Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 134:536 (Oct 77) p. 357
“Liberation-Christian Style,” Elisabeth Elliot Leitch, The Presbyterian Journal, May 25, 1977, pp. 7-9, 21.
“Feminism and the Kingdom…,” Virginia Mollenkott, Sojourners, June, 1977, pp. 28-30.
The authors of these articles are two of the leading evangelical proponents of opposing sides of the current feminism debate. Leitch is one of the most articulate and persuasive supporters of the position that biblical hierarchism is valid and that women, therefore, find true liberation in fulfilling their biblical role. Mollenkott on the other hand espouses the view that the biblical picture is a cultural concept which must be discarded in favor of the true position of human equality.
Leitch makes the observation that “ideas such as equality, social justice, and human rights, regarded in our times as unarguable imperatives, may in the end prove to be pseudo-Christian and provincially Western in their definition. We prostrate ourselves before these idols, uttering the required mumbo-jumbo of the sociologists, without ever suspecting that we have surrendered to secularism” (p. 7). Later she writes, “Equality is not a Christian principle, except insofar as we are objects of grace” (p. 8).
The substance of Leitch’s position is as follows: “A Christian believes in a Creator who made everything according to a design. Within His design, He set a hierarchy of created beings, each with its given rank. Women are complementary to and not competitive with men. We, too, are allowed to glorify God and we glorify Him by being women. The more womanly we are the more perfectly God is praised” (p. 8).
For Leitch, true freedom is found in submission and obedience to the Word of God. She writes, “A free woman is the woman who knows the rules and abides by them” (p. 9). Later she writes, “Liberation comes not by breaking the rules but by keeping them” (p. 9).
All that Leitch stands for and proclaims is in effect the antithesis of what Mollenkott espouses. Molienkott rejects the biblical concept of a created hierarchy, identifying the biblical witness to such a hierarchy
BSac 134:536 (Oct 77) p. 358
as the reflection of the patriarchal society in which the Bible was produced. As a result it is a culturally conditioned position which can be put aside without affecting one’s doctrine of Scripture. According to her, Jesus spent His public ministry “combatting the false assumptions of the patriarchal society into which he was born” (p. 28).
Essentially Mollenkott agrees with such secular feminists as Susan Sontag that women are oppressed and exploited in contemporary society as wel...
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