The modern concept of feminism was not present during the time that the Bible was written, but that does not mean the Bible has nothing to say on the basic issues of feminism. Even when the Scriptures seem to be silent on something that affects us today, there are eternal principles that speak to the underlying issue.
First, we should define feminism, since the term can have different meanings for different people. Basically, feminism is a philosophy that advocates equal rights for women and men—socially, politically, economically, and in other ways. Early feminists fought for and won suffrage for women. Today’s feminism goes further than demanding equal treatment of men and women, however. Modern feminists fight for language equality (saying “chairperson” instead of “chairman,” even if the person in question is male) and gender equality (redefining femininity and masculinity). The more radical feminists actively seek to overthrow any vestige of male dominance in society, to the point of opposing the biblical roles of husbands and wives, defending abortion on demand, and promoting lesbianism. Radical feminists deny there is any difference between men and women, teaching that any perceived differences between the sexes are due solely to social conditioning.
Modern feminism is a counterfeit solution to the real issue of the inequality of women in a sinful society. Feminism arrogates to itself the right to demand respect and equality in every aspect of life. Feminism is based in arrogance, and it is the opposite of the call to the born-again believer to be a servant. The modern, militant feminists call women to rise up and rebel against the order that God has given to humanity. That brand of feminism seeks to impose humanistic values in direct opposition to the Word of God. Feminism was originally a positive movement, focused on giving women the basic rights God intends for every human being to have. Tragically, feminism now focuses on destroying all distinctions in the roles of men and women.
What then should be a Christian’s view of feminism? A believing woman, who is seeking to obey God and walk in peace and grace, should remember that she has equal access to all spiritual blessings in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). A believing woman should not allow herself to be used as a pawn in the worldly agenda of the feminist movement. Men and women have a God-given privilege to fulfill the plan He has set for us. Rebellion against that plan and the arrogance that seeks to put self above God’s Word brings difficult consequences. We see those consequences in the destruction of the relationship between husbands and wives, the destruction of the family, and the loss of respect for human life.
“For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16). The principles of the fall are present in this verse. Eve believed the lie that eating the fruit would bring her wisdom. She lusted, and she took something that was forbidden. This is the basis for the modern feminist movement. Women have bought into the lie that feminism will bring them the power and freedom they think they want and deserve. However, the promise is empty, for the premise is rooted in pride—and pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
The last decades have seen the rise of a society that is so concerned with political correctness and so sensitive to being “offended” that civility has lost its way. However, this is really nothing new, for there has always been inequality in the world. It is sad but true that artificial barriers have always divided humanity—barriers that have no basis in God’s Word. It is sin in the heart that causes inequality. It is sin that causes some men to treat women in ways that are meant to demean or objectify them. And it is sin that seeks counterfeit solutions to counteract these inequalities. The only true cure for inequality is obedience to God’s Word. If men and women would walk in obedience to God’s Word, radical feminism would be seen for what it is, and the harmony that God has ordained between men and women would result.