“You shall rise before the grey haired and honour the presence of an old man, and fear your God; I am the Lord.”
Egalitarianism is a term derived from the French word eqal, meaning equal. It maintains that all people are equal and should experience equality in income, living standards, and position no matter what their level of productivity. Egalitarianism is a philosophical, religious and political doctrine advocated by socialism and communism. In start contrast to the philosophy of egalitarianism, the Law of God commands:
“Honour your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
Nothing in Nature is Equal
Egalitarianism is humanism. It says that everybody is equal. But everybody is not equal. Zebras are not equal to lions. Pigeons are not equal to eagles. We should honour our father and our mother and we should respect our elders.
“The eye that mocks his father and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out and the young eagles will eat it.”
That is what God thinks of the scornful look and rolling of the eyes in contempt towards our parents.
Egalitarianism is Unworkable
Secular humanist philosophers may wish that everyone be forced to be equal, but it has proven to be unworkable. Winston Churchill declared: “Socialism could only work in Heaven, where it is not needed, or in hell, where they already have it.”
Egalitarianism Aims to Exploit Others
Margaret Thatcher observed: “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.
The Bible is Against Egalitarianism
Those who work hard are rewarded. Those who are “unprofitable servants” are cast into outer darkness. In the parable of the talents (Luke 19:12-27) our Lord taught that He would generously reward those who were faithful and wise in serving Him, but the unproductive He will condemn.
“For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
Egalitarianism is Unrealistic
There is nothing egalitarian about the Bible. Equality before the Law is commanded (Numbers 15:15-16). However, no one can enforce equality of effort, or equality of results. Nobody on earth is equal. Not in height, not is size, nor in looks. People are not equal in intelligence, talents, motivation, energy, dependability, competence, trustworthiness, productivity, devotion, dedication capabilities, or achievements.
God’s Law Forbids Egalitarianism
The Ten Commandments effectively forbids egalitarianism. We are not to covet what others have. We are not to steal other people’s property, nor are we to dishonour our parents or other superiors. Neither may we lie, gossip or slander others. This is always a temptation towards those who are “better” than us.
Inequality in the Bible
In the Scriptures we read that Enoch walked with God, that Abraham was chosen to be Father of God’s people. Abraham is described as the Friend of God. Moses spoke to God face to face. David is described as “a man after God’s own heart”. Our Lord Jesus described John the Baptist as the greatest man born of women. John the Apostle is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Different Degrees of Judgment
The Lord made it clear that there would be different degrees of judgment. He warned that it would be better for the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah than for Capernaum on the Day of Judgment. How could that be? Because evil as Sodom and Gomorrah were, they never had a Bible, nor did the Messiah walk in their streets. However, Capernaum had the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles working miracles in their streets, and yet they rejected His grace and mercy. The Apostle James warns:
“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”
Different Rewards in Heaven
We will be judged by the light that we have received. To whom much is given, much is required. To whom much more is given, much more is required. The Scriptures also make clear that there will be different degrees of rewards in Heaven.
“Each ones’ work will become clear for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
1 Corinthians 3:13-15
But Doesn’t God Love Everybody Equally?
To all this, the Egalitarian objects: “But, doesn’t God love everybody equally?”
Those Whom God Hates
The answer is clearly, No! The Bible is quite clear that there are actually many whom God hates. “These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him; a proud look, a lying tongue , hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord amongst brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19. The proud, liars, murderers, the wicked, those who rush to do evil, false witnesses and those who sow discord among brethren are among those who God declares that He hates. God is a Holy God. He is a God of justice and a God of wrath. He will call us to account for every idle word ever spoken. Our Creator will Judge us for our beliefs and for our behaviour (Psalm 5:5; Psalm 11:5).
We are commanded:
“Obey those who rule over you and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
To this some may answer: “Does not the Scripture say: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality’” (Hebrews 10:34).
The answer is, Yes, but read the next verse: “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works for righteousness is accepted by Him.” Acts 10:35. There is only one way of Salvation. Through Repentance and Faith in the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. He alone is the Way the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)
Distinctions Between Men and Women
But God does make distinctions between the roles of men and women.
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”
1 Timothy 2:11-14
This Scripture is clear that God made the woman to be a help to the man.
“And the Lord God said, it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper, comparable to him.”
“Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”
1 Corinthians 11:9
At this many will quote Galatians 3:26-28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Yet this passage is not saying that there are no more distinctions between male and female. Yes, we are one in Christ Jesus. There is only one way of Salvation. We are all equally depraved and lost outside of Christ. We all need to repent of our sins and turn to Christ in Faith and Repentance.
However, women are still the only ones who can become pregnant and be mothers. Men are the only ones that the Scripture requires to be numbered, conscripted and be sent off to war. There were times when God judged all the males, but the females were spared (1 Kings 14:10; 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8). Men who made regrettable vows were forced to fulfill their vows. Women could be rescued by their fathers or husbands (Numbers 30).
Those who twist Galatians 3:28 to abolish all distinctions between male and female open themselves up to legalising homosexual “marriage”. What God has called an abomination could then become a sacrament of the church.
There are differences between men and women. Church leadership and administering of the sacraments is meant to be carried out by male members duly called and ordained. Pastors and bishops must be the husbands of only one wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
“Let your woman keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the Law also says.”
1 Corinthians 14:3
Women in the Bible
Women have an honoured place in the Scriptures. Women were last at the Cross (Mark 15:47); first at the tomb (John 20:1); first to proclaim the Resurrection (Matthew 28:8); participated in the Pentecost prayer meeting (Acts 1:14); the first to greet the Christian missionaries Paul and Silas in Europe (Acts 16:13); and the first convert in Europe was a woman, Lydia (Acts 16:14). Women are to be respected and protected. However, leadership of the church, particularly the Sunday morning worship service and the administering of the sacraments, is a male responsibility. Our Lord Jesus did not try to have an equal number of men and women as Apostles. All of His Apostles were men. All of the known authors that God inspired to write the Scriptures were men.
Women have the great privilege of giving birth to children and raising them in the love and fear of the Lord (1 Timothy 5:14).
1 Timothy 5:9-10 gives examples of the service expected of women: “The wife of one man, well reported for good works; …brought up children …lodged strangers …washed the saints’ feet …relieved the afflicted … diligently followed every good work.”
“To obey is better than sacrifice”
1 Samuel 15:22.
Women in Ministry
Miriam was a prophetess, Deborah was a judge, Esther became Queen of Persia, Hulda was a prophetess (2 Kings 22:14); Anna was a prophetess (Luke 2:36); Mary Magdalene was a witness to the Resurrection (Matthew 28:8-10); Mary and Martha served the Lord Jesus (Luke 10:30-42). Priscilla was a teacher (Acts 18); Phoebe was a deaconess (Romans 16:1). Junia was a missionary (Romans 16:7). Philip’s daughters were prophetesses and evangelists (Acts 21:9). All women who are Christians are called to witness for Christ and to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15). On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter quoted from the prophet Joel:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days and they shall prophesy.”
Older Women Must Teach Younger Women
Women are commanded to teach. Older women are commanded to teach the younger women:
“To love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands – that the Word of God may not be blasphemed.”
A gifted woman can teach about three quarters of the world. Women are to teach other women and they are to teach the children. Our gifts are to be used, but those who run for the prize must compete according to the rules (2 Timothy 2:5).
It is true that many men fail to rule (1 Timothy 3:5), but women have a different calling and should not enable men to be delinquent in their duties.
There are so many areas of ministry where women can be involved, but leading Sunday morning worship, and administering the sacraments is expressly forbidden to them
The Sinking of the Birkenhead
On 26 February, 1852, one of the worst naval disasters occurred off the coast of South Africa. Her Majesty’s Ship Birkenhead struck a rockshelf off Danger Point, near present day Hermanus, and began to sink rapidly. The Birkenhead was carrying the 74 th Regiment made up mostly of Irishmen and Scotsmen. This Regiment had distinguished itself in conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars through to the Crimean War. That night the Birkenhead had 638 people on board, including 138 naval officers and crew and 480 Army officers and enlisted men under the command of Lt. Col. Alexander Seton. Also on board were the wives and children of those members of the military who were married.
The Birkenhead was an iron paddlewheel frigate of 1,400 tonnes. Built in 1845 and converted into a troopship in 1848, the Birkenhead was considered to be unsinkable and therefore had few lifeboats onboard.
Women and Children First
The sudden inrush of water flooding the lower deck swamped the boiler fires and caused the funnel to crush the paddlewheel lifeboat. Only two cutters and a gig were able to be launched. The order went out: “Women and children first!”
As the women and children were rowed away to safety, the horses were cut loose so that they could attempt to swim, the over 3km, to shore. Captain Robert Salmond gave the order to “Abandon Ship!” adding “Every man for himself!”
At this Col. Seton shouted: “Stand fast!” He instructed the men to remain in their ranks and go down with the ship. Should they attempt to make for the lifeboats they would overload these fragile vessels, swamping the lifeboats and endangering the lives of the women and children. The 480 officers and men of the 74th Regiment stood in their ranks on the sloping deck of the doomed Birkenhead as their pipe band played. Singing Christian Hymns, these Scottish and Irish stalwarts went down with the Birkenhead into the shark-infested waters of the ocean. No man attempted to swim to the heavily laden life boats, as they realised that any attempt to do so could de-stabilize and swamp these boats and risk the lives of the women and children. The Birkenhead sank within 20 minutes. Not a woman or child was lost. 444 men drowned. 193 people, including all the women and children survived.
The Birkenhead Drill
Some of the soldiers managed to swim the 3.2 km to shore. In the tossing seas that took over 12 hours. Of the horses, 8 made it safely to land. Rudyard Kipling’s tribute to the Royal Marines popularized the phrase “Birkenhead Drill”:
“To take your chance in the thick of a rush with firing all about,
Is nothing so bad when you’ve cover to hand and leave and liking to shout!
But to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill is a damn tough bullet to chew
And they done it the jollies Her Majesty’s jollies – soldier and sailor too!
Their work was done when it hadn’t begun, they were younger than me and you;
Their choice it was plain between drowning in heaps and being mopped by the screw,
So they stood and was still to the Birkenhead Drill, soldier and sailor too.”
The Birkenhead Drill became synonymous with: Women and children first
The Maritime disaster of the Birkenhead popularized the protocol of: Women and children first! This became standard evacuation procedure in Maritime disasters. When the Titanic sank 15 April 1912, 1,503 passengers and crew drowned. 703 were saved. 651 people were lowered into lifeboats. 705 survivors were picked up by the Carpathia. This included 54 who went into the water and were also saved. For every woman who died on the Titanic, 13 men died. Some of the richest men in the world gave up their seats to women and children of all classes and went down with the ship. The portrayal in Hollywood’s Titanic film of third class passengers being prevented from reaching the lifeboats is fiction. There was no class warfare evident in the loading of the lifeboats with women and children first. Some women chose to stay on board and go down with their husbands. But the plain disparity of 13 times more men drowning on the Titanic for every woman who was lost, makes clear that most men on the Titanic adhered to the Birkenhead Drill.
When Egalitarianism Prevails
The consequences of modern Egalitarianism has been seen in recent Maritime disasters. Over 4,000 people, mostly women and children died in the horrific ferry sinking in the Philippines in 1987. Unlike the Titanic, most of the survivors of this Philippines ferry disaster were men!
Survival of the Fittest
Similarly, when the ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea most of the survivors were men. When questioned why they hadn’t helped the women and children to be saved, survivors were quoted as saying: “Hey, its survival of the fittest!”; “It was every man for himself!” and “If women want equality so much, they’ve got it!”.
Again in 1996, a boat sank off the shores of Indonesia. Like the Titanic, the ship was inadequately equipped with lifeboats. Unlike the Titanic, the men received preferential lifeboat treatment ahead of women and children. The Islamic culture of Indonesia prevailed and women died that men should live.
Interestingly enough, feminists and suffragettes in 1912 actually argued that the Titanic women were wrong to have accepted seats on the lifeboats from the men. To them the philosophy of men being protectors and defenders of women was “offensive” and an obstacle to their cause. “Votes or boats?” was the title of one prominent newspaper article at the time.
In an article in the 27 April 1998 edition of Time, entitled “The Titanic Riddle”, the writer asks the question: “Why women… is not grouping women with children a raging anachronism? …patronizing and demeaning to women …Women and children first attributes to women the same pitiable dependence and moral simplicity we find in 5 year olds …but in this day of the most extensive societal restructuring to grant women equality and education, in employment in government, in athletics, in citizenship …what entitles women to the privileges – and reduces them to the status of children?
Women Should be Respected and Protected
The answer to this is found in the Bible:
“Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…”
“To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.”
1 Peter 2:21
For nearly 2000 years this principle has guided Christian civilization. The groom dies for the bride. The strong suffers for the weak. The highest expression of love is to give your life for another. Women and children should be respected and protected. Scripture calls on the younger to respect the older. The men to protect the women. The stronger to sacrifice for the weaker. The leaders are to serve the best interests of those under them. No doubt this message is too uncomfortable for the beginning of the 21 st Century when abortion targets pre-born babies, pornography exploits women for profit, when cowardice is the norm and when even draft-dogers can be made president and send women into combat.
Chivalry and Courage
Today Christian men are still called to be true to the Birkenhead Drill to be courageous, chivalrous, self-disciplined and self-sacrificing.
God is not egalitarian. Nothing in nature is egalitarian. May each one of us be faithful to our duty.
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”
1 Timothy 5:1-2
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
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