Is Evangelical Feminism the New Path to Liberalism? -- By: Wayne Grudem

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 09:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: Is Evangelical Feminism the New Path to Liberalism?
Author: Wayne Grudem


Is Evangelical Feminism the New Path to Liberalism?

Some Disturbing Warning Signs1

Wayne Grudem

Research Professor of Bible and Theology, Phoenix Seminary Scottsdale, Arizona

I am concerned that evangelical feminism (or “egalitarianism”) is becoming the new path by which evangelicals are being drawn into theological liberalism. (By “theological liberalism” I mean a system of thinking that denies the complete truthfulness of the Bible as the Word of God and denies the unique and absolute authority of the Bible in our lives.) In the study that follows, I attempt to show (1) that liberal Protestant denominations were the pioneers of evangelical feminism; (2) that evangelical feminists today have adopted many of the arguments earlier used by theological liberals to advocate the ordination of women and to reject male headship in marriage; (3) that many prominent evangelical feminist writers today advocate positions that deny or undermine the authority of Scripture, and many other egalitarian leaders promote their books; (4) that recent trends now suggest that egalitarianism is heading toward a denial of anything uniquely masculine, an endorsement of God as Mother, and ultimately an endorsement of the moral legitimacy of homosexuality. Therefore I will attempt to show that, while egalitarian leaders claim to be subject to Scripture in their thinking, what is increasingly evident in their actual scholarship and practice is a rejection of the effective authority of Scripture in our lives.

A. The Historical Connection Between Liberalism and an Egalitarian View of Women in the Church

When we look at what happened in the last half of the twentieth century, quite a clear connection can be seen between theological liberalism and the endorsement of women’s ordination. In an important sociological study published by Harvard University Press, Mark Chaves traces the history of women’s ordination in various denominations in the United States.2 From Chaves’ study, we can observe a pattern among the mainstream Protestant denominations whose leadership is dominated by theological liberals (that is, by those who reject the idea that the entire Bible is the written Word of God, and is therefore truthful in all it affirms).3 Chaves notes the dates when ordination of women was approved in each of these denominations:

Methodist Church

1956

Presbyterian Church (USA)

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