Removing the Veil: Revealing God's Truth for Women
Women and men interested in women's roles in the church and at home would be well served by reading this book. The author does a great job of summarizing more recent theological arguments, with plenty of Biblical and cultural research, making the issue more accessible to Christians who haven't had theology training. Women in ministry are especially discussed, but many points are made that correspond to gender roles overall. The book first takes a look at the history of the church, showing the roles women played in the early years and how things developed to where they are today. Of course, the main verses that touch on women's roles are brought up and discussed, taking into consideration cultural differences and the Biblical story of women as a whole. With common sense and Scripture references, the author points out how women were certainly powerful and valuable leaders in the early church. The book shows how views about women and their roles have shifted over time and how different denominations have dealt with the issue. The author herself is the senior chaplain of a women's prison ministry, and she shares some of her experiences from that ministry in the book, as well as many notable historic events that changed the role of women in the church. Lastly, the book calls on women to rise up in the church and take their rightful place. With solid arguments to support an egalitarian viewpoint and reassurance for women who feel called by God to serve in a ministry, this is a to-the-point, engaging, Biblically-based discussion that people on both sides of the issue would benefit from reading. By Margaret English, 224 pgs, pb. ~ Rachel
Egalitarians believe men and women are equal in the eyes of God and, therefore, should be equal in the eyes of men. While recognizing complementary differences in the genders, this group advocates partnership between men and women, believing this was God's intention from the beginning and may now be "restored." Men and women were jointly given dominion over the earth as partners. The fall caused shame and separation between the sexes, including the domination of males over females. Since Christ's redeeming work on the cross, women are now free to be full heirs and partners in the body of Christ. They are called and gifted by God and may even be called and gifted to lead, preach and teach. Supporters of this position have also formed an organization called Christians for Biblical Equality. Several of the many proponents of this position include Douglas Groothuis, Ronald Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, Gordon Fee, Linda Belleville, Stanley Grenz, Alvera Mickelsen, and Gilbert Bilezikian.
The "Gender Issue" has been referred to as the greatest debate in the church today, or the most divisive issue among Christians. Perhaps it isn't an issue at all to you - perhaps you've long since decided on what's truly "biblical". However, there are many facets to this discussion and each "side" of the debate earnestly believes they are taking "the" biblical stance. As with other divisive issues, much of the debate is as old as the debate over Bible translations or whether the Bible should be translated "word for word" or "thought for thought" or other hermaneutical considerations. One of the most crucial determinations is our understanding of God's pre-fall design for mankind - and more specifically his design for each gender. While we don't propose to resolve these issues here, we are attempting to provide you with books representative of three distinct positions on the "gender issue" and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you in your personal conviction on this issue. A brief description of each position (as best as we can summarize from the materials) follows, along with several books that do a much more thorough job of explaining each. Within each one of these basic stances, there seems to be a spectrum as well, so it is difficult to categorize books. There are also many other books and materials available and we may expand this section later.