Christians for Biblical Equality

A paper presented by Mimi Haddad to a meeting of Anglican Curates, Melbourne, Australia June 2010

Plato said ideas rule the world. All action begins as an idea. Paul said, “Take every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).” Why? Because ideas have consequences.

Here is an important example:

The most prominent indicator of whether a girl will be sold to a brothel, killed as a fetus, abused in her marriage or family, or denied a place of decision making in her country, community or church is determined not by her gender, but on the ideas by which we assess gender; that is the value we ascribe to females. Nonprofit organizations refer to this phenomenon as the “Girl Effect.”[1] What do they mean? In study after study, the research suggests when a culture values females as equally as males, those culture are more likely to observe equal numbers of girls and boys surviving through adulthood. The single indicator for gender-justice in a community begins with an idea—what theologians call ontology—that is the value we ascribed to groups of individuals.

Notes for Workshop discussion (From Powerpoint Presentation)


Slide 1

Why we believe what we believe?

...how our mind (thoughts, feelings, personality) affects our religious beliefs and practice



Slide 2


  • ...the study of the interpretation of texts
  • The writer —context and experience
  • Genre
  • Original hearers — what was the meaning for them
  • Present hearers (us) — our context, pre-understanding

Are women more prone to (sin) error? Gender and ethical decision-making

Until the second half of the twentieth century, theologians were agreed that women are more prone to sin, error and deception than men, and this was considered a reason to bar them from teaching and leadership in the world as well as the church and the home. This was how the passage in 1 Timothy 2: 14 was interpreted, “And Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” which of course follows on from Paul saying “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man”

eg Chrysostom (347-407 “the sex is weak and fickle, collectively”.

Augustine (354-430): “Satan first tried his assault upon the woman, making his assault upon the weaker part of that human alliance, that he might gradually gain the whole,, and not supposing that the man would readily give ear to him, or be deceived”



This paper is an exploratory and unfolding journey. In it I attempt to look at different layers of religio-cultural beliefs, behaviour and meaning in relation to the status and well-being of women and girls in Nigeria. I do not intend for this to be a purely academic treatise although I refer often to academic writings in gender and development as well as religious literature. Instead I share personal observations, impressions and learning points gleaned from my work in gender and development research, Christian ministry to young people and activism. I reflect on the diverse and complex ways religion and indigenous tradition impinge on social justice for women and girls in Church and society in the Nigerian context. Many of these learning points and reflections are the result of my personal journey in search for answers as a woman of faith working in a secular development policy environment trying to understand why ‘the woman question’ persists largely unanswered and maybe even unanswerable. This unfolding journey is by no means a straightforward one.

The most important text on the relationship of the sexes in the whole Bible: Genesis 1-3.

Kevin Giles

In discussing what the Bible teaches on men and women no text in the whole Bible is more important than Genesis chapters 1–3. Here God creates man and woman as the apex of his creative work and sets them in an idyllic world where everything is good. Tragically, however, the devil enters and both the man and the woman fall into sin and as a consequence are banished from the garden. All Christian theologians see this story as foundational to the whole Bible. It tells us that God made the world ‘good’, but the sin of man and woman destroyed their good relationship with God, each other and with the creation itself. It thus explains why a saviour and a ‘new creation’ are needed. The story is given in two forms. In Genesis chapter one in grand poetic language God creates everything in seven days with the apex of his creative work coming in the creation of man and woman who are said to be ‘made in God’s image and likeness’. Chapters 2-3 give a different account of the beginning, this time in picturesque narrative form with a number of scenes. In the so called ‘second creation story’, after the earth is created Adam appears first and then God provides for him water, vegetation, animals and a partner in woman.