Trail Times Letter to the Editor: St. Paul’s passages often misrepresented

Fruitvale Reverend shares some clarification on St. Paul's opinion of women.

I value very highly the column in your Friday paper by Louise McEwan, and none more highly than the one on Friday about gender hierarchy (The dangerous paradigm of gender hierarchy, Trail Times, April 26).

She makes reference to the scriptural passage “wives obey your husbands.”

This and several other passages which denigrate women are attributed to St. Paul. It is unlikely, however, that he wrote or did anything to denigrate women. He had far too much respect for the women who assisted him in his ministry.

These negative passages are undoubtedly insertions (which was not uncommon in those times) by church officials in the second century as their opposition to woman having any authority. This became the pattern of Christian behaviour for nearly two thousand years.

The genuine foundation statement by St. Paul regarding women is found in Galations 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Any definition of women’s role in church and world needs to be measured against this very affirmative affirmation. Paul believed that women had as much value as men in Christian ministry.

For a thorough study of this topic see John Dominic Crossan’s book “God and Empire” (Harper Collins 2007) pages 172-183.

I know many women dislike St. Paul because of the frequent instances of misogyny in his letters.

We need to delve more deeply into his writings to find the broad and genuine appreciation he had for women.

Paul is difficult enough in some of his genuine writings without our adding to the difficulties by accepting those blatant attacks upon women which are not his at all, nor do they represent his mind and his heart.

Rev. Garwood G. Russell