For a fair amount of the 20th and 21st centuries, Christianity has been accused of sexism. We refer to God as “Father,” and this father has a Son. (The Holy Spirit is androgynous, so there is not much help for women there.) Perhaps most insulting of all, the majority of biblical heroes are men, which might lead some to conclude that God only assigns men the important jobs.
I was reminded of this after reading an article about one author’s journey to a church that she considered “patriarchal.” (You can read Anne Eggebroten’s article, “The Persistence of Patriarchy,” on the Sojourners’ web site here.) Eggebroten’s article highlights many issues in church-female relations, but she failed to address one verse I find most fascinating:
“For I promised you (the church) in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2Cor. 11:2).
How was this verse and verses like it received back in the day it was written? Roman society was far more patriarchal than ours, but this verse assigns men the same place as women. The marriage image, which shows up in at least two of Paul’s letters and in Revelation, describes the relationship of Christ to all men in the church as a husband to a wife.
This post is not a serious theological treatise, or extensive discussion of the subject (though the subject warrants both), but merely a quick note to help people see the answer to this blog’s title. Yes, the Bible is sexist. However, it is not always sexist in the same direction.