Those readers familiar with me and this blog know that I advocate the full equality of males and females. I believe that Jesus Christ demonstrated His belief in gender equality throughout His ministry and that the New Covenant explicitly declares this equality throughout the sacred Scripture. In creation and in redemption, God makes man, both male and female, in His image. Sin gives both males and females the desire to dominate the opposite sex. God's grace gives both males and females the desire to serve one another. A female can have a position of authority over a man just like a male can have a position of authority over a female. A female can teach a man just like a male can teach a female. A female can be either Prime Minister, or President, or a stay at home mom; just like a male can be Prime Minister, or President, or a home-maker or a stay at home dad. This isn't feminism. It's Christian normality.
Some have lauded the fact that a Southern Baptist pastor is unafraid to speak his belief in the equality of men and women. Others have taken me to task for such talk. I stand comfortably, however, on the Word of God and believe that future generations will vindicate what I am saying the Bible teaches. There is a long way to go, however, for both males and females within evangelical Christianity--and within our culture at large--to understand the full implications of real equality between men and women. Let me illustrate from the recent troubles in the marriage of Elin and Tiger Woods (pictured here).
The Florida Highway Patrol official accident report tells how Tiger Wood's got in his 2009 Cadillac and backed out of his Windemere, Florida driveway in a meandering, reckless manner, eventually hitting a fire hydrant and then a neighbor's tree. Tiger Woods sustained numerous facial injuries and was in and out of consciousness at the scene. The report does not give details as to why Tiger Woods was leaving his house at 2:30 a.m., nor does it explain why Tiger was out of control in his driveway. The explanation for the shattered back windows was that Elin, Tiger's wife, tried to rescue him.
Of course, we now know that Tiger Woods has had numerous "transgressions" (his word) with women. On the day of the accident, Tiger had called one of his girlfriends and asked her to cover for him. Major media outlets have reported that Tiger Woods was confronted about the sexual infidelities by his wife, Elin, and that she possibily went after him with a golf club and physically assaulted him.
There is no proof that Elin attacked Tiger or that she was the direct cause for his weaving recklessly out of the driveway in a possible attempt to escape. Tiger himself denies she attacked him. The issue is not whether she did or didn't; the issue is whether or not the Florida police should launch an official investigation into more than a traffic accident. Should the police launch an investigation into possible assault and battery?
I say there should be an investigation into a possible assault and battery, and to perform such an investigation would be a sign that our culture is beginning to understand gender equality. I say this for three reasons:
(1). If the roles were reversed and it was woman driving the vehicle, I think the police would launch such an investigation. There would be too much pressure from the public not to investigate possible assault and battery charges.
(2). For those who feel Elin's "humiliation" I ask a simple question: If Elin had been unfaithful to her husband in the manner Tiger has been to her, would you feel humiliation for Tiger?" I think not. Feeling humiliation for someone portrays the person as a weak victim, not an equal partner.
(3). If an investigation were to be performed and Elin were cleared of assault and battery, then the endless jokes about Elin assaulting Tiger would end, our esteem for her would increase, and the incredible stupidity of her husband would be magnified. We do not condone domestic abuse by a husband toward his wife, even if the wife has been unfaithful. Likewise, in no form or fashion should we ever condone domestic abuse by a wife toward her husband, even if he was unfaithful to her.
Not everyone will agree with what I am writing on this subject. I've already given the jest of my thoughts in this post to some men and women that I highly respect, and there initial reaction was what I expected - confusion and hesitation. However, to a person, after a few hours of reflection, each of them responded with, "Yeah, I see it. You're right. Real equality cuts both directions." I am thankful to God that He gave to me a spouse who not only recognizes her equality, but treats me with the respect and dignity equals give equals.
My prayers are with the Woods family. Seriously. I am praying that God will give to Tiger and Elin the grace to forgive, the greater grace to trust Christ as the Lord of their marriage, their home, and their family. But more than anything, I am praying that neither Tiger nor Elin will draw their respective identities from the other person, but from their relationship with Jesus Christ.
In His Grace,