Tracing The Trajectory Of The Spirit -- By: Glen G. Scorgie

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 17:2 (Spring 2003)
Article: Tracing The Trajectory Of The Spirit
Author: Glen G. Scorgie

Tracing The Trajectory Of The Spirit

Glen G. Scorgie

Glen G. Scorgie is currently a professor of theology at Bethel Seminary San Diego. He is a past president of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association and also involved in the ministries of the Chinese Bible Church of San Diego. He and his wife, Kate, an associate professor of graduate education at Azusa Pacific University, are parents of three collegeage daughters. An earlier version of this article was presented at the Evangelical Theological Society meetings in Toronto in November 2002.

Egalitarian hermeneutics and biblical inerrancy.1

A historical case can be made that Christianity has, all things considered, been good for women. It has not been the mighty agent of gender oppression that it is sometimes made out to be. Still, contemporary Christians can hardly feel smug about the track record of our religious tradition. We live with the uncomfortable awareness that our faith has not been as affirming as it should have been, or as empowering for women as it certainly needs to be from now on.

Over the course of the last couple of centuries in the West there has been a notable rise in female expectations for having a voice, greater personal dignity, equal opportunity, and individual autonomy. Concurrently there has been a growing impatience with what have been perceived as vestiges of gender patriarchy and oppression in our culture. Along the way certain gains for women stand out as landmarks, such as civic confirmation of a woman’s right to own property, to attend university, and to vote. The socalled feminist movement, which is generally thought to have begun with the publication of Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique (1963), is just the latest phase of this gender evolution.

These developments are forcing Christians (sometimes, truth be told, rather reluctantly) to go back and examine carefully some of our working assumptions about God’s will for the sexes, and our views of how men and women ought to relate to one another in the home, church, and society. Christians ponder whether the feminist movement could be God’s chastening instrument to prod the church into embracing the fuller implications of its own Gospel, or perhaps just another temptation to parrot the destructive values of secular society.

At the risk of masking the considerable diversity of viewpoints within our circles, it may be suggested that evangelical opinion has coalesced into two broad and competing responses. While these two competing perspectives are identified by various labels, the most common self-designations are complementarian and egalitarian.

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