John Locke’s Invention of the “Adult” Social Class

John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher who could rightly be called the father of individualism and by extension the modern age.  It is difficult to overstate the influence he had on America’s founding fathers and all of Western civilization.  The following phrase from the Declaration of Independence was basically a summary of Locke’s concepts from his “Two Treatises of Government” published in 1690:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Before John Locke’s individualism took over Western civilization, Patriarchy was the norm of society.  Duty to one’s faith, family and country was paramount and overrode concerns for individual happiness.  People saw themselves more as part of a collective whole, part of their family, part of their tribe, their faith and their nation rather than only as individuals.

The Origins of Locke’s Individualism

Many philosophies throughout history have been born out of a reaction to other philosophies and this was the case with John Locke.  John Locke actually wrote his “Two Treatises of Government” in 1690 in response to Sir Robert Filmer’s “Patriarcha; or the Natural Power of Kings” which was published in 1680. The central thesis of Filmer’s book was that the divine right of Kings was derived from the natural authority of parents with Adam being the first parent and first King of mankind.

So, it would be correct to say that Locke’s Individualism was born out a response to Filmer’s peculiar brand of Paternalism as applied to kings.

But from a Biblical perspective, both Locke and Filmer were wrong.

Kings Are Not Fathers

Filmer was absolutely wrong in saying Adam was the first king of mankind.  Nothing in the Scriptures teaches this concept.

The following passage which was used to try and support the divine right of Kings theory is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to Romans:

“1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”

Romans 13:1-6 (KJV)

Filmer and others interpreted this passage to mean that Kings had absolute authority over their subjects as a father has over his children.  In effect, Filmer’s philosophy reduced all the rights of the citizens of a nation to that of children.

But Filmer was wrong in his understanding of Romans 13:1-6.  This passage is speaking of God’s institution of civil government and his purpose for it.  God created civil government to praise and uphold good behavior based on his law and to punish those who break God’s moral law.  God instituted civil government to protect the rights he had given to man, not to infringe upon those rights as so many Kings had done for thousands of years.

The passage above from Roman’s actually tells us why we pay “tribute” or taxes to government.  It is to pay for our government’s protection of our rights and property.  The purpose of taxes is to pay for things like the salaries of our national, state and local leaders as well as our policemen, firemen, courts and our military.  God did not intend for taxes to be for the enrichment of our rulers or the redistribution of wealth between the upper, middle and lower income classes.  The duty of charitable giving to the poor was given to the churches and to individuals through free will giving.  God never assigned this task to his institution of civil government.

How many rulers throughout history terrorized those who did good works? Many.  How many rulers did not look out for the good of their people, but rather for their own selfish greed they stole and pillaged from their own people? Many.  How many rulers violated the sacred rights of husbands and fathers over their wives, their children and their other properties? Far too many.

Jesus gave us the following statement regarding civil government:

“And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”

Luke 20:25 (KJV)

The civil government does not have God’s absolute and unlimited authority.  No human authority has unlimited power. Christ told us only to give to the civil government what belongs to the civil government.  And when the civil government usurps its authority and steps outside God’s limits on it, we as Christians have not only a right, but a responsibility to practice civil disobedience to such encroachments.  The Apostle Paul speaks to the Christian’s right and responsibility to practice disobedience to government laws which violate God’s law which would include his purpose for and limits upon civil government:

“27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.

29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Acts 5:27-29 (KJV)

So, as we have seen from the Scriptures, Filmer’s theory of the Divine Right of Kings and kings as fathers to their subjects has no Scriptural merit and actually violates the purposes for which God instituted civil government.

Locke Was Wrong in His Response to Filmer

But as wrong as Filmer was about his theory of kings being like fathers to their subjects, so too Locke was wrong in his approach to Filmer’s arguments.

Locke, instead of centering his attack on the false premise that kings are like fathers, instead chose to center his attack on the authority of fathers so as to limit the authority of kings.

Consider the following statement from John Locke’s “First Treatise of Civil Government” where he addresses the arguments of “our author” speaking to Sir Robert Filmer:

“For had our author set down this command without garbling, as God gave it, and joined mother to father, every reader would have seen, that it had made directly against him; and that it was so far from establishing the monarchical power of the father, that it set up the mother equal with him, and enjoined nothing but what was due in common, to both father and mother: for that is the constant tenor of the scripture, Honour thy father and thy mother…

The rule is, Children, obey your parents; and I do not remember, that I any where read, Children, obey your father, and no more: the scripture joins mother too in that homage, which is due from children; and had there been any text, where the honour or obedience of children had been directed to the father alone, it is not likely that our author, who pretends to build all upon scripture, would have omitted it: nay, the scripture makes the authority of father and mother, in respect of those they have begot, so equal, that in some places it neglects even the priority of order, which is thought due to the father, and the mother”

John Locke made what is perhaps one of the earliest arguments for feminism in this passage by making the father and mother equal in their authority over their children.  Locke actually made a false argument that is easily refuted that the father has no more authority over the children than the mother.  The following passage from the book of Numbers disproves Locke’s assertion of the equal authority of father and mother over their children:

“3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth; 4 And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her; then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. 5 But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her.”

Numbers 30:3-5 (KJV)

The context here is of a young adult woman still under her father’s roof. Nothing here is mentioned of the Mother’s authority to override the young adult daughter’s decisions.  It is only the father that has such authority.

Consider also this passage from the book of Exodus:

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)

It is the father which must give permission for marriage and no mention of the mother is made.

The previous two passages prove Locke wrong in his assertion that there are no passages of the Scriptures where “obedience of children had been directed to the father alone”.

Locke goes on to make the following statement about husbands and wives in his “Second Treatise of Civil Government”:

“But the husband and wife, though they have but one common concern, yet having different understandings, will unavoidably sometimes have different wills too; it therefore being necessary that the last determination, i. e. the rule, should be placed somewhere; it naturally falls to the man’s share, as the abler and the stronger. But this reaching but to the things of their common interest and property, leaves the wife in the full and free possession of what by contract is her peculiar right, and gives the husband no more power over her life than she has over his; the power of the husband being so far from that of an absolute monarch, that the wife has in many cases a liberty to separate from him, where natural right, or their contract allows it; whether that contract be made by themselves in the state of nature, or by the customs or laws of the country they live in; and the children upon such separation fall to the father or mother’s lot, as such contract does determine.”

So here is John Locke’s argument about husbands and wives.  Men and women have an equal say over their own lives, but because their wills sometimes are different on certain family matters it is necessary for one to have “the last determination” meaning somebody has to have the tie breaking vote.  So, this falls to man as “the abler and stronger”.  That last statement is one that causes some feminists to dismiss all of Locke’s writings, while many other feminists are willing to overlook Locke’s “sexism” for all the rest of the equality proclamations he makes.

But then he makes this statement which feminists absolutely love that “the husband no more power over her life than she has over his; the power of the husband being so far from that of an absolute monarch”.

So, in his first treatise Locke assaulted the God given authority of the father making his authority equal with the mother when God granted no such thing and now in his second treatise he attacks the God given authority of the husband over his wife.

Locke’s assertion that “the husband no more power over her life than she has over hisis easily disproven by the follow Scripture passage:

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

In no other human authority relationship is the one under authority told to submit to the one over them as unto the Lord.  In no other human authority relationship is the one under authority told to be subject to that authority as the church is subject to Christ in EVERYTHING.

Locke was completely wrong in his assertion that “the power of the husband being so far from that of an absolute monarch”.  But rather the truth of the Scriptures is that is a king’s power is so far from that of a husband.

Biblically speaking, the most powerful human authority God ever established was that of a husband over his wife with the second most powerful human authority being that of a father over his children and especially his daughters. 

The civil government or king’s power comes after that of a husband and father Biblically speaking.

Now again we need to understand spheres of authority.  A husband cannot encroach upon the sphere of powers God has given to government in the same way the government cannot encroach in areas God has given to husbands.

A practical example of this would be that I cannot tell my wife to break the speed limit.  That speed limit comes under the authority of civil government.   However, the civil government cannot tell my wife that she may disobey my order to vote for the candidate that I tell her to.

Before we can tie this all together with one more statement from Locke to show how he invented a new social class, we need to look at the social classes God designed.

God’s Original Design of Four Social Classes

When God created humanity, he designed it with three primary social classes.  These three primary social classes were Men, Women and Children.  After the flood, God caused a fourth hybrid social class, the Citizen, to form from his creation of nations.

In the Old Testament we read that God set the man over the woman making him her owner and master.

“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)

“6 And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; 7 And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. 8 But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her.”

Numbers 30:6-8 (KJV)

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an [literally “owned by”] husband [“an owner”], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)

And contrary to the false teachings of some Christians today, man’s headship over woman was not a result of the fall, but rather it was God’s design from the beginning before sin entered the picture and was meant to picture the relationship between God and his people or Christ and his Church as I showed previously from Ephesians 5:22-24.

The Bible does not get rid of the submission and ownership of wives in the New Testament, but rather it explains it more and calls women to emulate the obedience that Old Testament wives had to their husbands calling them “lord” which can also means “master”:

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

So, as we can see from looking at both the Old and New Testaments, God created a definite social class distinction between men and women.  Even young adult daughters could have their decisions overridden by their fathers as I showed previously from Numbers 30:3-5 and Exodus 22:16-17.

Now that we have established the first two social classes God designed, those being Men and Women, now we come to the third social class that God designed which was Children:

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-6 (KJV)

“1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Ephesians 6:1-3 (KJV)

So, as you can see from all the Scriptures presented, God created three primary social classes and those are Men, Women and Children.  Men are the owners of their wives and children.  Children are to obey their father and their mother with the father being the head of the home and having the ultimate veto over all decisions of both his wife and his children as well as his adult daughters.

Together the three social classes of Men, Women and Children form the family unit.  But God wanted to create one more unit of humanity and that was the nation.

God’s Fourth Class of Citizen

The Scriptures tell us that God is the one who caused the spread of humanity across the globe and the first nations to form.

“6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.”

Genesis 11:6-8 (KJV)

“7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. 8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 32:7-8 (KJV)

“24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations [Greek ethnos] of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;”

Acts 17:24-26 (KJV)

The “number of the children of Israel” from Deuteronomy 32:7-8 refers to the 70 people who went with Jacob to Egypt.  So, what these passages are telling us together is – God separated humanity into 70 different ethnic groups (that is literally what the Greek word for nation means), gave these ethnic groups different languages and sent them across on the face of the earth determining where they would eventually settle.

In causing nations to form, God also caused the social class of citizen to form.  A citizen is a member of a nation, a group with shared ethnicity and shared language.  In the next social class we will discuss, we will see that God had different rules for how citizens and non-citizens could be treated in the theocracy of Israel.

God Allowed a Fifth Social Class Because of War and Poverty

Because of the presence of sin in the world which lead to poverty and wars, God allowed for a fifth social class which was that of a slave.  He did not allow for citizens to enslave their fellow citizens, but only those who were foreigners.  And there were two ways that the Israelite citizens were allowed by God to acquire slaves.

The first way God allowed for slavery was that he allowed the Israelites to buy children from their foreign parents either living in Israel or in the nations around Israel:

“39 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: 40 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile. 41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.  42 For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen. 43 Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour; but shalt fear thy God.

44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. 46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.”

Leviticus 25:39-46 (KJV)

Standing where we are in 21st century America, we may not be able to fathom why a parent would ever sell their child as a slave.  But the reason in most cases was simple and that was poverty.  If you had four children and your family was starving and by selling one of those four children as a slave you could save the rest of your family this made perfect sense.

This money you would receive would help you and your other children to escape poverty and make sure that all your children were provide for.  Even the child sold as a slave would have to be properly provided for and taken care of by their new master as God’s law demanded.

The second way God allowed slavery was to make prisoners of war slaves for Israel:

But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.”

Deuteronomy 20:14 (KJV)

But God did not allow slavery by kidnapping.  Kidnapping is condemned in the following passage:

“And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”

Exodus 21:16 (KJV)

The passages I have just cited prove God’s allowance for this fifth social class, that being a slave with restrictions of course.  For more on this subject of slavery from a Biblical perspective see my article entitled “Why Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of Slavery in the Bible”.

The Creation of the Nobility and Royal Social Classes

John Locke was right about the fact that man in his natural state was designed to be free. But he was designed to be free within the limits of God’s law.  And what freedom looks like for God’s social classes of men, women and children is very different.

Far too often though, men have willingly given up their freedom whether it be for security or to be like others around them.  This is exactly what Israel did.  They begged God to let them have a king even after he warned them that kings would encroach upon their freedom.  You see before God allowed kings in Israel, the nation was ruled through prophets and judges.  These prophets and judges did not take away the wealth of the people, or seize their sons and daughters, but rather they taught God’s will and organized the people for common defense.  They settled disputes between families and they judged when people committed crimes. Israel only lost its freedom when God allowed other nations to invade because of the sin of Israel.  But when they would regain their freedom, they were free indeed. The men of Israel were as free as they would ever be before they insisted on having a king so they could be like other nations.

So, before God allowed it, he gave them a warning of what kings would do:

“11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.  15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”

1 Samuel 8:11-18 (KJV)

Is this not a perfect description of what many kings have done throughout history? Kings and other nobility classes have consistently violated the property rights of men and when a man’s property is taken or violated by the government, his freedom is taken as well.

But the royal and nobility classes of men were never part of God’s original design.  He meant for all men, male human beings, to be equal and free as his image bearers.

He meant for all men to share in the joys of owning all these things which he warns men not to covet of other men:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

And God actually calls the enjoyment of a man’s labor his gift to him:

“Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (KJV)

So, God only designed three primary classes of people – Men, Women and Children along with a fourth hybrid class of citizen.  But in 1690 John Locke would take a hammer to God’s social class structure.

Locke’s Invention of the “Adult” Social Class

In his “Second Treatise of Civil Government” Locke makes the following statement regarding the authority of parents over their children:

“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions

Children, I confess, are not born in this full state of equality, though they are born to it. Their parents have a sort of rule and jurisdiction over them, when they come into the world, and for some time after; but it is but a temporary one. The bonds of this subjection are like the swaddling clothes they art wrapt up in, and supported by, in the weakness of their infancy: age and reason, as they grow up, loosen them, till at length they drop quite off, and leave a man at his own free disposal…

The power, then, that parents have over their children, arises from that duty which is incumbent on them, to take care of their offspring, during the imperfect state of childhood. To inform the mind, and govern the actions of their yet ignorant non-age, till reason shall take its place, and ease them of that trouble, is what the children want, and the parents are bound to; for God having given man an understanding to direct his actions, has allowed him a freedom of will, and liberty of acting, as properly belonging thereunto, within the bounds of that law he is under. But whilst he is in an estate, wherein he has not understanding of his own to direct his will, he is not to have any will of his own to follow: he that understands for him, must will for him too; he must prescribe to his will, and regulate his actions; but when he comes to the estate that made his father a free man, the son is a free man too.”

So, what was Locke saying? He was saying that all fully matured human beings, adult human beings, are in fact equal in their freedom.  The subjection of children to their parents is only temporary until they come to full maturity and then when they are adults, they are all equal and free.   When taken together with Locke’s former statement from this same treatise that the husband has no more power over his wife’s life than she does over his he believed that men and women possess equal rights and equal freedom.

So, Locke, with his invention of this new social class, the Adult, based on the maturity of a human being regardless of their gender, effectively eradicated the former social classes of Men and Women which God created in the Garden of Eden.

The founding fathers took a more limited view of Locke’s equality ideas rejecting his views of equal freedom for women.   In fact, John Adams said that giving women the right to vote and total equality with men would lead to “the Despotism of the Peticoat”, in other words the complete domination of women over men.  He told his wife Abigail Adams, one of America’s early feminists before feminism became very fashionable, that many men were already the subjects of their wives in their homes and were “Masters” in name only.

And John Adams was absolutely right.  Giving women the right to vote and fulfilling the Lockean vision of society did lead to “the Despotism of the Peticoat”.  In most cases, women have complete control of male/female relationships whether they be dating, cohabitation or marriage.  And women have made great strides in the business and political world and have been exhibiting huge amounts of influence to the point that most men are absolutely terrified to stand up to this “Despotism of the Peticoat” that has now been fully realized with the last 50 years.

It took a little more than a century for America to fully dismiss the warnings of John Adams of what would happen if women were given total equality with men, but eventually America did.  And now we have reaped the consequences with the destruction of marriage and the institution of the family.

Practical Application for Christian Male/Female Relationships

Whether it is a father with his daughter or a husband with his wife this modern notion of “I am an adult” is something we as men will be confronted with on a regular basis.  Many Christian men have no idea how to respond to the following types of statements from the women in their families:

A daughter to her father:

“You can’t tell me who I can see or not see or who I can marry, I am an adult!”

“Stop treating like a child! I am an adult! I make my own life decisions!”

“It’s my body, I can do with it as I wish.  I am an adult!”

A wife to her husband:

“You can’t tell me what to do. You are not my father.  I am an adult!”

“Stop treating me like one of our children! I am an adult!”

“It’s my body, I can do with it as I wish.  I am an adult!”

So how do we as Christian men address these “I am an adult” statements that we may hear from our wives and daughters?

Suggestion Response for a Father to his Daughter

“I recognize that you are a fully formed postpubescent human being, or an adult human being, but you are still a woman and I am still a man. The fact that you are an adult does not change the fact that I am your father and God has given me a special responsibility to love you by leading you, protecting you, providing for you, teaching you, correcting you and preparing you for your future husband.  Sometimes protecting you means protecting you from your own bad decisions. I have the very serious and important tasks of helping you to maintain your sexual purity and giving my blessing to the man that I believe God would have you to marry.  So no, I am not treating you like a child, but rather I am treating you like a woman and a daughter according to God’s Word.”

Suggestion Response for a Husband to his Wife

“I recognize that you are a fully formed postpubescent human being, or an adult human being, but you are still a woman and I am still a man. The fact that you are an adult does not change the fact that I am your husband and God has given me a special responsibility to love you by leading you, protecting you, providing for you, teaching you, correcting you and helping you to be the wife God has called you to be to me.  Sometimes protecting you means protecting you from your own bad decisions.  God has given you and your body to me for my use and my pleasure.  He also has commanded that I not deny sexual relations to you as well.   So no, I am not treating you like one of our children, but rather I am treating you like a woman and like a wife according to God’s Word.”

The War on the Citizenship Class

Our modern society is truly looking to eradicate all social classes except that of Adults and Minors – they even want to eradicate the social class of Citizen. This is the battle that has been playing out over immigration policies in America. On one side you have nationalists who want to protect our culture and the sovereignty of our nation and on the other side you have globalists who want to eradicate the concept of nations and the concept of citizenship is actually evil in their view because it treats a citizen different than a non-citizen.

Conclusion

Do I think John Locke was an evil man and that everything he taught was wrong? No.  He and the founders were imperfect men just as all men are imperfect.  But they were absolutely right that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”.  All men, male human beings, are created equally in God’s image to be his image bearers, but women are not created equal to men.

“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.”

1 Corinthians 11:7 (KJV)

Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines “unalienable” as:

“incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred”

And that really is a perfect description of our God given rights.  The men of America’s past had no right to surrender or transfer their rights to women.  They sinned against God in doing so. And we as Christian men have no right to surrender our God given rights either.  In fact we must fight to reclaim what we have lost.

Each of us has our part to play.   It starts in our marriage. Then in our teaching to our sons and daughters in what it means to be men and women of God.  It means getting out and voting for candidates who support Biblical morality.

It will be a long fight for many decades to come, but it can be won.  It more than a century for America to turn against God’s design in gender roles and social classes and it may take a century or more to return to them.

The questions for Christians reading this are these:

Will you accept what the Bible teaches and reject the false “Adult” social class constructed by John Locke?

Will you return to and accept God’s social order of Men, Women and Children?

Will you stand with those who say it is evil to follow God and his ways and his social classes? Or will you stand with God and serve him?

The choice is yours.

15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

Is Separation of Church and State Biblical?

The concept of Separation of Church and State was a core part of the founding of the United States of America.  The question is – is this concept Biblical?

Another way to ask this question is – Does the State have no business and no interest in protecting the religious unity and identity of the nation?

This is my final episode in my series “A Defense of Biblical Living” where I am responding to claims and questions of the atheist v logger Rachel Oates.  This also available as a mp3 audio download here and you can also check out my other mp3 downloads on my main audio page.

Does the Bible Teach that Women are Second Class Citizens?

I recently received an email from a woman asking for Scriptural proof that that God does not want women to be treated as second class citizens.  She could have sent this email to a lot of Christian sites and they may have sent her back Scriptures that they believe support the idea that women should be treated completely equal with men.

The most common Scripture passage used to try and say the Bible supports equal rights for women is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (KJV)

The advocates for woman’s rights hail this verse saying that it teaches that God intends for there to be absolutely no distinction and thus completely equal rights between men and women. But is this passage from Galatians God’s complete revelation on the subject of gender? We will explore the answer to that question later in this article.

I have changed the name of the woman who wrote me to Lauren in order protect her anonymity as she gave me her real name in the email.  What follows are several statements from her in the email and my response to her showing her from the Bible what God’s Word says on this issue.

LAUREN’S STATEMENT:

“I am raising daughters that have been in an environment that teaches them that women are second class… Do you know any podcast, bible verses, bible studies, websites, etc that can guide them back to trusting the Bible as God’s word and that the verses are not intending women to be second class citizens?”

MY RESPONSE:

First, we need to define what treating someone like a “second class citizen” is.  In common language usage today treating someone like a second-class citizen would be to show disdain for them or mistreat them in some way.  If we were talking about treating with disdain or hatred we can easily show that Biblically speaking this is wrong.  We are to be kind to all people no matter what their race, gender or ethnicity is.   We are also to treat others as we would want to be treated as Christ exhorted us in what has become known as “The Golden Rule”:

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (KJV)

But often times this rule that we should treat others as we would want to be treated is vastly abused by many to cancel out entire sections of the Scriptures.

I get people writing me all the time saying “You only believe the way you do because you are a man and it is advantageous to you to believe in Biblical Gender Roles.  If you were a woman you would not so easily believe in such things.”   You know what my response is to such assertions? I tell them if I was a woman like my mother or my daughter or many other godly women I knew growing up I would absolutely believe the way I do about Biblical Gender Roles.  I don’t believe in Biblical Gender Roles because it is advantageous to me as a man – I believe in Biblical Gender Roles because that it is what the Bible teaches.

Trust me, it is not easy living counter to the culture you live in.  It is also not as easy as women think to be a man especially in this day when masculinity is attacked and women no longer respect men. Marriage has become more of a battlefield today than it ever was thanks to feminism poisoning the minds of women. Many men have just given up and given the reigns to their wife and they do whatever she says and whatever makes her happy.  That is taking the easy and cowardly way out.

Returning back to the subject of women being treated as second-class citizens – we are not talking about mistreating women in the sense of treating them with disdain, dishonor or unkindness by Biblical standards.

The key phrase in my last statement is “by Biblical standards”.   Our culture has a whole different set of standards by which women are said to be treated with disdain, dishonor and in an inhumane way.  Before I speak to this let me give a dictionary definition of a “second class citizen” according to https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/second-class_citizen:

“A person belonging to a social or political group whose rights and opportunities are inferior to those of the dominant group in a society.”

So, if one social group of people has inferior rights and opportunities to that of some other dominant group than they are said to be treated as second class citizens.

American and Western culture in general have devised a new standard of treating someone as “less than a person” or treating someone in “an inhumane way”.  The standard is equal rights.  If a culture has different classes of people with different classes of rights then they are said to be treating those people with hatred, disdain and in an inhumane manner.  No one is allowed to question this modern definition of treating someone in an inhumane way.

In fact, in America we have sacrificed the doctrines of our Christian faith as well as our marriages and many other things on the altar to our false god of equality.  It is ok if we worship the Christian god too, as long as our service to the god of equality comes first.

So now the question then becomes does the Bible advocate for women to be treated as second class citizens to men according to the dictionary definition I just gave?

The answer simply put is YES.  The Bible does in fact advocate for women to be treated as second class citizens to men if “second class citizen” simply means they are to have less rights and opportunities than men.

In fact, women occupy the second of three social classes of humanity that God designed.

The Three Social Classes Ordained by God

Contrary to modern Western and American ideals about equality God’s original design of mankind features a social order with three classes of people.

God’s First-Class Citizen – Man as God’s Image Bearer

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27 (KJV)

There are a great number of Christian theologians that misread this famous Biblical account of the creation of man and woman.  This passage does NOT teach that God created “them” (male and female) in his image. It clearly states “in the image of God created he HIM”. Many Christian teachers (even non-feminist teachers) have tried to argue that because “man” can refer to mankind that this can mean “So God created mankind in his own image”.  That is absolutely true that sometimes “man” (or Adam as it is in the original Hebrew) can refer to an individual man or mankind in general. The problem with this interpretation in this particular passage is found in the second phrase with the word “him” which is a translation of the Hebrew phrase “eth haa-‘adam” which literally means “this same man”.

So in Genesis 1:27 the Scriptures are telling us “God created Adam in his own image, in the image of God created he this same Adam.  Male and Female created he them.”

This passage tells us two very important truths.  God created man (male human beings) in his image and also that he created women as well.  It does not say he created women in his image, only that he created women.

And if there was any doubt as to the correct interpretation of this passage God gave the Apostle Paul this divine commentary on Genesis account:

“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.” I Corinthians 11:7 (KJV)

God’s Second-Class Citizen – Woman the helper to man

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” – Genesis 2:18 (KJV)

In Genesis chapter 2 we see that God did not want Adam to be alone and so he created a helper for him.  Now a helper can be one in authority (like a manager who helps his workers), a helper can be an equal partner or a helper can be a subordinate.  So which kind of helper did not create Eve to be? The Genesis account tells us that Adam named her type “woman” and later he even gave her personal name which was Eve.  This was a sign that she would be a subordinate helper, not an authority helper nor an equal partner.  Throughout the Old Testament this is maintained when we see that men ruled over women and that husbands could override any decision of their wives and fathers could override any decision of their daughters (Numbers 30).

Multiple New Testament passages confirm that woman was designed by God to be a subordinate helper to man.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

God designed woman to be man’s subordinate helper in many ways.  She helps him by bearing and caring for his home and his children (1 Timothy 5:14). She helps him by being a faithful companion (Proverbs 31:11, Malachi 2:14). She helps him by bringing him sexual pleasure (Proverbs 5:15-19).  But another way she helps her husband is simply by being “the weaker vessel” (1 Timothy 5:14) and needing his leadership, provision and protection.  A man cannot fully image God as he was designed to do without being a husband and father and woman helps him in this way to fulfill image God to his fullest capability.

So, if you are asking “Why did God make women to be second class citizens?” the answer is found in a passage we just stated above:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:23 (KJV)

Not only was man made to image God and thus bring glory to him but marriage between a man and woman was made by God to model the relationship between God and his people. So, by fully embracing their status as second-class citizens to men women help men to fully image God and also model the relationship between God and his people.

To our equality obsessed world this makes no sense but this is why we as Christians are called to honor women for being the second-class citizens God designed them to be (I Peter 3:7).

Let me put this another way.  God could have made a partner for man that was his equal in every way. In fact, God could have created man as a hermaphrodite (with both sexes) and then humans could have just chosen any other human as partners. They could have equally broken up the division of having children, caring for the home, leading, providing and protecting.  If what I just said sounds familiar it is because this is exactly what our culture does today.  We promote homosexuality and gender equality – both ideologies which are in direct contradiction to God’s Word and his design.

But if humans existed in pair bonded relationships as equals this would not have properly modeled the relationship of God to his people.  Only if there were two genders with one dependent on the other for their leadership, provision and protection could the relationship of God to his people be properly modeled.

God’s Third-Class Citizen – Children as God’s inheritance to man

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

While man does not create life in exactly the same way God does – God wanted man to have a taste of his ability to create life and in this way, he blessed man with the ability to father children.

Children help both men and women to fulfill their God given God given roles by having someone who needs their care and support.  Children help men to exercise their father role in the way God is father to his children.

Summary of God’s three ordained social classes

Now let’s summarize the three classes and how they relate to one another. Men are to be the image bearers of God. One of the ways a man images God is by loving his wife as Christ loved his Church. Another way a man images God is by loving his children as God loves his children.  Women are to show respect and deference toward men in general and specific obedience and submission toward their father and later their husband.  Children are to show respect and deference to adult men and women and they are specifically to obey and honor their father and mother.  This is God’s original creation design and order of humanity.

A fourth social class allowed by God because of Sin

Sin’s entrance into the world resulted in crime, laziness, poverty and war.  These four human conditions would necessitate that God allow for a fourth class of citizen which is that of a slave.

“If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.  He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.  He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.  For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.  You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.  As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.  Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.  You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.”  Leviticus 25:39-46 (NASB)

While God allowed for slavery he also specifically gave rules regarding the humane treatment of slaves and the conditions under which slavery may occur.  The version of slavery that occurred in North and South America neither met the conditions allowed for slavery or the treatment of slaves.  See my article “Why Christians should not be ashamed of Slavery in the Bible” for more on this subject.

Is a woman’s second-class status only applicable if she is married or living with her father?

Some might think by the passages I mentioned previously that a woman’s second-class status only applies to her if she is married or perhaps is still a young woman living at home with her father.  Such thinking is flawed and does not take into account the entire witness of the Scriptures.  Yes, God allows and even praises celibacy in both women and men (I Corinthians 7).  However, celibacy is God’s exception to his first command to mankind to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) and to keep this command men and women must marry, have sex and have children.

Even if a woman feels called by God to celibacy in his service this does not remove her second-class status.  Paul’s divine commentary on the Genesis account of the creation of man and woman makes this clear.

“3 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. 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. 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.

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 Corinthians 11:3-10 (KJV)

This is one of the most controversial and most un-preached passages in modern churches today. Why? Because it blows away our entire “equality based society”.  Men and women are equal in their humanity because woman was taken from man. However, Paul explains why women were to wear head coverings in worship services – because they were to reflect the order of God’s creation.  Notice there is no mention in this passage of marriage or the relationship between a husband and wife. Instead this speaks to the social order between men and women in general.  This is why women regardless of their marital status are to wear a sign of authority on their head when they come to worship.

LAUREN’S STATEMENT:

 “We attended home church and was told that women are to be submissive to their husbands, and not speak in the church.”

MY RESPONSE:

If you had church services in your home (as many churches do) then your husband would be right in teaching that you and your daughters should remain silent and simply listen during the spiritual instruction given by the men.  This is actually very clearly taught in the Scriptures.

“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. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” 1 Timothy 2:11-13 (KJV)

Now does these mean women can never speak in their home because it is also used for church services? No.  Paul even commands that elder women are to teach younger women in the Lord when he writes:

“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.” Titus 2:1-5 (KJV)

So, it is perfectly Biblical for elder women in the Lord to conduct women’s Bible studies in their home or maintain blogs online with other women as long as this occurs under the authority of their husbands.  The women teaching should teach what is in accordance with their husband’s teachings and the women attending should do so with their husband’s permission.

LAUREN’S STATEMENT:

 “Some of the men in the church were not very caring and loving husbands and they did not honor their wives.  Last year I realized that my efforts to be a proverbs 31 wife has led me to have a relationship that is not what I consider to be what God wants.  My husband is verbally abusive, self-centered, and has neglected his role as Father and Husband.”

MY RESPONSE:

Who determines if a husband is acting in a caring or loving way toward his wife or honoring his wife? I can tell you who does not determine this.  Neither his wife nor his children. Ultimately it is God himself who judges whether your husband is caring and loving to you and honoring you in the way God expects of him.  And how does he determine God’s will in these areas? By examining the Scriptures and how God loves his wife.

Now this is not to say that men should not listen to the counsel of other men whether it be their fathers or their pastors or other spiritually mature men in the Lord.  The Scriptures tell us “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14).  Also, men should hear their wife’s concerns but men must weigh their wife’s concerns by the Word of God. Is what she is asking for within the commands or example of God’s love toward his wife? Maybe.  But is it also possible that how a wife feels her husband should care for her and love her is not warranted or commanded by the Scriptures? Could she actually be selfishly ambitious for a type of love that God does not entitle her to?

For instance, what is verbally abusive? If a man simply raises his voice to his wife is that verbally abusive? You won’t find that anywhere in the Scriptures. If a man calls his wife foolish for acting or talking in a certain way is that verbally abusive? No – in fact we have the example of one of the most righteous men in the Bible doing just that with his wife and the Scriptures tell us he did not sin in doing so (Job 2:10).

LAUREN’S STATEMENT:

“As my daughters are growing up they are rejecting this unfair situation and are questioning the Bible.  They see how there are many verses that are not in favor of women and that we are not as entitled as men… My daughters are losing interest in the Bible as they feel how can God want us to be treated unfairly and they also think that because men wrote the Bible that their sin and attitude about women is revealed in their writing.”

MY RESPONSE:

If I had a dime for every woman that wrote me over the past few years saying something like this “Thanks for confirming for me from the Bible why I never want to be a Christian” or “Thanks for helping me to leave the Christian faith your gender role teachings” I would be a wealthy man. The Atheist emails are especially humorous with their “I love your site – keep up the good preaching! You will convert everyone to atheists like me.”

I have had others write me things like “Please stop teaching these gender role doctrines.  The Gospel is the most important thing people need to believe but people will never come to hear the Gospel if they first hear these gender role doctrines.  Let them discover these passages on their own and decide for themselves what they believe.  Stop putting a stumbling block for people coming to Christ.”

What are all these complaints really saying? They are saying that Christians need to leave behind anything in the Bible that conflicts with our modern culture.  We need to teach people what makes them feel good and things that match the values of our culture or so we are told.  A lot of big churches today do just that.  Even many small churches do this.  The sad fact is only a small percentage of Christian Churches today follow Paul’s example when he stated in Acts 20:27 “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” 

The fact is the doctrines of Biblical gender roles are part of “the whole counsel of God”.  Pastors and Christian teachers do exactly what the Apostle Paul warned them NOT to do:

“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.” 2 Timothy 4:1-4 (KJV)

What do most Pastors and Christian teachers do today? They teach only what their congregation’s itching ears want to hear.  They have conformed themselves to the pattern of this world and the culture we live instead of transforming their minds and seeing the sin that the lays before them in our culture as the Bible exhorts us to do:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 (KJV)

We need to pray for preachers who will once again not be afraid to preach “Thus saith the Lord”.

But Christ didn’t treat women as second-class citizens!

The truth is that there are many Christian Pastors and teachers today that “preacheth another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4).  The Christ they preach is a feminized Christ who is not Lord of all, but one who bows the knee to the false god of equality.

Some online articles try and point to the fact that Jesus broke some social norms of his age when it came to interactions with women and that somehow shows he was a feminist or rejected patriarchy as I have shown the Bible clearly supports.

Their supposed evidence for this is that Jesus encouraged women to sit and listen to him rather than doing house work while he taught (Luke 10:38-42), he spoke to a Samaritan woman (John 4:6-30) or that he had women followers who came along with his disciples.

None of these actions by Christ prove one iota that Christ did not in fact treat women as second-class citizens to men.  What it proves is that he believed the men had had gone too far in forbidding women to hear the teaching of God’s Word (which many did).

Did Christ have even one of his twelve Apostles whom he commissioned to build his Church be a woman? No, he did not. Did Christ one time tell women they should be social equals with men? No, he did not.  Did he tell women not to submit to their husbands? No, he did not.

But the biggest problem with saying Jesus Christ believed in treating women completely equal with men is the fact that his Word says otherwise! Remember that what the Prophets before Christ and the Apostles after Christ wrote came directly from God.  Some Christians falsely believe that the words Christ spoke while he walked among men are more authoritative then the words he gave to his Apostles after he ascended to heaven. To attack the teachings of the Apostles like Peter and Paul regarding gender roles is to attack Christ himself who gave them his Word.

Conclusion

We have shown that those who use Paul’s statement that “there is neither male nor female“ in Galatians 3:28 and Christ’s actions in teaching women have built a false platform of support of equal rights for women.  When we examine the whole counsel of God as found in the entirety of the Scriptures we see this is not the case.

If you are a Christian woman who feels as Lauren and her daughters do toward your husband, father or just men in general this is what you need to do.  You need to heed the words of the Apostle James where he wrote:

“13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:13-16 (NIV)

As a woman who feels the way Lauren and her daughters do – you need to recognize your feelings for what they are when measured against the Word of God.  If you desire anything God did not intend for you to have that is by definition selfish ambition.  If you are desire the status that someone else has that is envy.

If you as a woman desire to be a first-class citizen – meaning to have all the rights and privileges of a man, then you have selfish ambition and envy in your heart.  You need to get down on your knees and pray the prayer of David in Psalm 51:10 where he prays “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” You need to fully embrace your position as the weaker vessel and your place in God’s design.

If you are a father, husband or teachers of God’s Word you must have the courage to stand firm against the evil attitudes and ambitions in the women of our age.

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

I Corinthians 16:13 (NASB)

School sends sheriff to order 7-year-old boy to stop sharing Bible verses

We need to accommodate children with gender dysphoria (aka transgender) but we will not accommodate children who give out Bible verses to their friends at lunch. This is the completely wicked and utterly absurd world that we are living in today.

Here are some parts of the story as reported by Fox News:

“A public school in California ordered a 7-year-old boy to stop handing out Bible verses during lunch – and they dispatched a deputy sheriff to the child’s home to enforce the directive…

Here’s the back story:

Mrs. Zavala made it a practice of including a Bible verse and encouraging note in her son’s lunch bag. The boy would tell his friends about the note and read them aloud at the lunch table.

It wasn’t long before children asked for copies of the notes and Mrs. Zavala obliged – including a brief note to explain the daily Bible verse.

On April 18 a teacher called Mrs. Zavala and said her son would no longer be able to share the Bible verses because he was “not allowed to share such things while at school.”

But on May 9, the school’s principal decided to implement a complete ban on the Bible verse sharing.”

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/06/03/school-sends-sheriff-to-order-child-to-stop-sharing-bible-verses.html

The words of the Prophet Isaiah cry out against the wickedness of our modern American culture:

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Besides these actions being wicked by God’s standards – they are utterly unconstitutional by American legal standards.  Thankfully the Liberty Counsel has agreed to represent this mother and her son and they had this to say about this situation according to Fox News:

““This is a clear, gross violation of the rights of a child,” said Horatio Mihet, a Liberty Counsel attorney representing the first-grader who attends Desert Rose Elementary School in Palmdale. They are also representing his parents, Christina and Jaime Zavala.”

“The deputy sheriff said he had been sent by the school,” Liberty Counsel attorney Richard Mast told me. “The deputy went on to tell the parents that the school was worried that someone might be offended by the Bible verses.”

“If students are permitted to pass out Valentine or birthday cards at school or to talk about Superman and Captain America at lunch, they cannot be prohibited from sharing Bible verses and discussing their faith during their free, non-instructional time,” Mihet told me.”

We as Christians need to use every tool at our disposal to fight against those forces in our culture which want to silence Christianity.

Yes some people are offended by hearing the Bible no doubt.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12(KJV)

The Bible offends them because it pricks their conscience and show them where they fall short of God’s standards or “miss the mark” which is literally what sin is.

This is one of the reasons that people hate the Scriptures that I show on this blog regarding Biblical gender roles. They don’t want to be told that they are not living up to God’s unique standards and plans for each gender.  They don’t want anyone telling them how God would have them to live their lives.

I had a situation when my son was in elementary school where his teacher told him he could not bring his Bible to school to read at lunch – needless to say I took care of that quickly and the teacher never bothered him again.

I have told my children they should not be reading a Bible or trying to talk to kids about their faith during instruction times unless the teacher is asking them questions that would lead to them sharing their faith. But what they do during their free time at school is different.  God has given us certain rights and worshiping him, reading his Word and sharing our faith is one of our many God given rights.

Our founding fathers believed that all men were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” and while we may as Christians agree or disagree on what all those rights are one of the rights we agree on is the right to worship God and talk about our faith.

When schools, local governments, state governments or even the Federal government impede upon these God given rights our founders said of those who rights are violated that “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government”.

In other words sometimes as Christians we must practice civil disobedience even if we are arrested or threatened. In the Scriptures Daniel practiced civil disobedience when he was ordered not to pray to God and when the Apostles were ordered to stop preaching about Christ they said “We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29)

I pray that more Christians will have the courage that this mother and her young son are having and stand up and fight against this tyranny of secularism in our schools and higher education facilities that would silence Christians from expressing their faith in public settings.

Does the Bible teach the concept of “Human Property”?

 

Now that we have discussed Biblical laws allowing and regulating slavery, I want to discuss the Biblical concept of “Human property”.  I realize that just the idea of thinking that a human being could be property is absolutely appalling to our modern western values. When we think of human beings as property, we imagine people being abused and hurt by their “owner”.  But what does the Bible say about the concept of human beings as property?

In the Bible a man’s wife and children were considered his property

Happy family hugging isolated on white

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:17 (NASB)

This is idea of a man’s wife and child being considered his “human property” is confirmed by these other teachings of the Bible:

A man paid a bride price to a woman’s father for her hand in marriage – the father did not have to consider his daughter’s wishes in the man he chose for her.

A man paid the bride price to a woman’s father if he had pre-marital sex with her, and the father still had the choice of whether he would give his daughter to this man in marriage. Pre-marital sex was considered a property crime against the father of virgin that had been defiled.

When a man committed adultery with another man’s wife he and she could be executed. This was considered a property crime against the woman’s husband. If a married man had sex with a prostitute this was not considered adultery, but rather the sin of Whoremongering as no property crime was committed.

The fact that a man was allowed under Biblical law to sell his son or daughter as a slave confirms that children were considered the property of their father (assuming he was a free man, and not a slave who had been given a wife by his master).

The only exception to this idea of a man’s wife and children being his property was if the man was a slave and his master gave him another slave as a wife. If the male slave were to freed, the master did not have to release his wife and children with him.

Different types of Human property

While all slaves Biblically speaking would be considered human property (unless they were a fellow Hebrew male and then only seed as a temporary hired worker), not all of those who are considered human property were slaves.

A wife while she her husband’s property, is not his slave. A child while is the human property of his father – is not his slave.

Even though Wives and children were also considered human property they had the same human rights as slaves and then even more rights.

The Bible gives an example of this difference of rights between those who were considered human property when it shows in Exodus 21:9-11 when a man gives his female slave to his son as a wife. The Bible states she must be given the full rights of a daughter and a wife – even though she remained human property.

The Treatment of Human Property

Most people in our modern society have the idea that if a person is regarded as human property, that the owner of that person can treat them any way they wish. This could not be further from the truth. I highly suggest that you read my post “Biblical Human Rights vs American Human Rights” and see the section entitled “8 Biblical Human Rights”. These are rights that every human being has, whether they are considered the human property of another person or not.

Children as Human property

Most Americans, while they might not like the use of the word “property” when referring to their children basically regard their children as their property. I would argue that they have a Biblical right to do so. That is why parents get angry when doctors or school officials do things without parental consent. “That is my child, and you did not have my permission to do this or that with them against my wishes” – this is a phrase that is heard quite often from parents, and our legal system for the most part supports this concept of parental consent.

As parents God meant for us to have complete control over things like our children’s education and medical treatment. God meant for us a parents to mold our children through discipline and training to respect and obey not only our authority as parents, but other authorities that God places in their life whether they are teachers in school, church authorities or civil authorities.

Because God places the greatest responsibility on a father and then secondarily to a mother, he gives parents the most power over a child’s life. This is why schools, churches and the government need to be careful to stay within the realm of authority God has given them when they are working with children as God has given the ultimate human authority in a child’s life to their father and mother.

Wives as Human property

Seeing a wife as the human property of her husband sounds degrading and insulting to most Americans and westerners. But there are still some devout men and women of the Christian faith that have no problem with this concept.

As believers we are told that we are not our own, that we belong to God. Christian Men, women and children – it makes no difference we all belong to God.

“…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20(NASB)

Most Christians have no problem with the concept that we all belong to God. It is only when God delegates his ownership over us to a fallible human being that we begin to have a problem.

For Christians who reject the concept of male headship as taught in the Scriptures – it is impossible for them to even conceive of a wife being the property of her husband as they see marriage as an equal partnership.

But even for some Christians who embrace the concept of male headship as taught in God’s Word – they still struggle with this concept of a wife being the property of her husband. The reason is because they fear the abuse of such power and with good reason as many men have abused this power God has given them over their wives.

But the abuse of power by those in authority, whether in government, the church or the home does not negate the truth that God teaches about authority and ownership in the family. God has delegated his ownership of the family – the wife and the children to the husband and father.

God teaches that when women and children willingly submit to the authority of the husband and father in the home – he blesses them and it is a testimony to the world of God’s power. When a husband uses the power God has given him, not for his own sinful and selfish desires but for the glory of God he blesses his entire family through his leadership, provision and protection(I Peter 3:1-6).

Some Christian women who embrace the concept of male headship may ask for more direct evidence than the passages I supplied so far for God seeing a husband as the owner of his wife.

In the next couple of sections I will show more direct evidence from the Scriptures that husbands do in fact own their wives.

Ownership of wives shown in the Old Testament

There are two Hebrew words that the Old Testament translates for us in English as “husband”. The first one ‘ish’ literally means “man”, but it is translated a “husband” whenever the context is talking about a husband and wife. The second word that the Hebrew Scriptures use for “husband” is “baal” which literally means “Owner/lord”. This same Hebrew word is used to refer owner of something.

First here are some examples of the use of the Hebrew word “baal” that are not in speaking of a husband and wife:

“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner [baal – “owner”] of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner [baal – “owner”], and the dead animal shall become his.” – Exodus 21:33-34 (NASB)

“Then the man, the owner [baal – “owner”] of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.” – Judges 19:23 (NASB)

In Exodus 21:33-34 we see that “baal” refers both the owner of a piece of land and another owner of and ox or a donkey. In Judges 19:23 – “baal” refers the owner of a house.

Now let’s move on to examples of “baal” in reference to the relationship of a husband and a wife:

“Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar. Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married [baal – “she has an owner”].” – Genesis 20:1-3 (NASB)

“If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband [baal – “owner”] of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.” – Exodus 21:3 (NASB)

“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband [baal – “owner”] may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide.” – Exodus 21:22 (NASB)

“An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

 The heart of her husband [baal – “owner”] trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.” – Proverbs 31:10-12 (NASB)

There are more passages that use “baal” to refer to a husband being the lord and owner of his wife but I think the ones I have provided here are ample evidence to this Biblical teaching.

What about Hosea 2:16?

Some egalitarians actually will concede the inequality in the relationship between a husband and wife in the Old Testament. But they believe that Hosea 2:16, speaking of the coming Christ, shows that God makes the husband and wife relationship no longer a owner/owned relationship but rather and equal partnership.

“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi[man]

And will no longer call Me Baali[lord/owner].” – Hosea 2:16 (NASB)

There is a problem with this egalitarian interpretation that God was going to change marriage from an owner/owned relationship to an equal partnership with coming of Christ. Apparently the Apostles Paul and Peter did not get the memo – because those Apostles wrote these passages under the inspiration of God:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:23-24(NASB)

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior… For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;  just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord” – I Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6 (NASB)

Peter was actually pointing back to the Old Testament’s use of “baal – lord/owner” in reference to a husband and he was reminding Christian women that the holy women of old treating their husband’s as their lords and owners was the example that God still wanted them to follow in marriage.

So what was God saying of his nation of Israel as his wife when he said they would no longer call him “Baali” but “Ishi” if he was not removing the ownership/lordship part aspect of what marriage is about?

The context of that statement is critical to properly interpreting it.  In the beginning of Hosea chapter 2 in verse 2 we see that God says of his wife Israel “For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband“.  This is in reference to the fact that God divorced Israel as his wife for her adultery(Isaiah 50:1 ,Jeremiah 3:8).

When we take the entire context of Hosea chapter 2  this is what we see.  A husband who has been badly hurt by his wife’s adultery with various lovers.  He tried to discipline her to bring her back to him but eventually he had to divorce her because she continued doing this.  But even after divorcing her he still loves his former wife and still provides for her even though she does not realize it.  In fact, she thinks her provision comes from her various lovers.

God decides to rip the carpet out from under his former wife and takes away everything she has and strips her even of the clothes off her back.  Leaving her naked, hungry and homeless.  In her nakedness and hunger she comes to the realization we see in verse 9 where she says “‘I will go back to my first husband,
For it was better for me then than now!’”  

God in love opens his arms to his former wife and takes her and speaks softly and kindly to her.  He allures her with his love and shows his grace and mercy.  His former wife falls madly in love with him again and this time even more than before.  She will no longer regard him simply as her Lord and owner(which all husbands are to their wives), but she will regard him as her “iysh” or in others words she will say “You are not just my Lord and owner, you are my man(ishi) whom I love“.

The Greatest evidence that God has made the husband the owner of his wife

I could have lead with this evidence as it is the strongest and most indisputable evidence that God has made husbands the owners of their wives. But I first wanted to show the pattern of husband’s being their wives owners throughout the Old Testament.

Many Christians will gladly accept the fact that God designed marriage as a picture of Christ and his Church as shown in Ephesians 5:22-33. In fact this is the favorite part of Ephesians 5 by those who take the equal partnership view of is this passage:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)

But if we are going to accept the fact that marriage was designed by God to be a model of the relationship between Christ and his Church then we must accept ALL aspects of the relationship between God and his Church.

So what that means is if we fully embrace the fact that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved his Church then we must equally accept that the husband is the head of the wife and she must submit to her husband in “everything”(Ephesians 5:24).

Also in accepting the fact that marriage is a model of the relationship between Christ and his Church we must accept that the attributes of that relationship are not confined to Ephesians 5:22-33.  The attributes of that relationship are found throughout the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation.

Finally this brings us to a little known attribute of the relationship of Christ and his Church as found in the book of Acts:

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

 Acts 20:28 (KJV)
And there it is. Christ purchased his wife(the Church) just as men purchased their wives in the Old Testament. Can anyone deny that Christ owns his Church?
You cannot accept that marriage is a model of the relationship between Christ and his Church and only accept certain aspects of that relationship.  You must accept all the attributes of that relationship or none of them.

Conclusion

I doubt I have changed the minds of any egalitarians or Christian feminists reading this since most of them reject Biblical inerrancy. But for those Christians who accepted the Biblical teaching of male headship before you came to this post – you now may be asking “Why does it matter that a husband is not only the head of his wife, but that he actually owns her?”

To Husbands

Husband – this truth that God has given you ownership of your wife and children should not cause your pride to rise, but rather it should humble you. The ownership God has given you is to be exercised for his glory – not yours. You should always remember that your wife and children are gifts from God to you.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the Lord.” – Proverbs 18:22(NASB)

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 (NASB)

As Christian men we are responsible for our children AND our wife’s spiritual and physical well-being. We are also responsible for the behavior of our children AND our wife. Unfortunately many Christian men are negligent in ownership responsibilities over their families. God wants us as men to take ownership for the women and children he has given graciously us.

He wants us to love them by knowing them, honoring them, leading them, teaching them, correcting and disciplining them, protecting them and providing for them.

Let me add one caveat to these responsibilities that we as Christian husbands have for our wife and children.  God holds each of us responsible for he has given us power over.  So if our wife or child descends into spiritual rebellion against after we as husbands and fathers have exercised the authority God has given us to try and help them – then we are no longer responsible for their behavior.  What I am talking about is husbands or fathers who watch their wives or children descend into sinful behavior and tell themselves there is nothing they can do and they bare no responsibility to intervene. According to God’s Word as the Spiritual heads of our homes we do have a responsibility to spiritually intervene in the lives of our wives and children.

To Wives

Wife – this truth that God has given your husband owner over you might at first be scary. It’s scary because we all know that human authority can be abused. But God calls you to have faith in him, and faith in his design. This does not mean your husband will never mistreat you, or sin against you because he is a sinner just like you. Also know that just because God has made you the property of your husband this does not mean as “human property” that you have no rights.  You have certain human rights and additional rights as a wife that your husband must respect – otherwise God will hold him accountable.

God did not give your husband ownership over you to crush or dehumanize you, but to provide for you what he knows you need. Once you understand how God view’s a husband’s ownership over his wife – it should give you comfort that if he owns you the way that God owns us all, you have nothing to fear.

This will then free you to embrace your husband’s ownership over you. It will humble you and help you put aside that sinful pride that can often rise up in your heart. You will be able realize you are not your own – you were bought with a price, and God gave you to your husband.

“For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NASB)

“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” – I Corinthians 11:7(NASB)

Biblical Human Rights vs American Human Rights

What we think of today as “human rights” and how God defined human rights from the beginning of creation are two very different things. Human rights would be defined as those rights every human being has.

There are a lot of different definitions of human rights, some longer and some shorter so I will just offer a brief sample of common human rights that most people in American(and Western) culture believe in.

12 American Human Rights

Below is a list of 12 rights that modern Americans have.  The reason I use the key word “modern” is because some of these rights were not granted in America’s original Constitution and Bill of Rights but were added a century or more after America’s founding.

American Right #1

All persons should have full autonomy (full freedom), regardless of their gender, race, economic standing, national origin, ethnic background or religious beliefs.

American Right # 2

Every person has the right to believe as they will, and worship or not worship as we they will.

American Right #3

Every person has the right to do with their own body as they will (this includes any type of voluntary sexual activity inside or outside of marriage).

American Right #4

Every person has the right to work for and obtain property and do as they wish with their own private property.

American Right #5

No person can sell themselves or their children into slavery and no person may own any slaves (human property is forbidden).

American Right #6

Every person has the right not to be physically abused.

American Right #7

Every person has the right to defend themselves harm.

American Right #8

Every person has the right to choose whom they will marry (or divorce). Men and women have equal rights in marriage, and equal rights to their children and all property between them is to be divided equally about the dissolving of the marriage in divorce (absent a prenuptial agreement).

American Right #9

Every person has the right to a free education (at least up to a secondary level).

American Right #10

No person should be deprived of his property, his freedom or his life without due process of the law,

American Right #11

Every person should be treated equally before the law.

American Right #12

No person may be treated differently by the Government based on their religion, their race, their ethnic background or their gender.

There are many other rights that many Americans believe in (on both the right and the left), but once we get past these rights there begins to be much disagreement. For instance when it comes to rights regarding sexual orientation or rights to health care and other social welfare items, there is still much disagreement in the United States. Also there is a lot of disagreement as to the difference between the rights of children and adults with some advocating for more autonomy among children (taking away parental rights over children).

There has also been a debate over the last century in America as to how we get new rights.  Constitutional “Originalists” believe that new rights may only be granted by following the Amendment process of the Constitution and the Constitution must be interpreted in light of its original intent.  Other Americans, seeing the Constitution as “a living document”, believe that the Amendment process to the Constitution is not necessary for granting new rights.  They believe judges may simply take and find existing Amendments, then reinterpret those amendments to grant new rights.

But now let’s compare and contrast American human rights with the rights given to human beings by the God in the Bible.

8 Biblical Human Rights

While our American founders were certainly flawed men we as Bible believing Christians would agree with what they wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”We may disagree as to what those God given rights are, but we agree on the source of those rights.

Below is a list of God given human rights.  Human rights in the Bible are those rights that every class of society had, even slaves.

God Given Human Right #1

Every person has the right to love the one true God, the God of the Bible. Everyone has a right to worship him and obey him even when this conflicts with the wishes of their human authorities.

“You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” – Luke 4:8 (NASB)

We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29 (NASB)

God Given Human Right #2

Every person has the right to be treated fairly and justly

“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 4:1(NASB)

God Given Human Right #3

Every person has the right not to be physically abused.

“If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.” – Exodus 21:26-28(NASB)

God Given Human Right #4

No person, male or female, may be deprived of their life without due process of the law. Every person should be treated impartially before the law.

“You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.” – Deuteronomy 16:19(NASB)

God Given Human Right #5

No person may be kidnapped, which is the illegal acquiring of human property. Only persons who are legally acquired as property may be bought or sold.

“If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.” – Deuteronomy 24:7(NASB)

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.” – Leviticus 25:44 (NASB)

“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.” – Exodus 21:7 (NASB)

God Given Human Right #6

Both men and women have an equal right to sex with their spouse within marriage.

“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” – I Corinthians 7:4 (NASB)

God Given Human Right #7

Every person is entitled to a day of rest one day a week

“but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” – Exodus 20:10(NASB)

God Given Human Right #8

Every person has the right to defend themselves and their family

“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account.” – Exodus 22:2(NASB)

“fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses” – Nehemiah 4:14(NASB)

Some big differences between Biblical and American Human rights

First off all I want to remind the reader that we are discussing “human rights”, meaning rights that all human beings have in common.

There are many more rights that God gives to various groups such as males vs females, husbands vs wives, free vs slave and adults vs children.  

This discussion of “human rights” is really a discussion of “equal rights between all human beings”.

There are some big differences between what we believe as Americans are human rights and what the Bible presents as rights given by God. Listed below are key differences between Biblical human rights and American human rights.

Except for the 8 Biblical human rights listed above, men and women do not have equal rights under Biblical law.

Except for kidnapping (the illegal acquiring of human property), slavery is allowed under Biblical law. But even slaves as human property are entitled to the 8 Biblical Human rights listed above.

There is no right given to worship any other God, except the God of the Bible.

There is no right to sex outside of marriage between a man and woman.

Only free men have the complete right and power over their own property and decisions. A father could override his daughter’s property decisions, and a husband could override his wife’s property decisions under Biblical law.

No person had a right to education whether paid or free under Biblical Law.

Under Biblical law, discrimination between men and women, Israelite and non-Israelite was not only allowed, it was commanded by God. Even under new law of Christ in the New Testament, there are some differences between how believers and non-believers are treated.

But doesn’t God support more human rights (equal rights) in the New Testament?

Some Christians may concede that there were far fewer human rights given in the Old Testament than in the New. But these same Christians (feminists and egalitarians) would point to this passage from the New Testament which they believe supposedly grants more human rights:

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28 (NASB)

The truth is that this passage does no eliminate all social classes or gender distinctions between men and women, slave or free, Jew or Greek. It simply affirms an old truth that from the very beginning, all people had a human right to come to the one true God, worship him and obey him regardless of their gender or social status.

If you look into the full context of this passage it is talking about how God would no longer deal with his people through the nation of Israel, but now his people would be represented in a new body, the Church which is the body of Christ. God’s promise of salvation was not restricted to the nation of Israel but rather God saves all people and brings them into his body, regardless of their social status, ethnic origin or gender.

So in the view of some egalitarians, God eliminated all distinction in rights between men and women and he also eliminated slavery or social castes with different rights by this one passage.

But as with any other subject, we cannot take one passage and cancel out all other passages in the Bible. These old allowances and principles were reinstated and in some cases even elaborated on further in the New Testament.

The Principle that that God created woman for man and that he is her head in society, in the Church and in the home is brought forward and reinforced in the New Testament:

“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… Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:3 & 9(KJV)

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:23-24(KJV)

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands… For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord…” I Peter 3: 1 & 5-6 (KJV)

On the slavery issue – see my post “Why Christians should not be ashamed of Biblical Slavery”.

Conclusion

Our rights do not come from our government, they come from our maker and our God. He gives us some rights that our government does not, and he does not give us all the rights our government does.

Some extra rights that our government gives us are not sinful and therefore as Christians we may enjoy these additional rights that are granted to us in American society. But other rights, such as the right to private sexual acts outside of marriage, the right to engage in homosexual sex or prostitution and the new right to gay marriage are sinful and Christians may not exercise these rights.

Another sinful right that our American society grants is the right to no-fault divorce. God grants no such right. A husband or wife have no right to divorce their spouse expect for if their spouse violates the covenant of marriage by engaging in sexually immoral acts, physical abuse or physical abandonment of the marriage.

We as Christians must never forget that God is the one who created us, and he is the one who defines what it means to be human.  God is the one the grants our grants us our rights, and his commands supersede that our modern cultures and governments.

Why Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of Slavery in the Bible

Many Christians wish this issue would just go away. Atheists and other Non-Christians often bring up the topic of slavery in the Bible as a way to discredit the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Even some who claim to profess faith in Jesus Christ use slavery in the Bible as a way to discredit Biblical commands regarding gender roles. How can we as Christians believe that slavery in America was immoral but at the same time defend slavery in the Bible? Isn’t this a huge a contradiction?

The typical response that most Christians give about slavery in the Bible

“Well God overlooked many sinful activities in ancient society like polygamy and slavery, but these were not his perfect will. Later in the New Testament he told Christians not to practice slavery and polygamy anymore.”

Even though this post is about slavery, I include polygamy in the above statement because usually these two issues are used together to attack the morality of Christianity. I won’t be dealing with Biblical polygamy here but I have written an entire series on it and I will provide a link to it at the end of this post .

The vast majority of Christians, and sadly even many Ministers of the Gospel of Christ simply concede the modern western world’s notion that slavery is ALWAYS immoral. The other concession they make which is even worse is that God tolerated or even regulated an activity (slavery) that he believed was sinful. What these believers are doing is actually accusing God of overlooking sin.

Whenever I hear Christians saying God overlooked the supposed sins of slavery and polygamy this passage of Scripture comes to mind:

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.” – Deuteronomy 32:4 (NASB)

The God I worship who gave commands that allowed for the practices of slavery and polygamy is just and righteous in all he commands.

If we say that God’s commands allowing polygamy and slavery were anything less than just and right – then we open the door to say that anything other commands in Scripture can be dismissed “sins God chose to overlook”.

Some Christians who reject any type of inequality – be it social or economic and especially Biblical inequalities between men and women – will say things like this:

“God always hated the sin of inequality in any sphere it appeared in society, but he wanted to reveal his will on these issues slowly and not turn society upside down by trying to explicitly take on on the “sin of inequality” that existed in practices like marriage,polygamy,slavery and capitalism.”

In fact for many Christians who reject Biblical inerrancy, they will claim that Jesus was Socialist and Feminist. I wrote some posts a while back refuting the idea that Jesus was a Feminist.

If we as Bible believing Christians surrender on issues like slavery and polygamy, and concede that they were sins God just “overlooked”, then we are at the same time surrendering the inerrancy of the Scriptures and the justice and righteousness of God in everything he commands.

But I understand that as a believer – you may need a little more than my word on this. So we will look at what the Bible says about slavery and also compare and contrast that with slavery as it was practiced in the United States.

One type of slavery is still constitutional in the United States

Before we get into what the Bible says about slavery I wanted to point to an interesting fact that most Americans are completely unaware of. Believe it or not, the United States still allows slavery.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865 gives this exception to our prohibition of slavery:

“neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

When a person is sentenced to life with hard labor for a crime they commit – that is a form of slavery. There are still some prisons that have forced labor, but it is not as widespread as it once was.

I actually believe this remaining form of slavery should be expanded in the United States. Imagine if every car thief, every drug dealer and especially those white collar criminals all knew they were going to have to do hard labor during their sentences instead of just being confined to a cell and given time in a yard with three meals a day?

This could bring down crime rates as well as help with the costs of prisons.

Does the Bible actually allow slavery or is it just silent on the issue?

The Bible not only allows the practice of slavery but it also regulates slavery in the laws that Moses gave to the nation of Israel. There are two primary passages in Mose’s Law that give us God’s regulations for how slavery could be morally practiced.

“If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.  He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.  He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.  For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.  You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.  As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.  Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.  You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another. – Leviticus 25:39-46 (NASB)

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.  If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.  If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.  But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.  If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.” – Exodus 21:2-11 (NASB)

So it’s pretty clear in Moses’ Law that God not only allowed slavery, he regulated it. Slaves from pagan nations were automatically regarded as permanent property, and could actually be left as an inheritance to the children of their Hebrew slave owners.

But neither male or female Hebrew indentured servants could  be kept permanently.   We see that in this passage the following passage:

12 “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. 13 When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14 You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you.”

Deuteronomy 15:12-14 (NASB)

The difference between male and female Hebrew indentured servants was that the woman had to be “redeemed“(Exodus 21:8) which is a reference to either her parents, brother or other male relative buying her back or another man purchasing her as a wife for himself.  But it is clear that God did not want Hebrew women being permanently kept as indentured servants but wanted them to have the opportunity to become wives and mothers.  So if the man did not want her for himself or one of his sons he had to allow her to be redeemed.

If a man bought a woman and gave her to his son he had treat her with the full rights of a daughter, and his son had to give her the full rights of a wife.

Biblical Rules for proper treatment of human property

“but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” – Exodus 20:10(NASB)

“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property… “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.” – Exodus 21:20 -21 & 26-27 (NASB)

“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 4:1 (NASB)

Slaves were to be treated fairly and justly by their masters. They were to be given rest one day a week when the rest of the family rested and they were able to participate in the various festivals. They were not allowed to be physically abused or murdered.

Does the New Testament maintain slavery or get rid of it?

The New Testament maintains slavery as an acceptable practice before God, provided that slaves were treated justly and fairly.

Some Christians have tried to say that the Apostles and especially Paul wanted to abolish slavery because of an issue with a runaway slave. Paul wrote a letter to a Christian slave owner named Philemon.  Paul had mentored a man name Onesimus who became a believer in Christ. He did mission work with Paul and was “useful” to Paul .  But at some point Onesimus revealed that he was a runaway slave and Paul sent him back to Philemon with this exhortation:

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment,  who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.  I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,  whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;  but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.  For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

 If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account;” – Philemon 1:10-18(NASB)

Some Christians point to this phrase “that you would have him back forever,  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave” to say Paul was commanding Philemon to free this slave, and by extension was against slavery and wanted him and all other Christian slave masters to free their slaves. But again whenever we look at a topic in Scripture, we have to look at everything written on that topic and not just one passage before we can truly understand God’s position on an issue.

Paul addresses Christian slave owners in these passages:

“All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.” – I Timothy 6:1-3 (NASB)

“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 3:22 – 4:1 (NASB)

“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;  not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,  knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” – Ephesians 6:5-9(NASB)

If Paul was against Christians owning slaves – he would have clearly said so.  He had every opportunity to tell at least Christian slave owners that they should free their slaves and stop using slavery in their businesses. Instead Paul exhorts Masters to treat their slaves with justice and fairness, and if they are believers to treat them as brothers in Christ even though they are still slaves. Some have said that Paul did not want to impede the Gospel by taking on slavery.  But this idea reduces the Pauline epistles to mere human letters – when in fact they were divinely inspired by God.  Remember what we said previously – every command of God is just and right and Paul was giving us God’s commands regarding slaves and their masters. If God had changed his mind about slavery from the law that he gave Moses, he would have said so through his Apostles, but he did not.

Paul tells slaves if they can be free, then be free but if they cannot they need to accept their condition as slaves:

“Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.” -1 Corinthians 7:21-22(NASB)

The Apostle Peter weighed in on slavery to when he told slaves they needed to submit even to Masters who were cruel.

Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” I Peter 2:18 (HCSB)

It is interesting in each of Paul’s exhortations to slaves, he always starts off with the slave needing to respect and obey their masters and then he goes to telling the masters to treat their slaves fairly. He also does the same thing when he speaks to wives and husbands.  He starts off telling wives to submit to their husbands and then ends telling husbands to treat their wives kindly.  The principle Paul was giving us under the inspiration of God was – our respect and obedience to our authorities is not dependent on how they treat us, but rather our obedience is to our authorities is based on our obedience to God.

I believe the New Testament Scriptures are clear – God did not get rid of slavery but simply made sure that Masters treated theirs slaves fairly and that slaves knew they needed to obey their masters.

Based upon the passages cited above, as well as other passages and principles of the Bible the test of whether a particular practice of slavery is moral is answered by the two sets of questions:

The First morality test of Slavery – How did the slave come to be owned by their master?

Did they voluntarily give themselves as a slave in exchange for protection and economic security?

Were they born from slave parents?

Were they sold as a slave by their father?

Did they voluntarily sell themselves to pay off debtors?

Were they forced into servitude by governing authorities either because of debts they owed or because of a crime they committed?

Were they captured as a prisoner of a just war?

Were they kidnapped and forced to be a slave?

Biblically speaking, if a person were to answer yes to any of the first six questions, then the way that they became a slave was not wrong. If however the person was kidnapped and forced into slavery, then this type of slavery would be immoral and wrong.

The Second morality test of Slavery – How is the slave being treated by their master?

Are food, clothing and shelter being provided to the slave?

Is the slave being treated justly and fairly?

Is the slave being given proper rest?

Is the slave not being physically abused?

If the answer to all these questions is yes regarding the treatment of slaves in a particular situation then this instance of slavery would be moral – Biblically speaking.

Comparing American Slavery to Biblical Slavery

As Americans we see the practice of slavery through the eyes of African Americans and how their ancestors were treated here in America. But we need to understand that the practice of slavery here in America was nothing like the slavery that God allowed and regulated in the Bible.

Before the modern era, people often had to choose between personal liberty and economic security in most cultures around the world.

For instance in Biblical times it was not uncommon for a father to have to sell one or more his children as slaves to a wealthier family. This served two purposes – it would ensure that his children would be feed and cared for and often times it would help to pull his own family out of poverty because of the money he would receive in return.

Other times young men who had lost their entire families and lived in poverty on the street might sell themselves to wealthy man in order to have food, clothing and protection guaranteed.

Another thing is the image we have of slaves. We have in our mind men, women and children in chains and rags working their hands to the bone each day. The truth is that in many instances in ancient Israel you might have had trouble distinguishing who in the household was a slave and who were family members.

On the other hand, the slavery in practice in America was completely different than the slavery that was allowed by the Bible. Chains were a very a common occurrence with slavery in America. It was based on the false ideology that one race was less human than others and they could be enslaved if for no other reason than their race.

The Bible dispels such a notion about slaves being less human than their masters:

“If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves When they filed a complaint against me, What then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?

“Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb? – Job 31:13-15(NASB)

Job was clear that God made his slaves in their mother’s wombs just as he was made in his mother’s womb.

No person is less human than another, and no one deserves to be enslaved simply because of their race.

Besides American slavery being based on race – it massively failed the two tests of Biblical Slavery that I mentioned above. Africans were kidnapped from their homes. They were treated worse than animals and loaded on to ships without proper food, clothing and shelter. Many Africans died while on Ships coming to America. Many African women were raped by their owners, instead being given the full status of wives. They were often physically abused and even sometimes murdered. But because they were not considered fully human, no punishments were given.

Even in some American homes where slaves were treated more humanely – the origin of how they were brought here was tainted. Their parents did not nothing deserving to be enslaved, they were the product of kidnapping.

So here is the summary in regard to American slavery. The simple fact of one man enslaving another is not in and of itself an immoral act. The act of enslaving a person is not synonymous with treating that person as less than human if the enslavement occurs under just conditions as we noted earlier.

For instance prisoners being made into slave labors is not unjust and it is not treating them as a less than human by essentially turning them into a slave workforce.

But what the Bible did not allow in regard to slavery was simply kidnapping people and enslaving them based on their race. This was a violation of Biblical human rights and this was the first reason American slavery was evil and wrong.

The second reason American slavery was wrong was the treatment of blacks after they were enslaved. They were not just enslaved wrongly but in many cases they were treated more harshly than their owners treated their horses or their livestock.  This is why American slavery was evil and nothing like the slavery God allowed in the civil laws of Israel.

Was America wrong for outlawing slavery?

The Bible does not command that anyone must have slaves. It only allows slavery under certain conditions and then it stipulates what is considered fair and humane treatment for slaves.

I believe abolitionists were right in convincing Americans to end slavery (except for criminals as I mentioned previously) but as I have shown here in this post – I don’t believe all instances of slavery are immoral. However the slavery that was practiced here in America – both in how the slaves were acquired, and how they were treated as less than human was in fact immoral.

How should Christians respond to attacks on the Bible over the issue of slavery?

First know where the attacks on Biblical slavery will come.

Attack #1 against Slavery

“All instances of slavery abuses people and treats people as less than human, therefore slavery is immoral.”

Wrong – American slavery, and slavery practiced outside of Israel may have treated slaves as less than human and it was therefore immoral. But in Israel slaves were guaranteed certain human rights that God commanded.

Attack #2 against Slavery

“Even if Israel treated their slaves more kindly they still were treated as less than human because they did not have equal rights and were not free. All adult humans must have equal rights including full autonomy.”

Wrong – God is the one who grants our rights and while he has guaranteed certain human rights to all – he did not guarantee an equal amount of rights to all. It is not immoral, or treating someone as less than human to give some people more rights than others if we are following God’s Law in doing so.

I promised at the beginning of this post to give you the link to my series on Biblical Polygamy as this and slavery are often used together to attack Biblical morality.

Here is the series “Why Polygamy is not unBiblical part 1”