Many people are aware that women’s wider opportunities to use their leadership gifts in both society and the church are due primarily to the efforts of women’s movement—a feminist movement that began in this country in the mid-eighteen hundreds and was closely allied with the abolitionist movement. Yet as Christian women confront the complex (and often negative) baggage carried by the word “feminist” today, these women can often feel ill-equipped to sort out the many social and theological issues regarding women’s roles in the nineteen nineties.
Women in Christian leadership will greatly benefit from reading a book that has become a contemporary classic—What’s Right with Feminism. Author Elaine Storkey is a prominent British evangelical who currently directs the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and is a colleague of John Stott. Storkey is a sociologist, philosopher, theologian, wife, and mother who has also lectured extensively at various Christian institutions in the United States.
What’s Right with Feminism has been in constant demand in the decade it has been in print, because Starkey brings both a wealth of scholarly background and an international perspective to her keen analyses of key issues facing women today. For example, her section on Marxist feminism is helpful in understanding aspects of the women’s movement in areas of the world that have not abandoned communist ideology. Her critiques on both anti-feminist backlash from the Christian community and the tangents taken by radical Christian feminists (and post-Christians) are invaluable.
Storkey argues for the development of “a biblically rooted Christian feminism.” After tracing the long and honorable history of what could be called classic feminism, she urges women and men to develop personal and institutional relationships based on a comprehensive biblical view of gender matters. Only a truly scriptural response to sexual injustice and disharmony will bring lasting reconciliation between women and men, and open the Christian community up to full use of women’s gifts in all areas of faith and practice.
This review by Gretchen Gaebelein Hull was first printed in The Lydian Network and is reprinted by permission.