July 9, 2008

Hearing Her: Evangelical Women's Voices in Bioethics

When we think about women's voices speaking to any particular issue in society, it's easy to assume those voices belong to secular feminism and not evangelical theology. This isn't to suggest that there are no evangelical women theologians involved in important areas like bioethics, but the numbers are low and have little bearing on what is referred to as "women' issues." This is a topic I will be speaking about next week at CBHD's summer bioethics conference.

Part of the problem is internal. Evangelicalism doesn't provide much space for the female theologian as she is almost always relegated exclusively to matters of the home (if she is married).. The debates over roles in the church and family limit the likelihood that a woman would enter into the theological academy, and as a result her voice is silent and she has little influence on other women in church and culture.

Feminists and other women's rights activists have a significant voice in public debate largely due to the fact that the Christian community is viewed as being oppressive of women, something that is not entirely true. But the absence of female voices can feed into that generalization.

Grounded in a theology committed to a historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture, evangelical women can bring a voice of faith, reason and experience to bioethics issues. The experienced joy of womanhood within the framework of a Christian worldview is an invaluable resource for the church in ministry to women in church and society at large.

1 comment:

Collin Brendemuehl said...

I'm trying to figure out the difference between your generous complementarian position with the more moderate egalitarians. Could you expand?