Read 1 Peter 3:7
7 The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground. (THE MESSAGE)
It is such a sad irony that women so often have been marginalised in Christian churches. Even when their involvement was encouraged it was a very limited involvement. Thankfully things have changed for the better in most churches, though there is ongoing debate about just how and when and where women can minister.
It is ironic because early Christianity was radically different to the rest of society when it came to women. Jesus openly welcomed them and accepted them in a way that may seem normal to us but was anything but normal in his time. In those times, women had definite duties towards men but it was Christianity that made those duties reciprocal.
Peter’s words are a good example. He readily admits that women are not always treated well in that society. A more literal translation has them as ‘the weaker sex’. This is not sexist condescension but a recognition that they, as our paraphrase points out, didn’t have the advantages men had in that time.
It is sad if the church is seen as an oppressor of women given that Jesus and the New Testament Scriptures want to liberate women from such patriarchal oppression. Just as there are no first- and second-class Christians, there are no first- or second-class genders.