How the gospel can transform life for women in India

January 30, 2019

The first mention of women is in Genesis 2 where God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him” (2:18). Since these words were first penned, cultural bias and views have skewed what this really means. The word for helper is “ezer” in Hebrew, which beside describing woman twice in Genesis, is also used 16 times in the Old Testament to describe God himself.

Genesis also tells us we were made in the image of God, men and women. We also see from the very beginning the promise made through Eve (and future women) that God would bring about the One who would crush Satan’s head. God begins history and his Word by making clear both genders have an equally vital and unique role in his redemptive plan.

In the Old Testament, women play a major role in the story of the Israelite people. We see Egyptian midwives who fear God and are used to save Moses, the instrument of the Israelites’ delivery from slavery. We see Deborah as a prophetess and judge for the Israelites, calling out their idolatry and leading them into victory in battle. In the New Testament, we see out of all the names in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, five of those names are women. We see in the gospels how crosscultural Jesus was in how he valued and esteemed women—healing, befriending, discipling, and sending them.

God begins history and his Word by making clear both genders have an equally vital and unique role in his redemptive plan.

Jesus let a “sinful” woman wash his feet with perfume and her own hair despite breaking numerous cultural and societal norms. Jesus said because of her faith, the bleeding woman who touched his robe would no longer be seen as unclean but would be healed.

Jesus sat down and talked with a woman—a cultural outsider—to share about the living water he provides, despite knowing her scandalous past. After rising from the grave, he first appeared to Mary Magdalene, and in Acts, we see Paul mention numerous women as important leaders and servants in the church.

The value given to women in Scripture is undeniable and could be used as an apologetic to the authenticity of Scripture, as it was so countercultural to the time in which it was written.

Women in South Asia

This biblical esteeming and valuing of both sexes is still outside of the norm, especially in certain parts of the world. The highest concentration of unreached people groups is in South Asia, and one of the clearest evidences of the lack of the gospel there is the treatment of women. In 2018, India was named the most dangerous country in the world for women, factoring in lack of resources, sexual and physical violence, cultural practices, and human trafficking. This starts in the womb, as some sources say there are 63 million missing girls in India, many missing because of gender-selective abortions.

In the home, family resources are prioritized for the boys including education, healthcare, and later in life, job opportunities. Often, girls are married off as children, with 44 percent of child marriages taking place in South Asia. Women are often viewed as initiators of sexual violence because of how they dress, talk, look at men, or because they choose to be out at certain times of the day. According to the BBC, there are over 100 rapes every day in India, and those are just the ones reported.

Physical and sexual abuse in the home is rampant and even normalized as its viewed as just a private family matter. More statistics and stories could be shared, but the point is, women are routinely dehumanized and devalued. This is a human dignity issue which means it is primarily a gospel issue.

Gospel transformation

What does this issue have to do with the gospel? There has been no gospel ethic guiding the way Indians see gender issues for centuries, and because of this, norms run deep into the culture. But there is hope in the gospel!

I lived in South Asia for some time and vividly remember sitting on the floor of a home watching a Jesus film while the husband served my friends and I (all women) tea and snacks. Typically, hospitality is the woman’s job, but this husband had been so dramatically transformed by the gospel and wanted so badly for his sister-in-law to watch the film that he was more than willing to serve us.

What if this kind of transformed life multiplied a million times over? We could see men treat women as they should be, as they are made in the image of God. That would be an incredible testimony to the lost world around them, of light penetrating the darkness.

Would you pray for men like him? Would you also pray for the women—that they would hear the stories of Jesus and know how much he cares for them? I pray women in India would know they are remarkably and wondrously made and are worth their Creator dying and raising back to life for them. Would you pray to this end? And if God calls you, go and share this radical gospel message with those who desperately need it.


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Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24