"The VAST MAJORITY of Israelite/Church leadership is by MEN--see, God de-values women again"

[Note: This is a simple summary of the detailed data in the syllabus. Refer there for sources/discussion. Updated: 01/02/97]
This is a standard type of argument form:
"The VAST MAJORITY of (highly-valued X) is correlated (e.g. owned, performed) with (specific group Y--and by implication, NOT with specific group Z)...THEREFORE, (specific group Z) is not as (highly-valued) as (specific group Y) by whatever agent does the correlating..."
The way it is used here "unpacks" to this:

  1. "leadership" is (more highly valued)--by God--than ANYTHING performed by (group Z)

  2. God's choice of (group Y) for "leadership" is due to his placing a higher valuation on (group Y)

  3. God's alleged higher valuation of (group Y) is due to their being MALES(!).

ALL of these are biblically false!

  1. God values FAITHFULNESS to whatever is assigned--'leadership' (and similar 'status' things) are not even an issue to Him--they are STRICTLY responsibilities and stewardships!

    Consider the words of Jesus about the 'solitary voice in the wilderness':

    After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written: "`I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' 28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; (Luke 7.24ff)
    John would not have been considered 'authority' or 'leader' in the sense in the objection--but God valued him highly.

    Or again...

    Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mrk 10.42ff)
    Or again, as Jesus turns the value-hierarchy on its head once more...
    Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything -- all she had to live on." (Mark 12.41)
  2. We have absolutely NO reason to believe that God values men more highly than women!

    Indeed, we have seen countless passages in which women are held to be equal in value in His sight (and in some passages, they seem to get preferential treatment!). Women are held to equal responsibilities, equal consequences, equal access with men to lay cultic functions, equal sacrifice values, equal access to legal structures, etc.

    God's close relationships with women throughout the OT, and throughout the ministry of Jesus amply demonstrates His high valuation of them. He consistently uses them as examples of true discipleship (esp. in Matthew), as expected members/contributors/leaders of the NT church (e.g. Luke-Acts), and as suitable models with which to describe His attitudes/actions in salvation history (e.g. Is 49.15; Luke 15.8f).

  3. But the really funny one is that He would value them for being 'male'...what a joke!

    Not only is there NOT THE SLIGHTEST HINT that this is the case, and not only are men CONSISTENTLY rebuked throughout scripture for every imaginable crime against God, humanity, and nature(!), but we can actually illustrate this by a little spoof of the "VAST MAJORITY" argument structure...

    "Since God selected only MALE Israelites for the VAST MAJORITY of war casualties in ancient Israel, therefore He values women more highly..." (i.e. men are so much more expendable than women...!)
    (And, before you ask it--"But doesn't the bible teach that ONLY the man is the image of God, whereas the women is ONLY the image of the man, as in I Cor 11.7?"--let me point out that the woman is the image of BOTH!--remember Gen 1.26-27?)

    Besides, IF it were a valuation based on 'maleness', then there would be NO EXCEPTIONS at all! The outstanding women leaders in the OT COULD not show up like they do. If valuation is radically dependent on gender, then NO OTHER COMBINATIONS of 'other factors' would be able to generate an exception.

    Yet we have the hero-women of the bible, from EVERY STRATA of society--slave girls (miriam), prostitutes (Rahab), outcast foreigners (Ruth), queens (Esther), official prophets (Huldah), wealthy patrons (Joanna/Susanna-patrons of Jesus; patron of Elisha), Sages, queen mothers (Bathsheba), urban craftsmen (Lydia)...these simply would not exist if 'maleness' was a sine qua non to be used by God!

Accordingly, the objection is simply mis-guided. The distribution of roles and responsibilities in God's salvation work is NOT a function of gender, class, age, etc.--it is a function of a yielded and faithful heart, and a situation in which that can be leveraged to the fullest.
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