It's one thing when a scripture-quoting theologian/author gets your attention. It's quite another when he opens your eyes, revealing a failed step not only you but entire churches may have taken long ago -- one that is leading you, perhaps quite unwittingly or intentionally, down a road that ends in the denial of biblical authority and gender identity. 

That's what Wayne Grudem has done with his latest work, Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? In it, Grudem, Research Professor of Bible & Theology at Phoenix Seminary, and author/editor of works regarding men's and women's roles in the home and church, as well as how churches might teach those roles, states his position plainly on page one: 

I am concerned that evangelical feminism (also called "egalitarianism") has become a new path by which evangelicals are being drawn into theological liberalism [defined as: "a system of thinking that denies the complete truthfulness of the Bible as the Word of God and denies the unique and absolute authority of the Bible in our lives"]. 

That's a lot at stake from a topic many of us may have thought we'd successfully swept under the rug, explained away socially, navigated around, or, perhaps worse, were completely ignorant of. Dr. Grudem recently sat down with Crosswalk Faith Editor Shawn McEvoy to discuss his book and the ramifications of his argument. 


Crosswalk: Dr. Grudem, why this book, and why now?

Wayne Grudem: This book is really an alarm to the church. It’s saying to evangelical Christians, “You may think that the controversy over men’s and women’s roles doesn’t make much difference to other things in your church life, but in fact, it makes a huge difference.” In this book Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?, I examine and document 25 different kinds of arguments that are used by evangelical feminists to claim that there is no unique leadership role for men in the home or in the church. And in every case I argue that these arguments used by the evangelical feminists undermine or deny the authority of Scripture. So really what is at stake is whether we’ll be subject to and obedient to God’s Word or not.

Some of those arguments are: (1) saying that some parts of Genesis 1-2 are wrong, (2) saying that Paul was wrong in what he wrote about women in the church, (3) saying that some verses on women should not be part of the Bible, (4) saying that our standard for conduct today should not be what the Bible says but our idea of the direction in which we think the Bible was “developing” or changing, (5) saying that a pastor can give women preachers permission to disobey the Bible, (6) saying that personal experience of blessing from women preachers trumps the teaching of Scripture, and (7) making up some special situation that you say a Bible passage was talking about (such as uneducated or noisy women in the ancient world) and then saying the passage doesn’t apply today because we aren’t in that “special situation.” There are 25 such arguments from evangelical feminists that I document in my book. And they all undermine or deny the authority of the Bible.

CW: When you define evangelical feminism, you describe “a movement that claims there are no unique leadership roles for men in marriage or the church.” That’s interesting, in that this definition is obviously not something anti-female, but instead, questions more what we’ve done to male headship as God established it. Can you elaborate more on that idea – God establishing man as the head and woman as a sub-ordinate?