Monday, February 19, 2007

Book: The Feminist Gospel (part 4)

[continued from the previous posts here, here, here and here]

In this installment, I would like to touch on and analyze some of the arguments put forth by the feminists themselves against biblical complementarianism, as stated in Kassian's book The Feminist Gospel.

We have seen previously that passages such as Gal. 3:28 and 1 Tim. 2:11-14 speak against the Feminist position. Other passages that feminists absolutely don't like are 1 Cor. 11:2-16 (on head coverings) and 1 Peter 3:1-7 (especially verses 5-7), which mitilate against their position. Excluding Gal. 3:28, which we have addressed before already, how do the Feminists in general approach these other texts?

Well, it seems that the Feminists just couldn't handle the texts; at least they cannot handle the texts on the basis of the texts themselves. Instead of adhering to the principle of Sola Scriptura, these 'biblical' feminists follow the same method as the secular feminists, defining everything else according to a presupposition of feminism itself. These 'biblical' feminists therefore invented an entirely novel hermenuetical matrix to interpret the Scriptures on gender issues. As stated by Kassian, they

...interpreted all questionable texts to align with their own understanding of sexual equality, which they defined as monolithic, undifferentiated role-interchangeability. (p. 208)

Kassian furthered revealed that the 'biblical' feminists choose Gal. 3:28 as "the crux around which to interpret Scripture" (p. 208), dubbing it "the Magna Carta" of humanity[1].

We have covered the proper interpretation of Gal. 3:28 previously, and we have then showed that Gal. 3:28 is talking about the equal worth and respect of all in Christ; more specifically on the basis of who could become a Christian and our equality as Christians in the sight of Christ. Nothing whatsoever of gender roles is mentioned here. A small point I would like to point out with irony here is the inconsistency of using this one verse which is written by Paul and then to attack Paul as a misogynist when one faces passages like 1 Tim. 2:11-14. If Paul was indeed a misogynist, why do you want to use a verse taken from one of his epistles (Galatians) as your key verse and "Magna Carta" of humanity?! The hypocrisy indeed!

The 'biblical' feminist, in order to substain their feminism, adopt a hermeneutical matrix which is more akin to liberalism than to true Christianity. In order for them to explain away the problematic verses such as 1 Tim. 2:11-14, they make Paul's instructions culturally relative. In other words, they say that these words of Paul are only for that culture, but not applicable now. This is of course then followed up by contextualizing the verses in such a way that Paul's commands are made to sound like some sort of problem shooting in the churches. For example, 1 Tim. 2:11-14 is said to arise because the women were unlearned and thus cannot teach and therefore such a verse arose. Nevermind that the reason given by Paul for such a command is based on the Creation account, and thus not amenable to such 'contextualization'. Another interpretation given by feminists who strive to more biblical is that this command is given as a consequence of the fall (Gen. 3:16), and now as new creatures in Christ, they are free from the effects of the Fall and therefore the verses do not apply to regenerate women. Somehow, the fact that these verses are written to the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ eludes them.

Deeper feminist thinkers have apparently seen the problems in holding such interpretations (cultural contextualization, effect of fall) while trying to hold on to the high view of Scripture as being totally inspired by God. Unlike the more evangelical feminists who maintain their inconsistencies, these deeper thinkers attempt to iron out their inconsistent position by throwing out the doctrine of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration of the Bible. Some would stop at the Neo-Orthodox position held by Karl Barth (some portions or the spirit of the text of Scripture is inspired), while others who see the inconsistency even of this position spiral downwards into greater and greater heresy and finally into apostasy. This can be seen in the lives of Mary Daly, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Virginia Mollekott (p. 227-239), which also demonstrates the slippery slope upon which feminism is on. This also demonstrates the nature of feminism as being totally antithetical to biblical Christianity, which is seen earlier on in the different epistemological foundations upon which both are placed; Christianity is based on Scripture, while feminism, like humanism, is based on (wo)Man. As Kassian says, no person can serve 'two authorities; they cannot serve a master called Scripture and a mistress called feminism. Seeking to do so creates a tension of conflicting loyalties. The infidelity will evantually force her to leave one and cleave to the other' (p. 240). Indeed! History has indeed borne out the fact that feminist leaders have drifted towards apostasy, leaving others to take their place, and the cycle starts all over again.

With this settled, I would like to just disgress a bit and analyze the scientific side of the feminist controversy, before returning and looking at the devastating effect Feminism has in the visible churches.

[to be conitnued]


[1] Paul Jewett (1975), Man as Male and Female: A Study in Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point of View, p. 75 (Grand Ripids, MI: William B. Eerdmans), as cited byMary A. Kassian, The Feminist Gospel.

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