Monday, September 6, 2010

Outmanoeuvred by Galatians 3:28?

This afternoon, I have been watching an email exchange. As part of that exchange I received the following. He is here answering a friend and I quote the relevant part only:

"I suspect that when you refer to feminism though you are including many evangelicals who are egalitarians but would not define themselves as feminists. Let's not debate labels . . ."

To which I responded:

As one of those included in this correspondence and as a former religious feminist, I beg your pardon for stepping in and correcting a misconception on your part.

You write, "I suspect that when you refer to feminism though you are including many evangelicals who are egalitarians but would not define themselves as feminists." When it comes to matters of doctrine and Christian orthodoxy, we don't get to define these things for ourselves. "Egalitarian" is merely a polite way of saying, "religious feminist". It is an anthropological error which rapidly progresses into theological error and rank heresy.

"Egalitarianism" is born in the soil of gnosticism and ecclesial deism and flowers into what Steve Hutchens, Senior Editor at Touchstone, has termed, "Anthropological Modalism" from which it cannot help but result in theological heresy. It borrows the tactics and aims of secular feminism with its taint of Marxism and historical revisionism. It aims for positions of power and authority, never those of humble service. It denigrates the home as the center and base of a woman's life and revels in its barrenness. It pays lip service to difference between the sexes, but cannot bring itself to delineate what those differences might be. Along with the secular feminists, it calls God "Mother" and has even coined the neologism (combining God and goddess), "godde". In short, it looks exactly like secular feminism with an icing of religious language.

So [name deleted] is quite correct to use the term.


To which he responded in part:

"The statement "in Christ there is neither male nor female" does not come from gnosticism but from the New Testament."

No! Really? Well I'll be. I don't know what I'll be but one thing I won't be is stymied by this overused ploy. Designed as a thought-stopper, it gets thrown into the conversation whenever religious feminists don't know what else to say, but know they need "proof" from the Bible. Ever willing to turn the tables, those most likely to accuse their opponents of prooftexting prove to be the most facile of prooftexters themselves.

Though I declined further engagement, my response could have read:

Show me one person who says that verse isn't in the Bible. That's not the question, never has been. The question is and always has been the application. If Paul simply meant there were no differences, no proprieties to be observed in who teaches, who asks questions during service, he could have saved us all (just those of us in the last 40 years or so, mind you) a lot of grief by just leaving out I Timothy and a couple of other needless letters.

But those letters are there, in Holy Scripture, accepted by ALL the churches, all three branches of historic Christianity. So how are we to resolve this apparent conflict? Certainly not by bowing to this latter-day prooftexting ploy. We look at the context, we look to those who have gone before. We trust that the Holy Spirit has not been entirely derelict in His duty and only lately gotten around to mentioning the true application of that short little phrase in Paul's letter to the Galatians.

In short, we submit our wills and our modern sensibilities about fairness, reasonableness and something we call "equality" to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the entirety of the Holy Scriptures. And we don't claim a clarity of vision and understanding that has been utterly lacking in those generations who came before us.

1 comment:

Kevin Jones said...

As I recall, the passage from St. Paul is about unity ("all are one in Christ") not equality. Offhand I can't recall any passage about equality in Scripture, except how Christ did not think equality with God something to be grasped or seized.