Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

The Genesis paradigm, which is Traditional Christian teaching on gender, and the modern prevailing gender paradigm are at variance and causing friction across many spheres of life, which way should the Church go?

Written by: on January 28, 2023

We are living in interesting times, and I often find myself trying to reconcile my mind with things that are hard to believe are happening because they defy logic and convention. Where are they coming from, this is a question I find myself asking many times as I look at the trends in our world today. One of those things is the whole phenomenon of the Gender paradigm. I have lived in a society that clearly defines gender and their roles and whose definition of gender has been reinforced by Christianity which is the dominant religion. Any attempt at varying the definition or the conception of gender is sneered at and, in most cases, will not be tolerated. This gender paradigm will, therefore, not feature in public debate, and this is well captured in a statement by our sitting Kenyan president. BBC interviewed him as to whether his government will embrace the issue of LGBTQ, to which he said, “We have too many problems to solve to uplift the living standards of our people who are living in poverty; please spare us the pain of dealing with issues that cannot help us, we have more serious problems to solve.”  The reality of things is that we cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand and assume that these issues do exist or they do not concern us; the world has become like a global village, and if we ignore them, they will soon negatively affect us, our children and he generations to come. We have a responsibility to recognize that it is a problem that needs a solution, and as Christian leaders, state what we stand for and responsibly state the truth in love. I admire the courage of Abigail Favale in taking responsibility and confronting the gender paradigm issue and writing her book, The Genesis of Gender, to not only add her voice to the raging debate but to try and help people to understand the gender paradigm.[1] Favale is an English professor and dean at George Fox University, who embraced the postmodern feminist theory in the early part of her career but was later drawn to the Catholic Church by its teachings on Christ’s incarnation and our own. The book is a result of weaving together her narrative, academic research, and theological insights, which will be very helpful in guiding debates and helpful to Christians, regardless of their current views on gender.

Primarily, the problem stems from the differences in the conception of reality and its relationship with language between traditional Christian teaching and postmodern gender theorists. The Genesis paradigm, or traditional Christian teaching, is based on the creation theory in the Bible, where the book of Genesis reveals that God created male and female equally in the image of God and yet also designed these image-bearers to be different from one another. Favale says,

Their difference is complementary but asymmetrical; this is not a mirror image or polar opposite. She resembles him in their shared humanity—” bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”—but differs in the feminine form of her humanity. Genesis affirms a balance of sameness and difference between the sexes.”[2]

At the same time, other gender theorists would rather that we believe that what we call reality is a “linguistic and social construction.” Favale explains the difference by saying in Genesis, “the divine speech makes reality; human speech identifies reality. In contrast, most gender theories are a worldview that what we think of as reality is a linguistic and social construction and that human speech creates reality. In explaining the different forms of feminist thought, she exposes the philosophical and spiritual bankruptcy of the Gender paradigm.[3] Based on this distinction, she identifies the various forms of feminist thought, from existentialism to intersectionalism, giving their genealogy and relating and contrasting them with each other, as well as the Christian worldview. Her experience with the feminist movement and her current involvement in the Catholic church a big factors in her elaborate work that will be an important guide in the gender debate.

Certain issues the touch on doctrine in her book raises concern. She denies the Mosaic authorship of the book of Genesis, stating that the book of Genesis was written in the 6th century B.C.[4]  Therefore, she refers to Genesis as a “true myth,” but a myth nonetheless, which goes against the doctrine of inspiration and undermines her work.[5]

Favale is sensitive to the need for Christians to take responsibility to reach out to the people who identify themselves as transgender as people whom God loves and is concerned about them. She gives examples of people who have been reconciled to God through love and patience. As the debate rages, it affects many people, and Christian leaders should take responsibility for stating the truth with love and boldly. We cannot sit back and let the debate continue without taking the necessary steps to state the truth in love.

[1] Favale, Abigail. The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory. (San Francisco, CA. Ignatius Press, 2022).

[2] Ibid,….pg. 39.

[3] Favale. The Genesis of Gender. Pg. 30.

[4] Ibid,….. Pg. 34

[5] Ibid,….. Pg. 37

About the Author


Mary Kamau

Christ follower, Mother of 3 Biological children and one Foster daughter, Wife, Pastor, Executive Director of Institutional Development and Strategy in Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org.

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