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Evangelical Feminism Tends Toward Liberalism

November 5, 2007

Is evangelical feminism the slippery slope that bottoms out at liberalism?

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Gender-News last fall. Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? is the featured product this week at the CBMW Webstore. 

Is evangelical feminism the slippery slope that bottoms out at liberalism?

In his new book Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? (Crossway) theologian Wayne Grudem answers that question in the affirmative and seeks to show the historical and theological connections between feminism and its logical end, liberalism.

Grudem argues that methods of biblical interpretation that evangelical feminists employ to arrive at their conclusions utterly undermine the authority of Scripture.

“Can a movement that espouses this many ways of undermining the authority of Scripture possibly be right?” Grudem writes. “If God had wanted to teach us an egalitarian position, would he have made it so hard to find in Scripture that it would require this many incorrect methods to discover and defend it?”

In Part I, Grudem examines the historical paths that some in recent church history have taken to liberalism. In this section, Grudem develops a connection between liberalism and the endorsement of women’s ordination in the church.

In Part II, the author analyzes various views that undermine the authority of Scripture. These dangerous views include the denial of the truthfulness of the first three chapters of Genesis, the assertion that the apostle Paul was wrong in his view of women in the church, and the so-called “redemptive movement” hermeneutic of William Webb, among several others.

“In a surprising number of evangelical feminist writings, the authors have published statements that either deny the complete truthfulness of Scripture or else deny the full authority of Scripture as well as the Word of God for us today,” Grudem writes.

In Part III, Grudem exposes many of the unsubstantiated or untruthful arguments that evangelical feminists make to buttress their theology. Among the fallacious claims that Grudem unmasks is the notion that women homeowners also served as elders in early churches and that female deacons had governing authority in the early church, among numerous other claims.

In Part IV, Grudem assesses the expanding landscape of evangelical feminism and seeks to show where the movement will go from its current position. The next step, he argues, is the denial of anything uniquely masculine.

“The egalitarian agenda will not stop simply with the rejection of male headship in marriage and the establishment of women as pastors and elders in churches,” he asserts. “There is something much deeper at stake. At the foundation of egalitarianism is a dislike and a rejection of anything uniquely masculine. It is a dislike of manhood itself.”

Grudem is a board member of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s (CBMW) and serves as research professor of Bible and theology at Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Ariz.

He is also the author of the massive 2004 volume from Multnomah entitled Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions. He also served as co-editor with John Piper of the seminal complementarian work Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which was recently re-released by Crossway with a new cover and new preface.

Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? is available through the CBMW webstore.

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