Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chapter 8 - Feminine Faith

I found this chapter quite a skimming, but interesting, overview of the way that feminism has interacted with the church and Christianity, but as Carolyn states, tomes have been written on the subject and there are plenty of other resources to be found. It was informative to see feminism running hand-in-hand with liberalism and the ways in which it was ushered into the church by the denial of the authority of Scripture as the word of God. If complementarianism is unfamiliar to you, you can read more about it in Chapter 1 and forward of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (the alternative being egalitarianism, which Jenny Baddeley has very helpfully explained for us here).

I especially appreciated the section of this chapter on 'Only One Thing Is Needed' showing that what is most important, beyond any of our roles, is worshipping the Lord in all of our lives and listening to his words. It was good to be shown which attitudes and false standards of behaviour towards women Jesus corrected and which ones he held in place, namely not selecting women for leadership, and how the apostles then built on that (you can read more in Chapter 4, Women in the Life and Teaching of Jesus, of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood). I found it a thought-provoking comment on pg 188 showing how incorrectly valuing public speaking ministry, in our “celebrity culture”, above other ministries, is one of the reasons why women want a shot at it. It is so true that there are so many things we can do, and do well as women with the qualities God has given us, to serve the body of Christ (if we get away from being church consumers), that why devote energy to quibbling over the things we are not to do. As is said in Ch 11 of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (section IV. Valuable Ministries of Women is well worth reading):

Actually, Scripture lays only a few restrictions upon women. Indeed, the possibilities for ministry for women are myriad ... No woman could possibly say that if there are some restrictions on women in ministry, then there is nothing valuable for her to do. Surely there is more work to do than can possibly be accomplished by men alone. Billions of people need to hear the gospel (most of them women and children), many people in our culture are without Christ, or they are hurting in innumerable ways. There is so much to do to advance the gospel of Christ that no woman should fear that there is no place for her ministry.
This would be a great time to reread Jenny Baddeley’s posts on responding to feminism and sharing Christ in a feminist world. And as we close it might help us carry what we have read forward if we choose one area of particular challenge to us in being radical women (if we found one!) and focus on making real change there. Something that I come back to time and time again is John Piper’s Challenge to Women, and the opening remarks from him on strong women are developed in this address he gave to the True Woman conference. You can also search around Mary Kassian’s website Girls Gone Wise for more material on any particular area.

I enjoyed the stories of Anstice Abbot and Augusta Dean, exemplifying much of what we have learnt along the way. If you are encouraged by stories of christian women who have gone before, we have previously put together a list of biographies here (and would love to hear of any other encouraging stories you may have). Also, coming up next month here at the book club we will be hearing about the lives of two contemporary women and what it means for them to be serving God where he has placed them.

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