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 abortion on demand, language equality (insisting on saying “chairperson” instead of “chairman,” for example), and the blurring of gender lines. The more radical feminists actively seek to overthrow any vestige of male dominance in society, oppose the biblical roles of husbands and wives, and promote 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 humankind. 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 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. A believing man should uphold the nuclear family as the biblical model for society, promote true Christian values, and (if he’s married) honor and cherish his wife and take responsibility for protecting and providing for his family. Both 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 damaged relationships between husbands and wives, the destruction of the family, and the loss of respect for human life.
Many women today have bought into the lie that feminism will empower and free them. However, rallying for abortion, dispensing with God-given roles, and working to dismantle the family unit will bring neither power nor freedom. Protection of the innocent, obedience to God’s Word, and fortification of the family are much more empowering and freeing. “I will walk in freedom,” says the psalmist, “for I have devoted myself to your commandments” (Psalm 119:45).
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, sin that causes some men to treat women in demeaning or objectifying ways. And it is sin that seeks counterfeit solutions to counteract these inequalities. The only cure for discrimination and inequality is obedience to God. If men and women would humbly submit to God’s Word, then striving would cease, the genders would complement each other, and the harmony that God ordained would flourish.