Dr. Lynn Japinga, associate professor of religion at Hope College, wrote a chapter in the book "Feminist and Womanist Essays in Reformed Dogmatics."
In the book, 13 feminist and womanist scholars committed to the Reformed tradition reflect on the meaning of its key theological concepts, including Scripture and tradition, the image of God, creation, providence, election and grace. "Feminist and Womanist Essays in Reformed Dogmatics" was published earlier this spring by Westminster John Knox Press of Louisville and London as part of the Columbia Series in Reformed Theology.
In her essay, "Fear in the Reformed Tradition," Japinga asks why the Reformed tradition expresses so much confidence in the grace and power of God, yet so often operates out of fear. She provides historical examples from several Reformed denominations of the fear of the Other (women, people of other races, and people who disagree), the fear of being wrong, and the fear of being irrelevant. She explores the way that fear has shaped the doctrines of God, election, sin and grace, and offers some insights from feminist and Reformed theology which may provide antidotes to fear.
Japinga has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1992, and specializes in the history of American religion and feminist theology. Her previous scholarly work includes the 1999 book "Feminism and Christianity: An Essential Guide," which introduces the themes and controversies of Christian feminism.
"Feminist and Womanist Essays in Reformed Dogmatics" was edited by Amy Plantinga Pauw and Serene Jones, who also contributed chapters to the book. In addition to Japinga, the other scholars with work in the volume include Dr. Leanne Van Dyk, who is a member of the faculty at Western Theological Seminary and delivered the college's Baccalaureate sermon in 2002.