September 10, Sunday

The AMI QT Devotionals from September 4-10 are provided by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S. F.  Mark, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.), has been married to Mira for 21 years; they have two children, Jeremiah and Carissa.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

 

Genesis 2:19-25

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21  So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib  x he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25  Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

In this passage, we see that marriage and family is the only social institution that was a part of God’s created order before the Fall—before the consequence of sin. Therefore, we are given a glimpse of what an ideal marriage should look like by God’s perfect design. We see immediately that the dignity and equality of the genders is never questioned in the Scriptures. It is simply assumed, and therefore, the inequality that we see in the world is not by design. I believe Christians should consider it to be injustice when women are paid less for doing the same work as men, when positions of power—whether it is in politics or the corporate world—are withheld from them. These types of social issues should be examined, but alongside it, we are seeing an increasing attack on the notion of God’s design for men as the head of the family.

The argument that I have heard on many occasions is that it makes no sense that a woman can be the president of the United States but in the home she has to take a demotion. In fact, certain schools of feminist thought consider traditional views of marriage and family to be the root source of our societal problems in gender equality. And I would agree to a certain degree because traditional views are not the same thing as Biblical views. In fact, I would argue that Christianity, even when it has often been improperly or partially implemented, has offered a much better solution for women than any other social construct.

Rodney Stark, in his book The Triumph of Christianity, has a fascinating chapter on why women in the Roman Empire converted at such high rates. Some of the archaeological findings show that in the catacombs under Rome, Christian women were nearly as likely as Christian men to be commemorated with lengthy inscriptions. Princeton historian Brent Shaw made this observation in regards to his discovery: “This near equality in the commemoration of males and females is something that is peculiar to Christians, and sets them apart from the non-Christian populations of the city.”

Another reason many women converted to Christianity was to protect their daughters. A common practice among Roman aristocrats was the taking of child brides. Cambridge historian Keith Hopkins calculated that many of the famous women in Rome were married before the age of 12, and nearly 50% of pagan women were married off before their 15 th birthday. In contrast, it appeared that among Christians, it was a growing practice to withhold their daughters from marriage until 18. Contrary to popular thought, it would appear that the notion of Christian marriage and gender roles furthered the cause of women and gave them a place of dignity, equality, and safety within the church in comparison to the oppression that was prevalent in Roman society.

Prayer: Lord, we place our trust in Your perfect design for our marriages. We intercede for our families, knowing that there are problems that sin causes. We pray that we would not simply accept the way the world defines the concept of marriage but look into the Scriptures. We also pray that You would protect our marriages and children, as well as our parent’s marriages. May we reflect the love that Christ has for His Church as we live in harmony with our spouses. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 32

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