Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Grades and Shades of Feminism

Two items of note recently circulated through Facebook. The first was the video testimony of a saline abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen. The second was a newspaper article by Rebecca Walker, the daughter of Alice Walker the author of The Color Purple. Both bore witness to the backlash effects of feminism. It would have been easy to pass of either woman as the victim of radical-feminism.

Let’s be honest for once. We can sugar-coat feminism with any number of labels and degrees—moderate-, conservative-, Christian-, radical-, —but we’ll still find ourselves with the same fundamental error: feminism. Granted, these labels serve some purpose. They help to identify authors and time periods within the Feminist Movement itself. However, let's not use them as sort of "scale for acceptability;" e.g., radical-feminism goes too far, while Christian-feminism is comfortably OK.

Not all feminists will pursue abortion or abandon their children, this is true. Still, feminism is the ideology that pursues the social and political equal rights for women. That is its premise. However, “In the beginning. . .,” before the deception of the first woman, these things were “a given.” They were total gift and a grace from God, the Father Creator. She was, after all, created in the same image and likeness of God as was her mate, the man. That she was called his helpmeet is no reflection on her status of equality, but is a reference to her vocation. “[T]he Lord God is pleased to be called a ‘helper.’ Ezer is the Hebrew word, and the name ‘Eliezer’ means ‘God is my helper’ (Numbers 3:32).” (A Little Book of Joy, Matthew C. Harrison, 58) God is our helper, for He is our salvation. The woman would be the source of salvation for the man, for Jesus would be born of Mary (Ge 3:15;1Cor 11:13).

Moreover, when speaking of God’s creative acts, Man is a binary that includes the male and female (Ge 1:27). This does not mean “humanity” as a general classification of all peoples whether males or females or combinations thereof. Feminism presents women with a false dichotomy: “they can either be women or they can be humans” (Why is Feminism So Hard to Resist? Paul R. Harris, 149.) This leaves women—and men, who can also be feminist—perpetually searching to be human above being what they are created to be, women and men, through striving for the things they for which they were not created. It’s about vocation, and vocation is always what is God-created and God-given.

Man, male and female, were created in God’s image. Genesis 5:1-3 reiterates that fact, but then switches, stating that Adam’s sons were born in his image. Adam lost the image of God when he fell into sin. At the end of Genesis 3, the gates to the Garden of Eden were closed by God’s angels holding flaming swords, “lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Ge 3:22). Jesus called Satan “that murderer from the beginning” (Jn 8:44). Throughout Genesis 5 the refrain “and he died” is repeated. Paul exposits the truth of this when he states, “The wages of sin is death,” (Ro 6:23).

Satan’s deception of the first woman and Adam’s lack of protection for his wife resulted in the first sin. Adam failed her when he listened to her instead of paying heed to God's word. In Adam’s sin all men fell, but that does not mean women are any less culpable. Thanks be to God for that, for Jesus only came for sinners (Mt 9:13). Satan murdered not with a knife or gun or any other such weapon. Satan’s weapon was God’s own words twisted to his desires and intentions. But Satan’s victim was not merely Man, Adam and his wife. Satan’s target was the Son of the Father, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). Satan’s deception of the woman was an attack on God the Father. She overthrew her head, and he in turn, overthrew his (1Co 11:3). This set in motion the Father’s plan of salvation wherein His own Son would die for the sins of Man (Ro 5:8; 12-20; Eph 1:4; Jn 3:16). Feminism, because it reconditions and reinvents God’s word for its own purposes, is a return to original sin and its slavery (Jn 8:31-35; Ro 6:6; Ga 5:1.) It is Rachel stealing her father’s household gods in order to take them into her husband’s home (Ge 31:19). She would not completely let go of her old ways and let her husband be her head, thus having the one true God be her Head. It is paganism.

And here is where we must begin to get truly honest with feminism. Feminism began with the first deception, and has grown from that. If feminism is anything it is paganism socially legitimized through Supreme Court rulings, Hollywood, the media, and Madison Avenue. It is nothing new (Ecc 1:9). Feminism demands human rights for women at the expense of their own unborn children: my body, my rights. Feminism demands human rights for same-sex relationships at the expense of the family and society. Lutheran CORE recently posted this entry. It demonstrates the same pattern from the ancient deceiver: A twist and a turn from God’s word is all it takes to turn mankind away from the worship of the one true God to worship of something and someone other.

Feminism with a gradient label attached to it is akin to someone claiming he is only mildly addicted to cocaine (“But I can kick it anytime I want to.”) The addiction “sticks” for a lifetime, whether one wants to admit it or not. So it is with feminism. Feminism and original sin are so closely aligned they are a part of the human condition. To be feminist is to overthrow one’s headship for the sake of another’s vocation. This was the woman’s deception, and males fall victim to it was well as females. One cannot claim to be mildly feminist and be proud of it any more than to retain pride in being a sinner. It would be the same as pride in breaking the First Commandment. For, in overthrowing headship, one becomes his or her own god; and, taking up a vocation that does not belong to oneself breaks the Second Table of the Law.

There are those who will object, pointing out all the “good” the Feminist Movement has brought to women: equality in society, better pay in the work place, more jobs. Shall we praise sin because there happens to be a good outcome? The fundamental premise of the movement is still feminism and it not only is contrary to God’s word, it also moves to separate women from God's salvific acts in Christ to her own work. Better yet we confess the fact that we are feminist and rejoice in the Gospel to come from that confession of sin; for, Jesus only came for sinners, and there is more than enough forgiveness in Him for feminists.

The truth is that there is nothing in the Scriptures that prevents women from entering the marketplace and doing business. The Good Wife of Proverbs 31 is one example, as is Lydia (Ac 16:14). Luther writes

Thus the church is the pupil of Christ. It sits at His feet and listens to His Word, that it may know how to judge everything—how to serve in one’s vocation and to fill civil offices, yes, how to eat, drink, and sleep—so that there is no doubt about any area of life, but that we, surrounded on all sides by the rays of the Word, may continually walk in joy and in the most beautiful light. (LW: 2:353-354)

Guided by God’s word with Christ as their Head, men are to care for and love their wives and families. Guided by God’s word with Christ as their Head, women submit to such love and protection. Still, Luther continues,

But alas, we are not aware of our gifts. Only those who are spiritual rejoice and give thanks to God. Because the rest are carnal, ungrateful, greedy, and proud, they will be deprived even of what they have; and the punishment will befall them that they will listen to Satan instead of Christ and to heretics instead of the apostles, namely, to men who seek in the Word their own wisdom and glory and everything else except the joy and the heavenly blessings the Word brings us. (LW: 2:353-354)

And so we have the division in which we live. There is the feminism which belongs to all that is common or profane in this temporal life, and there is the way of Godly vocation which belongs to the sacred and holy. Godly vocation is still known by nature and written as Law upon man’s heart (Ro 1:20-25; 2:14-15). We struggle midst the two planes, the profane and the sacred. There should be no surprise in this. We are at once sinner and saint, are we not? But let us not fall prey to justifying sin based on a perceived good outcome. An error at the beginning is still fundamentally an error at the end—one to be confessed so that Christ’s forgiveness may be received.

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