After I read “Submission as the S Word” by insanitybytes22, I thought of something I had read by a good Christian man hundreds of years ago. Although we like to think of ourselves as modern and wiser than those who lived long before us, it is difficult to find evidence that such is true. Even today many say Christianity is prejudiced against women, but that is plain foolishness. Christianity merely recognizes the obvious, that men and women have separate but equally important roles. John Bunyan demonstrated that in his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, published in 1678.
Bunyan presented his story in two parts. In the first part Bunyan wove a tale about Christian, a pilgrim who struggled against the temptations of this world to be at the side of our Lord in heaven, Jesus Christ. In the second part Bunyan wrote about Christiana, Christian’s wife. Belatedly, Christiana followed her husband’s example, doing what Christian had been unable to do on his own, leading her boys and one her neighbors to Christ.
Christiana, although devoted to her husband, had survived him. Thus, she functioned as the head of the family, and she did so courageously. With his tale, Bunyan clearly displayed the strengths and weakness of both sexes, demonstrating how as men and women we complement each other.
As the following excerpt from Part 2, Chapter 7 explained, the Bible does not hold women in reproach. Bunyan put his words in the mouth of Gaius, a man who maintained an inn for travel weary pilgrims.
Gaius also proceeded, and said, “I will now speak on the behalf of women, to take away their reproach. For as death and the curse came into the world by a woman, so also did life and health: ‘God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.’ I will say again, that when the Saviour was come, women rejoiced in Him before either man or angel. I read not that man ever gave unto Christ so much as one penny; but the women followed Him, and ministered to Him of their substance. ‘Twas a woman that washed His feet with tears, and a woman that anointed His body to the burial. They were women that wept when He was going to the cross, and women that followed Him from the cross; and that sat over against the sepulchre when He was buried. They were women that were first with Him at His resurrection-morn, and women that brought tidings first to His disciples that He was risen from the dead. Women, therefore, are highly favored, and show by these things that they are sharers with us in the grace of life.” (from here)
Who exactly was Gaius? In Bunyan’s book, Gaius is an odd exception. Most of the characters have names that define their character. Bunyan, however, lets a passage from the Bible define Gaius.
3 John 1-8 Good News Translation (GNT)
1 From the Elder—
To my dear Gaius, whom I truly love.
2 My dear friend, I pray that everything may go well with you and that you may be in good health—as I know you are well in spirit. 3 I was so happy when some Christians arrived and told me how faithful you are to the truth—just as you always live in the truth. 4 Nothing makes me happier than to hear that my children live in the truth.
Gaius Is Praised
5 My dear friend, you are so faithful in the work you do for other Christians, even when they are strangers. 6 They have spoken to the church here about your love. Please help them to continue their trip in a way that will please God. 7 For they set out on their trip in the service of Christ without accepting any help from unbelievers. 8 We Christians, then, must help these people, so that we may share in their work for the truth.
We should all strive to be as Gaius was, a helper of Christians, part of a people who share the Gospel of Christ. Fortunately, many have tried to be like Gaius. Look at the world today. Then contemplate what Jesus Christ did for women and the men who love them. Before Jesus, might defined right. Because of their greater strength, men thus had the “right” to rule over women. After Jesus, His followers insisted that God commanded us to love each other, that we must strive to make our words and deeds worthy of the love of Christ. And Christ had taught what the Bible says, God loves all mankind, that He made both men and women in His image.