If all this prior is true about women, and the understanding so far presented is or is closer to what the apostles Peter and Paul understood, and what Jesus knew, then a question arises. How did we get from the situation of women then, to the situation of women later in the church?
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. Acts 6:1-6
In review, the first deacons were first chosen by the people, and then went through an ordination by the apostles. As such it makes sense that later, elders and deacons were also chosen by the people, and then ordained by an pre-existing apostle, elder, or deacon.
Under this system in which new elders and deacons were chosen by the people, it make sense that the women, composing half the church, would have been commonly ordained as deacons, and even eventually come to be ordained as elders. The fact is that the pre-existing apostles, elders, and deacons who did the ordination of new elders and deacons were only serving the local congregation. In fact, the element here of a democratic method of choosing church leadership is very clear. Those who were to serve as leaders were to be elected by all the people in the church, and the pre-existing leaders simply did the process of ordaining them. Of course there were certain qualifications that had to be met, but in the case of deacons most clearly, and also in the case of elders, the qualifications left the positions open to women.
So what happened?
The church seemed to have followed the original model at least through around 95 AD, in which Clement of Rome mentions in 1 Clement that elders which had been chosen by the approval of the people and ordained by the prior leaders, “with the consent of the whole Church”, could not be fired when they had served well and done nothing wrong, Clement says they had “blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit” (chap 44). Apparently a couple of men started trouble and tried to convince the church to basically impeach the elders for no reason. Clement seems to think the reason was simple envy (chap 3), and perhaps the desire of these trouble-making men was to try to replace the elders and to rise to what they saw as power in being “leaders” (chap 14). But in truth the elders were servant leaders, likely in the capacity of a gift of the Holy Spirit, just as anyone else functioning in the church in a gift of the Holy Spirit (Chap 37,38).
It should also be noted that Clement sent this letter on behalf of a group of elders of which he was only one.
The view of women and marriage seems to have been in consistently high esteem as in the New Testament through around 120-140 AD as is seen in the writings of Polycarp. First of all, his writings hint that women were deacons. Of deacons he says, “They must not be slanderers” which matches “Women in like manner grave, not false accusers“, and there is nothing in the qualifications for deacons of “not slanderers” that is targeted at male deacons, or more closely matches, than this qualification more targeted at female deacons. So there is some reason to think they did have female deacons at that time, and nothing specifies that they did not.
On women and marriage he says:
“And when absent from you, he wrote you a letter, which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and Christ, and our neighbour, “is the mother of us all.” For if any one be inwardly possessed of these graces, he hath fulfilled the command of righteousness, since he that hath love is far from all sin. But the love of money is the root of all evils.” Knowing, therefore, that “as we brought nothing into the world, so we can carry nothing out,” let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness; and let us teach first of all ourselves to walk in the commandments of the Lord, then [teach] the women [to walk] in the faith given to them, and in love and purity tenderly loving their own husbands in all truth, and loving all [others] equally in all chastity; and to train up their children in the knowledge and fear of God. Teach the widows to be discreet as respects the faith of the Lord, praying continually for all, being far from all slandering, evil-speaking, false-witnessing, love of money, and every kind of evil; knowing that they are the altars of God, that He clearly perceives all things, and that nothing is hid from Him, neither reasonings, nor reflections, nor any one of the secret things of the heart. Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory.”
Here Polycarp seems to say that first everyone needs to teach themself to walk in the commandments of the Lord. The commandments referenced are the ones to love God, Christ, and our neighbor. He also seems to reference to faith or love as “the mother of us all”. I do not know what he is quoting, but it seems to hold motherhood and women in a good light with respect for women. He then says the love of money is the root of all evils, and that we can take no possession with us. He then advises everyone teach themself to follow these commandments of love to God, Christ, and neighbor. This is immediately followed by advice to then teach the women how to walk in the faith given to them. He earlier references to the letter of Paul, which he says if studied will teach them how to build themselves up in the faith which has been given to all of them, advising them to study the scriptures. And so it seems that his teaching is that once they all have taught themselves to follow the commandments of loving God and neighbor, that then the they also need to make sure to teach the women to build them up in the faith, likely by teaching the women the scriptures. In context this is the most clear meaning. Also for the church to teach the women to love their husbands, be chaste, and to train up their children in the knowledge and fear of God, which of course would go far better if they were taught the scriptures. This is in keeping with the understanding of 1 Tim 2 found on this website. It is also in keeping with the understanding of 1 Pet 3 found on this website, to husbands. Polycarp goes on to give instructions to widow women, and references to nothing being hidden from God, but Him knowing all the secret reasonings and reflections and secret things of the heart. This is also in keeping with the understanding found on this website of 1 Pet 3 to wives, and here by Polycarp is directed to widow women.
As such it seems as late as 120-140 AD that women were still serving as deacons, and were held in high esteem, encouraged to be taught the scriptures, and this was seen as the responsibility of the church, and also likely as assumed appropriate as part of husbands loving their wives as their neighbors. It should also be noted that Polycarp sent this on behalf of several other elders along with himself, of which he was only one.
However, looking at the writings of Ignatius, (98-117AD) which are questionable in their preservation as to whether they have been added to by later writers, it seems that this was not the case in all of the churches. In some churches, an odd new structure had developed in which 1 elder was considered THE “bishop”, and all of the other elders seemed to be under him in authority. These churches seemed to have made the mistake of thinking that who an elder was ordained by made a particular elder more important. It could also be that an elder claimed himself to have more authority than the other elders because he was ordained by one of the original 12 apostles or the apostle Paul, and they other elders were not. This should have been recognized as heresy, in contradiction to the scriptures written at the hand of the Apostles, but it apparently was not recognized as heresy.
Soon enough, the churches with a “bishop” as a more “in charge” elder spread, and overtook the number of churches with multiple equal elders in leadership.
Why? Because men were used to a man ruling over others. And because men themselves had the desire to rule over other men. As we have covered looking at the Old Testament, the same kind of man who seeks to rule over other men is also the kind of man who seeks to rule over women. The same desire for power that led a single elder to have more power than the other elders, is the same desire that brought about polygamy, and slavery, and the first sin. Certain men in the church must have sought this, and other men must have accepted it, all ignoring Jesus’ words in Luke 22:25-27
And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
and in Matt 20:25-28
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The twelve apostles understood this, as did Paul. But in a couple of generations, the elders of the church, whose positions were to replace that of the original apostles, seem to have forgotten this.
As such, in the early 200s it is recorded that more and more importance was placed on a single “bishop” and whether or not he was ordained by an original apostle. Tertullian was of this time, and writing against heretics, said, “Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men, — a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed.”
And so more and more emphasis was placed on the “bishop”, and who they had been ordained by, completely disregarding (in this case) that both Polycarp and Clement seemed to have considered themselves just one of many elders. They also encouraged others to follow the elders of their church, without reference to a “bishop” or more important elder. Surely they practiced this that they taught, and themselves did not consider themselves to be a more important elder or bishop, but rather others at the time or later in churches with a “bishop” insisted on viewing them this way. Which was probably for no better reason then they happened to be the one, of many equal elders, which wrote the letter which was preserved. Those who placed more emphasis on 1 man ruling a church over all others were of such an inclination to make who ordained Polycarp and Clement of Rome to be of more importance than the democratic eldership clearly taught and practiced by those who ordained them. But there is no indication that Polycarp and Clement placed this sort of importance on themselves, but rather were just 1 of many equal elders. But soon people began to ignore this fact.
And so the desire of man to rule over other man, as old as humanity, slowly crept into the church, transforming it from a democracy of servants of a single Lord, led by Him through His Holy Spirit, into something resembling more of the monarchy of man ruling over other man. And the type of men who would do this and accept this, are also the type who would seek to rule over women.
Such as Tertullian, same writer as above, who said,
De Cultu Feminarum, book 1, chap 1. (“Every woman should be ….) walking about as Eve mourning and repentant, in order that by every garb of penitence she might the more fully expiate that which she derives from Eve,-the ignominy, I mean, of the first sin, and the odium (attaching to her as the cause) of human perdition. “In pains and in anxieties dost thou bear (children), woman; and toward thine husband (is) thy inclination, and he lords it over thee.”
And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too.” “You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him (Adam) whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert-that is, death-even the Son of God had to die.”
On the Veiling of Virgins, chap. 9. “It is not permitted to a woman to speak in the church; but neither (is it permitted her) to teach, nor to baptize, nor to offer, nor to claim to herself a lot in any manly function, not to say (in any) sacerdotal office.”
And Tertullian also taught that women should wear a veil and a head covering, twisting Paul’s meaning in 1 Cor 11, as many still do today, and his arguments also twisted the scriptures as much as the above. It is entirely possible that Tertullian or a follower of his teachings may have had a hand in the gloss of 1 Cor 14:34-35. In any case, he seemed to have a hatred of women, and twisted the scriptures in a misogynistic effort to support his hatred, and also made his own rules up that a woman must not speak in church, could not be a deacon, nor could teach, all in a fashion of either outright total ignoring of the Scriptures, or in twisting of them.
And so it can easily be seen in this example that the same sort of man who would falsely teach that men have a right to rule over other men, would also find reasons to attack women and try to establish that they could be ruled over by men as well. But with the high level of esteem for women in equality that was taught by Jesus, Paul, and the apostles, this sort of false teacher had to ignore much and twist much on a very high level of hatred in order to give a rise to hatred of women which would take away their newfound equal and esteemed position as Christians in the church. And this is seen above, for instance in the complete ignoring on Paul’s teachings in Romans 5 that Adam committed the first sin, and also that woman is clearly stated to have also been made in the image of God in Genesis. Let it also be noted that Tertullian taught questionable ideas that were anti-Trinitarian for some time, and then eventually went and joined what was regarded at the time as an openly anti-Trinitarian cult.
The bottom line is that at some point, someone had to have made a choice to seek personal power over teaching the truth of the Word of God. And in this, someone chose to seek power over men, and also over women, and twisted the scriptures and ignored the Word of God in their teachings in order to do so. There is a simple term for this which is a “false teacher”. And as Paul warned about repeatedly, at some point false teachers did creep into the church, seeking the rule of men, not God. It is the same story as all of the rest of history, and as such the church began to be filled with false teaching which was not ever meant to be the true way, teaching, model or practice of Christianity.
What happened next, over the 200s in a nutshell:
At some point the next “bishop” seems to have been chosen not by the people, but rather at the discretion of the presiding bishop and elders under him. Which is also very much like a monarchy, not a democracy. And the same also happened for elders and deacons, in which the practice changed from the people of the church choosing their leaders, to the leaders choosing the leaders who would follow them. These practices of course all reek of men who seek power. Then they apparently took the liberty upon themselves to choose among themselves “bishops” who would be over several “bishops” in a certain region, a “bishop” of the “bishops”. And also the “bishops” in Rome tried to assert that they had more authority than the other bishops of other churches, and in fact that the bishop of Rome had the right to have authority over the bishops in all other regions.
Eventually, this all led to the development of the early Catholic church. Later, as Christianity was legalized by Constantine emperor of Rome in the early 300s, and the state set to enforce the decisions of the bishops as “true” and “false” doctrine, all of this false teaching cemented. In 380 AD Christianity under the “bishops”, and the “bishops of bishops”, was made the official religion of the Roman Empire. And from this came the Catholic church that we still know today, which grew to have great political power.
And so the early false teachers that changed the structure of the church so that men could rule over other men, and have power over the people, also were the type that sought men to have power over women. They taught all of these things hand in hand, as almost all of the big names of the 200s both contributed towards the development of the bishops-led church, and also to a view of women which set to reverse all that Jesus, the apostles, and Paul had done and taught to change men’s view and treatment of women to one of equality to men, and equal participation in the Christian church.
Just to sample their views from then, and after:
[Churchfather, venerated as a Saint up to the 17th century]
Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?): “Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman.”
[Churchfather] Tertullian (160?-220?): “Woman is a temple built over a sewer, the gateway to the devil. Woman, you are the devil’s doorway. You led astray one whom the devil would not dare attack directly. It was your fault that the Son of God had to die; you should always go in mourning and rags.”
[Saint] Ambrose (339-97): “Adam was deceived by Eve, not Eve by Adam… it is right that he whom that woman induced to sin should assume the role of guide lest he fall again through feminine instability.”
Saint John Chrysostom [349-407] commanded every Christian father to instill into his son “a resolute spirit against womankind … Let him have no converse with any woman save only his mother. Let him see no woman.” — Christianity and Pagan Culture In the Later Roman Empire, by M.L.W. Laistner
[Saint] Augustine (354-430): “Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.”
Pope Gregory I (540-604): “Woman is slow in understanding and her unstable and naive mind renders her by way of natural weakness to the necessity of a strong hand in her husband. Her ‘use’ is two fold; [carnal] sex and motherhood.”
“In 584 CE, the Council Of Macon was held at Lyons. 43 Catholic bishops attended as well as 23 male representatives of other bishops.
On the question of “Are women human?”, 32 voted Yes, and 31 No (that would make the remaining 5 still undecided).”
[Saint] Thomas Aquinas (1225-74): “[Woman] was made only to assist with procreation.”
And Martin Luther (1483-1546), leading Reformer, founder of Lutheran Protestantism:
“If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there.” — Martin Luther
— The Dark Side of Christianity by Helen Ellerbe
[Reformer, founder of Scottish Presbyterianism]
John Knox (1513-72): “Woman was made for only one reason, to serve and obey man.”
Lutherans at Wittenberg  debated whether women were really human beings at all.
— The Dark Side of Christianity, by Helen Ellerbe
[Reformer, founder of the Methodist movement]
John Wesley (1703-91): “Wife: Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born.”
(All from http://freetruth.50webs.org/A3.htm)
Perhaps the Gentile converts had a poor view of women to start with. It is important to keep in mind that generally the Gentile world was no different than that of the time of Abraham. They had slaves, they owned women as wives who had very little to no rights, and they also in many places practiced polygamy, or had concubines. And all of this was mostly without any influence of the Law of Moses, let alone an acceptance of that law in society as the law of the land.
The Jews had been living with more of strict moral code than the Gentile nations around them, even with all their failures and breaking of the Law. When the Jews became Christian they had more of a foundation and understanding of the changes which took place, a better understanding of the scriptures than they had carried as Jews before their conversion. But when Gentiles became Christian, they were starting as people who had little no knowledge or practice of the Jewish Law and Old Testament. For them the Law of the Old Testament was probably in many ways a step up from the morals in their own culture which they had been brought up in and practiced. Just to comprehend the Law and Old Testament was probably a challenge for Gentile converts who were prior unlearned and unfamiliar with it.
And so as more and more Gentiles became converts, even became bishops and rose to power and established teachings, it is no wonder that the new insights of Christianity that the Jewish 12 apostles and Paul, etc. had obtained, were lost, and replaced. And they were replaced with the most banal and basic misinterpretation of the New Testament, regarding slaves and women, as filtered by the Old Testament, with the Law no longer viewed as merely a step in the right direction, but again as something more justified to perfection and ideal. But this was only a view and understanding which confirmed their own biases as those with power over slaves and women. This did not reflect the newer insights and direction that the first apostles and Christians understood, during their personal transitions from Judaism to Christianity. It may have been the prejudices of the converts, which caused them to misunderstand so much about everything which the New Testament writers and early Jewish Christians had understood had changed and must change in their perceptions. As those who personally knew Jesus and wrote the New Testament fell asleep, understanding was lost, and important information about women was misread and misinterpreted.
But nevertheless, it cannot be ignored that a better understanding once had been attained, and was being taught, and at some point someone entrusted with the truth made a choice to seek power, over seeking the truth. The prejudices of the people, both Gentile and Jew, were conducive and stacked to accept this sort of false teaching… but these prejudices were not the sole cause of this false teaching emerging and gaining hold in the church. Someone knew the truth, as the apostles knew it and taught it and established it, but over time someone decided to ignore the truth in favor of personal power, and in total compromise with a sinful world. False teachers and hirelings somehow slipped into the flock, and led the Christians astray. This is what Paul warned would happen, and as the early church is recorded to have fought repeatedly, but eventually the battle was lost with consequences that would last for millennia.
And so for a brief time, women were treated well in the church and seen as equals, neighbors to love as oneself, equal before God in the gifts and Grace they had received, just as the men were.
And then the Church plunged back into the darkness of the world, worldly understanding, worldly systems of ruler-ship, worldly systems of slavery and rule over other men and women. Soon enough misunderstood twisting and perversion of scripture became not only publicly taught false teaching, but not long after became cemented in political systems of worldly governments. Elders became bishops, and bishops became priests, and like the Jewish priests of the Old Testament, Christian priests became Pharisees, and developed traditions of men, from false teaching of the scriptures.
In short the history of the church is that was invaded by antichrists and false teachers, which led it all astray. And this same error continued for almost 2000 years, and in some places still continues today. And piece by piece the errors established then have fallen away, in minor leaps and spurts in places, and then more widespread. Over a long time, the Gentiles came to reach the morality of the Law, and even to surpass it in places. Until we reach today, in which at least some of the world has democracy, and slavery is almost universally outlawed, at least on paper. But the same struggles continue for men to find new and inventive ways to rule over other men. Even within democracies, money has become a means of power, and the system is full of personal agendas of self-service.
The birth of democracy centered greatly around men getting tired of being ruled over by other men, and wanting to rule themselves. Men were tired of being born into a world in which they had no voice in the laws, were victims of the power of monarchies and elite men, from birth subject to unfair laws. Democracy also sprang forth from the desire of men to live without religious persecution, which was tied to the government and national churches. Men wanted to be able to practice their religion before God without being told how they must believe, but to be free to believe as they did without oppression.
This was why many left Europe, and came to America, to flee religious persecution. And eventually men decided they should make the laws for themselves that they had to live under, and rule themselves. This is where the United States came from. The same sort of ideals have founded many other democracies and republics the world over. The bottom line is that a man did not want to be treated with no voice in his own government, and so they endeavored to change the system of men ruling over other men, so that men would have a voice, and choice, on how the government would treat them. In the US, the first words of the Declaration of Independence, to found a republic, showed the heart of what these men wanted. They believed that men who were ruling should treat those they ruled over as equals in the sight of God. And the best way they found to ensure this was for the rulers to be temporary representatives of the ruled, serving as rulers in commonly agreed upon laws. They wanted those in government to treat them as those in government would want to be treated.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” -The Declaration of Independence
It was the desire for equality, and liberty, that started the US. Of course, in the beginning, the men who were created equal were only land-owners, typically white, and this statement in no way prevented slavery, nor stated that men and women were created equal. It was a long time coming before these words would be fully realized to how we see them today, which is that “all people are created equal”.
Slavery in the US of men was only made illegal about 150 years ago. But slavery is still practiced in the world, and it is estimated that some 27 million people today are living in slavery as slaves. And still entirely too much of the world still practices the enslavement of women, and in multiple forms. The first is still that of a sex-slave or concubine, and many children are violated this way also. Many of those 27 million are women and children who are sex-slaves. For those who are aware of this problem in the world today, do remember all of this is nothing new!
Women only were recognized as full citizens and able to vote in the US a little over 90 years ago. Other countries gave women the right to vote only slightly more or less recently. And the right of women to vote, in the UK was preceded by the sacrifices of thousands of women who protested for suffrage. They were roughed, even beat up, by mobs of men and sexually molested by men at their protests, to the point of taking to carrying dog-whips in order to deter sexual molestation in self-defense, esp. as decent Christian women.
‘Not the police, but the stewards at political meetings, and the men who volunteer to “keep the women in order,” they’…’as they’re turning us out they punish us in ways the public don’t know… They punish us by underhand maltreatment—of the kind most intolerable to a decent woman’…’they were not only facing imprisonment, but unholy handling.” link pgs.158,163
They were imprisoned for political protest, in the US the charge was “obstructing traffic” as women stood on the sidewalk in front of the White House. They were sometimes beat in prison.
“Whittaker and his workhouse guards greeted 33 returning protestors on what has become known as the infamous “Night of Terror,” November 14, 1917. Forty-four club-wielding men beat, kicked, dragged and choked their charges, which included at least one 73-year-old woman. Women were lifted into the air and flung to the ground. One was stabbed between the eyes with the broken staff of her banner. Lucy Burns was handcuffed to the bars of her cell in a torturous position. Women were dragged by guards twisting their arms and hurled into concrete “punishment cells.” link
Both in the UK and in the US women who went on hunger strike were tortured by force feedings of tubes down their throat or nose, or also in the UK in their rectum.
For many of these women, the worst feature of prison life was the ‘public’ violation of their bodies when being forcibly fed. Helen Gordon Liddle hated the lack of privacy when enduring the pain of forced feeding. Nell Hall spoke of the “frightful indignity” of it all. For Sylvia Pankhurst, the sense of degradation endured was worse than the pain of sore and bleeding gums, with bits of loose jagged flesh, the agony of coughing up the tube three or four times before it was successfully inserted, the bruising of her shoulders and the aching of her back. Sometimes, when the struggle was over, or even in the heat of it, she felt as though she was broken up into many different selves, of which one, aloof and calm, surveyed all the misery, and one, ruthless and unswerving, forced the weak, shrinking body to its ordeal. Although the word ‘rape’ is not used in the personal accounts of force fed victims, the instrumental invasion of the body, accompanied by overpowering physical force, great suffering and humiliation was akin to it, especially so for women fed through the rectum or vagina. ‘Janet Arthur’, later identified as Fanny Parker, in Perth prison in 1914, was one such victim:
Thursday morning, 16th July … the three wardresses appeared again. One of them said that if I did not resist, she would send the others away and do what she had come to do as gently and as decently as possible. I consented. This was another attempt to feed me by the rectum, and was done in a cruel way, causing me great pain. She returned some time later and said she had ‘something else’ to do. I took it to be another attempt to feed me in the same way, but it proved to be a grosser and more indecent outrage, which could have been done for no other purpose than torture. It was followed by soreness, which lasted for several days. When released, a medical examination revealed swelling and rawness in the genital region. link pgs. 122,123
They repeatedly were tortured by force-feeding up to 3 times a day for months on end, and several women died as a result, not of starvation, but of the injuries accrued by the violent force-feedings. They were no less than martyrs to death. And there is no doubt that the Suffragists in the UK inspired those Suffragettes in the US, all who through their sacrifices, willing to die for this cause, brought in a new era of freedom for women. Many, many, of these suffragist women were Christians. Also Christian were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott who wrote in the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
So suffragists were Christian women who by legal protests went to serve the Law of Love, to treat one’s neighbor as one would want to be treated, even willing to be martyrs in this service.
In 6000 years of human history, it has only been in about the last 120 years or less that women have had equal legal rights whatsoever. In all of human history, that is only at most 2% of the time in which humanity has existed, in which women have had anywhere near equal rights as men. Which means that for at least 98% of human history, women have not had equal legal rights as men. That is not much of a precedent for freedom, and surely women should always keep in mind that it would be much easier by the nature of men for their equal legal rights to be lost to them again, as having them is no guarantee of continuing to have them. All it would take is a war and bad men to win, and the laws could change overnight, and that is either a tyranny possible from without, or even from within your own country. And even this is only speaking of some governments that exist today. Others still do not recognize women to have equal rights, even to today. What if those countries took yours over?
The truth is, that Christianity was the birth of the democratic systems we have today, as they are birthed from a belief in rights given by God, and treating others as we want to be treated as Jesus taught. This is their foundation, it was all about what they believed about how governments should be, as Christians following a higher moral code of love for other men. Christianity birthed democracy. Christianity birthed women voting.
And when it comes to women, men are the same today in their nature as they always have been, since the garden of Eden. The only reason why any men treat any women any differently now is because of Jesus Christ, and because of the influence that Christianity and it’s higher morals have had upon the world, especially through democracy. Within a system of laws chosen by the people, a system birthed of Christian ideals of morality and loving your neighbor as yourself, men are raised better now than in the past in how they view women, in some places. And they are limited to some extent by the laws of the land, in which now in many countries women have rights, and can prosecute for crimes committed against them. Many men are raised to treat women better than generations past. But the sinful nature of man is no different than since the beginning.
There are still governments which exist today which do not recognize women as having equal rights as men, and even see them as being the property of men. For them nothing has changed. But worse than this, there are some countries in which crimes like violence and rape, imprisonment, and violent abuse of women are not even crimes. They are like property with which men can do whatever they want without repercussion. (Actually this video linked does not described the worst of the crimes against women in these places, such as violent facial mutilation with acid, and forced genital mutilation making sex very painful for them, forced marriage and raping of virgins before hanging them to death, the list goes on and on…) In this, the world is no better today than the time of Abraham, before the law was given, before Jesus came. But in some places it is in fact even worse. Truly a Satanic hatred of women fighting against all Christian progress of the Law of Love has led to an even more evil and crueler darkness. In some places, the life of women is worse with misogyny, worse than it has probably ever been in all of human history, either before the Law of Moses or after it being given. In some places the Law of Love from Christianity has not yet spread enough for these governments to have changed, to enact democracies in which women can have some hope of being treated by their male neighbors, as their male neighbors would want to be treated, nor treated by the government as those in the government would want to be treated.
And so it is of utmost importance to note that many false Christian teachings of the Christian church, which have allowed for either slavery of men or still allow for abuse/domination of women, make Christianity indistinguishable from worldly religions which allow for the same things. But this false teaching, and all remnants of it, is not, nor has it ever been, the true teaching of Christianity. The true teaching is that we are to love our neighbor as ourself, treat others as we would have them treat us, and there is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female barrier which separates any of us from our neighbor. And that a husband has no right to try to force his wife to submit to him, nor to dominate or rule over her. And that a wife’s instructions are from God to her to submit herself, as a husband’s are to love, and as love does not seek it’s own way, that in truth submitting herself and him loving her balance out to show equality in decisions to be made in a marriage, teaching compromise between a husband and wife, not him ruling or dominating over her to his will. This is all the truth which was lost in the church’s youth by the infiltration of the early Christian church with false teachers and false teachings justifying man to rule over man and woman. And as a result the church plunged into darkness in many ways (though not all), and cemented to not change to back to true restoration through political power and enforcement of false teachings as law, and thus truly has spent 2000 years trying to slowly recover!
And as a result, in the present day, Christianity overall is seen as indistinguishable from many other worldly religions, especially when it comes to women, the same double-standards seem to apply. But this was never God’s original intent that women in Christianity would be treated with double-standards that are no better than those in the elementary schoolteacher of the Law of Moses, or worse by double-standards in worldly secular religions who were not in any way founded by God.
Until Christianity is restored, it is no wonder that so many lost people cannot see any major difference between Christianity and many other religions, and discard them all as irrelevant, especially non-Christian women. The ramifications of this on evangelism of the lost cannot be over-emphasized.
And even worse are those Christians who really see no difference either, and still as blind guides, approve and make excuses for the evils of the slavery or domination of women in the present world, under the auspices of religion, excusing the outright birth into slavery of women (married or not) in some countries, under the hypocritical vision of themselves still excusing their own domination of women.
And who among the non-religious can tell the difference between Christianity or another religion in how they view or treat women? And even if Christians disagree, saying another religion is worse, whereas Christians are justified, to the non-religious so many Christians look like total blind hypocrites! If you are in for a penny, you are in for a pound. And if you are not with the Lord, you are against Him. Truly, the detrimental ramifications of this on evangelism of the lost cannot be over-emphasized.
Now, is that to say that all Christians who have followed false teachings, or been false teachers, for the last 2000 years were in fact not Christians? No! How many Christians do you know that teach many things you believe are true, but a few things you think are incorrect? And so it has been the same. Surely some of those in power were not Christians and were antichrists over the ages… but being taught wrong and then teaching wrong does not mean someone is not truly a Christian. And so the same should be understood throughout history as well as today. But for those who have known better, and have chosen power over God’s Truth, surely God will judge them for this. But many true Christians have lived over the last 2000 years, in all the many incarnations of the form of the church, and still do today, in all it’s varied denominations, whether they believe and teach false teaching or not. But as the Bible teaches in Rev 19, the Bride has not yet made herself ready for the Groom,
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
That is us, the church, His Bride. And the Bride to date has not made herself ready.
It is both sad and appalling how many Christian men today look down upon Christian women, and insist they have no right to have a voice in church governance, and how they may be ruled by their husbands will even by force and even with evil behaviors… But they cannot see that as there is no male nor female, they, these Christian men, in their own relationship with Jesus are considered His Bride and His Wife, and He never treats them this way, nor views them with contempt. Male and female, there is no difference to Him.
So, may the Bride make herself ready for the Groom to come get her, to be wed for all eternity.