The f-word makes a lot of Christians uncomfortable, and by “f-word”, I mean “feminist.” For example, theologian Wayne Grudem argues in his book Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism that feminism is the gateway to “a system of thinking that denies the complete truthfulness of the Bible as the Word of God and denies the unique and absolute authority of the Bible in our lives.”
But for Canadian blogger Sarah Bessey, them’s fightin’ words. She says that she is a feminist because of the Bible and adds, “Jesus turned me into a feminist.” Her new book Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women is a wildly popular exploration of gender in light of her interpretation of the Christian scriptures. Here, Bessey and I discuss how she defines feminism, where the church has misunderstood the issues, and what she wants to say the submissive homemaking woman who is happy with her life.
JM: To begin, we really need to understand what you mean by “feminism.” How do you define it?
SB: I define feminism as the simple belief that women are people, too. At the core, feminism simply means that we champion the dignity, rights, responsibilities, and glories of women as equal in importance to those of men, and we refuse discrimination against women. That’s it.
JM: You’ve made the provocative statement that Jesus made a feminist out of you. Can you say more about that?
See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.
This looks like an interesting book. I'd have to agree with this author that Jesus was indeed, a feminist.
Feminism has been around for a long time. In the 60s, feminism was a revolutionary and somewhat militant reaction to the mores of the day. It went hand-in-hand with the social movements of the day, such as the anti-war movement and the sexual revolution. Timid women (of whom I was one) gained courage by meeting with other women and discussing openly the issues of equality in a male-dominated culture. But religion was never a part of those discussions - at least not as far as I was concerned. The culture of the churches was anything but accepting of "liberated" women.
It was not until I found The Urantia Book that I began to see feminism in a new and even more revolutionary way. The teachings of The Urantia Book contains pithy nuggets of wisdom about women, such as:
84:6.4 Woman, however, has always been the moral standard-bearer and the spiritual leader of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny.
And when reading the Life and Teachings of Jesus, I was struck by the Master's views about women. He bucked the standards of his day, too, by not only accepting women into the Kingdom, but by actually commissioning them to be preachers and evangels of the good news. Jesus established the first Women's Evangelistic Corps, which was an "astounding" act:
150:1.3 It was most astounding in that day, when women were not even allowed on the main floor of the synagogue (being confined to the women’s gallery), to behold them being recognized as authorized teachers of the new gospel of the kingdom. The charge which Jesus gave these ten women as he set them apart for gospel teaching and ministry was the emancipation proclamation which set free all women and for all time; no more was man to look upon woman as his spiritual inferior. This was a decided shock to even the twelve apostles. Notwithstanding they had many times heard the Master say that “in the kingdom of heaven there is neither rich nor poor, free nor bond, male nor female, all are equally the sons and daughters of God,” they were literally stunned when he proposed formally to commission these ten women as religious teachers and even to permit their traveling about with them.
This "emancipation proclamation" for women set a high standard, and bore much good fruit during the times of Jesus' public ministry. Unfortunately, this acceptance of women did not survive the ensuing ages, and even in our 21st century times, women still find themselves in a position of second-class citizenship in many parts of the world.
But all women who desire a closer walk with God - all women who desire to be more active and influential in their spheres of influence can take heart from this act of inclusion by Jesus. Even if the institutionalized churches lag behind in their understanding and acceptance of women as equals partmers with men, all women can rejoice at knowing that there is still important work to be done, and that as followers of Jesus, they are still spiritual standard-bearers. Women can take their place confidently beside Jesus, even if they remain on the outskirts of traditional religions. Practicing the religion of personal spiritual experience, and relying on the sure guidance of God, women will increasingly break the gender barriers of religious thought, to the benefit of ALL man-and woman-kind.
Read more about the Women's Evangelistic Corps HERE, and have a look at TruthBook's topical study of Urantia Book teachings about Women HERE.