What is the Big Deal about Feminism and Christianity?

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Feminism seems to be a naughty word to a lot of Christians.   To me, feminism has to do with equal rights – voting rights, equal pay for equal work, that kind of thing.  But to many conservative Christians, feminism seems to mean something much worse.  I keep hearing the word “agenda” with the word and  I would like to understand what the big deal is.  I’m stuck on this issue and as much as I read what “they” are trying to say about feminism, I can’t quite make the connection as to why it is so evil.  What exactly makes feminism evil and an enemy to the Christian faith?

Denny Burk is one of many whom I follow on Twitter and tonight I came across a tweet to his new article:   Married man and father of two sons becomes a woman.  This is a controversial subject with moral implications to be sure.  The article features an NBC video involving this family.  I didn’t look at the video.  Burk has a couple of notes about the video with a paragraph under each note.  Here is the sentence that popped out at me regarding feminism:

This is the logical consequence of feminism and mainstream gender theory.

I don’t understand what this means.  It is obvious that his definition of “feminism” is different from mine, so I left a comment.  Guess what?  It remains unpublished.   Yet as of this writing, two other comments came in after mine and were published.  See the screenshot for yourself and note the times.  Mine shows that it is awaiting moderation.  Hmmmmmmm  (Edited to add:  Please see update at bottom of post.)

Screen shot 2013-05-05 at 9.17.29 PM

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Here’s Burk’s bio posted on his blog:

Screen shot 2013-05-05 at 9.43.17 PM

I don’t think I’ve had any run-ins with Denny Burk before.  Why would he not want to help someone understand?    Y’all probably know how I feel about someone not allowing me to speak on the internet.  That same old feeling comes back to me when my voice is taken away (not quite as triggering as my former pastor), but this guy is also in Christian leadership.   I find this irritating.

Whenever someone in Christian leadership doesn’t allow legitimate questions or comments, all I see is this:

Pastor Bob Grenier of Calvary Chapel to File Defamation Lawsuit Against Son and Blogger?

I read his Comments Policy.  He allows opinions different from his own as long as they are civil.  I think my comment is civil.  He says commenters must use first and last names and no pseudonyms.  It is true that my last name is not there, but my name is hyperlinked to this site and my name is all over this blog.  And did you notice the bottom comment is a pseudonym which was in fact approved/published.  What’s up with that?

If I post something on my blog that someone doesn’t understand or would like more clarification, I answer.  It’s not a threat to me to ask a question.  It’s about dialogue and understanding.  The guy the is an associate professor at the Southern Baptist  Theological Seminary and an associate pastor.  Aren’t pastors and professors supposed to teach?  It’s a simple question, for crying out loud.

So, as you can see, I have a couple of issues going on:

  • I’m upset that my comment remains in moderation and yet two other comments were published after mine.
  • I want to understand how he sees that feminism leads to this moral decline as he suggested.

Obviously he doesn’t want to help me out.  So now I shall turn to you, my faithful readers and friends.  Please  help a girl out.  Someone, anyone  – – does anyone understand where this guy is coming from?  What is so evil about feminism?   How do we get from feminism to transgender acceptability in society?    What happened along the way for that to happen?   How is this one group of “feminists” responsible for moral decline?  Am I a feminist if I think women should have the right to vote and get equal pay for equal work?   Life was sure a lot easier when I was a kid.

* * * * * UPDATE:  Please be sure to read this comment about a response from Burk:        May 6, 2013 @ 8:30 AM     

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79 comments on “What is the Big Deal about Feminism and Christianity?

  1. You bring up a question I have never pondered for myself. “Feminism” for me (and I speak personally as I do not even know what the term means in its ‘proper’ form is there is one) is a negative. I don’t associate it with women’s right perse. I associate it with the new order of what a woman should be. I mean, before the feminist movement free thinking women were sort of frowned upon, now if a woman isn’t a feminist, feminists frown upon her. I believe no such term should exist. I am part of the human race and I should therefore have certain rights the same as the next fellow without any labels of any sort. That’s what I resent the most. And the fact that women were denied certain rights before is anti God and a shame to the people who did the oppressing. I am a woman. Period. I have rights that no one has a right to take away, or label me if I say so. So, for me, it’s the labeling thing. I learned being free at home. My dad was real loving and a great provider and didn’t mind doing dishes or cook or anything else that might’ve needed doing when my mom couldn’t. It was just natural. It was never a discussion point. So I just don’t get anyone making an issue out of it either way “feminism” or “macho man”.

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  2. Burk opines: ” There are absolutely no questions about the morality of what this man did to his family.”

    Is it really the media’s job? Isn’t it their job to report and leave it to the audience to take it from there?

    I find it interesting that he cites Gen 1:26-27 to support his thesis on biblical gender identity. So does this mean God creates only males in his image, but not females? I don’t think the clause “let us create man in our image” necessarily refers to the male gender only. It refers to humanity of both genders.

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  3. My brother sent me a text last week with link that said every women must read this!! I figured it would be more of the same old same old. Bro blames women for everything. I don’t know if you will be able to stomach this but get ready to feel sick…

    It’s OK to be a Woman! – henrymakow.com
    henrymakow.com/its_ok_to_be_a_woman.html‎

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  4. JA-

    I didn’t read the article that Burke was addressing, but if he is referring to the “logical consequence of feminism and mainstream gender theory” being this person undergoing gender reassignment, I don’t really follow his line of thinking.

    I do believe he is defining feminism differently than you are. I doubt (though can’t say for certain) that he would disagree with you that women having the right to vote, equal pay for equal work, mutual respect in the workforce and academia, etc. is a good thing. I believe what he is defining feminism as is the more extreme version of it. Like most movements that have good causes and start out with good intentions, there will nearly always be a faction of that movement that takes things farther than they should. In this case, it seems he is equating all feminism with those who would also see the decline of masculinity along with the rise of femininity. While no doubt we needed, and continue to need, to see a rise in femininity since women have been oppressed in so many ways for so long, we are unforunately also seeing a decline in real masculinity at the same time.

    I believe that this is probably why Burke is going off on feminism, although as I said, I think in this case at least, his logic is faulty.

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  5. Oh, and also Julie Anne, and I agree that your question is harmless and deserves an honest answer, and that your question is still in moderation is also a red flag, especially if it is still in moderation after a longer period of time without an answer.

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  6. Under Denny Burk’s blog article, somebody named Tom Parker is allowed to post the question, “How do you define feminism?” It seems your comment asking the same question is suppressed because you are a woman. In my opinion this smacks of misogyny. They only other thing I can think of is that you are increasingly recognized in the wide world of male dominated religion, and they are afraid of you. I suspect both explanations are true.

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  7. JoeJoe – Really – – are there guys who still think women shouldn’t vote? Ok, I can imagine this for maybe the two Dougs (Phillips and Wilson) and their ilk, but those 2 are in a class of their own, but really? Normal Christian dudes think this is ok that women shouldn’t have equal voting rights and equal pay for equal work? I have to hit send while I stew about what you just wrote and I just typed – lol. My brain is having a hard time with this.

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  8. J.A. Link didn’t work. Here are a few outrageous quotes. Conspiracy theories abound!

    “You have been betrayed by society which has gone over to the dark side. Feminism, a lesbian and occult ideology which denies gender differences, is poison for women.

    “Feminism was not a spontaneous, grass roots social phenomena. It was top-down elite social engineering i.e. behavior modification orchestrated using the mass media, government and education. It was wholly sponsored by the Illuminati (satanist) central bankers in order to make women have careers instead of families. – See more at: http://henrymakow.com/its_ok_to_be_a_woman.html#sthash.2P1XSZD9.dpuf

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  9. My brother believes America went to hell when women started voting. He is a real joy to be around-not!

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  10. Gary W. – Tom Parker gets to ask it and I don’t? Say what? This is looking increasingly bad for Denny Burk. Tom Parker has commented on my blog before. Hey Tommmmmm – – – do me a favor and ask why Denny posts your comment, but not mine, please!!! (I really don’t think he’ll see this – lol)

    Thanks for letting us know that he still hasn’t posted my comment.

    BTW, it looks like the link to Burk’s article was broken. I have fixed it.

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  11. JA-

    I think you may have misunderstood what I was saying. While I am sure there are probably some ultra-conservative “Christian” groups (in quotes for a reason) out there that would deny women’s right to vote, I think that most, in my oppinion, would agree that women voting, having equal pay, mutual respect, etc, is a GOOD thing. These are all things that women have ALWAYS deserved, though sadly they didn’t always get.

    What I am saying is that what I believe Burke MAY be referring to, in my best guess from this one tweet, is that faction of radical feminism that is not merely pro-women, but also anti-male. Sadly, though this would be a small minority of the feminism movement, I think this is probably how a lot of people end up defining feminism. I’ve heard it that way before.

    In the past 20-40 years or so, around the same time that the good feminist movement was going, fighting for equal rights for women, we have also seen a decline in masculinity. Men being responsible fathers and loving husbands have become harder and harder to find. It is possible there is a mutual causation between the two trends, though there might be no connection at all and merely a correlation (they simply have been happening at the same time).

    Like I said before, I still think Burke’s logic was faulty.

    Make a little better sense? I hope?

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  12. Ok, I sent Denny Burk this note at his contact page:

    Denny,

    Why is my comment being held in moderation? I read your comment policy. The only rule that I broke is my last name is not included. My name came up “autofilled” as Julie Anne; however, if you click on my name, it goes to my blog which has my name all over the place. I am not hiding my true identity (and I even include my picture – lol). I see 2 others have used pseudonyms which you say you won’t approve.

    I see Tom Parker asked the same question as me and his comment was allowed, but not mine? Can you please help me to understand why my post is now allowed?

    thanks,
    Julie Anne

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  13. Another huge red flag for me is that Denny has approved the comment from bravelass and not from you. I’ve had run-ins with bravelass before. She starts off conversation all polite and innocent. But it doesn’t take long before you find out that she’s madder than a March hare.

    Denny Burk has a reputation. And it’s not good.

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  14. JoeJoe – You’re right – I misread your comment. Thanks for clarifying for me. Ok, the part about the segment of feminists who are anti-male definitely makes sense (and yes, I am concerned about an anti-male message – I’m concerned about an anti-anything message), but still – – how does he get from anti-male to transgender? Burk is not the only one who has said this. I remember hearing this kind of talk years ago from Dobson, Schlafly, and more recently from Piper, Moore, etc. It’s pretty common. That is the part I really don’t understand.

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  15. JA-

    No problem. Sometimes my thoughts can get a little jumbled and I don’t always communicate in the clearest way either. Hence why it is good for listeners to be able to ask questions for clarity and for the speakers to respond when they realize that their message didn’t get across. That is healthy communication. It appears that is lacking with Denny Burke.

    I wonder the same thing as you. How did he get from anti-male feminism to transgender issues? While they both have in some way to do with human sexuality, they seem to me to be seperate issues. He is making an awfully big leap here.

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  16. Burk’s 5/2/13 blog article, “How not to engage the evangelical gender debate,” is revealing. In an attempt to discredit Rachel Pietka’s criticisms of John Piper on a Christianity Today blog, Burk ultimately reveals his true complaint. Concerning Pietka’s blog post Burk writes, “It is the kind of thing that one might expect to encounter on a personal blog and not on a site with the EDITORIAL FILTERS of Christianity Today.” Emphasis added. Only those who agree with Burk are to be heard. All other views are to be censored.

    Which brings me to one of my pet peeves concerning the way church meetings are conducted. Have you ever wondered why pastors preach from behind a pulpit, on an elevated platform, to a passive audience, where even the seating arrangement is such that, if anybody asked a question, it would be disruptive? Although I know something about confronting pastoral error, even I have never had the courage to stand up in the middle of a sermon to ask a question. Only the man on the platform is allowed to be heard.

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  17. My understanding is that there is no single definition of “feminism.” Instead there are “feminisms,” and each definition is nuanced differently depending on the presuppositions of the definer.

    I was blessed to take a semester-long class at seminary called “The Role of Women in Ministry,” taught by my favorite mentor, Professor Sandra Glahn. Sandy facilitated the discussion of our twelve to fourteen graduate students, and by the end of the class we had all shifted our positions to a greater or lesser degree. We shifted because previously we were uninformed, but after the class we had educated ourselves and were empowered to make intelligent decisions, rather than fear-based decisions.

    What struck me most was the consistent presence of anger and tears in the class. Anger at injustices perpetrated due to misunderstandings of Scripture, and tears as several women learned for the first time that they, like men, have been made in God’s image. I think we all could understand better the emotions Jesus must have felt when he turned over tables in the temple courts.

    One of our reading assignments was Dorothy Sayers’ book, “Are Women Human?” It is a short and seminal read: I commend it to anyone reading this post. Sayers’ says at one point:

    “It is all very well to say that woman’s place is the home but modern civilisation has taken all these pleasant and profitable activities out of the home, where the women looked after them, and handed them over to big industry, to be directed and organised by men at the head of large factories. Even the dairy-maid in her simple bonnet has gone, to be replaced by a male mechanic in charge of a mechanical milking plant.

    “It is perfectly idiotic to take away women’s traditional occupations and then complain because she looks for new ones. Every woman is a human being; one cannot repeat that too often and a human being must have occupation,if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.

    “When it comes to a choice, then every man or woman has to choose as an individual human being, and, like a human being, take the consequences.

    “What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected. It is no good saying: ‘You are a little girl and therefore you ought to like dolls’; if the answer is, ‘But I don’t,’ there is no more to be said.”

    A blog worth checking out is the Tapestry Blog on Bible.org. While there is a spectrum of belief (a good thing, I would say), all authors are accomplished women who wrestle with topics of religion, occupation, and roles, among other subjects. You can find it here: http://blogs.bible.org/tapestry

    My personal position is that all men and women should be treated as individuals made in the image of God, not as a class. And we should avoid trying to define “biblical manhood and womanhood,” since the Bible fails to treat such a subject. Instead, we’d do well to pursue Christ-likeness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit ascribes gifts to each without discrimination. Woe is us if we ignore or squelch those gifts to fit our traditional interpretations of scripture, filtered as they are through 2,000 years of imperfect practice and checkered interpretation.

    My two cents.

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  18. JoeJoe – To be clear, your writing and communication was fine. I was reading too fast and made the mistake. But you raise such a good point that communication is all about trying to get to a point of understanding – not necessarily that one agrees with the point of view, but that the view is understood.

    And again – – this guy is a pastor and professor – – – both teaching professions. It just strikes me odd that he wouldn’t want to use his skills to help me understand his point of view.

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  19. Head’s up from Marge Sweigart on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:50 AM said:

    Julie Anne – your comment is there now.

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  20. Ok, I did not receive a reply to my e-mail, but did notice that my comment was finally approved – EIGHT hours after I originally posted it.

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  21. Steve (Liberty for Captives) – – hey brother – – – please do NOT stop blogging. Your words really move me.

    These words of yours captivated me:

    What struck me most was the consistent presence of anger and tears in the class. Anger at injustices perpetrated due to misunderstandings of Scripture, and tears as several women learned for the first time that they, like men, have been made in God’s image.

    Wow – that is beautiful. What an experience!

    And this:

    My personal position is that all men and women should be treated as individuals made in the image of God, not as a class. And we should avoid trying to define “biblical manhood and womanhood,” since the Bible fails to treat such a subject. Instead, we’d do well to pursue Christ-likeness and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit ascribes gifts to each without discrimination. Woe is us if we ignore or squelch those gifts to fit our traditional interpretations of scripture, filtered as they are through 2,000 years of imperfect practice and checkered interpretation.

    That is my primary issue with those who make such a huge issue about biblical gender roles. It really is such a distraction to just the simplicity of honoring all individuals (including those who have been born both sex organs, because even they were created in God’s image!!).

    Thank you, Steve!

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  22. Why do Christian men fear feminism? Well, it could be one of two reasons.

    First off, there was a radical side to the feminist movement in the 60’s and 70’s that wanted to rid men of power. These women set up their own women-only run business and frequented other only women-run businesses. As far as I can see, while some women may still hold to this radical feminism belief that all men are evil, this never really caught on in the country’s day-to-day dealings in life.

    The other side to this coin is that Christian men continue to blame feminism as one of the roots of all of this country’s problems because they can’t stand the thought that women actually have a mind and purpose outside the home. Inside the home, women can be controlled and manipulated to men’s desires. If women work outside the home, they have more influence from others besides their husbands.

    I had a conversation with my husband last night about using the argument that women in the work force has brought about the demise of the family. I told him that the only people that I ever hear say that argument is men. And, as a woman, I find it a bit offensive that this argument implies that women have no usefulness or benefit to society outside of the home.

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  23. I just checked my mail and got a couple of responses from Denny.

    7:10AM was my e-mail to Denny Burk asking why my comment wasn’t approved
    7:27AM Denny responds that he doesn’t know, but will check
    7:30AM Denny sends another e-mail saying he found my comment in the moderation queue and approved it, saying that first-time commenters are always held in the queue.

    All first-time commenters go to queue on my blog, too. WordPress shows me pending comments and comments that have gone through. However, if he did not check his comment page and let things go “auto-pilot” a comment could remain stuck in moderation.

    I’m satisfied with his response.

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  24. Julie Anne, Well then, I withdraw my opinion that Burk’s failure to post your question smacks of misogyny. I still wonder if your comment would have seen the light of day if the issue had not been pushed. After all, he can’t change the fact of his complaint, in his May 2 blog post, that Rachel Pietka’s opinions got past the editorial filters at Christianity Today. Maybe my perceptions have been colored by having been “uninvited” from participation in a Southern Baptist Church, but there is just way too much evidence of SBC “pastors” attempting to shut down any point of view except their own.

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  25. Julie Anne, you and your readers might like to see what Rosaria Butterfield has to say about feminism. I get the impression she’s writing in a very intelligent, nuanced way about it. She used to be a lesbian post-modern English Professor, and is now a born again evangelical Christian married to an evangelical pastor.
    Here is her blog, from which you can access her book.
    http://rosariabutterfield.com/

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  26. Gary, Don’t worry about it. The timing of everything has me wondering, too, but since we’ll never know, it’s not worth it. I was sitting here stewing about whether or not to revise the post (removing screen shot, etc). I decided to let it stand. Social media is instant these days and when I wrote the article, that is what I was dealing with. I have updated the article in 2 places so hopefully it will be clear.

    I did notice that Denny responded to Tom Parker’s question (after my comment was released which asked the same thing – and my comment is first in the comment thread). I’m not sure why he didn’t answer mine, but I’m going to let it go. I did add a response beneath Tom Parker’s thread. I really do hope that Burk will answer my questions. I fail to see how one can say that transgendered people are a result of feminism. It smacks of the same kind of stuff like Kevin Swanson and embedded dead babies in wombs. I strongly dislike it when people make crazy talk to push an agenda. It’s great for blog hits, though – lol.

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  27. Julie Anne, It seems to be a rather common practice to attempt to discredit a perfectly legitimate argument or position by alleging some extreme conclusion to which the argument or position supposedly leads. The tactic is called reductio ad absurdum, reduction to absurdity. It tends to be a fairly effective means of argument, although mostly only when preaching to the choir or to the uninformed and un-engaged.

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  28. Gary W. said:

    It tends to be a fairly effective means of argument, although mostly only when preaching to the choir or to the uninformed and un-engaged.

    perfect for cult followers . . . . . ouch!

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  29. Barbara @ 9:04 –

    Can you point me to any specific post of Rosaria’s concerning feminism, or does she only discuss it in the book? I honestly have to say that after reading a bit at her blog, and the way she is becoming a spokesperson in the Reformed world regarding her conversion, I am left with some reservations and concerns for her.

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  30. Barbara@9:04

    I listened to the wonderful interview with Rosaria at Patrick Henry College (phc.edu) Yet, I was confused by a few remarks. So, I googled is Rosaria Butterfield a Calvinist? I found what William Burch had to say at Classical Arminian.
    I can’t link to his blog. Perhaps, you can help me to understand when you say: “She used to be a lesbian post-modern English Professor, and is now a born again evangelical Christian married to an evangelical pastor.” I am sorting all kinds of things out, do Calvinists call themselves evangelical? I really enjoyed listening to her, she was right on the money on how we as Christians are to engage the GLBT community. Also agree with Bridget’s question, I couldn’t find her ideas concerning feminism.

    This is just a short quote from William Birch @ cl a s s i c a l a r m i n i a n

    “Rosaria’s book has garnered some attention, selling more volumes than initially expected, both by the publisher as well as the author. Kevin Boling even asked her about the popularity of the book among the Calvinist community. But, honestly, are we really that surprised that a Calvinist author, who promotes Calvinist theology — God having delivered her out of an atheistic and lesbian worldview — would gain such notoriety? Not at all. For Calvinists, her story is a testimony of God’s (arbitrary, biased and preferential) grace — a demonstration that God can irresistibly convert even an atheistic lesbian. I would be astounded if the book was a failure in the Calvinist community!”

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  31. Barbara, I answered my own question by doing some research on google.
    I am new to all the different labels, doctrines, terms, but when I listened to her, I had questions and a sinking feeling that maybe she drank some of the cool aide. I am not saying that she isn’t my sister in Christ, just couldn’t put my finger on what I was sensing.

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  32. Julie Anne, I also have a distant relative who believes that women shouldn’t have the right to vote. His theory is “If a woman votes for a different candidate than her husband then she has just negated his vote.” Needless to say this particular relative and I do not get along. 🙂

    I am fighting this battle for acknowledgment of basic humanity and not gender-specific roles with my various friends have have drunk the koolaid and I am losing. I seem to be the only person who is capable of understanding that God loves each and every individual simply because they exist, not because of their chromosomes. His love for us is not dependent on our ability to keep house, bear “eternally saved children” or any other man-made criteria. He loves us because He created us. Period. I am fast becoming “the annoying liberal” among my friends and family. I guess that is what happens when you advocate on behalf of the individual human being. 😀

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  33. Ok, so let me share what’s gone on regarding this Denny Burk situation and comments on his post. Pam posted a comment nearly 9 hrs ago (I posted the link at 9:41AM above). Here it is:

    Hi Denny, I haven’t read much on transgender issues, but from what I have read it isn’t as simple as you present it in terms of sex and gender. Many transgender people (if it wasn’t 1am here I’d find some stats and journal articles) actually have brain chemistry that matches the ‘other’ sex (i.e. the one they identify with), and there are also those like buddyglass mentions who have chromosomal differences, such as XXY, XYY. Then there are people born intersex (what used to be called hermaphrodite), who have both sex and gender issues to deal with. While for most people sex = gender, be careful before making assumptions about why those who identify differently do so.

    In an e-mail to Denny asking about why another comment of mine was held in moderation, I also said I was aware of someone else’s comment and referenced Pam’s comment. So, you can be sure that he has read my e-mail AND/OR seen it in the moderation queue. We’re talking nearly 9 hours now.

    Additionally, I have asked him 3 times (twice publicly) and once privately to respond to my question of “what is your definition of feminism?” He seems to be dancing around this. Is it that difficult to respond to a question?

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  34. Julie Anne
    I was out of town and at a conference. I was approving comments about every 4-5 hours. I am sorry for any delay. I am not sure why your comment did not go through. It may be that new dadblasted filter we are using.

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  35. JA: I love Lynn Burgess’s response to you at 8:54 pm:

    “Julie Anne: Sometimes Jesus does not use the word repent, but that is His message… go and get your husband. . . ”

    at which point I stopped reading prematurely and thought, “Oh no, she’s been talking to Fred Butler!”

    But then I continued reading and saw the rest of Ms. Burgess’s sentence:

    “…(to the woman at the well).”

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  36. JA,

    Feminism is a problem for many pastors and Christianity in general not because it advocates that women have a right to vote or women have equal pay for equal work. Not many will argue with you on these points. However the “feminism” that is troublesome or what you are asking about in this blog has traditionally been the main driving force associated with the right to choose and the right to have an abortion. At least this is my impression with what I remember coming out in the 70’s and the Roe vs. Wade court case.

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  37. Andrew – Thank you for taking the time to respond. You are the first to mention that aspect (and I have no idea why that subject left my mind because it’s a pretty big one). So what makes someone a feminist, then. Someone on Denny Burk’s blog suggested I came from the feminist world view. That’s pretty laughable considering I’ve got 7 kids and have been living the lifestyle of a conservative Christian for the last 30 years, voting the way they vote, living the way they live, producing babies, homeschooling, submitting and all of that yada yada – lol.

    So I guess my question is – – at what point does one become feminist? I think women should vote. I think women should have equal pay. So is the abortion issue the deciding factor? Can I agree with some of the feminist stuff, but not be a feminist? I guess I have a difficult time with labels altogether.

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  38. JA,

    I don’t like labels either so it is always good to seek definitions as you are doing now when someone uses them. The abortion issue is one aspect of “feminism” in our culture. However, When you talk about feminism in the subculture of Christianity it gets a little bit more involved.

    Egalitarianism in our culture as Americans is one thing and I am all for it. For instance I hope to see a woman being president of the United States someday. However egalitarian in the church is really something completely different altogether and is very much misunderstood. And I think we need to be cautious how we go about this. Complementarianism, although not well understood, is not a curse word.

    The Bible mentions the qualifications of an elder in Titus 1:6 which is reserved for a man of one wife, etc…If a church or individual starts espousing elders being women, then many pastors, etc.. would view this as a type of rebellion towards God and what he has instituted and another type of “feminism”. I think this is probably where the source of conflict is coming from in your blog.

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  39. I’m a feminist. Why? Because i believe that i am an independent human being who does not need anyone to tell me how to live my life. i can decide if i want to seek another’s counsel on any issue, be it a spouse, a pastor or a friend; but i decide how to live. I also accept the consequences of all my decisions.

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  40. nmgirl,

    Curious from your definition can I be a feminist too even though I am a man?

    Also does your definition of feminism even include independence from God? I mean does God even have a right to tell you how to live or are you completely independent?

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  41. What is a feminism? What is a chauvinism? Are they Biblical?

    I was under the impression that feminism and chauvinism is more secular and less Biblical and that both embrace rebellion or practice abusive and Un-Godly conduct against the opposite gender.
    Would both ism’s, even exist if everybody truly or had a proper interpretaton of the Bible?

    Doesn’t the most extreme Feminist and Chauvinist take a rather eliteless view of one over the other? I can think of a Hyper ‘ism Doctrine that practice an Unbiblical form of Elitelism on Christians as well.

    Does a person have to be a feminist to Biblically identify or Biblically combat abuse?

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  42. Y’all may be interested in the article just posted on my http://www.ChurchExiters.com website. It is entitled: “Women in the Church and the Silence Issue.”

    I was at a conference recently and heard a presentation by Dr. Waldemar Kowalski. It made sense to ask for his permission to put his paper in a reader-friendly format so that many others could read it. Enjoy!

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  43. Barb, This was part of the summary of the article you mentioned:

    “Furthermore, demanding that women be subject to ALL males in the church, without considering the New Testament message about women in the church as a whole, misrepresents the biblical text.”

    I don’t know any church that believes this. This seems quite far fetched and preposterous to make this allegation that anyone believes that women are to be subject to ALL males in the church. Can you name one church that has this practice?

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  44. @Julie Anne,
    Gracious apology over at Denny’s. I hope it is directly acknowledged. You deserve that. And I think you deserve some straight answers, but ya know… 😉

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  45. @Andrew
    Though hard to believe, there are enough so-called Christian groups who seem to have this in place in their practice. I have read many blogs and heard many stories how the patriarchal belief system has unfortunately gone from bad to worse. I believe that Julie Anne and many other bloggers have highlighted groups who are persuaded that this is the way to go. If you haven’t come across this in your experience so far, don’t be surprised when you hear about these types of belief systems.

    Would anyone else like to chime in on this point? Is there anything that you may have liked or resonated with in that whole article?

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  46. @Andrew
    I have reworked this slightly to be more precise. This may say it better. See what you think.

    “The attempt of various church assemblies to keep women in submission and to keep them silent in church is clearly based on faulty interpretive methods of the New Testament text.

    Furthermore, when some groups demand that women be subject to all males in the church, without considering the New Testament message about women in the church as a whole, this misrepresents the biblical text.”

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  47. Andrew – The subjecting of women to ALL males in the church is found prevalent in patriarchal churches/groups. Men are to be served by women – not only spouses, but other women as well. You can find this though in fringe conservative Christian churches. I’ve heard of it Reformed Presbyterian (the likes of RC Sproul, Jr.). I’m not sure about Doug Wilson or Doug Phillips, but it would not be a stretch for them to carry it that far. Those two are definitely classified as patriarchal.

    Here’s another one that I don’t think I’ve ever discussed. In some homeschooling circles, girls are taught to treat their brothers with the same kind of respect as their fathers and serve them as they would their fathers. This is an attempt to prepare them for serving their husbands. I have actually witnessed this with my own eyes.

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  48. JA and Barb,

    Thanks for your responses. I would like to add that I believe there is a big difference between patriarchal and complementarian. Randy Stinson is speaking at my ex CC church this Saturday. I was going to send him an email to see if he recognizes the difference. I trust RC Sproul sr. but I have heard that RC Sproul jr. was defrocked so that leaves me guessing.

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  49. Julie Anne,

    When Men and Women subject themselves to embracing a reckless interpretation of scriptures you are going to see abuse.

    Feminism and Chauvinism are secular movements that are being embraced because of abusive behavior or to simply enjoy elite status one over the other.
    (I think the Pharisee’s practiced the same thing on Christ)

    Chauvinism, I’m sure exacerbated the feminist movement. I’m sure if society followed God’s instruction Chauvinism and Feminism wouldn’t exist and Men and Women would have the Godly love and respect that the Father in heaven commands us to have with each other.

    I have a friend that is nearing divorce after 40 years of marriage who has a distorted view about how he interprets his wife’s role.
    His toxic temper has created mental abuse, which has clouded his wife from wanting to expand beyond what they are doing within the ministry. He doesn’t realize that he his temper is controlling his toxic behavior that is un-nurturing to his wife who is in fact a Godly woman.

    I’m not a fan of either Chauvinism or Feminism because these are secular movements that distort some truths so they can practice immoral behavior which include abortion for birth control purposes and men mentally and physically abusing women.

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  50. Julie Anne,

    I might add, that Women in Churches holding the Men and Husbands to a standard pleasing to God shouldn’t be confused with the secular feminist movement.

    Men in Churches holding Women and Wives to a standard pleasing to God, shouldn’t be confused with the secular and Un-Godly Ideology that chauvinist have toward women.

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  51. Feminism is certainly a curious word that must be defined in order to understand what exactly a person is talking about. So what are the roots of early feminism? That is a huge topic. I find the roots of feminism fascinating in light of the heritage of Christian women who blazed a trail for others to follow!

    Some historians assert that feminism found its roots among evangelical revivals. Looking at Wesley and Finney, for example, there was room made for women in ministry. Frontier life required that men and women work alongside each other in order to survive. Note the founders of the Salvation Army, women in the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements. Women combined social concern, about slavery and the harm of liquor in the family, with a call to personal ministry.

    Dale Coulter in the Pneuma Journal suggests that “From the outset the first wave of feminism was bound up with the cause of abolition and fueled by Holiness preaching. … Newly founded institutions such as Oberlin College where abolitionism and women’s rights were fused with Holiness rhetoric, became a seedbed for such activity. Oberlin was the first college to admit women.”

    “For many nineteenth-century Holiness women, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) became a place to express their theology and their support of women’s issues. The WCTU was more than an organization opposed to alcohol consumption; its actions covered a broad range of issues, including support for the ordination of women.”

    Historians talk about feminism’s second and third waves. This is a whole other discussion. The complexities in cultural movement abound. It is important to grasp the historical background as well as to be able to define ‘feminism’ in a more precise way.

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  52. If it is true that feminism in the church has its roots in Finny than I would say it is part of a liberal shift. However I am an egalitarian at heart in the secular world and all for women in positions of power. But I am a conservative in the church regarding office of elder/pastor. And I believe in mutual submission at home between husband and wife.

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  53. @Andrew
    Thanks for sharing where you see yourself situated.

    I wouldn’t say that there were primary or sole roots in Finney, but he was open to women’s input. Probably since they supported his ministry. Wesley was more of a leader in getting women involved in direct hands on ministry.

    As history demonstrates, there were a variety of men and women who were trail blazers back when. More people are doing research on these fore-fathers and especially the fore-mothers. People who just got about doing what they felt God had called them to do, in spite of what their society and their churches expected at that time. They found others to link arms with and saw advances in the Kingdom where they labored for Christ. History tells us lots–it is worth checking out!

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  54. Barb,
    Thanks for sharing. History is very interesting but it all depends on how you look at it. I don’t think the pentecostal and holiness movements did a real lot to advance the kingdom but that is just coming from my perspective.

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  55. Mark,

    I agree with you that feminism and chauvinism are secular. I also believe that a lot of the social gospel or what is now called social justice is also secular to some degree. I don’t equate everything in social justice with the kingdom.

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  56. @Andrew
    Yes, history can certainly have its own interpretation through the eyes of the beholder. Nevertheless, there are some facts and statistics, historical turning points, and the like that nail down dates, people, and events for everyone. It is often our lack of historical understanding that influences how we approach theological trends in the church today and how we observe society. History informs and stretches our thinking.

    As a matter of fact, next week on the university/seminary campus here, I will be taking a course focused on the global impact of the Pentecostal/ Charismatic Movement, taught by a prof from the US. Last summer I sat under a British scholar who has done similar historical tracking of leading people from this sector of the church, men and women, who made a significant difference. There may not be as great an impact or interest in N. Am. but there are huge numbers of lives changed for the Kingdom on other continents. Let me know if I can be of further help in supplying information on this topic to you.

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  57. Andrew. Thanks for the link. Just saw it. Hope to read it more thoroughly.
    I did a quick skim. Liked her intro and final paragraph. This is very insightful.

    “Biblical Patriarchy is a perversion of the truth. It is not a corrective for feminism, but rather a culturally biased over-reaction. Instead of returning families and churches to Scripture, it tears them apart.” Agreed.

    We would probably also agree with her statement: “We should not sit by quietly while women are dishonored and mistreated.”

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  58. Barb,
    Yes I agree with that statement. I will add that some men also are abused in the patriarchy movement. It is not as obvious or as prevalent but its a reality particularly in Moses Model churches.

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  59. Barb and Andrew,

    Abuse doesn’t discriminate with gender.

    My wife endured more spiritual abuse from a couple of women who secretly embraced a Reformed Hyper-Calvinistic Doctrine who practiced a reckless rendition of scriptures.

    My wife who went to Bible College herself, Scripturally challenged their interpretations and went through shunning and ridicule for 2 years, until we figured out the abusers were in fact, heretics.

    Including secular feminism or chauvinism with Christianity to remedy abuse when we already have the Bible, to me is senseless, I haven’t found anything in the Bible that gives any of us the authority to be biblically abusive toward any gender.

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  60. Julie Anne,

    The leadership is definitely part of the problem but the system itself can be abusive to men. The family integrated church is one such problem. Just as single women are alienated in these so called family integrated churches, single men can be just as alienated and feel the discrimination even more because without a family or a spouse of your own you are considered a no one. Status is measured in terms of how big your family is. With no family, you have no chance of survival in these types of churches.

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  61. Ah, yes, Andrew. That certainly makes sense. We attended a family-integrated church for a while and I felt that “family” became too focused, if not idolized. There was no room for singles. That’s not right.

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  62. Julie Anne, in addition to disconnecting singles from the church, the family integrated churches seem to have close ties to patriarchal churches that stress vision casting and dominion-ism in the spheres of home, church and public for the male members. This in and of itself is enough for me to discount this fabricated culture that appears to be more man made than scriptural. I really have problems with vision casting that turns the vision caster into god and those that disagree with the vision as completely rebellious. This is not right.

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  63. I agree completely, Andrew. Just take a look at who is promoting the Family Integrated Church movements and it’s plain to see what is going on.

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  64. Pingback: Christian Males Blaming their Unwanted Protracted Singleness on Feminism – They have the wrong target | Christian Pundit

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