In current cultural connotation, feminism has come to mean the support of abortion, the validation of transgenderism and the removal of traditional male and female roles in the home and church. Radical feminism often goes a step further, promoting a preference of women to the point of hating men. Christians cannot support these new goals of the feminist movement that are directly in contradiction to Scripture. But while distancing themselves from a corrupted social movement, Christians should not distance themselves from Scriptural arguments for gender equality.
Abigail Adams, one of the first American women’s rights advocates, supported women’s right to education, property ownership and the vote. Centuries later, women in the U.S. aren’t facing the same kinds of discrimination Adams fought against. But the problem of gender equality is still very real at home and worldwide. In the U.S. in 2019, 406,970 women were raped or sexually assaulted, according to the Statista Research Department. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports working women with a bachelor’s degree or higher earn 25% less than men with the same level of education in the same fields. Edify, an organization whose mission is to improve and expand Christ-centered education globally, states girls across the world are 50% more likely to be out of school than boys.
We are all created as image-bearers of God: different, but equal. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). The restriction of women in social standing is not biblical. Women deserve the same respect as men as fellow image-bearers in any secular field. Discrimination against women in careers or the economic world is not biblical. Proverbs 31:16 says of a biblical woman, “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.” Discrimination against women in leadership or political position is not biblical. Deborah the prophetess was a judge of Israel who rode into battle with Barak (Judges 4).
Christians are right to stand for biblical roles of men and women in the church and family, but sinful humanity has twisted these roles to justify devaluing, objectifying or treating women as less than human. We as Christians must not fall into the trap of limiting or silencing women who have faced very real bias. Instead, we must work to make biblical equality a standard in our culture and support those who have not experienced this equality. We should always stand as advocates for those who have in any way been oppressed and we should never justify that oppression.
We have a responsiblity to stand for the biblical truths of gender roles, the sanctity of life and the equal value of all men and women and use the biblically sound principles of gender equality to point culture to humanity’s highest Advocate, Jesus Christ.