Reviewing Books for CBE

CBE regularly reviews books that are relevant to our mission (whether supportive of our work or not). We post reviews online, and if we recommend a book, we also carry it in our bookstore. This is a big project, so we are always looking for people to help.

Here's an overview of our process.

The Book Review Process

If you're interested in becoming a reviewer, you will need to read this page in its entirety, then complete our Book Reviewer Application.

For each resource reviewed, we ask for:

  • A 600-800 word written review of the book. This should evaluate the book's message and overall quality, as well as its usefulness to egalitarians. We typically post these reviews on our website.
  • An evaluation of whether to include the book in CBE's bookstore. If a book affirms our mission, we may include it. If it doesn't, we won't.

Any time we assign a book for review, we will provide a form with more detailed instructions for the reviewer, including specifications for the written review and a list of things to check for when evaluating a book for the bookstore. The reviewer will return the review and completed form to CBE.

You may receive a hard copy or digital version of the book, and depending on the situation, we may request that you return the book to us so that we can also evaluate it closely. Especially if you're a new reviewer, or if the book has especially tricky subject matter, it's important for us to conduct a second evaluation before deciding whether to include it in our store.

We request the reviewers finish reading and reviewing a book within 4 weeks of receiving it, if at all possible. We can be flexible as needed.

To facilitate your reviewing and evaluation of resources, we have put together some basic criteria and background information for reviewers.

Evaluation Standards

When you evaluate a book for inclusion in the bookstore, we'll ask you to respond to the following (think about these when writing your written review as well):

  • Is the content of this resource consistent with CBE’s mission, doctrine, and values?
  • Is the resource explicitly about biblical gender equality or gender and leadership in a Christian context?
  • If no to the above, is the resource related to the topic or would it be helpful/relevant for egalitarian readers? (e.g. it could be about marriage, leadership development, pursuing one’s calling, culture, biblical interpretation, etc., written from an egalitarian perspective that assumes equality and shared authority/leadership between women and men.)
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Are the writing quality and format satisfactory? (e.g. grammar, typos, visually appealing format, etc.)
  • Is the argumentation and/or scholarship sound (e.g. is the information accurate and current)?
  • Is the writing and writing style compelling and appropriate for the audience?
  • If applicable, does the author fairly describe opposing viewpoints and show respect for people who disagree?
  • Does it contain any cultural, political, or religious viewpoints in conflict with CBE’s values, which CBE’s audience might find objectionable (e.g. endorsement of same-sex marriage, does not take the Bible to be authoritative, etc.)? 

In order to effectively answer these questions, reviewers need to have a strong understanding of CBE's mission and priorities.

CBE's Mission and Bookstore Priorities

Because the bookstore is a branch of CBE International, its purpose can be found in CBE's mission statement:

"CBE exists to promote biblical justice and community by educating Christians that the Bible calls women and men to share authority equally in service and leadership in the home, church, and world.”

The criteria for evaluating resources are first and foremost found in CBE's mission statement, and therefore all resources must adhere to CBE's statement of faith and align with our mission, core values, and vision. This means: 

  • All resources affirm that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, is reliable, and is the final authority for faith and practice. For instance, some materials claim that the Bible is patriarchal or that certain biblical texts are not authoritative. We believe that while many ancient societies were patriarchal, the moral teaching of Scripture opposes patriarchy or male domination. Our resources explain the biblical passages in their historical and cultural context, rather than discounting certain passages altogether.
  • All resources affirm the essential dignity and shared authority of men and women of all ethnicities, ages, and classes. We believe the Bible teaches that all men and women are equally created in God’s image for shared dominion, and our resources reflect this belief. We also avoid using stereotypes to categorize groups of people, as each person is an individual made in the image of God.
  • All resources affirm that men and women are to diligently develop and use their God-given gifts for the good of the home, church, and society. We believe God gifts believers regardless of their gender, and that these giftings should be used for God’s glory. We encourage husbands and wives to mutually submit to one another. In the same way, we encourage the Christian community to recognize the gifts of men and women, and allow them to be used to build up the body of Christ.

Secondly, each resource is chosen on its own merit. Therefore, we carry each resource based on its agreement with CBE's statement of faith, whether or not the author has expressed agreement elsewhere or in other venues. By including a resource, CBE is not endorsing the entire body of work by an author, or the organization or denomination they represent.

While the evaluation standards and mission priorities above seem clear, it can be quite difficult to decide whether a particular title is appropriate for CBE. To make this easier, the following list summarizes the priorities of our bookstore, in order of priority. Also included are books examples of books that meet these priorities.

1. The bookstore's first priority is to carry resources that teach the shared leadership, service, and authority of women and men from a biblical perspective.

2. The bookstore's second priority is to carry resources that show how biblical equality affects individual lives. (These resources may not address gender equality to the extent that the first priority resources do, but it is still part of the discussion.)

3. The bookstore's third priority is to carry resources that expose the impact of patriarchy through other disciplines other than biblical scholarship. These resources may not address biblical gender equality as directly as the first two priorities, but may further CBE's mission because their work shows the impact of patriarchy. In other words, the resource is related to biblical gender equality in that it— in some way—dismantles patriarchy. So if the resource deals with parenting, economics, education or some other aspect of life, it addresses the negative impact of patriarchy in a way that exposes, challenges, and dismantles it.

CBE will also evaluate resources based on cost, availability, appeal, and other factors to determine if a book should be carried. And, while we highly value reviewer input, whether or not to include a resource in CBE's bookstore is entirely up to CBE's discretion.

Become a Book Reviewer

Now that you know a bit more about our process, guidelines, and priorities, apply to be a book reviewer for CBE!