Several years ago, I wrote a post titled Will There Be Any Women in Heaven? Hint, the Answer is No!, detailing what some Independent Fundamentalist Baptists (IFB) believe the Bible teaches about there being women in Heaven.
No matter what women say or do in IFB churches, they will always be considered second-class citizens; inferior to men because the Bible says that women are weaker than men and more prone to emotional silliness. Women can’t be preachers, teachers of adults, elders, deacons, or political leaders. According to some IFB preachers, women just aren’t suited for such jobs. God wants women to submit to their husbands and pastors, and busy themselves with house-cleaning, cooking, fucking their husbands at will, raising children, and working in the church nursery. For these women, their husbands are their bosses, and it’s their duty to submit to them as unto the Lord. Ponder that thought for a moment. How does Jesus want you to submit to him? With love, commitment, and strict obedience. In patriarchal homes, there is a strict order: Jesus, pastor, husband, wife, children, and the dog. Upsetting this order, according to preachers of complementarianism, brings God’s judgment. No marriage is a good one without it being perfectly aligned with God’s order for the church and home. Or so preachers say, anyway.
Some IFB women endure such treatment for the sake of their children. It is not uncommon to see IFB women divorce their husbands once their children are out of the house. I suspect other women take the he that endureth to the end shall be saved approach. They willingly suffer being misused and abused, believing that God will reward them in Heaven for their sacrificial obedience.
But what if Peter Ruckman and his fellow misogynists are right; that women will be turned into men once they arrive at the pearly gates? Think about that fact for a moment, ladies! Imagine spending your life putting up with shit from men, only to find out when you get to Heaven that God hates you too and plans to turn you into a thirty-three-year-old man. Isn’t God’s plan wonderful?
My advice to IFB women is this: RUN! Flee the mind-numbing, psychologically damaging preaching of IFB pastors. If need be, tell your IFB husband that he has two choices: FLEE or separation/divorce. Life is too short for women to give it all up to the wants, whims, needs, and desires of religiously motivated men. There’s no Christian Hell or Heaven awaiting, ladies, so now is the time to make for yourselves your own heaven and hell on earth; hell for the men who demean you and heaven for yourself and those value you as people.
I shall wait for God’s anointed ones to show up and object to what I have written here. The BIBLE says ___________, they will say, and in doing so they will prove, yet again, that the Bible can be used to prove almost anything; that Peter Ruckman with his belief that there will be no women in Heaven is just as credible and believable as Christians who suggest otherwise. Evangelical Christianity is, in effect, a paint-by-number board without numbers. Believers can freely use — thanks to the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God — whatever colors they want to paint their picture. How dare anyone suggest that their particular picture is not a representation of True Christianity®.
Today, one of God’s anointed ones, a Christian named Zee, stopped by to let me know that I not only was wrong about women in Heaven, but I am also a narcissist. Here’s what Zee had to say:
Women go to heaven, because there are female saints all over the place up. There there’s more female saints in there are male saints, and I don’t think God would leave Mary without any companionship. There are women up there, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, Joanne, Esther, Judith. there are women in heaven we are God‘s children. We are sons and daughters you meant, thank you just rule rule and rule and women are nothing. We are daughters of Christ, we all go to heaven shame on you for saying that we don’t you must be a narcissist.
First, according to orthodox Christianity, no one is in Heaven or Hell at this present time. When someone dies, their bodies are either cremated or buried, awaiting the resurrection of the dead. No one goes to Heaven until he or she has been resurrected from the dead, judged according to their works, and given a new body.
Second, the Bible was written entirely by men; men who were largely patriarchal, misogynistic, and sexist. God is presented as a male deity; a father figure, and Christians have largely, throughout church history, viewed God from this perspective. The Bible is not, in any way, friendly towards women. Sure, there are a handful of verses that paint a positive picture of women, but for the most part, women are either viewed as chattel property, slaves, or subservient to their fathers, husbands, and pastors. I am also aware of attempts to re-envision, reinterpret, and rewrite the Bible in ways that paint God and Christianity in a better light. I find that these attempts largely do violence to the Biblical text. I may agree with their motivations, but I cannot get beyond one fact: the Bible says what it says. Instead of trying to turn the Bible into a twenty-first-century friendly book, how about taking it as written in its historical, sociological, and theological context. If you want a Bible that is friendly towards women and modern sensibilities, I suggest you write a new one.
Third, Zee claims there is a Heaven and says Mary, Elizabeth, Joanne, Esther, and Judith are presently there with other saints. No evidence is provided for this claim. I have seen no evidence for the existence of Heaven (or Hell). And neither has anyone else. The only evidence Zee can provide is this: the Bible says ____________. What the Bible says is a claim, not evidence. Just because Zee says there is a Heaven doesn’t make it so. Further, I have seen no evidence for the existence of life after death. Again, the Bible claims that there is life after death, but that’s a claim, not evidence. I am sixty-six years old. All the extant evidence available to me says that humans live and die, end of story; that there is no life after death; no judgment, no punishment, no reward. We live and then we die. If Zee has evidence to the contrary, I would love to see it. I won’t hold my breath. 🙂
Finally, I am at a loss to explain why I am a narcissist for sharing what the Bible says about women and Heaven and what some IFB preachers (and Muslims) believe on this subject. I suspect Zee needed to denigrate me and call me names, and narcissist was the first word that came to mind. I wonder if he or she even knows what this word even means?
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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