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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Charisma House (February 1, 2011)
J. Lee Grady is contributing editor for Charisma. He was the magazine's editor for 11 years. He has been involved in Christian journalism since 1981. A native of Atlanta, he has been with Charisma since 1992, serving as news editor, managing editor, and then becoming editor in 1999. Lee's book 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, published in 2000, opened a unique door for him to preach internationally. He has since traveled to 12 nations, challenging the church to release women in ministry and to end abuse and gender discrimination. He and his wife, Deborah, have four daughters.
10 Lies Men Believe is a compassionate but confrontational look at the reasons why so many Christian men today are in serious crisis. The author, who has spent eight years confronting the abuse of women in more than twenty countries, believes men are failing in marriage, fatherhood, friendships, and careers because of ten wrong mind-sets inherited from culture. With gut-level honesty, the author offers practical answers for men who struggle with a variety of issues, including addiction, abusive tendencies, pornography, controlling behavior, and emotional problems rooted in a lack of proper fathering. The book is also an excellent resource for women who are suffering because of mistreatment by the men in their lives.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Charisma House (February 1, 2011)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Foreword by Napoleon Kaufman
Introduction: Have You Been Brainwashed?
Lie #1: God made men superior to women.
Lie #2: A man cannot be close to his father.
Lie #3: A real man is defined by material success.
Lie #4: A man is the ultimate “boss” of his family.
Lie #5: Sex is primarily for the man’s enjoyment, not the woman’s.
Lie #6: It’s OK for a man to hit or abuse a woman.
Lie #7: Real men don’t need close male friendships.
Lie #8: A man should never admit his weaknesses.
Lie #9: Real men don’t cry.
Lie #10: A man should never receive spiritual ministry from a woman.
Conclusion: The Journey From Wimp to Warrior
Appendix: Every Man’s Secret to Spiritual Power
201 The relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.1
—Aristotle, in Politica
One hundred women are not worth a single testicle.2
It is only males who are created directly by the gods and are given souls. Those who live rightly return to the stars, but those who are “cowards” or [lead unrighteous lives] may with reason be supposed to have changed into the nature of women in the second generation.3
—Plato, in timaeus
Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made
some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their
property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the
unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part
you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in
the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not
seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.4
—The Quran, 4:34
Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast not made me a woman.5
—Ancient prayer of Jewish rabbis
The souls of women are so small, that some believe they’ve none at all.6
—Samuel Butler, English poet
God Made Man Superior to Women.
Millions of women around the world are subjected to the horror of male domination. They are gang-raped in Latin America, their genitals are mutilated in parts of Africa, they are forced to wear burkas in Afghanistan, they are sold as sex slaves in Thailand, and they are denied education in India. Yet most of us westerners are oblivious to this cruel injustice. It’s out of sight, out of mind.
But in 2009 a movie that exposed the cruel abuse of women in Iran hit theaters just a few weeks after Iran’s authoritarian government came under international scrutiny. The Stoning of Soraya M. is based on a book written by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam.7 It tells the true story of a woman named Zahra, who is distraught because the men of her village—she defiantly calls them “devils”—have killed her niece, Soraya.8
Through flashbacks we learn that Soraya’s immoral husband decided to put her away so he could marry a fourteen-year-old girl. When Soraya dares to defy her husband’s scheme, he trumps up false adultery charges against her with the help of the local Islamic mullah. Zahra tries to stop the madness, but in the end the villagers commit
the Islamic version of a lynching. Along the way we learn how militant the antiwoman attitudes are in this part of the world.
“Women now have no voices,” Zahra says at one point. We see how Iran’s women, under the regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini, were forced to live in prisons of silence and were valued only as sex objects and domestic servants.
The worst part of the movie’s twenty-minute stoning sequence is the way young men in the village click their rocks together while they wait for the signal to kill.
Why does this kind of madness still happen in the twenty-first century? I have seen it up close since I began confronting the abuse of women in 2001. I’ve traveled to more than twenty-four countries to conduct conferences and seminars, and I have interviewed many “Zahras” from every continent. I now carry a heavy burden for these women, and for the men who abuse them. Here are just a few of the statistics we know about this ignored issue.
Around the world, at least one in three women will be
beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her
In Latin America, the culture of machismo, or institutionalized male pride, has resulted in a dangerously low
view of women. A report released in 2009 by the United
Nations says up to 40 percent of women throughout Latin
America have been victims of physical violence.10
Forced prostitution, trafficking for sex, and sex tourism
are growing problems in many parts of the world. Each
year, an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across
borders. Eighty percent of these are women and girls,
according to the United Nations Population Fund
(UNPF). Most of them end up trapped in the commercial
sex trade. (This figure does not include the substantial
number of women and girls who are bought and sold within their own countries.)11
According to the UNPF, the greatest number of victims is believed to come from Asia (about 250,000 per year), the former Soviet Union (about 100,000), and from Central and Eastern Europe (about 175,000).12 An estimated 100,000 trafficked women have come from Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than 50,000 from Africa.13
In Asia, at least sixty million girls are “missing” due to prenatal sex selection, infanticide, or neglect.14 In China, where young couples are only allowed to have one child, orphanages are overrun with infant girls, because boys are preferred. Baby girls are often thrown into rivers, left on doorsteps, or abandoned in forests.
Female genital mutilation affects an estimated 130 million women and girls, mostly in Africa. Each year, two million more undergo the barbaric practice.15 In most cases, a girl is forced around age twelve to undergo the cutting away of her clitoris so that she cannot feel sexual pleasure. Often this causes serious urinary problems as well as infections.
Violence against women also takes the form of other harmful practices, such as child marriage and dowry-related violence (especially in India), acid burning (in some Muslim nations), and abandonment of widows.16
In many Islamic countries, women die from what is known as “honor killings.” If a woman dares to disagree with her husband or even shows a hint of disrespect, her husband and other male relatives (and sometimes her mother) will drag her into the street, bury her up to her waist in dirt, and then stone her in broad daylight.
Although this practice is illegal, it is estimated that there
are five thousand such killings every year.17
Guatemala has the highest rate of unsolved murders
of women in the world. A report released in 2005 by
Amnesty International showed that murders of women
climbed to 560 in that year, yet not one murderer was
convicted. In many cases, the women victims are tortured
or their bodies are mutilated. Often their bodies are
dumped in the streets.18
In South Africa, older men who have contracted the AIDS virus believe that if they have sex with a young virgin they will be cured of the disease.19 So they actually search for young girls to serve as their “wives,” and they buy them from their poor parents. Needless to say, many of these innocent girls do not survive.
It’s easy to read statistics like this and just push them aside. After all, we don’t know these people, and we feel powerless to help them. But after I began traveling and speaking on this issue I began to match actual names and faces with these abstract numbers. Suddenly I began to feel the personal pain of the women and girls involved. Because I am a husband and the father of four daughters, I began to see these abused women in a different light. I identified with them. And my heart broke.
In Kochi, India, a desperate woman came to a house where I was having lunch. She was afraid to talk to me, so she spoke with the pastor’s wife, who was hosting our meal. This woman’s husband had just dragged her to a river and dunked her under the water repeatedly. He threatened to drown her until she promised to go to her parents and request more dowry money. She was risking her life to talk about the abuse because most women in India suffer silently. They consider it disrespectful to discuss family problems openly.
In Kampala, Uganda, a nineteen-year-old college student asked if she could meet with me in the church along with her pastor. Because I openly talked about sex abuse in a sermon, she mustered the courage to share her shameful secret: two male cousins had violated her when she was only thirteen. They took her to the countryside and told her they were going to ride horses, but when they arrived at their destination, both boys raped her repeatedly. When she threatened to tell their parents, one boy retorted, “They will never believe you. Girls are always the guilty ones.”
In Port Harcourt, Nigeria, I met a twenty-four-year-old woman who came to me in tears. Her Christian father and mother had a happy family of four daughters. Yet her father decided to divorce his wife after all the girls were grown. The reason? Because this woman had not given him a son. “Nigerian men think it is the wife’s duty to give them a boy,” the distraught daughter explained. “They don’t even realize it is the sperm of the man that determines the gender of the child.”
In Nairobi, Kenya, a tired-looking woman asked me for prayer at the altar of a church. She had not been sleeping much. She said her husband regularly visited prostitutes, but sometimes he also demanded sex from her even though she was afraid he would infect her with the AIDS virus. Often he forced himself on her anyway; if she locked the bedroom door, he kicked it open.
In Kiev, Ukraine—a city known for its mafia-run prostitution rings—I spoke to a conference of three thousand women about the healing Jesus Christ offers to victims of sex abuse. When I opened the altars for women to receive prayer, almost every woman in the auditorium tried to crowd to the front. A Ukrainian woman later told me, “Most women here have been abused like that.”
In La Paz, Bolivia, I spent many days ministering to the poor, indigenous people of that nation. I saw countless women on the streets of the city selling candy, cigarettes, stationery, and soft drinks from small wooden stands while their young children crawled on the dirty sidewalks or sat on mats behind their crude kiosks. The women’s husbands were nowhere to be found. I later learned that many Bolivian men force their wives to work in the streets while they stay home all day to drink alcohol. These women have a popular saying that everyone in Bolivia knows by heart: “Cuanto m‡s me pega, m‡s me ama.” This means, “The more [my husband] beats me, the more he loves me.”
And in Monterrey, Mexico, an articulate woman pastor pulled me aside after I had spoken about domestic violence at a conference. She wanted to tell me the unthinkable. “Every month I go to the hospital to visit a pastor’s wife,” she whispered, as if she was afraid someone might overhear. “Pastors are beating their wives. The problem is not just in the secular culture. It is also in the church!”
After hearing these kinds of stories from women all over the world, I decided I could not sit on my hands or close my ears. I went on the warpath against the oppression of women. I began to write about it, preach about it, and mobilize churches to confront it. I sponsored women’s conferences, men’s conferences, and pastor’s conferences so I could hit the issue from all sides.
I also realized that this violence won’t stop until men forcefully oppose it. I now believe that this is one mark of a true man: he stands up against all forms of social oppression—including this horrible sin of abuse and gender discrimination. Real men don’t put down women. Real men fight for them. Our mothers, sisters, and daughters need us to speak out. They have suffered long enough.
let’s talk about it
1. Were you already aware of this problem of violence against women? How did you learn about it?
2. How do these statistics about gender-based violence make you feel?
3. Is there something you can do to address this problem in your own church, community, or elsewhere?
a BiBlical View oF GendeR
One of the main reasons there is such pervasive violence against women is that men believe they are superior. We have several terms for this attitude. Some call it chauvinism, a word derived from the name of a French soldier, Nicolas Chauvin, who was fanatically loyal to Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon himself was the ultimate chauvinist. He once said, “Nature intended women to be our slaves. They are our property.”
In Latin America, this attitude is called machismo, and it is promoted not only by authoritarian men but also by women who teach their sons that they are superior to women. Chauvinism is also known as a patriarchal mind-set—and it includes the idea that only men can lead and that women were created only to have babies and serve men.
Ultimately, male pride has its roots in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve disobeyed God and the world came under the curse of sin. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect, intimate partnership without any shame or dysfunction in their relationship. After the Fall, the man began to dominate the woman, and her life became more painful. Adam blamed his wife for being deceived, even though he willingly chose to rebel against God. The Lord said this to the woman in Genesis 3:16:
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain
in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your
desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
You don’t have to look far to see Genesis 3:16 at work in the world. In every culture on Earth, especially those where the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been preached, women suffer under the domination of men.
If you examine the world’s religions, you will find that all of them except Christianity denigrate women and place them at severe disadvantage. In Islamic cultures, especially where Sharia law is enforced, women have no civil rights and are not even allowed to drive cars. In Hindu cultures, women suffer unimaginable discrimination; for centuries, in fact, a Hindu wife whose husband died was expected to commit suicide by jumping into his funeral pyre. In Mormonism, women whose “celestial marriages” are sealed in temple ceremonies are told that the only way they can attain eternal salvation is if they have babies.
Christianity offers a unique and revolutionary message of empowerment to women, and the Bible calls men to treat women as equals. Jesus Christ, who showed amazing compassion to women during His earthly ministry and who called women to be His followers, canceled the painful reality of Genesis 3:16. I like to preach that Genesis 3:16 was canceled by John 3:16! When Christ came into the world as the Father’s only begotten Son to save us, He made a way for men to be delivered from their pride and for women to be healed from violence and abuse.
Of course, Christian leaders themselves have not always walked in total deliverance from male pride. The church has not always reflected the heart of Christ. Some leaders, even today, impose their own gender biases and errant interpretations of Scripture—and this has led to much pain in the lives of Christian women around the world. That’s why it is so important for us to go back to Scripture and recover what the Bible actually says on this issue, rather than parroting religious traditions that were passed down to us.
Here are seven important truths about gender that have been clearly articulated in Scripture. You must allow the Word of God to renew your mind. These principles will help liberate you from the heavy yoke of male pride.
1. Men and women were created by God with equal value.
The first account of Creation in Genesis 1 says God created both the male and the female in the divine image. Genesis 1:26–27 says:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
In ancient Greece, philosophers such as Aristotle and others believed the male was created from the divine matter of the gods, while the female was created from inferior animal matter. The Judeo-Christian view of gender is in stark contrast to the pagan Greek mind-set. In the very first chapter in the Bible we see that men and women are created as equals.
The word picture that is painted in this passage is of two equal partners standing side by side. Then, in the Genesis 2 description of Eve’s creation, we are told that she was taken from Adam’s side. It is worth noting that God did not take the woman from his head (so that she would rule over him) or from his feet (so that he would rule over her). God’s intention for marriage was always for intimacy, affection, and partnership.
2. In their original perfection, the man and woman were both given authority.
Even some Christians believe that women can never have spiritual authority. Yet throughout Scripture, in both Old and New Testaments, we see that God anointed certain women with leadership gifts. Genesis 1:28 says:
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The word subdue in this passage is the Hebrew word kabash, which means “to subdue, dominate, tread down.” Women are called to do this also! This was always God’s plan: that men and women would rule together to advance His kingdom.
Of course, Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden created a huge setback. But when Christ came and paid the full price for our sins, He made full restoration possible. Now, because of His redemption, men and women can walk in divine authority once more.
3. God never intended for women to be viewed as appendages or as servants to men.
The woman is referred to in Genesis 2:18 as the man’s “helper” (or “help meet” in the King James Version). What does that word mean? If we have chauvinism in our hearts, we might be tempted to believe that God gave the woman to Adam simply so she could pick up his socks, fix his dinner, and meet his sexual needs whenever he pleased.
But actually the word helper does not imply subservience or inferiority. If anything, the passage shows that the man was totally incomplete without the woman—and that he could not fulfill his divine mission without her. The passage says:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be
alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
This word helper comes from the Hebrew word ezer, a term that actually refers to God more than fifteen times in the Old Testament! Of course we know that God is our helper, but we would never think of Him as inferior to us. Neither should we think of women as inferior or second-class just because Eve was created after Adam. (After all, Adam was created after God made all the animals, but we don’t consider man inferior to animals!)
4. God does not value boys over girls, so neither should we.
In many cultures in the world girls are at a huge disadvantage. In India, for example, many families choose abortion if an ultrasound shows the unborn baby is female. In many cultures males are considered more valuable because they will grow up and be more financially productive. But this is not how God views girls.
In the Book of Numbers, we read about five women who were the daughters of a man named Zelophehad. This man had died with no male heirs, and the traditions of Israel said that a man with only daughters would leave no land rights to his family. However, when these women came to Moses to protest, Moses asked God what to do. Numbers 27:6–7 says:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right in their statements. You shall surely give them a hereditary possession among their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer the inheritance of their father to them.”
That one moment changed the course of life among the children of Israel. God contradicted the patriarchal traditions of the day and ruled in favor of the daughters of Zelophehad. He made it clear that women do indeed have equal value in His eyes.
5. Jesus Christ modeled a completely different approach to women than that of the religious leaders of His time.
When He began His ministry, Jesus challenged the religious and cultural rules of a male-dominated culture. While other rabbis believed it was improper to teach women the Bible, Jesus called his disciple Mary to sit at His feet. While other religious leaders refused to go near bleeding women, Jesus healed one. While the Pharisees shunned Samaritans and divorced women, Jesus had compassion on the Samaritan divorcée and commissioned her to be an evangelist.
Jesus’s approach to ministry was radical for His time. If a Jewish leader saw a woman coming down the street, he would typically get on the other side of the street to avoid her. Yet Jesus went out of His way to befriend women, even those who were the outcasts of society. He also allowed a group of women to travel with His entourage (Luke 8:1–3), and those same women became the first witnesses of His resurrection—in a time when women were not even allowed to testify in a court of law
6. The New Testament calls men to treat women as equals.
In the first century, marriage was a painful prison for most women. Husbands viewed their wives as property. Women had no right to seek a divorce, and there was no protection from violence. Yet to this male-dominated culture the apostle Paul wrote the epistle to the Ephesians, which contains the most revolutionary description of marriage ever penned. Paul explains that marriage is not a hierarchy but a partnership that celebrates equality, tender intimacy, and unity of heart. He gave husbands these instructions in Ephesians 5:25 and 28:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her....So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
Paul also challenged the Corinthian church with another radical idea about marriage. He told them that men and women have equal authority over each other’s bodies when it comes to sex. This concept cut deep at the heart of a patriarchal culture, because men believed they had the right to demand sex from their wives whenever they wanted. Paul said:
The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
—1 Corinthians 7:3–4
This passage offers the essence of New Testament teaching on marriage. Clearly, if God desires an attitude of mutual submission and equality in the sexual area, which lies at the very core of a man and woman’s relationship, then He also desires that husbands and wives treat each other with the same attitude in every other area of life.
7. The Holy Spirit empowers both men and women for ministry.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the early church on the Day of Pentecost, both the male and female followers of Christ were together in the Upper Room. The Bible says a flame of God’s fire rested on each person. It does not say that the men had blue flames, while the women had pink flames. The same holy power came upon men and women alike.
After that dramatic encounter, both men and women began to preach the gospel with power. Philip the evangelist had four daughters who were prophets (Acts 21:9). A married couple, Priscilla and Aquila, traveled with Paul and taught the Word of God (Acts 18:24– 26). Paul commended a woman minister named Phoebe because she was a powerful deacon of the church (Rom. 16:1–2).
Throughout Paul’s writings he makes it clear that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not given to people based on gender, race, or financial status. God anoints whomever He wills. Nowhere in Scripture are spiritual gifts linked to gender. In fact, Paul told the Galatians:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free
man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in
Under the old covenant, only Jewish males from the tribe of Levi who were between the ages of twenty-five and fifty could serve as priests in the tabernacle. But all that changed after Jesus came. Because of His death on the cross and because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, all restrictions related to age, class, race, and gender were removed. Today, Christ has a new “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9) that is made up of both men and women from every language, tribe, and nation.
let’s talk about it
1. How do you explain why there is so much violence and abuse toward women in the world? Is there a spiritual root to this issue?
2. What did God mean when He called Eve a “helper”? Have you ever treated your wife or women in general, as inferior?
3. What do you think it means to love your wife “as Christ loves the church”?
4. Secular feminists sometimes angrily demand women’s rights and use crude language to describe men. How does this form of angry feminism differ from a biblical view of gender equality?
5. The apostle Paul had many women on his ministry team, such as Phoebe, Priscilla, Euodia, and Syntyche. Yet he seemed to limit women at times, such as when he told them to be quiet in church (1 Cor. 14:34–35). How do you explain that?
let’s Pray about it
Father, I don’t want any chauvinism or male pride in my heart. Please break my hard heart. Forgive me for any time I have mistreated my wife or other women. I want to have the heart of Christ, who showed respect, dignity, and compassion for women and recognized their equality. In Jesus’s name, amen.