one more “why” answer.
Why did the church abandon the teaching that women should wear head coverings? Why have so many pastors and other Christian teachers and writers gone to great lengths to say it was a “temporary cultural requirement” Even if they agree it is still required, they make the argument I have shown to be logically false that the woman’s long hair is the only covering Paul was talking about.
The answer is that Christian men over the last century or so gradually abandoned their God given headship over the women in their lives. And this leadership vacuum allowed for a poisonous ideology called Feminism to form. And Feminism since its inception has decimated God’s institution of gender roles and marriage and it brought the divorce rate from 3 percent to 45 percent causing more than 60 million divorces. Feminist ideology has also led to the deaths of over 60 million babies in abortion.
Whether it is their wives, their daughters or the women under their ministries in their churches most Christian men have neglected their duty in this regard. They now seek to appease women in their churches or marriages. They are more concerned with making the women in their lives happy than pleasing God.
If you are a God fearing, Bible believing Christian man or woman I ask you to pray for the men around you that God will give them the strength and courage to lead the women in their lives even it that may cause some momentary or even long-term unhappiness for them. I also ask you to pray for the women in your lives that they will have the courage to take a stand and if they do not have the two head coverings God requires for women (long hair and a veil for church ministry) that they will make this right before God and start doing what is right.
You can also listen for free to the first part of a 3 part podcast series I did based on this article below.
If you are interested in listening to the last two parts of this series you can go to BGRLearning.com below and subscribe to hear those two parts and have access to hundreds of other podcasts on gender roles, courtship, marriage and sex from a biblical perspective.