The Evangelical church in America is a leading contributor to dysfunctional views on marriage, family, and intimacy, thereby distorting the core message of the Gospel.
The Evangelical church in America stands at a crossroads, one where the signs point to conflicting directions. On one hand, we have the genuine pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, and on the other, a dogma that perpetuates harmful beliefs. Let’s be clear: This church is a leading contributor to dysfunctional views on marriage, family, and intimacy, thereby distorting the core message of the Gospel.
Paul warns in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” A distorted Gospel has dire implications.
Unveiling the Elephant in the Room
You can’t begin to tackle these skewed perceptions without first acknowledging the rampant sexism and misogyny, often veiled as ‘biblical manhood and womanhood.’ Gender roles and expectations are not just delineated; they are weaponized. The theology has been twisted to subjugate, and the result is a culture where women, in particular, find their value, voice, and agency undermined.
1 Peter 3:7 reminds us, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life.” This text calls for mutual respect and recognition of spiritual equality.
Truth Behind the Mask
These harmful ideologies don’t exist in a vacuum; they manifest concretely, often as the suppression of women’s voices in church, unequal partnership in marriage, and the objectification of women. You may hear it called ‘divine order,’ but let’s call it what it is—a patriarchal structure that commodifies one-half of God’s creation for the benefit of the other.
Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul demolishes socio-cultural barriers, emphasizing the unity and equality among believers.
The Ripple Effect
The consequences of such teachings are catastrophic. We’re not just talking about perpetuating gender inequality; we’re talking about fostering a culture where emotional and even physical abuse are excusable under a religious pretext. It’s almost a sacrilege to consider that doctrines stemming from a faith rooted in love and compassion can lead to such dire outcomes.
Ephesians 5:25 instructs, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” This form of love is sacrificial, not oppressive or abusive.
Gospel in Dissonance
It’s an outright aberration to recognize that the same Gospel which gave a voice to women, shattered societal norms, and elevated the status of those marginalized is now being used to silence and oppress them. Jesus, the central figure of our faith, was nothing if not a breaker of chains. His ministry sought to dismantle systems of oppression, whether they were cultural, economic, or gender-based. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well? Jesus didn’t just converse with her; he elevated her, breaking several cultural and gender norms in the process.
Jesus himself, in Luke 4:18-19, proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
The Real Message of the Gospel
The essence of the Gospel—embodied in love, equality, and justice—stands in stark contrast to any form of sexism or misogyny. It’s a tragic misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Christ’s teachings to perpetuate such prejudices. Jesus’ ministry, as portrayed in the Gospels, was groundbreaking in its inclusivity and its unflinching challenge to the status quo. Where society saw sinners, outcasts, and women as second-class citizens, Jesus saw souls worthy of love and liberation.
1 John 4:7-8 tells us, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Time for Change
If we’re to reflect the image of a just and loving God, then we must take on the responsibility of challenging these destructive narratives. From the pulpits to the pews, these biases must be rooted out and rectified. Change is never comfortable, but it is necessary. And if there’s one place where change should be possible, it’s in the spiritual communities where love and acceptance should be the foundational principles.
In Micah 6:8 we are told, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
In conclusion, let’s not mince words. It’s past time for a reckoning, a theological, sociological, and spiritual reckoning that brings the Evangelical church back in line with the true message of the Gospel. As a community of faith, as spiritual leaders, and as followers of Jesus Christ, we can do better; we must do better. Let’s aim to cultivate a faith that uplifts rather than oppresses, a faith that reflects the real teachings of Jesus Christ—a faith, finally, worthy of the Gospel it claims to represent.