Johnny Wade Sloan, D.D. has served Hamilton Christian Center in
Cincinnati, Ohio as Senior Pastor since 1987. He has the heart of a
shepherd, loving and leading our congregation into effective ministry. His
life experiences, biblical insights, and evangelistic fervor make him a dynamic
speaker. His administrative gifts and vision for unity have enabled him to
mobilize people for common good. He is a respected, outspoken community
leader with compassion for hurting people. A seasoned pastor with over 35
years of ordained ministry experience, he is a "mentor and friend" to fellow
ministers. He is a father of two sons, both ordained ministers, and
grandfather of four grandsons.
KEEPING WOMEN IN THEIR PLACE
by Rev. Johnny Wade Sloan, D.D.
As a boy I heard the phrase "keeping women in their place." Now that is an
interesting thought, isn't it? Many significant religious leaders have
spoken, written, and acted to establish the proper place of women in the world
and in the church. Most of those who preached about "putting women in
their place" did little to put them there. In fact, they did much to
prevent them from taking their true position in God's kingdom. Yes, there
are proper places for women and it is time to put them there.
Tragically, the religious world has historically oppressed women around the
world. Certainly Islam and other non-Christian religions have clearly
oppressed women, just as they have oppressed various ethnic groups. But,
what about Christianity? Have we been oppressors? We now realize
there could have been no holocaust in Germany or slavery in America without the
contradictory voice of "christianity." There has also been unreasonable and
unrighteous oppression of women in the "christian" church. Yes, I have the
capitalization right. The prejudiced and chauvinistic religious systems of
the past do not merit the capital C of Christ!
Any sincere student of the New Testament soon realizes Jesus Christ never did or
said anything to oppress or limit women. Knowing the culture of the time
it is obvious He did just the opposite and tried in His words and actions to
elevate women. Jesus showed respect to women, even those of seeming low
estate such as the woman with the alabaster box or the woman at the well.
The ministry of Christ significantly touched the women and recorded the stories
for our example. It is most noteworthy that the first person to which
heaven chose to reveal the resurrection was female. Furthermore this same
person, a female, was the first commissioned by heaven to go and declare the
good news of His resurrection. This speaks powerfully of God's intentions
in this dispensation of grace. However, our "religious christianity" has
been slow to empower and encourage women as Christ intended.
Today, the Holy Spirit is preparing us for the "restoration of all things." The
Holy Spirit is prompting repentance for the sins of the past. We have seen
a focus on racial reconciliation in recent years. I sense in my spirit
that it is the right time and season for GENDER RECONCILIATION. Recently I
felt the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that "the closer we get to the end, the
more things should become like they were in the beginning." Christ wants us to
return to His original creative intentions regarding male and female (Matthew
19:8). The original "couple" had oneness and equality. There was no
competition, rather completeness in the male and female. We should look to
early Eden, not post-Eden for our model for marriage and for the social
relationships of men and women. Our message of grace should be one of
restoring what we lost in the garden.
We understand the sin of mankind in the Garden of Eden brought consequences and
curses into human environment. One of the effects was the beginning of a
gender struggle. God said the man would "rule over the woman." He told the
woman, Thy desire shall be to thy husband." A careful study helps us understand
that the sin nature of fallen men would cause them to want to dominate women.
Likewise women would struggle to regain the position they lost in the fall.
The declaration that men would "rule" over women is in the same context as the
earth bringing for "thorns and weeds." The attitude of men being "over" women is
one of the social "thorns" that remain from the fall of man in Eden.
However, Christ has come to remove the curse. We must allow His life and
love to bring true peace and harmony in the world. We should not "weed"
our vegetable gardens more than we do our social governments. It is time
for gender reconciliation in our world.