Friday’s Question of the Day: Is Feminism Incompatible with the Bible

Or perhaps a literal interpretation, plain sense reading?

Or did Paul believe in roles assigned among gender?

And, how do you define ‘Feminism?’

Just keep it civil –

Feminism is a many splendored thing, actually – from believing that women must be treated equally in society to extreme forms. So, how does this play into the life of the Church? Are women equal? Or, are men and women given different roles to perform in the Church just as in marriage?

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85 Replies to “Friday’s Question of the Day: Is Feminism Incompatible with the Bible”

  1. Funny you should say that “feminism is a many splendored thing”; I was reading up on Gayatri Spivak and Chandra Mohatany (two feminists from the Two-Thirds world) and postcolonial feminism is adverse to being under the eyes of Western feminists, because there is no universal definition of femininity.

    Feminism is compatible with a literal reading of Scripture. Look at Phyllis Tribble’s work on Judges 19-21; she is calling for a more literal approach.

    Feminism is the belief that men and women are equal.

    As for Paul, I will leave that for you all to decide.

  2. As everyone knows this has been a real issue in all of the Anglican Communion. Of course now the majority vote is that women should be equals in every area. But this is hardly the real biblical position. Thus the feminist’s have taken to the alter of Holy Scripture. So the battle is on, with at least those that take the Scripture at both historic and theological reality, in the Judeo-Christian sense.

    One does not need to read scripture long to see, that at least for St. Paul women had different roles than men. Not inferior, but certainly different and based squarely on the creation model of God. Also St. Peter saw the same. (1 Cor.11:1-16 / 1 Tim. 2:8-15 / 1 Peter 3:1-7).

    I am not going to argue with every feminist on this blog. That is worthless really. But the issue will always be the honor, glory and all human submission to the Word and Revelation of God!

    But I will say myself, that the word and history today of Feminism is well beyond that of mere equality. Modern feminism, if you will, is engaged in dominance & authority! Just read their material.
    Fr. R.

  3. I looked at an old Websters Dictionary (1951..almost as old as me). It defines feminism; “The theory, cult, or practice of those who advocate such legal and social changes as will establish political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” We could add now also the religious element, at least in the equality of women in total ministry. But again, what does the Scripture say? This is the lasting and final authority!
    Fr. R.

  4. I’m a complementarian. So I believe men and women have different roles within marriage and church.

    However if the definition of feminism is:
    “A movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men.” (Without all the baggage that’s crept in in the last 50 years.)
    Then I would say it’s Biblical. Women should be able to vote. Women should have the same social status. Women should be payed equally for the same work. This all seems obvious to me.

    So I’m using the classic version of the definition of feminism and not equating it with the radical movement.

  5. Jeff,
    Any Christian worth his salt believes what you state. But that is not the issue, we are talking (or I am) about radical feminist theology, and women as total equals in the Church and their ordination. I have to live in this world! I doubt most of the bloggers here do, have to live in this full faced reality.
    Fr. R.

  6. So is feminisim compatable with the Bible? Not in the radical sense of today, but only in the sense that women, who are called feminist as women, are equals before God. But in the Church of God there is some form of hierarchy, roles and even rank before God. This comes and goes back to the very order of creation. (1 Tim.2:13) And note, the different gender roles go back before the fall and sin. Those that use this to denegate women, are certainly in very grave error, and even should stand outside the Church of God!
    Fr. R.

  7. “A movement for granting women political, social, and economic equality with men.”

    “The theory, cult, or practice of those who advocate such legal and social changes as will establish political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

    I am very glad to see that you have both posted definitions of feminism. You acknowledge it to be honourable.

    But then this was denied in my life. I had the legal right to vote, but as it turns out, my husband had two votes and I had none. My husband had two incomes and I had none. I was instructed before the vote and interogated after. I never learned how to lie.

    I was denied permission to get counselling. It took me a long time to realize that male authority is a figment of the male imagination. Finally I realized that it really didn’t matter if I went to hell for my rebellion. I was already in the hell of gender based authority.

    I did finally learn to lie. I got help, I planned an escape. Several women came to my house one evening when my ex was out and we took the essentials, clothes books and a few personal items and I disappeared.

    If the husband has final say, then the wife has no righst at all, legal, social or political except what the husband gives her. This may be much or little.

    The very worst of those who endanger women such as myself are women who preach and are ordained and say that a woman may preach in the church as long as she is under her husband’s headship. Her husband clearly allows her these freedoms and endorses her liberty, and another woman denied everything is not helped at all.

    This is my reality and I have no pity for men or women who find feminism conflictual. I want an equal right to be alive as anyone else.

  8. Jeff,
    I know the difference, but when they seem the same or tend to blend? The definitions mean little, yes? You have been a consistent one to beg the question of postmodernism, from me. And I have not really really pressed you personally on this. I guess we need to put our definitions closer! I shall try, and not assume with you. Frankly, I am not sure what your theology or doctrine is? I have heard you say you are somewhat Reformed. As I am myself, but we appear poles apart so often. I know I am rather conservative, but I am no modern card carrying Calvinist that for certain!
    Fr. R.

  9. “Those that use this to denegate women, are certainly in very grave error, and even should stand outside the Church of God!”

    I submit that there are zero number of human beings who would not use rank to denigrate someone else at least in some small way.

  10. If no ever speaks up then those who continue to live in this particular miserly will have little support. Some women will be intimidated by those who dispense such negative opinions of women and will continue to hide their situation. Just the very fact that revealing this kind of information brings about such a reaction, demonstrates the seriousness of the problem.

    Responding so negatively to a revelation is to contribute to the perpetuation of the problem.

  11. The woman as weaker vessel is weaker in her body than the average male. She was weaker in the law as well at the time of the scripture. But Plato would hardly argue that the state be governed by those who are stronger in their body. And in the laws, he argues for women as equal citizens who must equally care for children and elders, for a well balanced society.

  12. Somehow this subject got down into the trenchs? Not all bad, not all good. I think today, with the postmodern reality and even postchristian sense, we can see that we have lost something real of the historic and apostolic Church. Good Judeo-Christian theology is hard work! I pray we may get back at it.

    Finally I think Tertullian’s line is needed here: “What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
    In the end, it is only the Revelation of Scripture, as our Lord said, “Spirit & Truth” we worship God the Father!
    Fr. R.

  13. Robert, I am Reformed and about as conservative as they come. I’m complementarian which isn’t egalitarian. I agree with you on almost all matters of Scripture so I don’t see why we are “poles apart”. For some reason, you want to see yourself as poles apart from everyone and everyone is postmodern and you aren’t.

    I think it best if we don’t converse directly. I’m glad you read my blog and am happy for you to comment there but I’ll stop badgering you on postmodern stuff and maybe you could ease off on questioning me, although I’m not telling you what you can and can’t do or trying to silence you.

    If you should decide to blog I’d be glad to read. (I think you may have said you’re not too keen on blogging though.)

    Maybe I should have taken that to email but I’d like to just get that off my chest.

    Anyway, I think Jesus’ radical, or normal, treatment of women is a good model and says a lot.

  14. Deb,

    Again this is ad hominem. People like MADD carry on their campaign, people carry on other campaigns against injustice, why am I called “bitter” because I campaign against the dehumanization of women? Is it better for women to die in silence. Should I emulate the former generation who did a lot of that kind of thing?

  15. When you call someone names, it is your way of telling me that you do not want to engage intellectually with the discussion. I will have to accept that about you.

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