In the World

Is Feminist a Baptist Word?

Molly T. Marshapp
Molly T. Marshall


Molly T. Marshall

We cannot understand Baptist identity over the past several decades without paying attention to “women’s entry into leadership and ministry,” as Dr. Eileen Campbell-Reed has contended. I believe that the fear of women’s leadership was a galvanizing element in the conservative resurgence, and it prompted a highly selective reading of the “inerrant” Bible.

Feminism is still perceived as threatening and remains on the margins of most curricula, yet clearly the analysis this perspective provides can reveal how fundamentalist rhetoric on the role of women is chaotic and determined by a hermeneutics of convenience and protracted control. Keeping silent about this makes us complicit in oppression.

Thankfully, there are men who gladly bear the title of feminist. Glad to share power with women, they have the privilege and responsibility of being advocates and, in many instances, gatekeepers of access, for which I am grateful.


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We are a progressive Baptist Church affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. We have been in Palo Alto since 1893. We celebrate our Baptist heritage. We affirm the historic Baptist tenets of: Bible Freedom, Soul Freedom, Church Freedom, Religious Freedom

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