The Challenge of Christian Feminism
The closing section traces Bushnell’s waning years, from the end of World War I to her death in 1946. Even as she sought to continue her purity work, Bushnell considered her efforts to develop a feminist theology her work of greatest significance. Although Bushnell died in obscurity, God’s Word to Women would continue to circulate around the globe in the decades after her death. Conservative Christians, particularly Pentecostals, have found in her writings justification for female preaching and teaching, resources to combat the abuse of women, and inspiration for contemporary anti-trafficking efforts. By providing a theology rooted in a gospel of liberation for women, Bushnell’s work provides an alternative both to secular feminism and to a patriarchal evangelical purity culture. Yet at the same time it demonstrates the challenges Christian feminists face, in America and in the global Church, in constructing a sexual ethic that is both feminist and Christian.
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