Sunday, May 15, 2011

And they say it ain't so!

Two propositions:

1) Religious feminism is not a core Gospel issue

2) Religious feminism is heretical

Those on the religious feminism side of things often claim what they are promoting is not a core Gospel issue, even though it is vital to be on their side if we are going to reach our culture for Christ.  Because they do not always see it as a core Gospel issue, they don't believe they should be shunned for holding it or that there should be any talk of division.  They, of course, also deny it is heresy.

Complementarians also deny it is heresy.  They also do not believe it is an issue to divide over, at least it is not so divisive they cannot treat feminists as colleagues with whom they may disagree.  And since it does not rise to that level, it is not appropriate to call it heresy or divide over it.  In fact, both sides of the divide are welcomed on seminary campuses.

But then some feminists now disagree with the first proposition. In fact, promoted on CBEs event's calendar is the meeting this fall of the Atlantic Society for "Biblical" Equality, Side by Side: Men and Women for Biblical Equality.  At this conference, the president of CBE will give a plenary session titled, "Why Women's Leadership in the Church is a Primary Issue" and "Equal in Being, Equal in Service: How Christian Faith Challenges the Cultural Devaluation of Women".

So, since religious feminism's leadership is tossing out proposition #1, will Complementarians now have the courage to embrace proposition #2?


Fr. Bill said...

Will self-styled complementarians ever ditch their profession of No. 1 and embrace No. 2?

I predict "no," for the same reasons as the fact that complementarians have created and adopted the term complementarian.

You see, "complementarian" was coined in order to escape the opprobrium attaching to "patriarchalist" or "hierarchicalist" or "traditionalist."

Patriarchaists are first-class, grade-A, super deluxe, extra-large-sized Booooooooogermen, as any feminist will tell you.

Hierarchicalists are hopelessly old-world, snooty, and insufferably weenie. Plus it's almost impossible to say hierarchicalist without hawking unmentionables across the table.

Traditionalists are too, too yesterday, retro, and fuddy-duddy. Not cool. Not even tepid. Your great-grandmother's lavendar scented undies. Blech.

"So, we need a new word to describe ourselves," they thought. "Something that sounds approachable, accessible, cleverly academic but winsome too. The sexes complement one another, right? We're complementarians! Now everyone will think we're cool. They'll know we're really lovable guys, or affirmed guyettes."

If you create an identity for yourself for the express purpose of fleeing the slings and arrows of the world, you are not worthy to be called His disciple. And, no one but His disciples are going to find grace to speak the truth (e.g. to say "Religious feminism is heretical") when all it gains you from the world is derision and persecution.

Kamilla said...

Yes. I've long held that "complementarianism" is a fatally compromised system.

Oddly, I think one of the reasons the religious feminists are increasingly willing to label their teachings as a core gospel issue is that they have largely won the war within Evangelicalism. As they topple more denominations and seminaries and publishing houses and parachurch ministries, they are emboldened to use stronger language in certain respects.

The early years were taken up with arguing for a seat at the table. The middle years with consolidating influence. Now, I think we are seeing a new boldness in a third phase - almost no one who claims the label Evangelical is willing to say they do not deserve a seat at the table or a place teaching at seminaries or that their books should not be published - so the feminists risk little by being honest about the agenda. No one who has been busy playing footsie with them while trying to ineffectually contain them will be in any position to stop them at this point.

Anonymous said...

This one from the upcoming conference stood out (emphasis mine):

Raising Strong and Loving Sons
April 9, 2011
10:00-11:30 am

Colorado Christian University
3553 Clydesdale Pkwy, Suite 300
Loveland, CO 80538

Dr. Sandra Varley, a licensed counselor and a professor at Colorado Christian University, will be speaking on how mothers impact the development of egalitarian men. For more information, visit or email

Hoping and praying that these boys' inner patriarch will awaken one day is spite of how they've been engineered. I mean, er, "developed."