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Feminism and Appropriate Roles for Women

This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.


Does the Assemblies of God believe modern roles undertaken by women today to be appropriate for Christian females? Do these roles apply differently for married women and mothers because of family concerns? What position does the Assemblies of God take in regard to the feminist agenda?

The Bible is clear that God the Creator expresses himself both in males and females. "God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27, NIV). The Bible is clear God the Savior offers spiritual redemption equally to males and females. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28, NIV). The Bible is clear God the Father extends His blessing equally to males and females. "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. . . . Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit" (Joel 2:28,29, NIV).

Tradition, culture, and assumptions about the meaning and application of some Bible passages have generated confusion regarding God’s will for men and women. Often this confusion centers around the Christian woman’s place in career, family, and church leadership. (See Question 6, "The Role of Women in the Church.")

Assemblies of God women include homemakers, pastors, educators, doctors, politicians, women in other professional vocations, and volunteers. Church tradition and conservative culture have not always embraced women’s full participation outside of roles, such as child caregiver, teacher, musician, or nurse.

The Assemblies of God believes God gives women and men talents and gifts in all areas of life. The Bible is the standard the church follows. Miriam, Moses’ sister, was a prophetess and leader (Exodus 15:20; Micah 6:4). Deborah was a government leader, spiritual leader, and a wife (Judges 4 and 5). Another woman, Jael, was used of God to fulfill one of Deborah’s prophecies (Judges 4). Abigail was a wise and godly woman who influenced David, Israel’s great leader (1 Samuel 25). Huldah was a wife and God’s spokesperson who inspired a national revival (2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34). Job’s daughters inherited their father’s fortunes equally with their brothers (Job 42:13-15). Zelophehad’s five daughters’ inheritance rights were also honored in contrast to cultural tradition (Numbers 36).

Jesus’ earthly ministry included women; His exhortation to Mary and Martha was to spend time learning from Him (Luke 10:38-42). Luke 8:1-3 records many of the women Jesus healed supported Jesus and the disciples "out of their own means" (NIV). Lydia was a Christian businesswoman (Acts 16:13-15). Phoebe was a church leader (Romans 16:1,2). Priscilla was a Bible teacher (Acts 18:24-26). Women who witnessed the empty tomb were the first to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:1-10).

The example of a godly woman cited most frequently is the Proverbs 31 woman, who was wife, mother, businesswoman, real estate manager, marketer, supervisor, artist, and adviser.

We must be careful to say that the Assemblies of God does not endorse the radical feminist political/social agenda which claims to defend the best interests of all women. The goals of these groups are deceptive: a woman’s right to choice is twisted to support the atrocity of abortion; lifestyles outside of traditional family structures become a warped emphasis on lesbian rights; a woman’s right to a career becomes an aggressive degradation to women and mothers who do not choose a job outside their homes. Radical feminists cite religion as a tool of oppressors. These agendas become an organized platform to degrade, bash, and hate men. The Bible teaches mutual Christian submission and respect.

The Assemblies of God believes in and supports rights for both males and females. The church also believes that men and women are partners in protecting and nurturing families. Godly parents must dedicate themselves to raising children with godly character. Together, mothers and fathers are responsible to make career, economic, and personal choices that strengthen the family. Single women who are not parents must also honor God in their relationship roles and vocational choices. The role choices husbands and wives, single mothers, or single women make may be varied, some may be dictated by economic need or may be untraditional–but the choices must reflect obedience to God’s Word and will.

God’s Word holds women in high regard. Females and males are together the complete physical expression of God’s image in humanity. God-given gender differences are to be protected and celebrated. God has clearly communicated that neither gender is spiritually or socially superior. The Assemblies of God will continue to give women opportunities to be copartners in the work of the Kingdom. "God does not show favoritism" (Acts 10:34, NIV).

CONCERNS:

The Assemblies of God is not associated with nor does the church seek identification with the militant, radical voices that break godly moral and ethical standards. This concern keeps the church silent when it should speak out. There must always be divine love and compassion for people oppressed because of an ungodly social order. The church believes the answer to the injustices perpetuated by the radical feminists is to support women by encouraging them to creatively fulfill various roles in personal obedience to God. This is one aspect of the true freedom found in Christ (John 8:36).


The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching.

All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.