Feminism refers to the belief that women should enjoy all of the rights and privileges that men enjoy within a given culture. Stated negatively, feminism advocates that there are no political, social, or religious rights or privileges that should be denied to females for any reason. Whatever men are allowed to do women should be allowed to do. To deny this obvious conclusion is to support oppression.

There are many “flavors” of feminism. Radical feminists question why women must adopt certain roles based on their biology. This flavor of feminism attempts to “draw lines between biologically-determined behavior and culturally-determined behavior in order to free both men and women as much as possible from their previous narrow gender roles.”

There is also a flavor of feminism referred to as “Eco-feminism.” Its basic tenet is that a patriarchal society will exploit its resources without regard to long term consequences as a direct result of the attitudes fostered in a patriarchal/hierarchical society. Parallels are often drawn between society’s treatment of the environment, animals, or resources and its treatment of women. In resisting patriarchal culture eco-feminists feel that they are also resisting plundering and destroying the earth and vice versa.

As Christians, what should be our response to all of this discussion within our culture? Does the Bible advocate the oppression of women? Is requiring appropriate role distinctions the same as denying rights to members of our culture based upon their gender? In other words, does enforcing biblical roles for the genders within the church amount to oppression?

My view is that God created human beings as both male and female—both are equally created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27). However, there always has been and always will be a distinction made between the appropriate roles God designed each of the sexes to fill. Acknowledging this difference must not be equated with endorsing or advocating an evaluation of superiority or inferiority.