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CBE selling book that reshapes man in image of postmodern, feminist ethos

November 14, 2005

While evangelicals may not be surprised by yet another book from the radical theological left that “reimagines” man, they may be surprised to learn that the book is being sold by the evangelical egalitarian group Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE).

Eleazar S. Fernandez is clearly not satisfied with Scripture’s take on man with its story of Adam, the Fall, and a cosmos enslaved by the curse of sin.

So Fernandez, associate professor of constructive theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, puts his professional title on full display—with the emphasis on ‘constructive’— in a recent book entitled Reimagining the Human: Theological Anthropology in Response to Systematic Evil, radically redefining both God and man.

Evangelicals will no doubt find Fernandez’s “reimagining” of man not only creative, but also worlds beyond the pale of orthodox biblical anthropology. Evangelicals will not be surprised by another attempt from the radical theological left to reconfigure both God and man according to postmodern sensibilities, a pursuit that dates to the first man and Eden.

However, what might surprise evangelicals who support the egalitarian organization Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE)—a group that explicitly targets evangelicals with its ministry—is that the book is available for purchase at CBE’s “Equality Depot” online bookstore.

How does Fernandez “revolutionize” anthropology? Consider just a few of Fernandez’s theological constructions in which he argues that:

  • Sin is not a violation of God’s law, but is the mistreatment of God’s creation—men, plants, and animals, with sympathies lying more tenderly with the latter two.

  • There is no model—biblical or otherwise—that demonstrates what it means to be truly humn.

  • Christian theology and the Bible have supported sexism, which, according to his paradigm, includes heterosexuality as well as racism and classism.

  • Maleness, as seen in human terms or in Christ, is mere idolatry of genitalia. Women are imprisoned in their homes, and God’s “omni-traits” are simply the projection of maleness onto God’s essence.

  • Divine moral codes become oppressive upon a given society. God as a sovereign king is nothing but a slavemaster.

  • The Western economic structure is a capitalist patriarchy in which men control money and enslave women.

While the work does not deal often with God, he does not totally escape the author’s “reimagining.” Fernandez proposes that God’s essence is his relationship to the cosmos. Theology is merely contextual and is not normative or universal for any society or culture. In fact, Fernandez intimates that the study of theology and biblical revelation leads, not to redemption, but to further agony.

Many of Fernandez’s assertions border on pantheism and a full embrace of nature worship—an ironic fulfillment of the latter verses of Romans 1. He equates the rape of the earth with the rape of women. Over against the assertion of Romans 8, Fernandez asserts that the creation’s “groaning” is not in expectancy of redemption, but because it has been misused and destroyed by human beings.

Stay-at-home mothers and faithful wives come in for a full broadside as Fernandez argues that a wife or mother can find no value in the home, but instead find enslavement. Even the wife of a wealthy husband who chooses to stay at home is a mere victim of abusive patriarchy, he asserts.

“Despite the high level of prestige and wealth, in cases where a wife does not have an outside job, she becomes a perennial dependent and has no identity except as someone’s wife or mother,” he writes.

Further, Fernandez argues that the 21st century woman must seek a career outside the home. However, Fernandez worries over a conundrum that his view creates: The needs of a career woman to have her children watched and her house cleaned. This problem “shifts the weight of domestic chores from one group of exploited women—mothers—to another group [that includes] the babysitter, housekeeper, cleaning woman, day-care staff, teacher.”

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