Hard to Believe? Biblical Authority and Evangelical Feminism -- By: R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
JBMW 16:1 (Spring 2011) p. 14
Hard to Believe?
Biblical Authority and Evangelical Feminism
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Anne Eggebroten visited Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and what she found there shocked her. As a matter of fact, she was so shocked that she wrote about that experience in the July 2010 edition of Sojourners magazine. Readers of her article are likely to experience a shock of their own—they will be shocked that Eggebroten could actually have been surprised by what she found there.
In “The Persistence of Patriarchy,” Eggebroten writes about “the wide reach” of complementarian views of manhood and womanhood among conservative Christians. Her article is subtitled, “Hard to believe, but some churches are still teaching about male headship.” Hard to believe?
Can anyone really be surprised that this is so? In some sense, it might be surprising to the generally liberal readership of Sojourners, but it can hardly be surprising to anyone with the slightest attachment to evangelical Christianity. Nevertheless, Anne Eggebroten’s article represents what I call a “National Geographic moment”—an example of someone discovering the obvious and thinking it exotic and strange. It is like a reporter returning from travel to a far country to explain the strange tribe of people she found there—evangelical Christians believing what the Christian church has for 2,000 years believed the Bible to teach and require. So ... what is so exotic?
She begins her article at Grace Community Church in California, where, in her words, “God is male, all the pastors, deacons, and elders are male, and women are taught to live in submission to men.” That is a snappy introduction, to be sure, but it requires some unpacking. When Eggebroten says that, at this well-known evangelical church “God is male,” she is echoing the arguments of the late radical feminist Mary Daly, who famously asserted that “if God is male, then male is God.” At Grace Community Church, as in the Bible, references to God are masculine, but God is not claimed to be male. Interestingly, she also missed the fact that Grace considers the role of the deacon in terms of service, rather than authority, so women in fact do serve as deacons with responsibility for particular ministries.
Nevertheless, Eggebroten is certainly onto something here, especially when Grace Community Church is contrasted with the Episcopal congregation visited by her husband on that same Sunday. In that church, a woman is preaching the sermon. We can’t miss the point when Eggebroten writes, “These two different worlds exist side by s...
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