Evangelical theological seminaries approach feminism with renewed interest

Specific courses in Spain address “one of the most important ideological issues of the present”.

Daniel Hofkamp , Evangelical Focus

Protestante Digital · 23 JANUARY 2023 · 16:00 CET

Photo: <a target="_blank" href="https://unsplash.com/@sincerelymedia?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Sincerely Media</a>, Unsplash, CC0.,
Photo: Sincerely Media, Unsplash, CC0.

Beyond the debate on the role of women in the church, there is a need for an in-depth approach to the theological, historical and social perspectives of feminism. An understanding that it is one of the issues that forms the social paradigm nowadays in Western cultures.

This is what different evangelical entities and seminaries are perceiving, and the reason for opening windows on the issue of feminism, with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, as Karl Barth would say.

Several pastors had asked us to work on this issue of feminism. We have to bear in mind that - together with environmentalism - there are several specialists who consider these to be the two strongest ideologies in the West at the moment”,  explains evangelical pastor Francisco Mira, one of the coordinators of an online course organised by the Evangelical Centre for Bible Studies (CEEB) in Barcelona that will run from January to June.

Entitled “Feminist movements: a Christian perspective”, the course proposes a “historical, sociological, ideological and biblical approach” for which the speakers are historians, theologians, psychologists, psychiatrists and specialists in the field.

“We believe that this course can help us to think about what feminism is, where it comes from, and how the church has historically approached the issue”, adds Mira, who hopes that the course will be well received.

Among the speakers will be José Moreno Berrocal, pastor, theologian and president of the Theology working group of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, who will address the topic of “women in the history of the church”. Moreno Berrocal briefly explained to Spanish news website Protestante Digital his thesis. “When Christianity has had a certain influence in history, the position of women has improved notably. Where Christianity is barely perceptible or rejected, women are equally unjustly treated. Where Christianity departs from the Bible, as was also the case at many points in the Middle Ages, women, too, are socially relegated to the background”.

Others joining the conversation are evangelical pastor Asun Quintana (the current situation of feminism), historian Mario Escobar (history of feminist movements), IFES Graduates leader Jaume Llenas (contributions and self-criticism of Christianity in the recognition of women), theologian Stuart Park (theology of women in the Bible), and psychologists Lidia Martín (incompatibilities between secular feminism and Christianity) and Ester Martínez (violence against women and pastoral care).


More initiatives

Furthermore, Asun Quintana, who is also the promoter of the Seneca Falls platform and president of the Women and Society working group of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, is also developing a training space on feminism in the Faculty of Theology of the Assemblies of God, which was presented recently with a conference given by pastor Ángel Bea, historian Antonio Simoni and herself.

Such initiatives, which are taking place in a range of evangelical contexts in Spain, show a growing interest in feminism, which Asun Quintana says is positive, as it values those who are dedicated to “raising awareness and training on the issue of women's equality” from transversal platforms, “clarifying concepts, studying the feminist movement in depth and redeeming the term, sometimes deformed and demonised, and showing the biblical perspective of equality between men and women”.

It is “fundamental that evangelical leadership treats this issue as a fundamental biblical principle”, believes Quintana, since churches “have to be an example in the equal treatment of women”. “Building bridges to society on those issues” is important “to show them the biblical response and to be heard”.

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