The Invisible Knife

Please listen as writer and advocate Melissa Garman shares her thoughts and perspective on patriarchal theology and the escape that is available, yet hidden, for so many.

There’s something that’s been on my mind lately. Aside from the obvious fact that complementarian teaching is oppressive toward women (and men), it’s also a huge indicator of privilege. Hear me out:

In the rest of the known world, in non-industrialized countries, there are women all over preaching the Gospel. Names and faces we’ll never see. People we’ll never meet. Speaking languages we’ll never learn. All we have in common is that we are sisters of the Kingdom and we have a mutual love for our Lord.

I can’t imagine a complementarian American man going over to a third world country and daring to tell one of these women, “You can’t preach”. This especially goes for a woman who risks her entire livelihood to spread the Gospel in lesser known territory–something many of those American men wouldn’t be willing to do.

I can perhaps imagine that same man doing mental gymnastics to justify a woman preaching or teaching “outside of church”, but not “inside the church.” Funny, I thought the church was composed of believers and not a building? But now it suddenly is just a building. All of this hypocrisy just to justify this institutionalized hierarchical relationship between the sexes.

Funny, I thought the church was composed of believers and not a building?

And what about families who, for health, financial or a multitude of other reasons, literally cannot follow “Biblical gender roles?” What about them? Are they damned because of forces out of their control? If it doesn’t apply to every Christian, regardless of citizenship or socioeconomic status, then it doesn’t apply AT ALL.

If it doesn’t apply to every Christian, regardless of citizenship or socioeconomic status, then it doesn’t apply AT ALL.

I think these contrasts show that complementarianism was never really about Biblical womanhood or roles or the so-called “equal but different” nonsense. It’s about deeply ingrained sexism that becomes oh-so-easy to perpetuate in developed nations. It’s about the enemy’s attack on half of God’s church. And it’s about the industrialized, commercialized, politicized church putting a widespread spiritual stamp of approval on the whole ordeal.

Too many people are brainwashed by these regurgitated, sound-bite theological statements, that they are unable to see and experience the freedom that Jesus provides.

Too many Christian men are being conditioned to see through the lens of church-sanctioned systemic sexism and are, in their own minds, absolved from all personal responsibility to read their Bibles and come to critical conclusions of their own accord.

And too many women are being bound by the ropes of religion with an invisible knife sitting right within their reach. But it’s a knife they’ll never see unless someone shows them it’s there.

It has to stop. So women like Katie Pridgen, myself, and countless others are speaking up, handing our sisters the knife, and helping them escape. We are all equal in Christ. It’s about time we start acting like it.

Written by Melissa Garman

2 Replies to “The Invisible Knife”

  1. You have stated this whole satanic deception so well. Satan is a very clever foe and has done much to keep as you say, half of the Church from following through on their calling to preach. It is my passion as well to help women get free from spiritual abuse and other oppressors. Thank you for your well written article!


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