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Vic Christian

October 04, 2013  5:37pm

James - this is indeed the current push by feminists. As the "equal pay" did not give them what they want - they now want pay according to "comparable worth." Look it up in the internet. Thanks

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James Cowles

October 03, 2013  10:05am

@ Vic Christian: "Unfortunately, many on the feminist side want woman to be paid the same as men for different jobs requiring the same amount of education or other variables." Not familiar with anyone, even any feminist, who believes / advocates this. Examples?

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James Cowles

October 03, 2013  10:04am

@ Carole Arms: "Equal in ability ... " I didn't read the statement that way. I interpreted "equal in ability" to mean "equal in the ability to do X, where X is a task / undertaking / profession that is not essentially dependent on gender for its accomplishment". So, of course, women are not "equal in ability" to men, when it comes to fathering children. Nor are men "equal in ability" to women when it comes to carrying a pregnancy. But "equal in ability" to be good engineers, attorneys, electricians, brickmasons ... etc.? Yes. Some women are good at math, others not. Some women are good at music, others not. Etc., etc. A woman who is not competent as a musician should not be paid the same as, say, Yitzhak Perlman. No one is saying otherwise. But a FEMALE Yitzhak Perlman should be paid the same as her male counterpart.

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Vic Christian

October 03, 2013  9:10am

Nick T - sorry for the confusion. Yes - I do want women to be paid the same as men if doing the exact same job. This is currently the law and most people would agree that it is taking place. Good. Unfortunately, many on the feminist side want woman to be paid the same as men for different jobs requiring the same amount of education or other variables.

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Carole Arms

October 03, 2013  8:44am

I don't agree totally with this statement: "Feminism is simply the belief that women are equally as human as men; equal in the eyes of God, equal in image-bearing, equal in ability." Equal in ability... God's word clearly says that "women are the weaker vessel" -1 Peter 3:7 "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." and -1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." That's a pretty clear cut, bold statement about "ability". The definition of ability is: The quality of being able to do something, especially the physical, mental, financial, or legal power to accomplish something. Yes, we are able, but we need to remain humble in acknowledging what we can do and what we cannot do. We are blessed with different abilit

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Nick T

October 02, 2013  1:13am

Vic-when you say "does God set differing roles within the church, and equal pay for the same work or what some government official says is "equal types" of work" are you saying that God does not want women to get paid the same amount as men for the same job? Your statement doesn't make sense to me.

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Vic Christian

October 01, 2013  7:04pm

James - it depends on the in-depth meaning of your 4 points. More than one of them could be unbiblical depending on the scope of your definition. For example - should abortion be illegal, does God set differing roles within the church, and equal pay for the same work or what some government official says is "equal types" of work. This discussion could take much longer than either of us wishes.

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Vic Christian

October 01, 2013  6:57pm

Greg - I am not sure of your conclusion. If you are stating that man had dominance over woman because of the fall, sin, then you may or may not be correct. We are not told. If you then conclude that after the cross they are equal, you are probably correct as there is neither male nor female, Jew or Greek. However, God through His Word still gave them differing roles - ie. husband - wife. In the church, He gave instructions for pastor/elders and teachers of men to be male. That part is very clear.

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Cheeky Monk

October 01, 2013  3:30pm

equal in salvation, yes, but God intended man and woman to have different roles.

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Grady Walton

October 01, 2013  2:56pm

I’m not completely convinced the term “feminism” should be embraced by Christianity. Why? Because it has been hijacked by a political ideology, and all political ideologies easily become narrow in their focus and application. Maybe we need to rebrand the term and reclaim its purest goals for Christ.

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James Cowles

October 01, 2013  8:54am

To say you are a "feminist" means no more or less than that you believe (1) women are not breeding stock & should have a right to do with their own bodies as they wish, with no gratuitous interference from the govmnt (think "mandatory intra-vaginal probes") ... a position "small-govmnt conservatives" should support, one would think; (2) the full spectrum of political & civil rights enjoyed by others; (3) equality of governance of & participation in religious communities; and (4) equal pay for equal work. I fail to see anything even unreasonable, least of all "radical", about (1)-(4).

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DiverCity Jones

September 30, 2013  12:34pm

This is a wonderful article! I just love how it co-opts traditional, historic Christianity and makes it its own. It's a really neat way to create a new religion within the confines of one that is 2000 years old by grafting on concepts that have absolutely no traditional authority! You folks at CT are a really progressive bunch. I especially like how white heterosexual males are maligned, consistent with all cultural Marxist/Frankfurt School theory, by your emphasis in sharing the power-base with womyn, people of color (we all know white isn't a color), and LGBT's (which, one thinks, is too restrictive in its slavish adherence to cis-gendered normativity). Anyway, bravo!

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Thomas Sterbens

September 30, 2013  10:42am

Great article. The following is an ever-simplification, but my "quest" on this matter started about 30 years ago when two issues caught my attention...and they both happened about the same time. First - There is no evidence of anyone ruling over anyone until Genesis 3:16..."the curse." Prior to that God's plan was co-regent rulership of the planet...not over each other. Second - I am Pentecostal (yes I know this is Christianity Today - smile)...and there is something unique about "our" hallmark scripture of distinction - Acts chapter two. This "event" is a massive transformational crisis in terms of how God interfaces with mankind and how He replaces/renews His existing covenant with His people, and humanity in general. Of conspicuous note is how the Holy Spirit lives in, and works through, all people...irrespective of gender, generation and social status.

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Greg Hahn

September 30, 2013  10:08am

Very simple, Vic. The first two chapters of Genesis contain nothing about male dominance of females. Both were given the mandate to fll the earth and subdue it. Any attempted reading of male over female hierarchy at that point is simply reading it into the text. It's not there. It all changes with the fall, and the pronouncement by God- "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." This is clearly a new thing at that point. It wasn't God saying, "Hey, this should have been happening, but someone forgot the rules!" No, male dominance is introduced then- and it is part of the fall. That condition existed worldwide when the New Testament was written, but it wasn't that way from the beginning.

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Vic Christian

September 30, 2013  9:34am

Greg - just wondering how you came to those conclusions as they were written in the Bible after the cross?

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James Cowles

September 30, 2013  8:44am

@ Todd K ... I was just concerned to point out the historical fact that those biblical texts have been used to subjugate women, the authors' intent being whatever it may. The anthropology of saying that women do not fully bear the dignity accorded to men is an example of this tendency in action ... and also an example of the historic fear of the archetype of the Feminine on the part of (exclusively male!) Church leadership. That leadership has historically viewed the power to gestate new life with "fear & trembling", and has reacted by trying to subordinate & control that power via various misogynistic & gynophobic strategies. E.g., there is nothing at all new about the recent drive among conservatives for "intravaginal probes"!

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audrey ruth

September 30, 2013  3:29am

IMHO, "Christian" and "feminism" are oxymoronic terms because, historically, feminism has embraced non-Christian ideas and values, and comments here show that is still true today. ITA with the commenter who said: "Feminism has given us abortion, no-fault divorce, a single mother epidemic, and children being raised in day orphanages, sorry I mean daycare centers. How exactly are we supposed to celebrate feminism...?"

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Greg Hahn

September 29, 2013  9:24pm

I've been in the church for a very long time, but about a year ago I became a new convert- to feminism. I am now 100% convinced that the Bible teaches that the subjugation of women is the result of the fall, and that the Cross won the redemption of all that was cursed- and that includes the genders. The entire revelation of the image of God is "male and female"- and a church with all male leadership is like a family with a single parent. The remarks given here to Laura's excellent article are a strong indication that feminism is needed in the church today, to help point the way to this aspect of Christ's redemption.

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CHRISTY HEMPHILL

September 29, 2013  5:36pm

Amen to the article. Can't wait to read Jesus Feminist, it's been on my Amazon wishlist for a month. I will now resist my urge to feed the trolls. :)

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James Cowles

September 29, 2013  4:13pm

@ Todd K ... "You misunderstand Christianity entirely if you equate ‘submission’ and being a ‘weak vessel’ with being a “2nd-class citizen” ". I would agree IN THEORY & IN PRINCIPLE. But I think it would be hard to argue that the church has always, or ever, put this principle into practice. In actual PRACTICE, being "the weaker vessel", etc., has always translated IN PRACTICE to 2nd-class citizenship for women, whatever the intent of the biblical writers may have been.

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Jean Rabary

September 29, 2013  9:40am

I think there need to be a clear distinction between feminism as "fairness" and feminism as "ideology." The Holy Scripture promotes the former through equality in the design of creation of Genesis and our Lord's redemptive work treating women as equal and calling women to equal discipleship in his service. The latter is more militant and tends to resort to cultural confrontation method that inadvertently creates a feeling of anger & hatred toward men.

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L F

September 29, 2013  2:14am

Laura, Thank you for tackling this topic here in a forum that is, unfortunately, a hostile one. I am often ashamed to be associated with other Christians when I read comments like the ones that are listed here. I thought, surely, there would be more positive comments on this article, and I am just...sick. The comments section here is worse than those filled by teenaged YouTube trolls, and just as mature. I am a Christian. I am a feminist. I have been a feminist for a long time now, because otherwise, there is no place for me in the Church. None at all. Women traveled with Jesus in His ministry (scandal!), supported Him with their own funds, opened their homes and businesses to the use of the church, and ministered to others. I'm certain they were slandered and accused of misconduct, sexual and otherwise, just as Christian feminists are here. (I mean, good grief, Mary Magdalene is still suffering from gossip!) We have a hard road and a lot of work to do. Let's get to it.

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Greg Cox

September 28, 2013  11:14pm

Laura commented on, and agreed with, "A friend of mine pointed out that perhaps feminism is one of the ways that God is most at work in the world today". I believe it is quite the opposite, in that feminism is where Satan is most at work today, and the last 50 years or so. The premise of this article so much makes me recall these words stated by Jesus, "Nevertheless, I have this against you, you tolerate that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching, she misleads my servants"

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Glenda Dunbar

September 28, 2013  10:20pm

Laura, I want you to know my response came out of a background of being abused in my first marriage, it was not of anger. I KNOW what is like to suffer at the hands of another. I was not a follower of Christ at the time and when he left shortly after our daughter turned one, there were many who wanted to help me. There were those who wanted me to look at the system, "this is what men do". But you know what, when you place generic labels over a group merely because of sex, you close the door to those who are doing it the right way. When I came to faith I saw my ex for what he was- a sinner. But dear one, I was a Rahab. In to the midst of that situation, the King of the Universe reached down and changed my life What God is doing right now is not a feminst thing ( rememeber the zealots in Jesus time they thought a movement was what was needed) What He desires to do do is change us into the very likeness of His own Son ,Jesus.

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RAYMOND HOOKER

September 27, 2013  6:38pm

This is a controversial topic. I am supportive of re-examing the roles and some of the biblical justification we have used. Recently I listened to talk about Women's Voices. I was very open to being challenge and encouraged to do what is right as per the presenter's perspective. The presentation was largely about the shame of what had been done, not much lauding the wonder of women's contributions, not much persuasion... The presenter was a very nice and sincere woman. The one thing though is the struggle seem to define her worship and her focus. That did concern me. She is in a lead role and worship at my mom's church being one of the celebrants. Her concern over feminism seems to define her. I certainly don't want to condemn anyone who has been damaged by disrespect from others. I do think though that in ministry somehow we need to go beyond the struggle.. we need to be defined by our love for God and not the pain of our struggle however worthwhile our concern

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carlene byron

September 27, 2013  2:51pm

Funny. I read Proverbs 31 and see a female land speculator, textile manufacturer, and farmer who financially supports her husband's unpaid career in government. But maybe that's just because I studied some history and also believe that God's truth begins a good way before Matthew 1.

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gordon payne

September 27, 2013  2:50pm

Modern relativism, the underlying support for feminism, the ideology of gender equality in church roles, repudiates the time transcendent word of Christ through Paul, most aptly addressing the issue in 1 Cor 14: 26-40. Most advocates conveniently forget 14:37 wherein it is made clear that the command is not from Paul but from God! Of course this is only relevant to those who haven't been swooned away by higher criticism or its Neo-orthodox progeny! There is no 'error' associated with this passage of Scriptures, hence, no excuse! Floreat 1 Cor 14:39! May God bless us all with His understanding!

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Nicole Tobias V506

September 27, 2013  1:08pm

Frank, I thought that this article was talking about feminism in the church, not marriage. Also, are you talking about the feminism that says, "Men are awful, women should be in charge" or the feminism that says "men and women are equal"? While men and women might have separate roles in the church, they are definitely equal in the eyes of God. This is seen in how Jesus treated women

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Sunshine Mary

September 27, 2013  12:44pm

Feminism has given us abortion, no-fault divorce, a single mother epidemic, and children being raised in day orphanages, sorry I mean daycare centers. How exactly are we supposed to celebrate feminism for increasing human flourishing as this article says we must?

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Frank Swift

September 27, 2013  12:07pm

Saying you're a Christian feminist is pretty much like saying you're a Christian atheist. If you don't like the order of marriage as defined by Scripture then don't call yourself a Christian. It really is that simple.

Jane Jimenez

September 27, 2013  12:03pm

Laura, your heart is working to define feminism for the good. As your personal definition, great. But it is quite detached from the cultural feminism that infuses politics...thus guiding the real role of women in society. No better example of this is the feminist's absolute insistence on abortion on demand for any age of the baby for any reason. Academicians, liberals and media forces are in bed with the feminists on this one, limiting ALL consideration of the harm abortion does to women. Women who bear witness to the damage abortion does - physically, emotionally, relationally and economically - are ridiculed, silenced or ignored. When you consider the defining ability of women to work with the Creator to make new life, this marriage of feminists (those who carry our public banner) with abortion is an absolute travesty and assault on their own sisters. Until real change is effected in this issue, you are stuck with feminists as they are, not as you would want them to be.

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Sunshine Mary

September 27, 2013  11:50am

This article is so wrong that I can't even refute it in fewer than 1000 characters. I have written a rebuttal on my own blog: http://sunshinemaryandthedragon.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/the-churc h-does-not-need-feminism-but-it-very-much-wants-it/ I would be interested in your response to the objections I raise, Ms. Turner. I would be happy to discuss them here, if you would prefer.

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K. Smith

September 27, 2013  12:57am

Hi Laura. Very interesting article, great points. After reading the comments, I could go on about the differences in interpretation regarding the role of women, namely lifting verses off the page vs looking at the situations Paul was addressing and pulling the meaning of those verses from the context in which they were written. But then, I was struck by your last sentence in which you said that Jesus is most alive when the shackles of oppression are loosed. So true, and I'd like to add that Jesus is also most alive when his followers fully worship him instead of worshiping their opinions and their need to be right.

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Nicole Tobias V506

September 26, 2013  11:04pm

Todd K- I know that this is many, many comments ago, but I just read your response to my question. I do not really know what you mean by "your church". I never said that I agree with what this article is saying, although I can understand how my questions might come across that way. The reason I was asking the question "What is a woman's role in the church" is that the Bible clearly outlines male roles in the church (men are to be the spiritual leaders). As a woman interested in ministry, I am genuinely curious what my place should be in the church, if it is not to lead. I understand that it has a lot to do with ecclesiology, but at the same time, if there is a Biblical outline on a man's role in the church, then there has to be something for women as well, and I'm trying to find out what that is, because I am trying to find my own place in the church and in ministry. I would like to know what the ORIGINAl role was for women in the church, and what the original church meant in general.

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 26, 2013  9:25pm

You know, this is really too much. Really. Why would you assume a nepharious motive from an innocent question? I had the privilege of meeting Sarah earlier this year and simply wondered if there is a connection. Do all religious feminists assume mean and hidden agendas in defenders of Christian orthodoxy? I know that when I was a religious feminist, I did my best to not make those sorts of assumptions. It's just such a cheap and easy way to deflect from the real issue. I asked hard questions and expected honest, direct answers. I still do.

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Francis Geis

September 26, 2013  9:17pm

Kamilla, here is my response to you. At your suggestion I have edited my previous comment to list a second, more current book for support. However, just as I would recommend C.S. Lewis's MERE CHRISTIANITY as "classic" presentation of Essential Christianity even though it is somewhat "dated," so I would still recommend Rebecca Groothuis's THE FEMINIST BOGEYWOMAN as a "classic" and pertinent presentation of true Evangelical Feminism or Non-Hierarchical Complementarianism, which is less "dated" than Lewis. And her statement as to the "Biblical basis" for this position is as biblically, theologically, and rationally sound now as it was in 1995. But you know this, don't you. And why bring up Sarah Geis? We are not related, though we have Doug and Rebecca Groothuis as mutual friends. However, she is a protégé of Dr. Groothuis and an associate professor of philosophy of religion at the seminary. Are you trying to discredit me by "guilt by association"? Play fair, Kamilla.

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Barbara Brooks

September 26, 2013  8:26pm

We don't need "feminism", but instead humane treatment for all people. Feminism comes with all sorts of baggage--objecting to women having different roles from men, to husbands being the head of the home and to women staying at home to raise children or care for sick relatives. Feminism doesn't accept the biblical order of men teaching and leading in the church. We need legislation for human rights that include all people, but in the church, the bar is higher--people are to love their neighbor as themselves and sacrifice for others. Feminism allows women to make their own way in a sea of hostile men, but Christ calls the men to lead as women devote themselves to caring for their families and the poor.

DONNA SIPE

September 26, 2013  8:01pm

Continuing: Regardless of how our differing interpretations, I do not believe that there is any Biblical support for oppression, discrimination, or condemnation by one human against another. Sadly, though, many people experience all of that from people who profess Christ, many using Scripture as their weapon while calling it justification. Women have been told that their Selves are not valued because they are women -- that their skills and gifts are not appreciated because the person with those skills and gifts is female. Many denominations in this country actively supported human slavery, and, after slavery was abolished, many of those same denominations actively supported racial discrimination and violence to maintain it. Single person are told that they are not valued because they are not married. Persons who have committed certain sins are singled out for more attention, when we are all sinners, and all sin is equally anathema to God. I don't see Christ in those behaviors.

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DONNA SIPE

September 26, 2013  7:47pm

I want to say that I liked this article, and I agree with it. The Body of Christ -- whatever name is on the door -- is called to a higher standards than the rest of humanity. We are actively called to minister, love, and accept everyone equally because we are all one in Christ. Gal. 3:28 & I Cor. 12 We are called to act with love to the lost, needy, wounded, lonely and oppressed but to do so with Christ's attitude of humility. Phil. 2. To me, this means that every person is worthy of respect without condemnation and worthy of welcome without judgment. I happen to believe that the traditional and conservative interpretation of Paul's directions regarding women are founded more on culture and misunderstanding of the terms used. What if, for example, that Paul was referencing specific situations and never intended his letters to be used uniformly and universally?

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 26, 2013  6:25pm

Laura, It's not about one book, or changing your mind or whether or not I'm "happy". I'm not sure why you think it's legitimate to sidestep your responsibility to communicate clearly by attributing (in my case) the criticism/questions to emotional causes (especially since I am far from alone in that criticism!). In some circles that's known as the ad hominem fallacy. And with that, I think we're done. We probably were a bit ago, but I don't give up easily.

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Laura Turner

September 26, 2013  6:18pm

Kamilla, I'm not sure what to say to you that would satisfy you. I am certainly open to criticism and thoughts from readers, but I will sift through the criticism as best I can, knowing God and knowing my own heart, to figure out which criticism to give weight to and which to disregard. I hope you can understand that. Being open to criticism isn't the same thing as agreeing to read a book you want to send me, or changing my mind. It seems you won't be happy until that is the case. And it's simply not going to happen. Again, I hope you can understand why that is. If not, I can't be of any help. Take care.

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 26, 2013  5:02pm

I've really wanted to stay out of any further engagement here since Todd and Steve are saying it all so well, but then you wrote this Laura, "I am open to any and all criticism or thoughts that go along with it" Which is patently not true. Not only have you refused to engage honestly with critics here, attributing motives to them which they don't have (and yes, i know Sarah well enough to know that but you admittedly do not) but you forthrightly told me in our exchange on Twitter that you weren't interested in anything that denigrates feminism. It really is too much.

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Laura Turner

September 26, 2013  4:19pm

Hmm, Steve. You may not have clicked onto the second page, in which case you would see that the sentence about including and uplifting marginalized folks was not my last statement, as you say, but only halfway through the article. The cutting-off point is based on length, not an emphasis on any concept I don't agree with the sentiment that my point about marginalized groups (including, but not limited to, the LGBT population) must have been either careless or a capstone, nor was it a "theological grenade." As I said earlier, I cannot control or change your perceptions of what I wrote, but I can tell you what I was thinking as I wrote it. And with that, I don't know that anything else I add will be satisfactory. So I'll leave it at that and wish you well.

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STEVE Miller

September 26, 2013  3:36pm

(CONTINUED) This wasn't a casual reference you made. As a writer, you would be aware that your last statement speaks the loudest. This is a critical question in the church today and you, representing CTI and Hermaneutics to some degree, have said, "Here is something that is a failure in the church and needs discussion. Women, people of color, and LBGT should be INCORPORATED into the church." Your definition of incorporation was already established in the first half of the article and therefore we have the right to ask you for clarification on this forum. OR your editors should have suggested that this wasn't the time/place to introduce that concern. So this really isn't a myopic point. I'm sorry, but in the context of this article it was either a capstone or careless. I'm not trying to be meanly critical, but I'm saying as a pastor and teacher, if you put these ideas together in this fashion, you should not be surprised at the intensity of reaction or concern. I'm done now.

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James Cowles

September 26, 2013  3:29pm

In the long historical view, Christianity -- in fact, ALL the "great" monotheisms -- have ALWAYS been threatened, often even on a subliminal & unconscious level, by, not only individual women, but in a deeper sense by the "archetype" of The Feminine. I don't know about Islam and Judaism, but in Christianity, the response has been a 2-fold paradox. Women have either been (1) degraded to the level of 2nd-class citizens, usually via the Pauline idea of "submission" or "weaker vessel", or (2) exalted and put on a VERY tall pedestal, via the "archetype" of the Virgin Mary, so that they inhabit an ethereal realm inaccessible to real humans, male or female. The idea seems to be that woman-as-LESS-than-fully-human and woman-as-MORE-than-fully-human are non-threatening. What Christianity and the Church have always had trouble dealing with is woman-as-JUST-EQUALLY-human. So women have either been "kicked downstairs" or "kicked upstairs", in preference for just a LEVEL playing field.

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STEVE Miller

September 26, 2013  3:25pm

Laura, everyone understood the key point of your article. You believe that women have been oppressed in their roles in the church. Fine. In writing this article you chose a label that socially misconstrues the debate though. True social Feminism at its heart isn't simply about equality; it's a rebellion and freedom from any conventional mooring related to gender roles. Your article advocates a breaking of traditional without respecting the history of the church that is rooted in biblical teaching. if you want to argue against those teachings, that's fine, your readers will analyze them in light of the scripture to decide if what you say it true. At the same time, you did refuse to answer a sincere question by Sarah that was shouldn't be considered "entrapment" when you chose to include the LBGT group as people who should be incorporated into the church. In light of the article, they're simply asking "at what level?"

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Laura Turner

September 26, 2013  2:52pm

Steve, I hear what you're saying--I really do--and can't imagine how I have run from the discussion I've started. I have engaged time and again in the comments with different people about the substance of the article, and I am open to any and all criticism or thoughts that go along with it. I simply don't see how suggesting we uplift and include LGBT folks in the church means I somehow need to give a full accounting of all my thoughts on this issue to anyone. While we certainly have room for debate here, as you mentioned to Kathi, this debate is so myopic in focus as to take any focus away from what this article was about. I bless you all as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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STEVE Miller

September 26, 2013  2:33pm

(continued...) Kathi, you ask why people the debate. This is the nature of the forum. Laura has shared her ideas & her ideas must be able to stand the scrutiny of debate... otherwise CTI should remove the Comment section. Laura, your unwilingness/inability to recognize how you've tied ideas together demonstrates that either you aren't able to defend your ideas OR that your not going to take the risk. To not answer Sara or Kamilla's simple question's is disappointing because those questions (not asked in meanness) give your reader a context to understand what your saying. Lobbing theological grenades over the fence of the internet in neither helpful nor enjoyable to read. Running from the discussion that you started is even less meaningful for readers. If CTI (Her.maneutics) and their writers want to engage the church in healthy discussion, they should stand by articles and answer people's meaningful questions or remove the Comment section and keep throwing grenades.

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STEVE Miller

September 26, 2013  2:15pm

OK... This will be my last comment unless I'm asked. Laura, I'm sure that you're a nice person and you have strong and sincere beliefs about how women should be used in the church and what caring for people should look like. But I'm afraid, for this forum, you're in over your head. To post an article on an internet forum that invites comments is to place yourself in a venue that involves the discussion of your words and ideas. Words mean something and there are some key issues to your article that deserve clarification for your readers. The article wasn't about welcoming people into the fellowship of believers, the premise of your entire article involves the incorporation of women who are marginalized and oppressed in active service and leadership roles. By including the LBGT, along with women and people of color, you have invited the reader to believe that your theological position is that LGBT is not a lifestyle but an inborn trait that is on the same level as gender and race.

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Laura Turner

September 26, 2013  1:29pm

Kamilla and Sarah, I get the feeling that unless I agree with you or respond directly to your questions, which are meant to entrap and not to learn, you will never see me as "teachable." Your perceptions of me are not something I can control, but I can control my response, and I think it wisest not to enter into a conversation with you about LBGT issues. Laura

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Kathi Vande Guchte

September 26, 2013  1:06pm

What is the point of all your debating? What are you trying to accomplish? Do you even know what your objectives are? Is there even one objective that you all can agree on? If it is sharing the gospel with the lost then work on that, because the rest is making you run in circles like little dogs chasing their own tails. It is unproductive, a waste of time, and people continue to be lost. What do our brothers/sisters around the world do? They pray for us - their brothers/sisters here in the United States who are fighting over which side is more "Christian" on the various dividing debates. We are going to spend eternity together, people. We are going to have to stand before Christ Jesus and give an account for every word we've written and spoken to others. "Out of the heart the mouth speaks (and hands type)." What are our hearts saying?

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 26, 2013  12:02pm

Laura, Your response here to Sarah & Todd epitomizes the problem with Her.meneutics. You apparently don't even understand what you write yourself, let alone taking the time to understand anything outside your orbit. You brought in the LGBT side issue, (which is not *directly* related to feminism, but thank you for proving the critics right when they say the two issues are inextricably linked) then express confusion when you are called on it. And when that didn't work, you get your knickers in a twist and refuse to clarify because this is blah blah blah Internet. Well, sister, you chose the forum. You wrote the piece. Own it and don't act like a three year old because some folks just don't understand how wise you really are. I'm sorry Todd seems to have edited out that part of his comment but your response is just icing on the cake. There really is little doubt that you do not understand what he was saying there. Nor are you in the least teachable on the matter.

Sarah Flashing

September 26, 2013  11:57am

Laura, your inclusion of the LGTB people as "sidelined" was integral to the point you were making and if you choose not to clarify I suppose that's your privilege. I suspect, however, you aren't personal friends with many of the commenters here and you're willing to interact with them. I have been respectful to you and I don't appreciate your flippant "sorry to disappoint" remark.

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Laura Turner

September 26, 2013  11:32am

Sarah, I have no intention of clarifying what you're asking. Not in the comments section of an article about something entirely different, on the Internet, to someone I do not know. Sorry to disappoint. Todd, I am not sure where you get the idea that "the author of this article regards the collective wisdom of such a great cloud of witnesses as being inferior to the present spirit of modernity." Can you help me understand that? It is absolutely not the case, but if I communicated that, I want to know where I did and how I can avoid doing that in the future. Thanks.

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Forrest Horn

September 26, 2013  11:28am

it is a peculiar thing that a lot of Christians fear the "roots" of a movement without discerning the good within the movement. If we applied this to other areas we would completely discount whole subjects like chemistry within education... started as alchemy. Or, astronomy for that matter. The point is we tend to fear those things we don't understand and thus respond like Zechariah to the angel Gabriel rather than with the humility and openness of Mary.

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Sarah Flashing

September 26, 2013  10:59am

Karen thank you for your comments but I've been through these debates numerous times. What I am trying to to discern is where Laura's commitment rests on the issue since she opened the door to it in her post.

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Karen Smith

September 26, 2013  10:19am

Continued from below: (I have a different viewpoint from Laura to begin with - not surprising, since I'm both a Congregationalist and a transgender bisexual* married to another woman - but I've seen quite a few variations of "acceptance" for LGBT people, including "get out my church" (from a pastor), "come on in, as long as you stay single", "you two can come on in, just don't hold hands", "you two can come on in, but I won't marry you", "I now pronounce you wife and wife", "The new pastor left his boyfriend 5 years ago to join the ministry", "The new pastor's boyfriend is cute", "The pastor and his husband's anniversary is this week". --- * What's the difference between a bisexual that has sexual relations with only a single person and a heterosexual or homosexual (depending on the genders involved)?

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Karen Smith

September 26, 2013  10:17am

@Sarah - I ran out of room in my last post, but if could (once again) put words into Laura's mouth I'd argue that there is no effective difference between an out (but following the restrictions of the denomination*) LGBT person being a pastor and a divorcee, thief, or other sinner; unfortunately, some churches and denominations attach a negative view to "being" LGBT rather than to the sins that LGBT people engage in. I've had friends that were all but chased out of churches with burning pitchforks after mentioning their ex (or their current partner, or that their gender identity is different than their physical sex). *Not all Christian denominations require celibacy for LGBT leadership. Episcopalians and German Lutherans are two examples.

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Hannah Thomas

September 26, 2013  9:07am

I find it very strange that people are still referring to a 50 year old book (feminine mystique) when even the radicals the church speaks of constantly have moved on. They claim women are demanding their rights, and yet what the heck to they think they are doing each and every time they shriek out the word 'feminist'? They claim they don't want the church to be to 'worldly', and yet they act like politicians (from every side) making accusations, name calling, creating mischaracterizations constantly. I don't call that 'feminizing' the church, but creating an 'us against them' atmosphere that I would love from them to back up with scripture. That behavior isn't in there. I find this behavior to be very immature and unChristlike. It certainly does NOT represent the behavior that Christ calls all of us to show.

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Kathi Vande Guchte

September 26, 2013  8:08am

I understand that this is one of the hot topics in the church, but I think it is time believers stop pushing these buttons (and each other's buttons) and focus on what we are being distracted from: sharing the gospel. I know I'm not the only one who is...disturbed by the state of America. Our brothers/sisters in other areas of the world (and are persecuted for their faith) are also disturbed and concerned FOR US! It is time for us to set aside the debates, arguments and discussions about roles of women, homosexuality, and even abortion and just focus on sharing the Gospel. We also need to trust that those we are sharing with may be in these sins, along with a lot of other sins, will be addressed by the Holy Spirit. It is God's job to convict people's hearts - including those of us posting here. We are focusing on the wrong things. We are wasting our time and our breath and people are walking away not hearing the gospel. This is a ploy by the devil to keep people lost.

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Ronda Stewart-Wilcox

September 26, 2013  5:37am

Kamilla - Ecclesiology does not seem to answer Nicole's question. Ecclesiology is as much culturally defined as it is scripturally. We often find it difficult to separate our culturally influenced choices from what is more essentially of Christ. So we end up with the proverbial church disagreement where the color of the carpet is a faith issue. And we find so many different ecclesiologies - even within the same church. Tradition is not the final word, either. Traditions most commonly develop from a circumstantial need and over the generations the original need is forgotten so that the tradition becomes an idol rather than the means for relating to Christ and each other.

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 26, 2013  2:00am

Nicole, A lot of it depends on your ecclesiology (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant senior pastor model, plurality of elders, etc). But what is certain is that the Church has always agreed that women cannot hold the presiding office. Other than that, as I say, a lot of it depends on ecclesiology. Oddly, for all the flak the Catholic Church gets, Hildegard was asked by the Pope to go on a preaching tour around Germany.

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Nicole Tobias V506

September 26, 2013  1:50am

Kamilla, you're right, I didn't think about women like Hildegard of Bingen--she is an excellent example of a woman playing an important role in the church. The purpose of my precious post was to ask the question what IS the role of women in the church, if not to be leaders? I ask this question because many people will say that God intended for women to have important roles in the church, but then they cannot lay out what those roles might be.

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 26, 2013  1:39am

Nicole, Have you got any sources for those claims? I think widely respected historian, Regine Pernoud would beg to differ with you. I'm quite sure women like Hildegard of Bingen (a Doctor of the Church) would laugh such claims, as the saying goes, to scorn. Francis, Are you any relation to Sarah G? I suspect you must be because of your mention of Mrs. Groothuis. The trouble with mentioning an older work (Bogeywoman is almost 20 years old) is that we've now got an additional two decades showing us religious feminism really is headed down the slope so many feared. Evidence for that abounds, not least of which is Doug Groothuis' endorsement (albeit in the form of a Facebook "like", but still) of a woman's community center (erroneously promoted by his school as a Christian ministry) openly promoting pagan/New Age practices. I won't even mention the CBE blogger who denies the Trinity or the "godde" worshipper who removed herself as a listed blogger at her own initiative, not theirs.

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Francis Geis

September 26, 2013  12:50am

A very interesting article, with some very interesting comments. I have a few to offer myself. Comment 1: If "feminism" simply meant what it does in most college dictionaries, "The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, or the organized activity on behalf of women's rights and issues," it would not be such a divisive term among Christians today. In the 19th century and the early 20th century, that is what Christian or Evangelical feminism was all about. But in the 1960's, during the sexual revolution, certain radical feminists redefined the term so that it had anti-feminine and homosexual/lesbian connotations it did not have before. Moreover, conservative social and religious antifeminists redefined the term so as to discredit the Christian feminists position. This is documented by Alvin Schmidt in How Christianity Changed the World and by Janette Hassey in Discovering Biblical Equality (2005), pp. 39-57.

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Nicole Tobias V506

September 26, 2013  12:48am

Todd K, I ask you the same question I asked Vic Christian earlier in these comments. What do you believe is a woman's role in the church? As far as I am aware, the verses that address female roles in the church only suggest that women should stay quiet during the church service and not be leaders over men. This would lead many people to conclude that women have no part in studying the Bible at all, as many of our religious ancestors thought, because women were not taught to read. Women were also restricted from going to school because that was thought to be a man's place (and the church had a large influence on this), yet now, more than half of our school teachers are female. What are women supposed to conclude about our roles in the church, since it is fairly recently, in the last maybe two or three hundred years of church, that women have even had the chance to read the Bible?

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Sarah Flashing

September 25, 2013  9:48pm

Laura, what on earth do you mean by "uplift and incorporate people who have been sidelined in Christianity?" Of course there is room in our churches for LGBT people and Jesus has called us to love everyone. Whether we are liars, cheaters, or adulterers, we are called to repentance and view our sin as such. But "incorporating" suggests something more central to the life of the body of Christ and viewing homosexuality in a manner counter to scripture. I really hope you can provide clarification.

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Laura Turner

September 25, 2013  9:26pm

Karen, thanks for your helpful clarification. I appreciate it, and you were very articulate in saying it all! Sarah, I did not mean to edit that out at all. I can't imagine anyone believing that LGBT folks have not been marginalized in the church, which is exactly the opposite of what Jesus came to do.

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Jim Ricker

September 25, 2013  9:04pm

"Feminist Complementarian" is a rather redundant term. Complementarians already know, believe and practice ontological equality, it is only roles that are debated.

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Sarah Flashing

September 25, 2013  7:10pm

Laura, in regard to your comment to Steve, he saw what the rest of us saw--your inclusion of the LGBT in your context of the marginalized. "...we should welcome efforts to uplift and incorporate people who have been sidelined in Christianity, including women, including people of color, including LGBT folks." Did you mean to edit that out of your article??

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Karen Smith

September 25, 2013  7:01pm

Laura, I think Steve mentioned it because you mention it in the article - "Jesus' care for the oppressed, the marginalized, cannot be ignored in the New Testament. As men continue to hold the reins of power in the church—2,000 years after the weak were made strong and the low made high in Jesus—we should welcome efforts to uplift and incorporate people who have been sidelined in Christianity, including women, including people of color, including LGBT folks". The difference is that you don't say they should be teachers; you simply state that they should be uplifted and incorporated. Steve appears to be assuming you mean accepting, when I would instead interpret "uplifted and incorporated" as simply the idea that just *being* LGBT shouldn't bar you from a role within the church (as long as you obey the dictates of the church, which in many cases means celibacy) - an idea that I think is consistent with most or all denominations' stances on LGBT issues. (Hate the sin, not the sinner)

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Laura Turner

September 25, 2013  6:36pm

Steve, I'm not sure why you're bringing LGBT issues into this discussion. That wasn't part of what I talked about and is a separate issue from feminism. They both need a lot of careful attention and prayer, to be sure, but conflating them is not helpful to anyone. Glenda, I think that labels can actually be quite useful! A label isn't definitive, but helps to describe a position in shorthand. I am totally okay with that, especially because "Christian" is a label that most of us employ. A friend of mine pointed out that perhaps feminism is one of the ways that God is most at work in the world today, and that we need to make sure we are not in God's way as he restores women across the world. I think that's a pretty good way to talk about this, although I know a lot of you will disagree. And that's just fine by me.

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RICHARD WIRE

September 25, 2013  6:35pm

Obviously referring to the "F-Word" in the article's title was intended to attract attention. However, I suspect that most Christians would have thought that "The Christian F-Word" stood for "Fundamentalist" (or the pejorative "Fundy"). The article itself is thought-provoking, though I don't agree with all its conclusions. I hope the author would agree that our primary allegiance should not be to any "ism" or cause (however laudatory or underrated) but to God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--as revealed in the Scriptures and experienced throughout history.

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Glenda Dunbar

September 25, 2013  5:45pm

Why do you ever have to have a label? I am a woman, created in the image of God. HE is where I am made equal. HE lifts my feet out of the miry clay. It is only when I know who I am in HIM that I am free. A label is only used so that others decide when to accept others or exclude them.

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Nicole Tobias V506

September 25, 2013  3:59pm

Vic Christian, Thank you for answering my question. A lot of people throughout history have used the passages in 1 Corinthians and 2 Timothy to keep women from being teachers even outside of the church (they have used the logic that women shouldn't be teachers or professors because that would include exercising authority over men), which seems a little ridiculous now, because most school teachers now are women. I'm just hoping that these passages only apply to women's roles in the church and not outside of the church.

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Vic Christian

September 25, 2013  3:54pm

Nicole - The Lord says in His Word that women have a very real role in church - just not as elders or teachers of men. Read the entire New Testament - and look at the specific commands of God through the Apostle Paul to the church. If you would like - contact me at vicndonna@bluemarble.net. Thanks

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Katheryn Magill

September 25, 2013  3:54pm

I agree with Suzannah's opinion that the term "feminist" can't be defined this inclusively, but my disagreement comes from a complementarian perspective. I think the term has certain connotations in our culture that one cannot overcome simply by choosing to define the word in a different way. I'm not really sure what I would accomplish by labeling myself a complementarian feminist. It might initially make me seem a little more edgy and clever, but if I went on to explain that all I meant by "feminist" was that women are equal in the eyes of God, what would I be saying about the rest of complementarianism? That it does NOT affirm this equality? No thanks.

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Nicole Tobias V506

September 25, 2013  3:46pm

Vic Christian- What, do you believe, is the role of women in the church? Are you saying that women have no place in the church because there were no female apostles? And what about the female leaders, such as Deborah, that Crab Grass mentioned? Do you believe that they should not have been leaders, since they were women?

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 25, 2013  3:02pm

My own answer to Turner's tired repetition of the "definition of feminism": http://kamillaludwig.com/2013/05/what-is-feminism-a-continuin g-project/

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Kamilla Ludwig

September 25, 2013  2:56pm

Mrs. Turner surely needs to open her eyes and ears to a wider experience of "the Christian conversation" if she believes "the f-word" ever left it. I have several shelves full of books at Aron's reach from my reading chair that testify to the fact that it did not. And those are just the books I've purchased.

STEVE Miller

September 25, 2013  2:55pm

if you would like to have an thoughtful, biblical discussion about the two major positions regarding the use -- not the importance, but the USE -- of women in the church, I would welcome this. Your backhanded ridicule of anyone who holds a historic position regarding the roles of men and women in the church as outdated is disappointing, if not tragic. When does any doctrine or legitimate exposition of the Bible become outdated? But to take it further by tying the possible role of women to the general acceptance of LGBT within the service of the church doesn't even fall into the pail of biblical evangelicalism. Good people may differ with one another about the roles of women, but when it comes to embracing the LGBT movement -- that has NO biblical support, you really have crossed the biblical line and your position on this point is unscriptural.

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Tim Fall

September 25, 2013  2:42pm

Laura, you nailed it with these words: "Jesus' care for the oppressed, the marginalized, cannot be ignored in the New Testament. ... In fact, Jesus consistently elevated the position of women in the Greco-Roman world." The way Jesus treated women can't be taken as anything but revolutionary in the context of the time and place he lived in. In fact, you might even call it rebellious. The women, though, probably called it blessed. Cheers, Tim P.S. Here's my take (from yesterday's blog post) on how Jesus' treatment of women should encourage all of us to be encouragers: http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/jesus-never-hit-a-woman/

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Laura Turner

September 25, 2013  2:38pm

Thanks to all of you for your insight around this topic. Suzannah, I certainly understand the point you make around complementarians and feminism. If we define feminism as seeing men and women as equal image-bearers, then I see no reason why complementarians can't be feminists as well--and frankly, if someone like Elijah self-identifies as a feminist, I'm not going to stop him. Do they choose to implement feminist goals differently than I would as an egalitarian? Absolutely, and I think we need to have conversations about that and make changes to that. But I think you and I just probably disagree, and that's okay! Speaking of disagreement, Vic, I don't know that you and I will ever see face-to-face on this issue. I believe that God gives people gifts to use and places no restrictions with regard to gender on who can use those gifts. I believe that is what the Bible says (eg Gal. 3:28), so to call my article "unscriptural" is quite wrong. Again, thanks for these comments, gang.

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Vic Christian

September 25, 2013  12:32pm

Crab Grass - there were no female apostles nor does the Bible approve of female elders or teachers over men. You might not like the facts, but that is what the Bible says.

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Crab Grass

September 25, 2013  12:21pm

@ Vic Christian. There were female leaders and teachers in the Bible, with God's approval, such as Deborah in the Old Testament and Junia the female apostle. Some Christian women want to get married and have a baby, but they never meet Mr Right, so they remain single, and/or they are infertile. God does not restrict women's roles - but many churches do. And it's not right, and it's not biblical.

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Vic Christian

September 25, 2013  12:16pm

Ms Turner - obviously you have strong feelings regarding this subject. You are correct in that Jesus made male and female Christians equal. However, he did not make their roles the same. He has assigned both differing roles in the church. You and the majority of women disagreeing with God does not change the facts. Secondly, He in no way gave practicing sinners (LGBT) who refuse to repent roles in the church. Your article may please many people. Unfortunately, its unscriptural basis informs the discerning reader where you are coming from - and to ignore anything that may be of value.

Suzannah Paul

September 25, 2013  11:34am

laura, i love that you're spotlighting sarah's book and drawing attention to inequalities in our churches and abuses in the world that feminism has much to speak to, and i'm particularly thankful that you highlighted the work we still need to do within our movement in order to better represent ALL women and not just white or upper/middle class women. this is all the beat of my heart as a christian and a feminist. however, i take issue with post you linked from elijah. complementarians--who advocate gender hierarchy and prescriptive gender roles which cannot functionally exist within equality--are not feminists. i'm all for dismantling stereotypes, but feminism is not so inclusive that anyone gets to claim or co-opt it. complementarians can do great things on behalf of women. they are my brothers and sisters in Christ, but not in feminism.

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Hannah N.

September 25, 2013  10:28am

I love this, Laura. I am so with you, and I definitely have found encounters with Christian feminism deepened and enriched my faith. I know "feminism" is a problematic term, mainly for the reason that people mean so many different things by it, but, like you, I am still willing and eager to embrace it when it means, as you say, a belief we are all equal in the eyes of God.

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Amanda Smith

September 25, 2013  10:28am

It's been amazing to me, as a female Lead Pastor, to see how many people have said "I don't like the idea of a female lead pastor but when I see how you do it, I have no problem." It's helped me see that people's fears aren't as scriptural as they'd like to think but often a fear that "woman leader" means aggressive, bitter or ambitious person (attitudes which, of course, aren't fitting for any church leader, male or female). Funny thing is: the challenges women have to face to become leaders often make it hard not to be aggressive, bitter or ambitious!

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Karen Smith

September 25, 2013  10:05am

Fantastic article. I think the problem is, as you mentioned, the idea that feminist means bra-burning. It doesn't; there are a number of different types of feminist, including at least two different types of "radical feminist" (those that want to break down the existing patriarchal order in order to replace it with a gender-neutral variation), and those that want to break down the existing patriarchal order and replace it with a matriarchal one; I call them "ConFem"), as well as the less strident ones that want... equality. Equality of access (that is, giving the same opportunities to everyone), equality of practice (that is, treating everyone with the same courtesy and respect), equality of society (not shunting women off to handle specific items). Equality is all I seek; it doesn't require breaking down the society we have, it simply requires opening things up a little bit. In Christ, we are *all* equal - beggar and businessperson, male and female, regardless of race.

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Abbey Gale

September 25, 2013  9:09am

This is the single greatest article that CT has published in years. Too bad it may never make it to print. Every time the church whines about how millennial, etc. are leaving because they don't think the church is relevant, I want to scream. The church makes itself irrelevant by using outdated, exclusionary theology that caters to less than half its membership. ~ @abbeyagale

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