A Christian feminist explains why Christians should not fear feminism

March 19, 2013

“We are not so terrifying: A feminist talks about rage, matriarchy, and faith”
At a time when there continue to be disputes about the definition of feminism and whether it is a word that has outlived its usefulness, a Baptist minister, the Reverend Kendall Rae Renfro, was invited by Roger E. Olson to write this guest post for his blog on Patheos. She writes: “The heart of feminism, or, at least, the version of feminism that attracts me, is the notion that women and men are both fully human, worthy of dignity and equal treatment. Feminism is more than simple egalitarianism, however, because it recognizes patriarchy is far more pervasive than most of the population recognizes, and feminism wants to challenge patriarchy wherever it is found. (By patriarchy, I mean the suppression of both female persons and feminine ways of being under the coercion of male dominance, granting a distorted masculinity excessive power and legitimizing the disparaging treatment of women based on gender.)” Renfro says that at one time she feared that feminism would be incompatible with her Christian faith but has found instead that embracing feminism has enlivened her faith.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.