How Christianity Changed the World, by Alvin J. Schmidt. His chapter entitled “Women Receive Freedom and Dignity” is very revealing (click to enlarge the scans from his book). Paul, for instance, had a high regard for women as coworkers, which is amply demonstrated in other letters. Barbara Geller points out that “during the Byzantine era, female leadership was exercised largely within the hierarchical structures of women’s monastic communities.” She continues, however, that,
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[....] from a very large chapter from my book (Worldviews: a Click Away from Binary Collisions) entitled, "Gnostic Feminism: Empowered to Fail," not fully edited [...]
(This is in response to a small section in a larger video posted over at My Private Casbah and deals primarily with Rep. Bachmann's statement about wives being submissive to their husbands. Which is usually ripped from its context and used as a canard.)
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[....] from a very large chapter from my book (Worldviews: a Click Away from Binary Collisions) entitled, "Gnostic Feminism: Empowered to Fail," not fully edited [...]
...the letters of Paul and the Book of Acts suggest that in the earliest phase of emerging Christianity, the opportunities for women were far greater. The closing chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, following the epistolary conventions of that period, includes greetings and personal commendations. Paul mentions ten women, the first of whom is Phoebe, described in Greek as diakonos and a prostates, correctly translated in the New Revised Standard Version as “deacon” and “benefactor” (Rom 16:1-2). Older translations erroneously rendered these words as “deaconess” and “helper”; thus, generations of translators ignored the plain sense of the text because of their assumption that women could not have exercised significant roles in the early church. Ancient Inscriptions suggest, moreover, that prostates was not only a benefactor or patron, but also frequently the president or head of an association.
As is common, persons today with an agenda -- this includes feminists -- misinterpret Scripture to bolster a political position or to live comfortably within their own worldview. Paul, in his letters, interprets the role of women more liberally than his antagonists say he does. Even the Gospels portray women as being more spiritually perceptive than men. So it is hardly surprising that early Christianity proved to have a deep appeal for women, as one scholar observes:
“It is probable that Jesus’ teachings attracted women in part because of the new roles and equal status they were granted in the Christian community. There were many cults in Greece and Rome that were for men only or, at best, allowed women to participate in very limited ways [as prostitutes, for instance, in the fertility cults within ‘goddism’]…. Judaism offered women proselytes a circumscribed place at best, for they were faced with the Jewish restrictions that limited participation in religious functions. While women were not allowed to make up the quorum necessary to found a synagogue, nor to receive the Jewish covenant sign (circumcision), these limitations did not exist in the Christian community.”
The Book of Acts is another indicator of the early church’s emphasis on the important role of women. In fact, Peter’s speech to the Pentecost crowd included portion of the Old Testament book of Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters will prophesy…. And on My menservants, I will pour out my Spirit in those days…” (Acts 2:17-18). Women are first mentioned in Acts 1:14, when the disciples were constantly in prayer “along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus.” The first convert in Philippi is Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. The Philippi church meets first meets in her home. Then Priscilla is introduced, a Jewish evangelist! Together with her husband, Aquila, she is mentioned four times in Acts, always being the first mentioned after the couple’s initial introduction.
Luke makes mention of when Paul visited the evangelist Philip in Caesarea, that he had four daughters who prophesied. Far from Paul and the church being oppressive to women, this type of universality that included women was a departure from both Jewish norms as well Roman norms. The Romans in fact, could have used this early equalizing as being socially subversive to their social order, in this case to the patriarchy. Likewise, the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus and the teachings of the early church, including Paul at first, severely restricted the role of women. Paul and the other writers of the New Testament telling men that they should cherish their wives (Ephesians 5), that marriage is a financial partnership (I Timothy 5:8), that the husband is to honor his wife (I Peter 3:7), and that the male should be a part of raising their children within the family unit was essentially unheard of until then. In contradistinction, the Gospel of Thomas “is clearly influenced by the kind of Gnosticism we know was prevalent in the second and third centuries, but not in the first.” For example, we find Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas responding to Peter, let’s read:
114: Simon Peter said to them, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“This demeaning view of women was common within Gnosticism, but utterly foreign to the historical Jesus.” The fact that the canonical Gospels were written a century or two earlier than those of Gnosticism is at least a good preliminary indication that they could possibly also be more authoritative. O. C. Edwards agrees:
“It is precisely as history that I find her [Pagels] work most unsatisfactory. Nowhere, for instance, does she give the impression that the basic picture of Jesus given in the New Testament gospels did not arise contemporaneously with the Gnostic portrait, but antedated it by at least a century. As historical reconstructions [go,] there is no way that the two can claim equal credentials.”
To ignore the century before Gnosticism started, seems to me, like a tell in poker. That is when the opposing player does something or makes an odd move to show the other players that he or she is bluffing, verbal or not. In this case, the total disregard for pre-Gnostic history and roots is telling.
- What’s Going On?
Concerned Women for America has triple the members that National Organization of Women has, one of the reasons for this I believe is to be found in the current movement’s direction. For example, in the January 1988 National NOW Times, the newsletter for the organization, said: “The simple fact is that every woman must be willing to be identified as a lesbian to be fully feminist.” This is extreme to say the least, and it is this type of radical thinking that has made many women see the emperor with no clothes on, and she is not pretty. This radically political movement likewise looks forward not only to the overthrow of the nuclear family but of capitalism as well. Well-known feminist author and co-founder/editor of Ms. magazine, Gloria Steinem, said the following about feminisms end game: “Overthrowing capitalism is too small for us. We must overthrow the whole #@*! patriarch!”
How can a civil rights movement be interested in capitalism? As if chauvinism and patriarchal over expressiveness suddenly vanish with Marxist forms of government. As if Stalin wasn’t a womanizer. Obviously then, it isn’t the system of markets that create patriarchal attitudes. It is, however, free markets and government that afforded women the opportunity to create equal rights under the law. Here of course what these ladies are talking about are not equal rights under the law but using “special rights” to propose a whole new system of government, which drove Tammy Bruce, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW as well as being a former member of NOW’s national board of directors, to say: “What Gloria Steinem, Molly Yard, Patricia Ireland and all the rest have presented to you over the last 15 years (at least) has not been feminist theory.” Ms. Bruce goes on to show that Betty Friedan and Patricia Ireland, ex-presidents of NOW, (and others) are involved with socialist or communist political parties or organizations. ~Now~ the political goals become clearer as we understand the intent of these “posers,” as Tammy Bruce calls them.
One sign of an over oppressive movement is illustrated in The Animal Farm, by George Orwell. Napoleon, one of the main characters, concerns himself with the education of the young, and forcefully takes two litters of puppies away as soon as they're weaned, saying he'll educate them. In effect the “State” are the ones who are charged with educating and rearing them. Now compare this to a statement made by feminist Mary Jo Bane, assistant professor of education at Wellesley College and associate director of the school's Center for Research on Woman, and the lesson taught in Animal Farm: “In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.” Alternatively, Gloria Steinem declared: “By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God.” NEA president/feminist Catherine Barrett wrote likewise that,
Dramatic changes in the way we will raise our children in the year 2000 are indicated, particularly in terms of schooling. ... We will need to recognize that the so-called ‘basic skills’, which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one-quarter of the present school day. ... When this happens—and it’s near—the teacher can rise to his true calling. More than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher. ... We will be agents of change.
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Brenda Feigen, the co-founder of Ms. Magazine, is a great example of what the movement offered in the past. She became the kind of woman the modern feminist couldn’t keep up with! A lawyer, wife and mother, civil-rights activist, politician, Hollywood movie producer, and author… she is a feminist in the true sense of the word. This feminist sounds surprisingly like the one in Proverbs 31:10-31:
Keep in mind, much like Mrs. Feigen, this addition by Lemuel’s mother about a role of a woman is over a lifetime. Mrs. Feigen wasn’t all those things at once (a lawyer, wife and mother, civil-rights activist, politician, Hollywood movie producer, and author); she accomplished them over many years, a lifetime. Proverbs portrays the feminist exercising responsibility for the provision of food and clothing for the household, and also being involved in managing financial and business affairs outside the house itself. She also cares for the needy, and fulfils a wise teaching ministry. She parallels Ms. Wisdom in the opening chapters (corresponding expressions in 3:13-18; 9:1-6). Woman’s teaching role in the book alongside man’s (1:8; 6:20) fulfills part of the vision in Genesis 1-2 of man and woman together representing the image of God and called to exercise authority in the world on God’s behalf. This is in stark contrast to A Feminist Dictionary, whose definitions are self-explanatory:
- Male: “... represents a variant of or deviation from the category of female. The first males were mutants... the male sex represents a degeneration and deformity of the female.”
- Man: “... an obsolete life form... an ordinary creature who needs to be watched ... a contradictory baby-man.”
- Testosterone Poisoning: “Until now it has been thought that the level of testosterone in men is normal simply because they have it. But if you consider how abnormal their behavior is, then you are led to the hypothesis that almost all men are suffering from ‘testosterone poisoning.’”
Feminist author Ti-Grace Atkinson shows her true autonomy when stating, “the institution of sexual intercourse is anti-feminist.” Marilyn French, feminist author calls all men rapists: “All men are rapists and that's all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.” Let us allow Gloria Steinen, feminist extraordinaire, to set the stage with the following praises about her contemporary, Andrea Dworkin, “In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them.” Why preface Andrea Dworkin? Because she has this to say about men in general: “Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies.”
One must keep in mind that when studying theology through the lenses of gender feminism, hermeneutics will be subjugated to gender influenced viewpoints. This revisionist starting point, e.g., class warfare, will not only affect the Bible, but also other holy books and religious beliefs. Other presuppositions that drive the modern feminist movement include philosophical naturalism (atheism) all the way to neo-paganism, an umbrella term for a more ancient tradition. The real goal of gender feminism tends towards either a gender free society (which is not neutral) or one based on the matriarchy. Both are reactionary to a radical rewriting of history, as already discussed.
The Christian tradition is rich with examples of feminism. The feminism that truly empowers women, not the feminism that makes victicrats out of well meaning woman that wish to make a difference. Christina Hoff Sommers, a conservative feminist and formerly professor of philosophy at Clark University, comments on the current condition of modern feminism:
The orthodox feminists are so carried away with victimology, with a rhetoric of male-bashing that it's full of female chauvinists, if you will. Also, women are quite eager to censor, to silence. And what concerns me most as a philosopher is it's become very anti-intellectual, and I think it poses a serious risk to young women in the universities. Women's studies classes are increasingly a kind of initiation into the most radical wing, the most intolerant wing, of the feminist movement. And I consider myself a whistle-blower. I'm from inside the campus. I teach philosophy. I've seen what's been going on.
Many true feminists, like Dr. Sommers, do away with the many myths that are meant to “scare” women into becoming radicals. Books by feminist Christina Hoff Sommers are good books to refute such myths. Alternatively, the Independent Women’s Forum can be accessed via the Internet. This “backlash” by women against radical feminism is well summed up in a review of the book Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life: How Today's Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch With the Real Concerns of Women, by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese:
According to historian Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (who describes herself as a feminist), is that most women perceive “official” feminism as indifferent to their deepest concerns. In particular, they are put off by the movement's negative attitude toward marriage and motherhood, its intolerance for dissent from its most controversial positions, its attacks on men, and its inattention to the practical problems of balancing work and family on a day-to-day basis. Hence the title, echoing a refrain running through the author's conversations with a diverse sample of women: “Feminism is not the story of my life.”
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 Dale & Sandy Larsen, 7 Myths about Christianity (Wheaton, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998), see chpt. 2, “Christianity Suppresses Women”; also all one has to do is read 1 Corinthinas 7:1-16, here Paul puts the male and female on equal terms and status, unheard of in the ancient pagan world... until that is, the New Testament and the Christian community. In fact, Wayne Grudem makes this new distinction apparent when he points out the role of women in the early church:
Perhaps the best example of a woman well trained in knowledge of the Bible is Priscilla. When Paul went to Corinth, he stayed with Aquila and Priscilla: “because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade” (Acts 18:3). Paul stayed a year and six months at Corinth (Acts 18:11), and we may ponder just how much Bible and theology Priscilla would have learned while having the apostle Paul as a house guest and business partner during that time! Then Priscilla and Aquila went with Paul to Ephesus (Acts 18:1819). It was at Ephesus in A.D. 51 that Priscilla and Aquila together “explained” to Apollos “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26). So in A.D. 51 Priscilla knew Scripture well enough to help instruct Apollos. After that, Priscilla probably learned from Paul for another three years while he stayed at Ephesus teaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27; compare 1 Cor. 16:19, where Priscilla is called Prisca, and Paul sends greetings to Corinth from Aquila and Prisca and the church that meets “in their house”). By the end of Paul’s three-year stay in Ephesus, Priscilla bad probably received four and a half years of teaching directly from the apostle Paul. No doubt many other women in Ephesus also learned from Paul—and from Priscilla! Aquila and Priscilla went to Rome sometime later (Rom. 16:3, perhaps around A.D. 58), but they returned to Ephesus, for they were in Ephesus again at the end of Paul’s life (in 2 Tim. 4:19, Paul writes to Timothy at Ephesus, “Greet Prisca and Aquila”). Now, 2 Timothy was probably written in A.D. 66 or 67 (Eusebius says that Paul died in A.D. 67), and 1 Timothy a short time before that, perhaps in A.D. 65. In addition, before he wrote 1 Timothy, Paul seems to have been in Ephesus and it seems he had told Timothy to remain there when he left for Macedonia (see 1 Tim. 1:3: “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus . . .”). Therefore, both because 1 Timothy is near in time to 2 Timothy, and because Paul had recently been in Ephesus to know who was there before he wrote 1 Timothy or 2 Timothy, it seems likely that Aquila and Priscilla were back in Ephesus by the time Paul wrote 1 Timothy, about A.D. 65. This was fourteen years after Priscilla and Aquila had explained the way of God to Apollos in Ephesus. Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism(Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), 175-176.
 Michael D. Coogan, ed., The Oxford History of the Biblical World (2001 paperback edition; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998), 429-430.
 Compare Mark 4:40 and 6:52 to Mark 5:25-30. See also Mark 7:24-30 and 12:41-44.
 “The number of members of a group or organization required to be present to transact business legally, usually a majority.” Random House Webster’s Unabridged CD-ROM Dictionary, (1999).
 Ben Witherington, Women and the Genesis of Christianity (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 246.
 John W. Mauck, Paul on Trial: The Book of Acts as a Defense of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 56.
 Gregory A. Boyd, Jesus Under Siege (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1995), 118.
 Ibid., 118.
 O. C. Edwards, “A Surprising View of Gnosticism,” New Review of Books and Religion, May 1980, 27. Quoted in, Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ (Joplin, MS: College Press, 1996), 107.
 William D. Gairdner, The War Against the Family: A Parent Speaks Out on the Political, Economic, and Social Policies That Threaten Us All (Toronto, Canada: BPS Books, 2007), 295.
 Ibid., 300.
 “Stalin was attracted to strong women, but ultimately preferred submissive housekeepers or teenagers. He undoubtedly enjoyed adolescent and teenage girls, a taste that later was to get him into serious trouble with the police.” Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2007), 235.
 I am not here saying that the patriarchy is intrinsically bad either.
 Tammy Bruce, The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds (Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2001), 123.
 Ibid (footnote 103), 123-124:
Do not be mistaken: what Gloria Steinem, Molly Yard, Patricia Ireland and all the rest have presented to you over the last 15 years (at least) has not been feminist theory. Betty Friedan, a former Communist Party member, was only the precursor of the hijacking of feminism to serve other political interests. Some consider Gloria Steinem, the founder of Ms. magazine and probably the second most influential feminist leader, after Friedan, of the last 30 years, to be the one who began blurring the lines between gender and race issues. This might be surprising to those who are unaware of Steinem’s involvement in socialist politics. In fact, she serves as an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, which boasts of being the largest socialist organization in the United States and is the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. Good for her, but we should know this as we explore what factors influence those who are considered feminist leaders. Steinem’s influence, combined with the socialist sympathies of NOW’s immediate past-president, Patricia Ireland, explain the co-opting of NOW by leftist ideologues. A 1996 article in Ms. quoted Ireland as saying that NOW “must offer a clear understanding of what it means to be a feminist organization concerned with ending discrimination based on race, class, and other issues of oppression [emphasis mine] that come from a patriarchal structure.” Steinem then commented, “To be feminist, we have to take on the entire caste system.” Ireland details her support of the Communist Party in her autobiography, What Women Want. She admits that her socialist sympathies and participation in pro-Communist rallies in Miami (of all places!) were due in part to the fact that her friend and future lover, Pat Silverthorn, was an activist in the Socialist Worker’s Party. There were problems, Ireland explains, with Silverthorn and her friends being Communists in Miami. “Later, after we’d become close,” Ireland writes, “[Pat Silverthorn] would confide that she, too, had wondered how much more dangerous she’d made her life by openly professing communist convictions in that volatile, violent, commie-hating city... Working closely with Pat opened my eyes about the reality of living as a political leftist in this country.” Ibid., p. 142
 Fr. Robert J. Carr, “No News For You!!” Catholic Online (9-23-2004). Found on the Catholic Online site (http://www.catholic.org/) at: http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=1364 (last accessed 7-29-09). Here is the full quote from Father Carr’s article:
“Mary Jo Bane, formerly of the Clinton Administration Department of Health and Human Services one of the major voices in the Boston Globe against the average Catholic’s right to freedom of religion. Bane’s most famous quote is ‘We really don’t know how to raise children. If we want to talk about equality of opportunity for children, then the fact that children are raised in families means there’s no equality. ... In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.’”
 Angela Howard and Sasha Ranae Adams Tarrant, Reaction to the Modern Women’s Movement, 1963 to the Present: Antifeminism in America: A Collection of Readings from the Literature of the Opponents to U.S. Feminism, 1848 to the Present (New York, NY: Routledge Publishing, 1997), 153.
 Dennis Laurence Cuddy, The Grab for Power: A Chronology of the NEA (Washington, DC: Concerned Women for America, 2000), 6.
 Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2002), cf. Pr 31:10-31
 There is good evidence that this section of Proverbs was written by a women:
31:10-31 The complete woman. Vs 10-31 are often treated as separate from the sayings of Lemuel. But every other independent unit in Proverbs has its own heading, and the absence of such a heading in v 10 suggests that this section should be seen as part of the sayings of Lemuel. The fact that Lemuel’s sayings came from his mother (1) suggests that this last section of the book is a woman’s description of a woman’s role.New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition. 4th ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 607.
 Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler, eds., Feminist Dictionary (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1986), cf. male, 242.
 Ibid., cf. male, 246.
 Ibid., cf. testosterone poisoning, 446.
 Daniel Dervin, Enactments: American Modes and Psychohistorical Models (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996), 244; another telling quote comes directly from Atkinson’s own biography, Amazon Odyssey:
The price of clinging to the enemy [a man] is your life. To enter into a relationship with a man who has divested himself as completely and publicly from the male role as much as possible would still be a risk. But to relate to a man who has done any less is suicide.... I, personally, have taken the position that I will not appear with any man publicly, where it could possibly be interpreted that we were friends.Ti-Grace Atkinson, Amazon Odyssey (New York, NY: Links Books, 1976), 90, 91.
 Elizabeth Knowles, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 5th ed. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), cf. Freeman, E.A., 324.
 David M. Friedman, A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis (New York, NY: Free Press ,2001), 225.
 Neil Boyd, Big Sister: How Extreme Feminism has Betrayed the Fight for Sexual Equality (British Columbia, Canada: Greystone Books 2004), 23. Dr. Boyd continues with Dworkin’s quote:
In fucking, as in reproduction, sex and economics are inextricably joined. In male-supremacist cultures, women are believed to embody carnality; women are sex. A man wants what a woman has - sex. He can steal it outright (prostitution), lease it over the long term (marriage in the United States), or own it outright (marriage in most societies). A man can do some or all of the above, over and over again.Ibid.
 “Traditionally the sub-discipline of theology concerned with the proper interpretation of scriptural texts,” C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove,IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), cf. hermeneutics, 53.
 For a good definition of and differences between “neo-pagan” and “new age,” see Sarah M. Pike, New Age and Neopagan Religions In America (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004), 18-26.
 Helen Kooiman Hosier, 100 Christian Woman Who Changed the 20th Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 2000; and Rebecca Price Janney, Great Woman in American History (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon Books, 1996).
 “A victicrat is one who blames all ills, problems, concerns, and unhappiness on others,” Larry Elder, Ten Things You Can’t Say in America (New York, NY: St. Martins, 2000), 22-33.
 PBS, “Has Feminism Gone Too Far?” Think Tank Transcripts: Has Feminism Gone Too Far? Article found at: http://www.pbs.org/thinktank/transcript132.html (last accessed 8-6-09).
 These include some of the following:
1) Myth of the Extent of Anorexia Nervosa; 2) Myth of Amount of Domestic Violence; 3) Myth of Increased Domestic Battery on Super Bowl Sunday; 4) Myth Concerning Percent of Women Raped; 5) Myth Concerning Female Self-esteem; 6) Myth of Discrimination Against Females in School; 7) Myth of Huge Gender Wage Gap, Etc.These can all be found at Independent Women's Forum: http://www.iwf.org/
 Who Stole Feminism: How Woman Have Betrayed Woman (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster,1995); The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001).
 “Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life,” Books In Review, First Things 61 (March 1996): 46-48; also found at Leadership U: http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9603/reviews/feminism.html (last accessed 8-6-09).