Noted author, theologian Mary Kassian joins SBTS faculty

by Jeff Robinson, posted Friday, July 22, 2005 (12 years ago)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Mary Kassian, one of the foremost scholars and theologians on issues of feminism and biblical womanhood, has been appointed as distinguished professor of women’s studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Kassian will begin teaching at Southern Seminary during the spring semester of 2006, seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said.

She is a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and is author of several books on feminism and gender issues, including two recently released works: “The Feminine Mistake” and “In My Father’s House.” Kassian’s other works include “The Feminist Gospel” and “Women, Creation, and the Fall.”

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Kassian founded Alabaster Flask in 1999. Alabaster Flask is a ministry aimed at strengthening Christian women and families. Kassian annually speaks and teaches women in seminaries, Bible colleges and churches around the world.

"We’re absolutely thrilled to have the person I consider to be the premier evangelical scholar and writer in the area of gender roles join the Southern Seminary faculty,” Mohler said.

“As distinguished professor of women’s studies, Mary Kassian brings an international reputation combined with deep biblical convictions and a tremendous ability to communicate, to teach and to share her passion for a biblical understanding of these issues.

“This is a great development for Southern Seminary and another representation of what God is giving us in this faculty. We look forward to having Mary join us in the classroom, on the faculty and as a part of the Southern Seminary family."

Kassian will teach classes within Southern’s Women’s Ministry Institute on such topics as prayer, gender roles within the church and family, and feminist theology. Part of Kassian’s role at Southern will be to assist new Director of Women’s Programs Jaye Martin in developing a long-term vision for the school’s women’s program.

They hope to put in place a center for women’s leadership that is known across the globe.

“What attracted me was the opportunity to develop a vision and direction for where the program is going,” Kassian said.

“Our longer-term vision is to develop a center for women’s leadership and to bring the various elements of the program under one umbrella and to develop it into a world-renowned center where women can go for training and continuing education and that sort of thing.”

Kassian is a veteran analyst of the trends within culture as they relate to gender issues. Over the past two decades, Kassian says she has witnessed a full embrace of feminism in both the home and the church that mirrors the culture.

Whereas Christians 40-50 years ago virtually assumed that the husband was the God-ordained leader of the home, today egalitarianism -- the belief that God has gifted men and women equally so that no role is limited to one sex -- is the assumption, Kassian said. Dealing with this issue biblically is part of her vision for teaching women at Southern Seminary.

“Even now in Christian homes, women and men come into the churches and do not have that understanding [of male leadership in the home],” Their default setting I believe really is for the most part egalitarian rather than complementarian [the belief that men and women are equal before God but have different roles].

“So there is a whole lot of careful teaching and convincing and persuading and expositing of the Scriptures that needs to be very intentionally done ... in order to build healthy marriages, healthy relationships and healthy church bodies.”

Women need to be teaching women the great truths of biblical womanhood in line with the Titus 2 model, Kassian says. This, too, is part of the broader vision for equipping women she brings to Southern.

“I think that women are the ones that need to be teaching women on this issue,” Kassian said. “It is very difficult, particularly in our culture, for a man to be coming in and teaching a woman these things. There is a resistance. It certainly is important for church leaders to be teaching that sound doctrine, so I am not saying that men ought not to be teaching -- they ought to be teaching it.

“But it is also important that women be reinforcing that and for women to be teaching women and for women to be modeling biblical womanhood.”

Kassian and her husband, Brent, have been married for nearly 23 years. They live near her hometown and have three sons. Brent Kassian served as a bi-vocational pastor for several years and for the past six years has served as chaplain for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. Their 18-year-old son Matt is an amateur hockey player who is expected to be selected by a professional team in the National Hockey League draft.

While contemporary culture is awash in gender confusion, Kassian says she sees hope in a younger generation of women for whom feminism has become a broken cistern.

“A lot of the young women I speak to are really disillusioned with the path their mothers have gone down in terms of feminism,” she said.

“They see that that really hasn’t provided the answers. The questions they are really asking are, ‘How do I make my marriage work? How do I make my family work? How do I make my relationship work?’ I believe if we point them back to the Word of God and have them believe it and live by it and have men and women together daring to take God at His Word, then I believe there will be hope.”

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