When women are prevented from serving in their full capacity, the Church is allowing an ancient male-dominated culture to drive our understanding rather than Jesus and the Scriptures. As Carolyn Custis James writes in Half the Church,
This seems like a perplexing sentiment when the Scriptures themselves are so clearly fraught with misogyny. Some people being willing to “put the Scriptures in context” — i.e., acknowledge they were the product of a wildly sexist culture — is great, but for every Christian willing and capable of doing that, how many are there that won’t or can’t?
When your religion repeatedly refers to ancient documents for guidance, and when those documents are rife with sexism from the very first Book all the way through to the very last Book, where the stories are predominately by men and for men, where women get a tiny amount of representation compared to men, generally as secondary or subservient figures, then it can’t come as a surprise when a great many adherents find justification for misogyny within it.
An easy solution, since we’re acknowledging context, including the context that men compiled the Bible as we know it today, might be to simply eliminate every sexist passage in order to create a less toxic Bible that is more applicable to modern times. Then nobody has to undergo the mental gymnastics of accepting the Bible as a work of divinity but also contextualizing it so as to ignore certain parts as being archaic. Just get rid of the archaic parts.
Christianity is radical, in that it disrupts the status quo. Women, slaves, and poor people being seen as equal? Unheard of.
Examples like the Minoan culture counter this idea that Christianity was somehow radical in the ancient world. The treatment of women and the participation of women in leadership there were far less awful than the conclusions one might draw about the ancient world if the Bible were their only source. And that’s just one place among many. The Bible, the traditions it draws from, and the rules it set forth directly contributed to sexism in the ancient world and still does today.
I’m very much for feminist reformation of all denominations and offshoots of the Christian church, but I have a hard time buying into any kind of feminism that rests on apologetics for what is clearly a sexist document and for what can only be described as a litany of sexist traditions and policies that have endured for millennia. Real reformation would seem to require the elimination of sexism from the canon so that it isn’t taught to new adherents, generation after generation.