News Articles

ANALYSIS: Source of CBF leader’s speech contains lesbian, erotic writings

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Allegations of plagiarism by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Resource Coordinator Reba Cobb of a 1970s-era sermon might be unnerving enough to the moderate Baptist organization’s leadership, but the source of Cobb’s message, may be even more startling to Baptists.

The Wisdom of Daughters: Two Decades of the Voice of Christian Feminism, which was for sale in the CBF exhibit hall, is a full-orbed defense of the far-left of American religious feminism. The volume includes numerous essays advocating goddess worship, lesbianism, abortion rights, and even the integration of some elements of witchcraft into Christian spirituality. Moreover, the book was commended in materials distributed at the CBF by one of the organization’s partner ministries, Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM).

In addition to “The Bent-Over Woman,” by David G. Owen, of which Cobb’s June 27 sermon to the BWIM meeting is a nearly exact replica, the book includes various essays encouraging the worship of goddesses, including “Mother God” and Sophia, the goddess of wisdom. The book refers to Sophia as the co-creator of the universe, and as the mother of Jesus.

The book further suggests that goddess worship may be a remedy to the problems many feminist women have with Jesus. After all, many Christian feminists “ask how Jesus as a male can be an adequate role model and savior for women,” notes Reta Halteman Finger, who co-edited the volume with Kari Sandhaas. Finger notes that it is not only Jesus’ maleness, but also His relative youth that gives her, as a middle-aged woman, difficulty in looking to Him.

“I first discovered the honoring of older women in Wicca, the Old Religion, where the various stages of a woman’s life are represented by the Maiden, the Matron, and the Crone,” Finger writes. “I instinctively felt that Wicca had grasped an aspect of the Good News that a more male-oriented Christian church had overlooked or repressed.” Wicca is a form of witchcraft, popular in some segments of contemporary New Age spirituality. Looking into her own Christian faith tradition, Finger writes, she was overjoyed to find Sophia worship.

“As we mentor, love, and serve as role models for others, it is comforting to know that we are still children compared to Sophia, the Ancient of Days, present with God at the world’s creation,” Finger writes. “There is still a lap for us to crawl into, arms that fit around us.”

Another essay calls on Protestantism to integrate the “Great Goddess” tradition of early paganism along with the Marian devotion of Roman Catholicism. Anne Ramirez writes that an image of Mary “reminds me that the One who called the worlds into being has always existed and always will, whether or not we choose to imagine an exclusively male or exclusively female deity.”

“That which is both God and Goddess is also the light of the world, the water of life, the yeast in the dough, and the rushing wind of the Spirit,” Ramirez argues.

The volume also includes an essay celebrating lesbian sexual relationships. Essayist M.J. Rinderer writes of her own lesbian “family” partnership, noting that a friend explained her lesbian relationship to her four-year-old son as that of “married girls.” The article argues that gays and lesbians “make a family” in “the same way that anyone else makes a family.” Various other issues are addressed in the book, ranging from a defense of abortion rights to an erotic poem about the bathing of Bathsheba.

The volume also includes an essay by Joanne Carlson Brown that denounces the Christian doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Brown calls the teaching that Jesus died for the sins of the world an example of “divine child abuse” in which the Father sadistically lashes out at an innocent Child. This view of Jesus as Savior, Brown argues, “is paraded as salvific,” but only serves to legitimize violence against women as “suffering servants.”

The Wisdom of Daughters was not only sold at the General Assembly, but was highlighted in the Baptist Women in Ministry magazine Folio, distributed in the exhibit hall. The Folio review of the book, written by Roxanne Renee Grant-Atkinson, notes the recent experience of the reviewer being asked to read “A Prayer to God Our Mother” aloud to a friend, because “I just need to hear it in a woman’s voice.” The review hails the book as “a valuable gift,” noting that “Reading this book, I rejoice.”

Grant-Atkinson is listed on the Folio masthead as a member of the Board of Directors of Baptist Women in Ministry.

    About the Author

  • Russell D. Moore