The full picture of what unfolded at the Q Focus “Women and Calling” conference held last Friday is just coming into clear view, and it is disturbing. Over 200 evangelical women sat smiling and nodding in agreement as one very familiar speaker declared that the Bible does not offer women a guideline for Christian living and thus women should not burden themselves with living out a model of Biblical womanhood because “it’s not about roles.”
It is all too familiar.
Taking a page from radical feminism, liberal evangelicals are attempting to “liberate” women from their “oppressed” place in society: the home, and church. Citing the sexism that all too often does infiltrate churches, women are being called to abandon their feminine distinctions entirely.
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To usher in a “gender equality” movement that misrepresents a traditional Biblical understanding of human sexuality, liberal elites must first break down the authority of Scripture. A dangerous mission, these efforts threaten to strip women of their dignity, integrity, uniqueness and the special responsibilities entrusted to them by God.
Enter Rachel Held Evans. The author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, it was Evans at the Q women’s conference who declared:
Here’s the thing. I have searched high and low. I’ve combed through commentary after commentary. I spent a year of my life immersed in this idea of Biblical womanhood and I never found a blueprint for how to be a woman of faith…The Bible doesn’t give us a blueprint. God doesn’t communicate to us in bullet points. Instead God uses poetry, history, letters…and mostly stories to communicate with us. And stories don’t make great blueprints, do they?
Evans could not have looked too hard for help discerning Biblical womanhood or she would have come across the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s “A Christian Women's Declaration.”
No, this declaration does not prescribe women to church, children and kitchen.
[sharequote align="center"]Gender roles do not equate to gender discrimination.[/sharequote]
What it does is affirm the strong Christian women who have worked to gain dignity, respect and freedom for the next generation and also outlines God-ordained blueprints for women. Among the Biblical principles defined:
- To Live Holy Lives
- To Develop Strong Families
- To Embrace Our Calling to Authentic Service to Others and the Church
- To Be Good Citizens
- To Fulfill Our Worldwide Obligations
- To Build the Church
The Q conference is just one example of an attempt to undermine the positive contributions the Scripture and the church have made in affirming women's dignity and equality. Increasingly, over the past several years, popular books, blogs and conferences aimed at Christian women are consumed with applying radical feminism’s “liberation” theology.
Kountze High School cheerleader Grace Walton works on her sign next to a finished one Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in Kountze, Texas. The small Hardin County community is rallying behind the high school's cheerleaders after the squad members were told they could not use scripture verses on their signs at the football games. Credit: AP
“There is a huge difference, however, between the Biblical principle of equality — by which God created all of us as equal — and the radical distortions of the radical feminist principles that push hatred of masculine traits and try to get rid of the differences between women and men,” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of the faith-based women’s public policy think tank, the Beverly LaHaye Institute.
Consider the blogosphere’s new rave Jesus Feminist. While the book does not endorse the abortion-consumed second- and third-wave secular feminism, it does cite masculine leadership and unfortunate and inexcusable cases of sexism in churches as an excuse to revisit and reimagine God’s sexuality distinctions.
It is tragic that women have been abused by men maliciously twisting Bible verses and Old Testament laws in order to elevate themselves and assuage their own feelings of inferiority. But just as sexism has infiltrated churches, so have adultery, greed, pride, gluttony, materialism, homosexuality, and murder.
Welcome to the Fallen World. This is not surprising nor should it be used as a clarion call to reimagine the God’s exceptional calling on women’s lives.
Gender roles do not equate to gender discrimination.
Church members: Emily Warner, 12, left, and Allison Swales, 15, gift red roses to women, during a prayer vigil for Chinese students and chaperones who were aboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, at the West Valley Christian School in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
When those who should love us, abuse us in the name of Scripture it would become easy to grow bitter towards Christianity. But donning pants-suits and pretending there is no such thing as femaleness and maleness is not the answer. Kathy Keller, co-author of Jesus, Justice, and Gender Roles, was also a featured speaker at the Q women’s conference.
Refuting several speakers who went before her, Keller stated, “To aspire to a unisex or gender-neutral life in the Body of Christ as it exists in the church and at home would be a tragic mistake. We would be guilty of defacing the image of God as it can only be fully reflected in the completion of what each gender brings to the other.”
Now is not the time for evangelical women to abandon our femaleness. Instead, we must rediscover and take back what it means to be women. A true understanding of equality hinges upon women’s responsibility to develop their own unique potential and fulfill the unique purpose for which each of us was created by God.
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