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Co-Founder of Biblical Feminism Movement Dies

Co-Founder of Biblical Feminism Movement Dies

Dr. Nancy Hardesty, one of the original founders of the EEWC (Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus), a flagship Christian organization dedicated to furthering biblical feminism, died April 8, 2011, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  She was 69.

Hardesty wrote such ground-breaking books as Women called to Witness: Evangelical Feminism and All We’re Meant To Be: A Bibical Approach to Women’s Liberation (co-authored with friend and fellow-founder of the EEWC, Letha Scanzoni). Her life work–which began at the height of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 70s– was to pose scholarly theological arguments for a more woman-inclusive reading of the Bible. Hardesty’s message was one of an authentic Christian faith that countered the submission theology so often emphasized in a patriarchal society, and with which liberated women so often struggle.

In one of the last essays of her life, Hardesty wrote of feminists’ need to continue the work she’d begun:

“The struggle for full equality for women has not yet been won nor are its gains secure. Within Christianity, one has only to look at evangelical fundamentalism, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox churches to see the need for continued work. Within American society and around the world, women and children are still very much at risk, despite the courageous work of women leaders everywhere…

We have a responsibility to continue to publish, lecture, preach and speak out professionally with the basic messages of biblical feminism. We need to remind Christian denominations in this country and around the world that ordination of women is a matter of responding to the Holy Spirit’s call, not a political marker to distinguish conservatives from liberals. 

We need to keep reminding people that both women and men, girls and boys, are created in God’s image and re-created equally by the grace of God manifested in Christ Jesus. Male domination is a sign of sin, not salvation. All people are called to submit to one another, to love others as themselves.”

A memorial to Nancy Hardesty is to appear on the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today website soon.


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12:51PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

Careful reading of the Gospels shows that Jesus himself had female disciples (not included in the 12 by *later* writers) and that he praised Mary sister of Martha for choosing a non-domestic path. Women often presided over early church meetings for a few decades, until the sexist side of the movement (*not* at that time any more orthodox than any other -- that came later) stopped it. It's hard to know what Paul thought about it, since the most blatant comments were added to his letters later.
The deliberate suppression of women runs throughout Old and New Testament -- but Jesus did not participate, if we can believe anything at all that is written about him. (Those stories are likely to be true because they do run counter to orthodoxy, so wouldn't be made up.)
Still, I have no truck with any religion that doesn't want me. I've known I was a Pagan for 35 years.
I'm sorry to hear of the death of Nancy Hardesty, although I am ambiguous about women who, by struggling for crumbs, help shore up the whole patriarchal edifice.

10:03PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Adele B, the Bible is explicit: God is the head of the husband and the husband is the head of the wife. A woman is forbidden to speak in the church. If she has questions she is instead to ask her husband. And it is equally clear when it says that wives are to be submissive to their HUSBANDS. That isn't a co-submission to God. That's a submission by the woman to the man. That's inequality in my book. We are submissive to those in authority. And no husband is in authority over me.

11:01AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

If Christ chose men as Apostles, just maybe He did it for a purpose? Who are we to argue that we know better than God?
Christ was regarded as such a revolutionary person in the eyes of his contemporaries, that to choose women then might have been O.K., However, it would probably have been impossible for women to fulfill a ministry,because of the strictures of that society.
Even so , we do not know why this did not occur.
However, the role of women in the Church has never really been defined properly. Perhaps we should all encourage this to happen, so that womens' gifts can be truly used for the good of mankind, and the whole Church.
Women do not need to mimic the work of men. We have a very important role already. Seek it out!

6:30AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011


6:04AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Feminisim seems to be a dirty word.

5:33AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Adele b, yes and for that reason the reason that Jesus was sent here to help show and teach what God wanted He was crucified! it is the exact same thing going on in this country right now. Anyone who cares or shows compassion is shunned and deemed inferior. The devil is controlling this world and hates humans and is pitting humans against humans until we are all dead. Look at the greed and the worship of false gods.
Where is Jesus we need Him again :(

1:25AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Cool article.

12:28PM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

interesting arguments...

1:01AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:31PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Christian Feminism? I always thought the two words were an oxymoron.

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