Enough Is Enough

by S. M. Hutchens

Christianity is inherently “sexist,” as the more realistic feminists have observed, and I’m not willing to debate the matter anymore among people who profess to be Christians—only to lay down the apostolic law. How can a woman whose ambition is to exercise her teaching “gifts” possibly do that where an apostle has made it clear:

Women are to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says . . . (1 Cor. 14:34). A woman must learn in quietness and full submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman who was deceived and fell into transgression . . . (1 Tim. 2:11-14).

For the apostle, then, the woman, whatever she may be personally—however good, however learned—is the pre-eminent symbolof human error and moral weakness that the man is not (even though his fault may be worse), and allowing her to teach, that is, publicly represent Christian doctrine, is a mark of a church’s willingness to follow the Counsel of the Woman, and so immediately raises the presumption of inauthenticity. An opposing notion can only be maintained where truth is regarded as merely propositional instead of lodged in an eternal and universal existential matrix which is the Person of the man Christ Jesus.

The symbolism (like the symbolism of the woman elder) is critical and definitive. There are a great many Christians who care little about what things stand for, but they are no friends to St. Paul, who will have none of these evasions. We, to dodge, like the cowards we are, the just accusation of “sexism,” have been dithering with the matter for too long in even allowing the question of women teachers to be raised. Lay down the apostolic dictum as a first rule, and then the details of how a Christian woman can and should speak may be worked out—in the absence of the mortally offended who rest their merely functional argument on “gifting”—as if those who have a gift may use it as they and their equally sincere friends think best.

S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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