Is Feminism Good For The Church? -- By: Denny Burk

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 18:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: Is Feminism Good For The Church?
Author: Denny Burk


Is Feminism Good For The Church?

Denny Burk

Editor, Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Ethics

Boyce College

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, Kentucky

Laura Turner writes on the “Her•meneutics” blog at Christianity Today that feminism is the Christian f-word. Turner argues that evangelicals have wrongly dismissed feminism as “anathema” to the body of Christ. She contends that feminism has not been a curse but a blessing both to the world in general and to the church in particular. She writes,

The church needs feminism because at its core, feminism affirms to us what our faith teaches us about male and female in God’s Kingdom and what Jesus himself preached throughout the New Testament.

Feminism is simply the belief that women are equally as human as men—equal in the eyes of God, equal in image-bearing, equal in ability…

Jesus’ care for the oppressed, the marginalized, cannot be ignored in the New Testament. As men continue to hold the reins of power in the church—2,000 years after the weak were made strong and the low made high in Jesus—we should welcome efforts to uplift and incorporate people who have been sidelined in Christianity, including women, including people of color, including LGBT folks.1

I think there are a number of problems with the claims made in Turner’s essay, not the least of which is the claim that feminism has mainly been a force for good. The chief problem with this claim is its failure to account for the length and breadth of modern feminist ideology, which is anything but benign in its relation to the Christian faith. If feminism were defined solely by the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Turner’s claim would not be nearly as controversial. But second and third wave feminism is a far cry from Stanton, and the radical claims of these feminists are not featured at all in Turner’s article.

Does the church “need” the feminism of Judith Butler who treats gender differences as socially constructed and who says that sexual differences between male and female are a farce?2 Third wave feminists such as Butler are very much aligned with mainstream queer theorists on these matters. The normalization of homosexuality and transgenderism has ideological roots in the gender

theory of third wave feminists such as Butler. The last thing one could conclude is that this kind of femin...

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