Thursday, December 29, brought forth a full day of seminars at GYC. 15 speakers addressed topics such as Bible study, relationships, trauma recovery, and “biblical womanhood and manhood.” Most meetings were well attended—leading room hosts to stop accepting more people just minutes after the seminar period began.
Biblical Womanhood: God’s Love Does Not Discriminate
Dr. Rahel Wells, associate professor of Biblical Studies at Andrews University, led a workshop exclusively for women in which she addressed issues related to identity, purpose, relationships, and abuse.
On Thursday, she directed participants into a deep dive into the Pentateuch to examine how God expresses His love for women and how a misinterpretation of the Word of God is what has led many women to believe that they are not held in high esteem by Scripture or the God who inspired it.
During session three, titled “Does God’s Law Discriminate?” Wells took the women on a journey of exploration through Scripture passages often interpreted as devaluing women. For example, in the book of Leviticus 27:1 – 8, God details the laws of value to Moses. In it, he states the monetary value of adult men, women, boys, and girls, as well as older men and women, for occasions such as paying special vows or dedicating someone to the Lord.
Looking closely at the text, Wells helped attendees see that children, women, and older people were valued less than adult men, and therefore, the value system was not based on gender but perhaps physical strength and ability and how much work was possible for each person to do.
Another example came from Leviticus 12: 1 – 8, where the Bible describes the cleanliness laws after birth. The passage states that after a woman gives birth to a male child, “she shall be unclean seven days,” however, if she gives birth to a female child, “she shall be unclean two weeks.” This raises a question: Why is the length of days for the birth of a female child extended? Wells walked the women through examining the birthing process and how God expresses his love for women by giving them much-needed rest from their labor. She shared some biological facts that, in some cases, the birth of a female child requires the new mother to have extended time for rest than would be necessary for a male child.
One young woman, Ariella Henderson, from Wartburg, Tennessee, shared that she attended all four sessions of Biblical Womanhood and would be attending session five on Friday as well. When asked why she decided to dedicate all of her session time at GYC to Biblical Womanhood, she shared, “The beauty of this session for me is how open the Bible is in all the details surrounding womanhood for our elevation, not for us to be discriminated against. The bonus is that the teacher is a woman [who] understands the struggles of womanhood as she continues her daily walk with God.”
She continued reflectively, “There are different ideas of what being a woman is depending on who you listen to. There is the societal voice that portrays [us] as women who can do anything a man can do…then there is the voice that comes from ourselves…which is primarily shaped by our families, peer pressure, social media, and other factors.” Ultimately, Henderson believes there is a “true voice that women who are seeking God should listen to,” which is what the sessions on Biblical Womanhood provide.
Henderson shares that the “sessions [are] not only practical using Scripture, but [they] also cut deep at the roots of all the misconceptions of what is womanhood and plant[s] the right way of seeing womanhood, no matter what stage of life we are in.”
Wells left the participants of her session with this message of hope, “God loves us, and God does not look at us based on our past. [He] is gracious and loving. More importantly, God’s love does not discriminate.”
A New Outlook on Witnessing for Christ
The “Making Sons of Hell” seminar revealed one of the biggest hindrances for people when accepting Christianity: hellfire.
Speaker Aron Crews, a pastor in Granite Bay, California, emphasized why a correct picture of God matters. As an example, he mentioned that Charles Darwin, as well as many others, left Christianity because of a misunderstanding of hellfire and the unbiblical belief that God would “burn people forever.”
This is still a big issue today, according to Crews. He said the Devil can marr the image of a God of love, and by this, cause people to turn away.
This seminar aimed to explain how to reach the world for Jesus and not win souls for Satan in the process. Attendees left challenged to witness.
Crews used a compelling illustration during his presentation. “Many people view hell this way,” he said.
“‘Knock, Knock, Knock, it is Jesus. Let me in!’
‘Why would I let you in, Jesus?’
‘So I can save you!’
‘Save me from what?’
‘From what I do to you if I don’t let you in!’”
He then compared this with an alternative response that aligns with biblically-sound doctrine: “It’s me, Jesus, trying to save you from the fire inside your house that is destroying you!”