A Cruciform Christian Feminist Credo

For my systematic and biblical theology class last semester, I got to write up a personal credo as well as a catechism.  The intention of both the credo and the catechism was for me to develop material from which I would be able to teach others about a particular topic in theology.  I chose to focus on questions of gender as it relates to theology (since I was working on other projects on a related topic) and came up with this credo which I have dubbed ‘A Cruciform Christian Feminist Credo’.

It’s a work in progress, and much of it needs to be refined and/or flushed out, but I think it’s a good start.  I really enjoyed this project because it forced me to begin refining my own thinking, especially when it came to the catechism and proposing specific questions and crafting specific answers.

I based the structure of my credo off of the Nicene Creed.  I sat down to write this without any sources, except for the Nicene Creed for reference, but as you can tell I’m largely influenced by the work of Michael Gorman, particularly with reference to his work on cruciformity.[1]  While this credo reflects my own personal beliefs (hence, “I believe…”), I am thankfully indebted to others who have shaped my own thinking.  In addition to my own reading of Scripture, this credo represents years of thinking influenced by a number of teachers, authors, bloggers, etc.  Additional influences (as it pertains to the topic of this credo) include Elsa Tamez, Sarah Coakley, Rachel Held Evans, Philip B. Payne, Beverly Gaventa, Carolyn Custis James, Christians for Biblical Equality, N.T. Wright, Richard Hays, my fellow Cataclysmic bloggers and friends, a number of other bloggers, and more… and of course my extremely gifted and learned HBU profs, past and present!


I believe in the triune God of Scripture, three in one and one in three.
I believe in one God, maker of all creation,
whom we call Father and who is also to us like a mother;
God is our heavenly parent.

God made humankind in his image, both male and female God made them,
to be equal bearers of God’s image and equal caretakers of God’s creation.

I believe that man and woman are equally responsible for Sin,
and both experience the corruption of the Fall.
Woman is no more prone to sin than man, nor man than woman.
The Fall resulted in broken relationships between God and humanity,
woman and man.
Patriarchy is a reflection of a fallen world and
not Godʼs original design for creation.

All of creation is in need of redemption.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Humankind,
who for men and women came down from heaven
to bring salvation, redemption, reconciliation, and restoration.
I believe both genders, male and female, are fully represented in the Incarnation.[2]

I believe Jesus is the revelation of God, and in him all the fullness of deity dwells.
God is like Jesus, for when we see Jesus we are seeing God.
Jesus demonstrated the character of God
in his cruciform living, cruciform loving, and cruciform dying.
God vindicated Jesus, our cruciform Lord,
by raising him from the dead–we now await the resurrection to come.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, who gives life to all
and power to those who are ʻin Christʼ

to live life ʻin Christʼ which is to live as he lived–
cruciformly, cross-shaped, self-denying, radically-loving, God-glorifying.

I believe that Godʼs new creation– inaugurated by the Son and activated by the Spirit–reestablishes the equality of all women and men.
Within this new creation, Godʼs people, the church, actively seek out justice
for the oppressed and reconciliation for all
through the proclamation of and participation in
the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

I believe that cruciformity, that is, living and dying like Christ,[3]
can and will transform this world through the power of the Holy Spirit.

1.  See also my earlier post Kenosis, Cruciformity, and Feminism.
2.  This idea comes from Thomas C. Oden’s discussion on “Was the Incarnation Sexist?” in his Systematic Theology.  See my earlier post Gender and the Incarnation.
3. Michael Gorman, Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (p.48).

11 thoughts on “A Cruciform Christian Feminist Credo

  1. There is no doubt that all created men and women are loved by Father equally. The current feminist movement to elevate equality between men and women is just not found in the scriptures. Men have roles, women have roles. Each different, but equally important. Watering down scripture as the latest NIV translation has chosen to do is division and clouds over what the intent of the scriptures. Why? Pretty sure it was because poor Sally didnt feel equal in the eyes of God. Rubbish! We need to focus on losing ourselves not raising up some feminine gender agenda so that a person feels good about being a part. You are a part. Get over yourself. What part of gender does the spiritual have? What part of gender will really matter to anyone reading this in 100 years. NONE! Let us strengthen what remains. Not cause division. Let us focus on magnifying Christ and Christ alone…. not some agenda of manipulation of some creed so that we all feel better cause we raise up Aunt Sally as a woman. Gender is not a big deal….”HE” is the big deal.


  2. Stan, I’m not sure what part of my creed is divisive… I think both the ideas of cruciformity and christian feminism aim to accomplish just the opposite, not divide but unite what has long be separated. And I think you’re wrong about equality between men and women not being in Scripture. It starts all the way back in Genesis (1 and 2) before the Fall when God makes man and women, both in his image, both set as caretakers of creation with equal responsibility, and picked up again by Paul and the hope of ‘new creation’ (Gal. 3:28, etc.). Furthermore, I think it wise that we employ a redemptive hermeneutic when reading our sacred texts, seeking to understand the trajectory that God’s people are on as time goes on (see William Webb’s Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis for an example).

    I think your comment actually demonstrates why gender IS a big deal. I was a ‘poor Sally’ who for many years didn’t feel equal in the eyes of God simply because I am a woman and not a man. I was told time and again I couldn’t do things that the Holy Spirit was calling me to do, had gifted me to do, because I was a woman and not a man. Gender, dear brother, matters in a world that is broken and loves to oppress.

    And please know, I am working daily to ‘get over myself.’ I’m just a fellow disciple trying to follow her convictions and glorify God through learning more about his scripture, his church, and his character. I certainly agree that Christ is the big deal. Christ is why this even matters at all! Christ is why I’m seeking to understand what a cruciform feminism might look like in response to other forms of feminism. My hope is that many will see that through my work on gender and theology. It’s important to many of us who see sexism as a grave and harmful injustice in the world. God is the answer

    This is just a blog. Most of this is me thinking out loud and working through what I’m learning and where I feel the Spirit leading me. You are of course at liberty to disagree with me–you will not be alone in this–but I would ask that you would try and respond respectfully and with explicit textual examples if you would like further interaction from me on the topic of the post.


  3. Excellent, Jessica. Contra Stan and his misguided ramblings this is exactly the sort of fruitful reflection on the big picture of Scripture and the Gospel that we need to put into words. It reminds me that the best Christian exegesis may struggle as the level of the trees (there are passages that don’t emphasize equality) but it must succeed at the level of the forest. Your exegetical movements see the big picture for what it is. Well done.


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