Enough Christians have said the words “the church needs feminism” to me or around me that it seems appropriate to address it. For years, secular ideology has managed to creep its way into the church. Now, it no longer has to slyly slink through the doors; we welcome it with open arms. As a matter of fact, we’re willing to make secular ideals our baseline.
It’s become increasingly more difficult to define feminism. Truthfully, I don’t think we have an objective definition anymore. If all you’re advocating for is gender equality; great, sign me up! However, it you’re condoning behaviors that are sinful, all in the name of equality or liberation, I must reject your message. Feminism has really become a large, umbrella term under which many different beliefs, ideals, and even religions fall. That being said, regardless of what you believe feminism to be, we are still able to examine the intersection of feminism and Christianity. Further more, we can talk about whether or not feminism is essential in the Christian church.
If your version of feminism agrees with Scripture then it’s unnecessary. I remember a popular Christian feminist once saying that Christian feminist is not an oxymoron. Well, if it’s not an oxymoron, it must be redundant, making one of those labels pointless.
This idea that women are valuable is not something that Elizabeth Cady Stanton came up with. It was God who created Adam and Eve in His image. It was God who used women like Deborah and Esther to do some pretty amazing things. It is God who set an incredibly high standard for husbands: to love their wives as Christ loved the church. God was pro-woman long before the Suffragettes got women the right to vote.
It is worth noting that there are many things that have come out of the feminist movement that are good. Rejecting this idea that the church needs feminism does not mean I’m going to demonize the movement and refuse to acknowledge their accomplishments. That would be unfair and dishonest. The right to vote, for example, is a good thing. Also, the first-wavers were largely connected to the abolitionist movement. Again, that is a good thing.
That being said, it’s equally unfair to idealize feminism. Feminism was not born of a Christian worldview. It is not now nor has it ever been rooted in Scripture and sound doctrine. It’s secular ideology. When we examine modern-day feminism, there is so much of it that Christians would have to reject. This is where the modern-day Christian feminist may seek to reform feminism. It makes little sense to me why Christians are so desperate to hold on the name feminist when you have a superior worldview. Why point people to a Christianized version of feminism when you could point them directly to Christ?
Regardless of how you feel about feminism, we must accept that it is not essential. The church does not need it. The idea that we need to supplement our worldview with secular ideology is absurd and dangerous. This implies that Scripture is not sufficient, that we need to add to it or alter it. If you’re seeing blatant sexism and mistreatment of women in your church, absolutely call it out. Sexism is sin because it’s discriminatory hatred. Scripture tells us not to have hate in our heart. It’s plain and simple, really.
Now, all that being said, I also want the record to show that I am not an “anti-feminist”. I’ve always hated that term. If you are a Christian feminist, I’m not against you. I’m not even necessarily against the movement as a whole. As I said, there has been some good to come out of feminism. However, we don’t need feminism to come into the church. We need Christ-centered, Scripture-based, Gospel-focused doctrine back in the church.
To conclude, just because something is secular, and not rooted in Scripture, that doesn’t make it bad. It does make it unnecessary, however. There are many television shows, movies, and books that I’ve enjoyed that have nothing to do with Scripture. That being said, I wouldn’t read Harry Potter from the pulpit. If we cannot separate political preference from essential doctrine, we’ve got a problem.
If you want to be a feminist, be a feminist. I’m not trying to stop you or change your mind. However, please realize that you are first and foremost a son or daughter of the living God. Scripture, not feminism, is our baseline. God loves and values women more than any feminist ever could. And, feminism is not essential to the Christian faith. So, please…stop saying the church needs feminism. We don’t. We need Christ.
Take care and God bless.