Does Christianity oppress women? What is feminism? Those are just some of the questions a female apologist tackled during a recent discussion examining the need for women to actively engage with the discipline of defending their faith.
Online video ministry One Minute Apologist posted a series of short takes with Dianna Newman, director of admissions at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, North Carolina, and a member of the school's apologetics team. Newman also is listed among the speaking team for the International Society of Women in Apologetics.
In her discussion with One Minute Apologist founder and host Bobby Conway, pastor of Life Fellowship, Newman is presented with a series of questions that include: What Is Feminism?, Does Christianity Oppress Women?, What Is The Greatest Issue Women Apologists Face?, among others.
Below is a transcript of Newman's responses, followed by videos of her appearance on One Minute Apologist.
What Is The Greatest Issue Women Apologists Face?
Newman: "The greatest issue I think is not much different from what we've been talking about through all of human history. The question is what does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be male and female? That's the greatest question because we can talk about the issues, the cultural issues, social issues, etcetera. But it if we don't first establish what it means to be female, what it means to be a male, then our answer in some sort of way is going to be skewed. The culture assumes without giving any justification or demonstration sometimes about what it means to be a female, but we have to be willing to do that at the top."
What Is Feminism?
Newman: "Feminism has different waves and stains to it. Certainly not all feminists would affirm the same things. I think very generally speaking, when feminism came onto the scene, women were very interested in equality with men, equal representation in the polity, equal representation when it came to being recognized in society," she said. "But the type of feminism we're dealing with today in the culture says that men and women are exactly the same except for anatomical differences."
"It's with that type of feminism that I don't agree with at all. For instance, you can take a look at the role that men play distinctly and uniquely in the life of a child and that role is very different from what a woman brings to the table."
"Men and women are complimentary, they're not identically the same."
Does Christianity Oppress Women?
Newman: "I wouldn't be defending Christianity if it was oppressive to women. But I think the culture, generally speaking, assumes that it is oppressive to women. [As] an answer to that question, I would just ask for examples from Christian doctrine, from the New Testament where we can see that it is permissible for women to be oppressed. I would ask for examples from the life of Christ or even the words of Christ that would lead us to conclude that Christianity is oppressive."
"But if those two questions can't be answered, well then Christianity isn't oppressive and maybe we have to admit that Christians throughout time have been oppressive toward women. Those are two separate questions though."
"We can look at the New Testament and we can see the vitality and the necessity that women had, the role that they played in the church. We can look at the empty tomb — it was women who were there at the tomb first and went and brought the news to the disciples. Women were very integral to the ministry of Paul and even to the ministry of Jesus, so I don't see anywhere in the New Testament where Christianity is oppressive to women."
As noted by Newman in her below video discussion with Conway, Christians are called on in the New Testament to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).