Feminism in the Church
Copyright 2006, International Church Council Project
article may be freely distributed so long as it is not altered
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topic of the International Church Council Project is “Concerning Biblical
Distinctives Between Males and Females.” The theological issue paper for this
topic was written by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and is called
the Danvers Statement. The following article titled “Feminism in the Church,”
was written by Eugene Clingman and first appeared in the May 2004 issue of
Chalcedon Report (www.chalcedon.edu).
Feminism in the Church
sublime dignity God endowed our first parents! Created in the image of God. Not
like any other creature. Bone of the same bone, flesh of the same flesh, the one
not greater and neither one less than the other. In god-likeness, equal! The
same, and yet how majestically different! How unmistakably unique! In form
varied, in sensitivities diverse, in physical strength disproportionate. The two
but a little lower than the angels, equally exalted in dignity, yet each
sublimely unique!...“Male and female created he them.”
been raging since the Garden. A war over what is real. The devil said, “Reality
is different than what God has told you. God has told you it is one way, I tell
you God is mistaken; reality is this which I now tell you.” The same war over
what is real and true rages today.
feminism has succeeded remarkably in inculcating into society the idea that men
and women are the same. Confusion is rampant; differences between men and women
radical feminist organizations like NOW, our dear ladies, some barely out of
girlhood, walk dusty streets in Baghdad clad in army fatigues, machine gun under
arm, returning after watch to bunk with a room full of young men, because,
“There are no essential differences.” How far we have strayed as a culture!
insanity of feminism has spread like leaven to every aspect of our society; the
Christian family and the church are not excepted. Called to be the salt of the
earth, a significant portion of the Body of Christ has become host, in a growing
degree, to this ungodly virus.
Feminism in the Family
In many a
Christian family, feminism has enabled the easy abdication by husbands of their
created responsibility to lead and provide, causing a double-curse to fall on
the woman. Now she bears Eve’s curse as well as Adam’s by taking responsibility
as a primary or equal partner-provider with her husband.
Christian woman has imbibed the false notion that dignity and fulfillment come
with a career and the maximum use of her talents outside the home, and that
homemaking and childrearing responsibilities are less meaningful, less
dignified, and less fulfilling.
husbands must find God’s grace to create the opportunity and atmosphere needed
to lift their wives into their role as their God-ordained helper. God’s glory in
the family, in man and in woman, is obscured by the attempt to live a reality
that is not reality. Many husbands and wives never know the joys of godly
femininity or godly masculinity.
difference,” says the feminist, “is physical only!” We are certain this is not
the case. The physical is but a revelation of dynamic differences that pierce to
the core of humanness. On every cell of the human body is stamped either, “MALE”
is that the differences between the male and female body are but a signal and a
parable of differences at the very center of our beings as male or female. We
should inquire carefully how those God-ordained differences ought to reveal
themselves in the roles and responsibilities of males and females.
creation, God manifested the difference between male and female. God created
Adam first - not at the same time as, nor in the same way as Eve. Before Eve was
created Adam was given his dominion orientation and assignment, and was
instructed how to stay in life - “Then the Lord God took the man and put him
into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded
the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that
you eat from it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:15-17).
not there during the orientation. God later brought the woman to be a helper in
the man’s assignment. Surely if God wanted to communicate to us that Adam and
Eve were equal in every way he would have done it differently!
God did it
this way because he created Adam to lead, charging him with responsibility to
love, care for, provide for, and lead the woman, as she helped him in the
fulfillment of the dominion mandate given to them as “man.” God who created
sexuality is here defining sexuality.
passage is foundational to what it means to be male or female. Evangelical
feminism claims this passage does not mean what we believe it means.
Evangelical Feminists Say
evangelical feminist asserts there are no God-ordained or God-created
differences between men’s and women’s roles. They insist that women should have
the same opportunity and authority to lead in the family and in the church, as
God requires male headship in home and church. In the home the marriage
relationship is to be a reflection of Christ the groom and the Church who is the
bride, gladly submitted to her loving leader, the Lord Jesus Christ. God also
created the man for headship in the Church.
Paul wrote lucidly that he wants males (Greek “aner”) to pray, and females
(Greek “gune”) to keep quiet, not to teach, and not to exercise authority over
men. Paul obviously sets a distinction between men and women, giving men the
place of leadership in the Church.
women are not designed or ordained to carry leadership or teaching positions
over men, there are hundreds of opportunities for service for women. To name a
few - teaching children, various missionary service opportunities that do not
involve pastoring or teaching of men, and ministries of mercy, compassion and
article is not adequate to say the many things that should be said in order to
clarify and set all in its complete perspective. See the landmark book,
published by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood titled, Recovering
Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, edited by
John Piper and Wayne Grudem. I also invite you to see the theological document
“Concerning Biblical Distinctives Between Males and Females” at
the website of the International Church Council Project.