A Good Example of Picking and Choosing

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Check out “The True Woman’s Manifesto” for a nice example of picking and choosing when it comes to biblical interpretation and application. According to the manifesto, released by an evangelical organization called Revive Our Hearts, “Scripture is God’s authoritative means of instructing us in His ways and it reveals His holy pattern for our womanhood, our character, our priorities, and our various roles, responsibilities, and relationships.”

The manifesto states that, in accordance with Scripture, the TRUE woman will, among other things, “honor and support God-ordained male leadership in the home and in the church.” She will also “seek to glorify God by cultivating such virtues as purity, modesty, submission, meekness and love.”  

The Manifesto claims to use Scripture to define the nature of womanhood and the role of women in church and society, and yet it says nothing about the true woman declaring herself unclean during her period, counting herself as property, allowing herself to be sold into marriage, supporting the practice of making sex slaves out of women captured in battle, agreeing to marry her assailant if raped, refusing to wear jewelry or fine clothes, or dutifully wearing head coverings. (Apparently, the Apostle Paul meant it when he said women should not take leadership in the church, but did not mean it when he said women should always wear head coverings and avoid jewelry.)

And of course the Manifesto says nothing of submitting to male leadership if one’s husband desires a polygamous family (as was allowed in Scripture, even if it wasn’t specifically recommended), but instead says that the TRUE woman affirms that marriage is a covenant “between one man and one woman.”

It frustrates me to no end how the Bible is used so arbitrarily* to define women’s roles. As I wrote in a previous post, growing up as a woman in the evangelical subculture means living with a barrage of mixed messages.

Let’s face it. The Bible was written in a misogynistic culture. It’s not God’s fault. It’s not man’s fault. And it shouldn’t be woman’s fault anymore.

*see my comments below about my (mis)use of the word "arbitrary."

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