One of the issues we grapple with from time to time is when to speak up for biblical equality and when to stay silent. In some instances, it seems more circumspect to ignore the comments or criticism because we know the background of the people and what their beliefs are regarding the place of women. However, maybe we can miss golden opportunities to speak some truth into the situation because we’re too concerned about being a stumbling block or only backing up the other person’s pre-conceived ideas.
I once read an article by Rebecca Groothuis where she categorized people into three groups concerning biblical equality.
* She discouraged conversation with people who are very vocally against what they term ‘worldly feminism’ and says it is most often a fruitless exercise to try to convince a person whose mind is made up.
* Those who hold to hierarchy but accept that Christians who have other views are also concerned for being true to the scriptures are good candidates for some discussion, but here again it seldom convinces them to change their view.
* The most profitable group to speak with are those who have genuine questions and are willing to discuss different ways of translating certain passages and are open to learning what we have to communicate.
Of course, the difficulty is that we often do not discover to which category a person belongs until we have said something that crosses an imaginary line of biblical correctness, and then we have the choice to keep going and maybe end up arguing or back out gracefully while still retaining the friendship.
I would be interested in other readers’ encouraging experiences of sharing their beliefs with other Christians as I guess we all have had far too many discouraging times!