Evangelical Feminism is a movement that claims to have a high view of Scripture, but simultaneously believes in egalitarian gender roles (that men and women do not have role distinctions based upon gender).
Evangelical Feminism, as it is commonly called, distinguishes itself from regular feminism, which has an abysmally low view of Scripture. Evangelical Feminists claim they can come to the same ideological position as other feminists, but do so through believing the Bible, retaining their title as “evangelical.”
Basic tenets of Evangelical Feminism include the denial of complementary gender functions in home or church, a belief that it’s acceptable for a woman to serve in the pastoral office, and occasionally (but not always) a belief in a trans-gender or genderal-neutral deity. As one would expect, Evangelical Feminists are typically (but not always) social progressives with a politically liberal worldview.
Evangelical Feminism goes back at least to 1987, in the development of the group, Christians for Biblical Equality. Since that time, many such groups have developed to help ground feminism to the Bible. Unfortunately, the task of grounding an unbiblical concept to the Bible results only in sub-Christians hermeneutics and Scripture-twisting.
Evangelical Feminists tend to look at scriptures in relation to male-female gender roles through a Creative-Redemptive hermeneutic. In short, they would argue that something about the Gospel’s work of redemption undoes what the Bible teaches about gender roles, which must be, they argue, a reversible consequence of sin. In short, Evangelical Feminists often argue that the notion of submission is taught in the Bible as a consequence of “the Fall” or “Original Sin,” but that admonition is lifted under the Gospel.
Evangelical Feminists will often look at the Scriptures through the interpretative lens of a single verse rather than in a systematic approach to understanding the Bible’s teaching. For example, they will view Paul’s declaration that there is “neither man nor female” (Galatians 3:28) out of the context of its writing and use it to transcend the teaching of Paul in Ephesians 5. Clearly, the Scripture is made (like men and women) to complement itself and not contradict itself.
Evangelical Feminists also engage in Deconstructionism, ignoring the clearer and didactic teachings of Scripture in lieu of generalized principles and assumed Christian values. For example, an Evangelical Feminist might argue that the presumed fact that “God loves all people equally” must inform us that, ergo, men and women have “equal” (read that: the same) gender roles.
There is also, among Evangelical Feminists, a tendency to equate godly submission (of wives to husbands) or subordinate roles ecclesiastically to slavery, painting the picture that submission equals oppression and subordination equals abuse. Their depictions of motherhood and marriage are fundamentally sub-Christian.
PRACTITIONERS AND ADHERENTS
Perhaps the most prominent advocate of Evangelical Feminism is promoted heavily by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (and by its president, Russell Moore), a professor at Liberty University and Research Fellow at the ERLC, Karen Swallow Prior. Prior, of whom Russell Moore says he “wishes there one thousand more of,” has started feminist organizations (with the term, feminist, in the title) and has resoundingly, publicly and explicitly rejected complementarianism.
More prominent practitioners of Evangelical Feminism include many famous female preachers and pastors including Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, and Beth Moore. Internet personality, Jory Micah, created a stir in certain circles for promoting so explicitly the teaching of Evangelical Feminism in the Fall of 2016 (including saying that Jesus no longer has a gender, which is particularly troubling because Christ still has a physical body). However, Evangelical Feminism isn’t just promoted by women. Men who have espoused the teachings include former pastor Perry Noble, Stephen Furtick, and Internet personality and homemaker, Nate Sparks.
For more information, please read this article by Paul Felix of The Masters Seminary.
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