Reissig encourages women to rediscover God’s good design for womanhood
“We are [God’s] story to a watching world. It also means that you, as a woman, were created in his image and you have incredible worth and value,” she said. “You are equal to men, not because feminism says so, but because God says so.”
Reissig, author and assistant editor for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, lectured on the topic of her new book, The Accidental Feminist: Restoring Our Delight in God’s Good Design. Reissig said she hopes to see women rediscover joy in the God-ordained purpose and plan for biblical womanhood. She believes Christian women can do this through studying what culture says about womanhood and how the Bible redefines it.
Reissig defined feminism as equality means sameness. She reviewed feminism’s history and then stated four “myths” women believe from feminism, followed by the biblical truth for each myth.
According to Reissig, the first myth from feminism is that women define themselves. Between careers, education, and other life choices, feminism tells women they can create their own identity, she said. But the biblical truth is that God defines women as three things: image bearers, life givers, and helpers.
A person’s gender is not a mistake, she said, and God designed women to glorify him in unique ways while being equal to men in worth. They represent him, and as they represent God, they give life. As life-givers, both married and single women give life in the face of a dark and dying world, she said. Married women give life to babies, and single women can give life and encouragement to friends, families, and their churches. All women are called to give life, and it will manifest itself differently in each season, she said.
Helper, she said, is a characteristic of God in Scripture. Women mirror the Lord when they help others, and should rejoice in this task. Reissig included both single and married women in the call to help others. Wives help their husbands, single women help and encourage their churches, friends, and families, she said.
“The most important thing you can do as a woman who wants to delight in God’s good design is to love God and his Word right now,” she said. “You can do more as a helper and life- giver through rooting yourself in God’s Word than any other means will accomplish in your life.”
The second myth of feminism is that women can have it all at once, including career, family, church, and friends, she said. Scripture says that all people have limitations. Reissig pointed out that only God accomplishes everything completely. And, as a grace to Christians, God does not leave them alone, she said. Instead, God appoints each season for his glory and his purpose, and Christians are to fulfill that purpose until he moves otherwise.
“If we look at our lives in the context of our seasons, and like the author of Ecclesiastes says, that they have an appointed end, we have eyes to see that the myth of having it all really is just that—a myth,” she said. Reissig encouraged the women to trust God’s guidance for each season of their lives, remembering that only he can fulfill the deepest desires of a person’s heart.
The third myth Reissig reviewed was that marriage and children can wait. Feminism tells women to settle into a career, a life, relationships, before they settle into marriage and a family.
“Treating marriage as an option to be discarded or as something that can come after you’ve done the important things in life is treating the reality of our salvation lightly as well,” she said. “Marriage is a metaphor of a far greater reality. Like our very lives, it images a cosmic story of redemption that we simply cannot discard as meaningless or a choice among many good options.”
Women, both single and married, need to embrace marriage and family as good gifts to be embraced, not put off until convenient. Marriage and children are something a person is never prepared for, she said.
And the fourth myth is that teaching gifts in the church are ultimate. When women in the church emphasize teaching, it diminishes the beauty of the other gifts of service, she said. All gifts, from the kitchen committee to teaching toddlers, are vital to the church, she said. And ultimately the church needs all of the gifts to function at its best.
The event included a panel discussion with seminary president’s wife Mary Mohler, GraceAnna Castleberry, Rachel Ware, Reissig, and Kari McCullogh as the moderator. The women discussed various aspects of feminism in the church, how it affects single and married women, and how to best serve women from different walks of life in the church.
“The hope for all of us as women is not to resolve to do better tomorrow or figure out what it means to be a helper or life-giver and then implement the best way,” Reissig said. “The hope for all of us is to look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, and to lean on him for the grace to live as the image bearers we were created to be.”
More information about women’s events at Southern Seminary is available at sbts.edu/women.