Men, not the Bible, tend to peddle lies about women in the church

10 July 2019 - 10:12
By Mbuyiselo Botha
Purity Malinga  of the Methodist Church will soon be taking over a daunting task of leading the  patriarchal church. The writer  encourages  women in the church to throw their weight behind her.
Image: Supplied Purity Malinga of the Methodist Church will soon be taking over a daunting task of leading the patriarchal church. The writer encourages women in the church to throw their weight behind her.

I am reading the book 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, written by journalist and preacher J. Lee Grady.

I find the book fascinating.

The lies that he writes about are not lies told by the Bible, but these are lies that the church preaches to women on a daily basis.

It is men in the main who are peddlers of these lies because in most churches, it is men who are able to ascend to the roles of being priests, prophets and preachers.

It is important to distinguish between what the Bible says about women and men's interpretation of biblical scriptures around women. This distinction is important so that we avoid conflating what men teaches with what God has written.

It is male institutionalised chauvinism which all of us, men in particular, should confront. These are the lies according to Grady - God created women as inferior beings designed to serve their husbands.

Women are not equipped to assume leadership roles in the church, women must not teach or preach to men.

A woman should view her husband as the priest of the home. Women who exhibit strong leadership qualities pose a serious danger to the church. Women are more easily deceived than men.

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Women can't be fulfilled or spiritually effective without a husband and children. Women shouldn't work outside the home and women must obediently submit to their husbands.

On the lie "women are not equipped to assume leadership roles in the church", a lot of us have been taught that women are irrational, emotional, manipulative and sensitive. The proponents of this view argue that, because of the reasons stated above, women cannot be trusted with leadership roles in the church.

I find the proponents of this thinking absurd in that it is women who ensure that the sustainability of the church is guaranteed via dedicating their labour and hard-earned money to the church.

But when it comes to their God-given gifts such as preaching and leading the church, their sexuality is centred and deems them ill-equipped, which is hypocritical and ungodly.

But this is how power, privilege and patriarchy function. We have bought into these lies as the gospel truth. If you argue to the contrary, you are threatened with perpetual burning in hell.

Bishop Purity Malinga of the Methodist Church will soon be taking over a daunting task of leading a church that has not appreciated women's talent in its midst. I hope that she will be alive to the many garrulous Mehanas in her church. Remember the vitriol Dr Vukile Mehana spewed about women's leadership in the Methodist Church?

I am convinced he believes these lies about the capability of women. It is in this context that she must be aware of the many Mehanas who are in the closet pretending to be supportive of her term in the church as a presiding bishop, when in fact they hold toxic views about women's competency and leadership.

It is my fervent wish that women in the Methodist Church and in other churches will support other women in leadership positions so that they do not make credible the sentiment that women are their own worst enemies and do not support each other.

If Bishop Malinga fails, it would be an indictment on all of us, but women in particular because they have a responsibility to once and for all prove that women can successfully support each other. Finally, let us look at the lie "women must submit to their husbands in all situations".

How many times have we heard men of the cloth misusing and misinterpreting this text? Women have been subjected to physical, financial and emotional abuse, using this text as a justification.

We should challenge these lies which unfortunately put women in spiritual bondage. These lies serve us men and our selfish, short-sighted patriarchal ambitions. They have nothing to do with what God calls us to do.