I don't know about you, but when I walk down the Christian living aisle at my local Barnes & Noble, besides the Priscilla Shirer devotions, most of the female Evangelical authors do not represent me.
On one shelf are more traditional Evangelical women who cocoon themselves in generic self-help topics and self-focused jargon that shies away from addressing our wayward world. Rarely do they acknowledge real assaults on Christian women like Baronelle Stutzman, a Southern Baptist 72-year old grandmother who was recently punished by the Washington Supreme Court for operating her small business consistently with her faith. Nor do they consider the beautiful example of our Christian sisters facing horrific persecution for the faith. These voices often fail to write, "This is what American Christians should be doing..."
On the other shelves are progressive Evangelical and post-Evangelical women advocating liberal social political policies as the only way to show Christian compassion and charity. Even though they stray from traditional Christian teaching, these women areoffering their own answers to pressing culture issues.
Take for example popular author Jen Hatmaker. She's a major Evangelical Christian speaker, reality-TV personality, and author of several books and Bible studies. A hailstorm of media publicity praised Hatmaker's recent embrace of same-sex relationships and marriage. To put Hatmaker's influence into perspective, she has 123,000 Twitter followers and nearly 700,000 Facebook fans. Most are Evangelical women.
Not all young Evangelical women follow popular figures within the Evangelical Left, but they are no less immune to their nice-sounding Christianese and distorted use of Scripture.
Perhaps you've noticed some in your church are starting to affirm same-sex marriage as "loving." Or you've noticed some Christian thinkers placing scare quotes around the term "religious freedom" and referring to a "Christian persecution complex." And maybe you're unsure of why Christians support Israel or pro-life legislation.
Because where are the conservative Evangelical women thoughtfully addressing cultural issues grounded in Scripture?
In 1 Peter 3:15, the Apostle Peter instructed his listeners to "in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect."
The Institute on Religion & Democracy hopes to aid young rising leaders among Evangelical women in Washington, D.C. as they "make a defense" of Gospel truths in the public square. That's why on November 2, we're hosting our first-ever training event targeting Evangelical women in their 20s and 30s. The gathering will equip rising leaders in advocacy, ministry, and policy on how to address major hot-button cultural issues with clarity and thoughtfulness grounded in Scripture. For more information or to RSVP for our "Evangelical Women in Public Policy and Pubic Witness" panel discussion, please click here.