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.
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.
- The resource offers a critical assessment of the biblical texts used to support traditionalist teachings, as well as the texts that support biblical equality. These resources may be scholarly or popular in nature. Examples:
- Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy edited by Ron Pierce, Rebecca Groothuis, and Gordon Fee
- Man and Woman, One in Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Paul's Letters by Philip Payne
- 10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage by J. Lee Grady
- The resource informs readers about women of the Bible as examples of the shared leadership and authority of males and females, by assessing their strengths, and the ways in which God has used them. The resource may also address some of the difficult ways in which women were treated in the Bible. There are many books written on females of the bible, but CBE is interested in books that show how gender is not an obstacle to leadership; to holding spiritual authority; to preaching and teaching, etc. Examples:
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.)
- The resource demonstrates how an understanding of the Bible (and biblical equality) affects relationships with others. This may include titles relating to marriage, family, relationships, abuse, or psychology. Examples:
- Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife by Ruth Tucker
- Destiny Denied by Barbara Boone Wooten
- Responding to Abuse in Christian Homes: A Challenge to Churches and their Leaders edited by Catherine Clark Kroeger, Nancy Nason-Clark, and Barbara Fisher-Townsend
- Ending Violence in Teen Dating Relationships: A Resource Guide for Parents and Pastors by Al Miles
- Heirs Together: Applying the Biblical Principle of Mutual Submission in Your Marriage by Patricia Gundry
- The resource demonstrates how men and women can work together to further the gospel. This may be accomplished by informing the reader about spiritual gifts. Examples:
- Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space, and Influence by MaryKate Morse
- Equal to Rule: Leading the Jesus Way by Trevor W. J. Morrow
- Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church by Nancy Beach
- Equal to the Task: Men and Women in Partnership by Ruth Haley Barton
- The resource shares the personal stories of people coming to an understanding of biblical equality in their own lives. Examples:
- A Sword Between the Sexes?: C. S. Lewis and the Gender Debates by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen
- How I Changed my Mind About Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals, edited by Alan E. Johnson
- The resource brings to light the contributions of past or present women who have followed their callings, providing tangible examples of biblical equality being lived out. Examples:
- Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters: A Historical and Biographical Guide Marion Ann Taylor and Agnes Choi, eds.
- Extraordinary Women of Christian History: What We Can Learn from Their Struggles and Triumphs by Ruth Tucker
- Why Not Women?: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton with Janice Rogers
- Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey
- The resource provides historical information relevant to the discussion about women and men in the church, home, and society. Examples:
- No Time for Silence: Evangelical Women in Public Ministry Around the Turn of the Century by Janette Hassey
- Women and Worship at Corinth: Paul's Rhetorical Arguments in 1 Corinthians by Lucy Peppiatt
- Women in the World of the Earliest Christians by Lynn Cohick
- The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West by Gary Macy
- Bold Girls Speak: Girls of the Bible Come Alive Today Mary Stromer Hanson
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.
- The resource addresses equality as it relates to ethnicity and/or class. The resource may address the issue from varied perspectives, but we are especially interested in resources that address reconciliation. Examples
- Coming Together in the 21st Century: The Bible's Message in an Age of Diversity by Curtiss Paul DeYoung
- Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World by Mae Elise Cannon
- The resource addresses the way in which language or culture affects our understanding of the Bible and God. Examples
- Abusing Scripture: The Consequences of Misreading the Bible by Manfred T. Brauch
- Sweet Surrender: How Cultural Mandates Shape Christian Marriage by Dennis Hiebert
- Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels by Kenneth E. Bailey
- The resource helps readers come to a clearer biblical understanding of gender and sexuality. Examples:
- The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define by Jenell Williams Paris
- Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach by Judith K. Balswick and Jack O. Balswick
- The resource provides information about theological ideologies in order to help the reader understand the similarities and differences between these ideologies and biblical equality. Examples:
- Who's Tampering With the Trinity? An Assessment of the Subordination Debate by Millard J. Erickson
- The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology by Kevin Giles
- Over time, we may discover other areas that are related to the discussion of biblical equality, but not outlined in these examples. CBE has the freedom to evaluate these resources to determine if they would aid the discussion. Examples:
- A Little Handbook for Preachers by Mary S. Hulst
- Finding Their Voices: Sermons by Women in the Church of Christ by D’esta Love
- Accepted in the Beloved: A Devotional Bible Study for Women on Finding Healing and Wholeness in God's Love by Leslie Ann McKinney
- Women in Ministry: Four Views edited by Bonnidell and Robert Clouse
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!