By Elizabeth Prata
Phil Johnson has been a discerning Christian for a long time. He noted in a recent Q&A at the GraceLife Pulpit when responding to a question about women teaching and preaching, that he doesn’t know of a single seminary that has caved to culture in installing female Bible professors that hasn’t compromised in other areas soon after. It’s the same with churches and denominations. If you don’t like the clear teaching of God in the Bible in one area you’ll soon find ways to compromise on others, too, he noted. Here is a definition of an evangelical feminist (an oxymoron if there ever was one)-
An evangelical feminist has a high view of Scripture and is “one who believes that the Bible teaches the full equality of men and women without role distinctions based on gender.” (source)
What is the goal of evangelical feminism?
The goal of evangelical feminism is that men and women be allowed to serve God as individuals, according to their own unique gifts rather than according to a culturally predetermined personality slot called “Christian manhood” or “Christian womanhood.” (source)
Current best-seller books like ‘Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry‘ by Tara Beth Leach teach falsely that “God not only permits women to minister―he emboldens, empowers, and unleashes women to lead out of the fullness of who they are. The church cannot reach its full potential without women using their God-given gifts.” Sadly this three-year old book is going into its 5th printing.
I hear the language of Christian feminism these days couched in gentler terms than it was when I was coming up in the 1960s and 70s. Back then the language of the movement was more negative, using high-emotion words like oppression, subjugation, consciousness raising, struggle, solidarity and sisterhood, and the like.
Evangelical Feminism, whether theoretical of functional, has crept into the church in even conservative quarters, thanks to women like Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Joanna Gaines, Jennie Allen, and so on. But the language of what sociologists term Third Wave Feminism has changed, and as the culture goes, so goes the church. The older harsh language from earlier feminism days is gone, words like like ‘solidarity’ or ‘oppression’ wouldn’t fly especially when a feminist wants to introduce feminism into the church, so the high-emotion, negative words are replaced with supposedly conservative Bible teachers’ words in gentler language. If you hear church men or women saying that women need to –
“speak into these things”
“enter rooms where they haven’t been allowed before”
“a seat at the table”
and the ever-popular
“stepping into giftings”
Then you are hearing Christian feminism. Christian feminists like to conflate being denied ordination with being squelched in a spiritual gift. They also focus on what they can’t do rather than what the Bible says they can do. “I can’t preach so that must mean I’m being oppressed from using any or all of my gifts.” “I can’t enter the room (whatever that means) so I am being devalued as a congregant/woman/person.”
How sly to ignore the fact that not all men are called to preach. There are qualifications for men too, which if a man does not meet, he is biblically prohibited from preaching or teaching. Is the church suffering from lack of reaching “fullness” when any man who wants to isn’t preaching, too?
You notice in the book Embolden’s blurb above the word “fullness” and “full” twice in rapid succession. As though some portion of God’s goodness is being held back from them in the Bible’s statements of qualification for teaching and leading. As if a woman is not fully valued or actuated unless she has access to all of whatever God has put forth. As if to deny any portion of what God says women can do is to be at ‘halfness’ or to be incomplete or partial in some way. We have heard that insinuation before. In the garden when the serpent implied God was holding back the good stuff-
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1).
We might as well read-
“Did God really say, ‘You must not teach or preach men in the church?'”
“Step into giftings” sounds so much better than “Marching in protest, hear me roar”, doesn’t it? Empowered sounds so much better than oppressed, doesn’t it? Unity sounds so much better than Patriarchy” right?
We’ve been slow to step into our giftedness or strengths. For a long time, that wasn’t an option,” said Jennie Allen of IF:Gathering.
There is a reason women have been slow to step into a gift of teaching. And Allen doesn’t mean step into the gift of hospitality, or the gift of mercy or the gift of giving, now, doesn’t she? Let’s be real- these women mean stepping into preaching and preaching only. Forget the other gifts a woman might ‘be denied’ using. These women mean to take power.
The reason is that it’s not allowed is God’s prohibition. ‘For a long time’, Allen said, like 2000 years, right? It ‘wasn’t an option’ because the global church recognized that God said no. Has God changed? He hasn’t. Church culture has, and weak men have allowed it.
How disappointing it must be for angels to look down and see rebellious women trying to usurp leadership: preaching roles, overpower their husbands. Wherever you have that kind of woman, you have weak husbands. Wherever you have a collection of those kinds of people in leadership, you have weak men. Wherever you have weak men, you have the inevitable destruction of whatever that entity is. (Source)
The difference God outlines in our functions isn’t in value, the differences God outlines is in role. The distinctions are only in the roles we operate in, and those roles exist not just between men and women, but older women vs. younger women, married vs. single, younger men vs. older men, children vs. adults. We all have roles outlined for us. Order occurs when the body in a local church recognizes this and submits to it. It really has little to do with gifts. It’s all about roles.
How convenient for Christian feminists to ignore the fact that all professions have standards for entry. You will be denied the “fullness” of being a physician unless you are qualified. You may not “step into your gifting” of school-teaching unless the State certifies you. But when it comes to God’s house, His church, and His word, Christian feminists have made God into a godless idol of gender politics and philosophy. Vanity, all is vanity!
Here is Summer Jaeger delivering a powerful speech at Sovereign Nations conference in 2017. It’s titled Why Feminism Can’t Save You. The 30 minutes is well worth your time.
Meanwhile, enjoy the roles that God has ordained for us, whether single, wife, mother, widow, teacher of women or children, hospitable hostess, or any other of the many things we women are called to do, in order to glorify His name.
I leave you with this, 1 Peter 3:4 says,
but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
A gentle and submissive woman is PRECIOUS in His sight. There is no better position to be in than inside God’s favor and enjoying His pleasure through obedience.