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Why are there no (or very few) women's Bible study groups?


MamaJunebug

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In the jasmine B. thread, brainsample mentioned about Family Integrated Churches:

...they don't really forbid ladies Bible studies, but if they taught one, there would be a problem teaching it, even if Voddie did because the head of home could not be there to discern for the wife. There is potential for conflict, because what if one husband believed a different doctrine or interpretation of Scripture than what was taught at the Bible Study. That would be inducing the wife to sin against the husband by not submitting her opinion to his particular doctrine. It would be as bad as a woman going out to work or whore herself for the corporate world.

...

That helped answer a question i've had as I looked at many blogs, including the Servens' and the Loomises' church's blog (I presume they still attend, it's no longer linked on their website).

Men's Bible Study is a staple.

Men's Advances are an important event.

Worldview Conferences for co-ed groups of adolescents and young adults even appear here and there.

But no Women's Bible Study. Women's teas at Mrs. McDonald's hosting, yes, where a series of female speakers exhorts attendees to live right, but there's no discussion of Scripture. Dad/daughter weekends of teas and blindfolds and training in what Jeeves did for Wooster. (Wash your minds, Wooster was hetero- and Jeeves was non-sexual. That's my fantasy and I'm stickin' to it. ;) )

But no place for women to learn about the Bible, even with a trained pastor as instructor. They only learn in the presence of their husbands.

Weird, weird, weird. Somebody used the term "talibangelical" the other day and I'm using it to describe this custom among the FICers/dominionists/theonomists!

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Perhaps if the women were educated about the strong women in the bible-especially the Old Testament-it would lead to rebellion.

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My mom tells me the story of a neighborhood Bible study she participated in when I was a baby. One lady was nervous about it from the beginning, saying she wasn't sure if the group's discussion would line up with her church's teachings, but seemed to really be getting a lot out of it. Enjoying herself. Then midway through the series, her pastor forbid her from going. "If you have any questions about the Bible, you're supposed to ask me."

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Interesting. At the fundie-lite churches I've been to I think there are usually more women's Bible studies than men's. They were pretty much all held during the day, while men's never were, which really bugged me.

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In the jasmine B. thread, brainsample mentioned about Family Integrated Churches:

In other words, heaven forbid the wominfolk think for themselves!!! :angry-cussing: It just keeps boggling my mind that there are women who are OK with this.

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Like others have said, I think it is because the husband would not be there to discern and "cover' for his wife. Also, I don't really think they are all that much interested in what scripture really says. All they seem to want is the "party line."

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This is a little off-topic, I think.

I attend a Bible study that is sanctioned by my church; however, no one knows what goes on there unless you are either an attendee or the husband of one. And there is lots that we only discuss among ourselves; no need to tell the husbands everything. I usually only bring up the new things I'm learning about the Bible, never anything personal or prayer requests that are shared by the ladies. The leader of the study, now in her 70s, became a believer in Christ at age 30 or so, so did not grow up with a pre-programmed view of the Bible. She has attended many different denominations, I think mainly Episcopal though that is not the denom of our church, so her theology is influenced by all of her background. And it was occurring to me back in our spring semester of study that much of what she teaches is either subtly or obviously contrary to what you'd hear in the denomination of our church. (Well, it is Southern Baptist; I might as well say it, since I've nothing to hide. I myself do not identify as a Baptist, only Christian, but my husband does, and we have agreed to attend there since it meets many of our family's needs for a church. My main discrepancies are the legalism and doctrinal differences, but this usually doesn't come up. Although several older women were shocked to hear my expressing, during a women's retreat, that there is nothing wrong with dancing or drinking responsibly. That was in front of two or three ministers' wives, and I didn't get kicked out, so I guess we're good. :) )

Anyway, this study leader brought up several concepts not commonly heard of in the Baptist world, such as healing. However, it is in a different way than I'd heard before--not the Bill Gothard way or "slain in the spirit" or "put your hands on the TV" lol--she used a book called "Who Switched Off My Brain?" by Dr. Caroline Leaf to demonstrate that positive thinking, which Christians define as the good qualities taught in the Bible, can be medically linked to better health. The opposite is true, with those who obsess with ill thoughts seeming to become more ill. This doesn't apply in all circumstances, but I suppose the research exists to support that, in combination with other disease-causing factors, positive vs. negative thinking may contribute to one's health. I'm quite young so haven't had much health issues myself, but it was a reminder to me that I really need to control how I think all the day. Everything from "I'm fat" to "I'm always messing up" was explained to be "toxic thoughts" that, at the very least, cause our lives to be more negative, and at the worst, could cause disease. I have also heard the 7th day Adventists claim that heart disease can be caused by stress from improperly managed anger, bitterness, or other attitudes and feelings.

That was long--but point is, my Bible study doesn't toe the Southern Baptist line, and I thought I'd point that out, since in general it is the Baptists, though I personally believe it is more common among Independent Baptists, who a lot of times are the source of the weird female submission and she-can't-think-for-herself mindsets. So, to finally bring it back round to the OP, I believe it is a right observation that many cult-like churches do not have women's Bible studies. I was raised Independent Fundamental Baptist and only left the denom 2 years ago, and not a single one of the IFB churches I attended had, to my knowledge, a ladies' Bible study. Not one! And I attended and visited MANY of those churches. Always hoping there'd be a better, different one, until it finally dawned on me that I needed to get out of the Independent Fundamental Baptist world altogether.

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Interesting. At the fundie-lite churches I've been to I think there are usually more women's Bible studies than men's. They were pretty much all held during the day, while men's never were, which really bugged me.

Yep. Even the most conservative churches I've attended were running over with women's bible studies, women's circles, the never-ending Beth Moore studies... and a yearly men's prayer breakfast.

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That's one thing about modern fundie-ism that strikes me as dangerous - keeping the women ignorant and subjugated. At the fundie church I grew up in, they had plenty of women's Bible studies. Bible studies couldn't be co-ed after about age 12/13, but women certainly had something. The one fundie touch to all the studies was the the woman leading it always had material vetted or in some cases, picked out by her husband. And sometimes the husband would come to be there just to watch.

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What I always hated was the women's Bible studies that really weren't about the Bible. There were always studies on Beth Moor or some other latest "ladies'" book, and it might touch on 3 or 4 verses of scripture. One thing that I loved after our church changed pastors was first they standardized Sunday school so the men and women both studied the same book and lesson at the time, and it tended to be more scripture focused.

Since then, they've combined the men's and women's classes. I haven't been in a while though because my husband doesn't particular want me in church and doesn't want to go himself. He also doesn't want to babysit while I go, and I felt like I was distracted the whole time and distracting others by having a young toddler with me (we're not purposefully family integrated, just to small to have a staffed nursery and all that).

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That's one thing about modern fundie-ism that strikes me as dangerous - keeping the women ignorant and subjugated. At the fundie church I grew up in, they had plenty of women's Bible studies. Bible studies couldn't be co-ed after about age 12/13, but women certainly had something. The one fundie touch to all the studies was the the woman leading it always had material vetted or in some cases, picked out by her husband. And sometimes the husband would come to be there just to watch.

Isn't that one of the fundie arguments against the Catholic Church they hate so much? That the evil Catholics did not allow people to read the bible for themselves? That the good people of the world were deprived of the word of god by the controlling, manipulating Vatican and Pope who told them what they wanted them to know but not what the bible really said? Wasn't that a huge part of the Protestant reformation - the access to the bible in your own language (if you could read, that is, and could afford to buy one) so you could read it and commune with god without a horribly evil Catholic priest middle-man?

Talk about history repeating itself...but kind of in reverse.

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In other words, heaven forbid the wominfolk think for themselves!!! :angry-cussing: It just keeps boggling my mind that there are women who are OK with this.

I guess they're ok with it 'cause they're not ok with themselves. At least that's what I hope. I can't imagine a psychologically healthy woman accepting any of this patriarchy crap.

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what Jeeves did for Wooster. (Wash your minds, Wooster was hetero- and Jeeves was non-sexual. That's my fantasy and I'm stickin' to it. )

I actually disagree! Jeeves is hetero (and quite the ladies man) while it is Wooster that is a-sexual (constantly terrified of entanglement with a woman).

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Isn't that one of the fundie arguments against the Catholic Church they hate so much? That the evil Catholics did not allow people to read the bible for themselves? That the good people of the world were deprived of the word of god by the controlling, manipulating Vatican and Pope who told them what they wanted them to know but not what the bible really said? Wasn't that a huge part of the Protestant reformation - the access to the bible in your own language (if you could read, that is, and could afford to buy one) so you could read it and commune with god without a horribly evil Catholic priest middle-man?

Talk about history repeating itself...but kind of in reverse.

That is very much one of the old Protestant arguments against the Catholic Church. Yet another example of the weirdness of VF logic in not letting women access God without their husbands. I would just add here that in a lot of the Reformed strain of fundie-dom, you can still find women's Bible studies even if the leader's husband might be vetting the materials ahead of time. I can't speak to some of the other camps (IFB, pentecostal, etc...), but I still have relatives in the fundie side of the Presby world.

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Really? I live in the East Bay (not far enough away from Oakland and San Fran in my opinion). Suburban town, used to be quite rural but not so much any more. Every Church in town has Bible Study...separate and combined.

Now I don't know how busy they are....

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I know of probably a dozen or so women who attend Women's Bible Study. I'm pretty sure that they are taught by women. I also know of a few cases where teenagers will take what they learn during WBS and hold a "Girl's Bible Study."

Edited to add: a few were in the northeast (don't recall the denominations), and the rest were in the south (Baptist).

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I grew up Lutheran, and our church had *gasp* co-ed adult bible study that my mom always went to, as well as a men's group and a women's group.... scandelous !

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One of my neighbors that lived next to my family when I was growing up was a minister for non-denominational Christian church. Their church had a women's Bible study group and they got several new members because of that. In our town a Baptist church had a reputation of being against ideas of women's bible study group and similar groups. They lost a lot of members. I remember one couple end up converting to Catholicism and others started attending my neighbor's church.

I think there are probably some very conservative churches that don't allow women's bible study. When I worked in a restaurant during college, our owner used to rent the banquet room to a women's bible study group on Friday mornings. They were about 10-15 women that would go in around 7 am. They would eat at 8 am and leave at 9.

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Yep. Even the most conservative churches I've attended were running over with women's bible studies, women's circles, the never-ending Beth Moore studies... and a yearly men's prayer breakfast.

And all the women's bible studies are during the day, not at night or on Saturdays, because the assumption is that all women stay home. Uh, nooooo.

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I know of probably a dozen or so women who attend Women's Bible Study. I'm pretty sure that they are taught by women. I also know of a few cases where teenagers will take what they learn during WBS and hold a "Girl's Bible Study."

Edited to add: a few were in the northeast (don't recall the denominations), and the rest were in the south (Baptist).

That's why it's weird. Bible studies, especially women's Beth Moore / bible studies, are all over the Christian church. Fundies have eliminated them.

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Good grief! What Churches are you looking at! You can't swing a dead cat without hitting ladies Bible Study!! Beth Moore alone is an industry! Add in Ann Graham Lotz and others....jeesh the list of Celebrity Bible Study courses is miles long. I thought nearly EVERY church these days did those or "lesser" studies. Same with women's retreats! Huge industry.

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Candice Cameron has talked about going to bible study a lot on her twitter. And wasn't it a woman's bible study group who led Vicky from NLQ to submit more to her husband and be the happy little homemaker even if he was being an abusive jerk?

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