I’m always late to know everything! Apparently, it’s been making the rounds on the interwebz that popular and conservative blogger, Sheila Gregorie, has not only recently attacked a Pastor for trying to defend his view of biblical marriage (and calling for him to be fired… and calling for all the women in his congregation to rebel against him), she’s now accused wives who actually submit to their husbands of committing the sin of idolatry!
I used to think Sheila was on the more “conservative” or traditional side of Christianity – but I’d never really read her blog, and I never knew she was a Christian feminist.
Here is where she defends Queen Vashti as being the “hero” of the Esther story, because she stood up for herself and “social justice,” and refused to obey her husband. It is a very twisted read in order to fit her feminist agenda of Vashti somehow being the “wife in the right,” with Esther being cast as a victim.
“I refuse to be treated like a sex object, because that is not what I am.” She stood up for the dignity of women, something, by the way, that Jesus did, too. In that culture that despised women, she said, “no more!”
Vashti doesn’t have to be bad in order for Esther to be good. Maybe both were standing up to injustice.
A few years ago, after reading what I thought would be a benign Bible study by Beth Moore on Queen Esther, I came across this same sentiment (from Moore) that Vashti really was in the right. In the study, Moore builds up an elaborate case against King Xerxes in order to discredit him, much like Sheila does. However, Moore is forced to admit to herself and her readers that Esther’s attitude and heart really were far superior than Vashti’s attitude and actions in winning over the King’s heart.
Sheila believes differently:
“I feel very, very sorry for Esther. I hate movies and books that portray her and Xerxes’ relationship as a love story.
She had to “audition” for a night to be chosen by him, and that’s pretty darn ugly, no matter how you slice it. We need to stop romanticizing it.
She was taken into a harem. It’s basically sex trafficking.”
Wow, so now Queen Esther was sex-trafficked! I’ve never seen anyone interpret Esther’s story this far off from what it was meant to be. It is definitely a type of love story, just as Ruth is another type of love story. For centuries, women have always found these stories romantic, because they are!
Here is where I talk about how romantic Queen Esther’s love story with King Xerxes is. From her uniquely tragic upbringing which forged her character and possible demeanor that captivated King Xerxes’, to being raised by a male cousin who gave her insight into men’s hearts, Esther made the King fall very much in love with her – to the point of him repeatedly offering her anything she wanted, including half his kingdom.
After reading Beth Moore’s study, I chose to focus on the good things she wrote about Esther, yet interject my own thoughts (as opposed to Moore’s) on how badly Vashti chose to behave.
“Vashti had blatantly and cruelly humiliated him in front of all of Susa, during the finale of his week long party, during a sensitive time of his trying to ramp up political support for his campaign to go to war to conquer Greece (something that seemed like an extremely difficult undertaking).
He, of all men, understood what it meant to have a wife and Queen who would undermine you, publicly humiliate you, and refuse to support you at the time that you needed it most.” (From Single Women: To Be Captivating is More Than Mere Looks)
Why Do Women Hate What the Bible Says?
Why is this topic such a controversial thing when the Bible says this command several times, I don’t know. Just in the New Testament alone, I’ve counted four different books with specific verses that explicitly tell wives to submit to their husbands as they would to God Himself. I do know Truth is opposed. And I know that when you start taking God’s Word seriously for your life, there will be people even in the Christian faith who will undoubtedly attack you for it.
Sheila calling submissive wives “sinful” for obeying and honoring the Word God’s given to us, is very similar to how Elspeth called women who revered Proverbs 31’s passage on the virtuous woman as a beautiful ideal to look up to, “Pharisees.” It just shows complete lack of reverence for the beauty of God’s Word, and falsely accuses the women who are actually trying to follow it.
In fact, calling them “sinful” like Sheila did, or “Pharisees,” like Elspeth did, is slandering them for following the Word of God, and honoring it as something beautiful and true.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
When women who find beauty in the Proverbs 31 woman’s example are slandered as “Pharisees,” we should rejoice for being insulted and falsely accused by our fellow Christians. And when women who submit to their husbands like Sarah did, and yet are accused of living in “sin,” we should be glad because our reward is great in heaven. My husband and I expect behavior like this – attitudes that Sheila and Elspeth have shown against Christian women who respect and follow God’s Word – will only increase with time.
We best be prepared.