The stories of eight incredible women and their desire to spread the gospel against extreme adversity will overwhelm the heart with passion, love, and forgiveness. Each experience personifies Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”
Women in God’s Mission, from cover to cover, is a descriptive narrative which very closely follows Lederleitner’s own life-long experience in missionary leadership. Lederleitner also shares the thoughts and stories of women born and reared in approximately thirty countries from around the world. They are presently “serving and leading in many types of ministry,” which Lederleitner describes as “influencing others towards God’s purpose in the world.”
The Beguines were a Christian ministry originating among the women of the laity outside of those who took monastic vows and entered convents. The “Beguines” gained their identity from a Belgic root-word—beg—meaning to mumble or to speak without clarity. This term was used disparagingly by highly privileged men who were jealous of women who were able to live independently economically and hold positions of privilege. The Beguines represented a broad spectrum of women of differing backgrounds who gave their lives and means to help the destitute, the ill, the downtrodden, and the homeless. Laura Swan’s history of the Beguines is the first good complete treatment of the Beguines that this reviewer has ever seen.
The view that only men can use their gifts in service to the Lord is too widespread in our churches today and should be countered by the evidence. I believe that Eminent Missionary Women, though gently written, is an antidote to unscriptural teaching by patriarchal groups. It is tragic that in our day so many people in the church actually believe that women are only called to serve men in the home.
Women in the Church is a dangerous book which should not have been published because, while it appears to be scholarly, it actually teems with historical and theological errors and also emotional subjectivity. Alan G. Padgett has provided a critical rebuttal to Women in the Church in the Winter 1997 issue of Priscilla Papers. I refer readers to his technical refutation of the key themes of Women in the Church. I will highlight other problems with the book and critique its basic tone.
Gary Hoag revisits the topic of wealth in the letter of 1 Timothy, asking whether the teachings found there are consistent or inconsistent with other teachings in the NT, or whether it might be a mixture of the two. Scholars are divided on this question. Hoag’s findings rest on cross-referencing the terms in 1 Timothy with a novel, Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus. This novel was originally thought to have been written in the 2nd or 3rd century CE, but having been recently codified as an ancient Greek novel of the mid-first century CE, we now know that it was written at the same time as Paul’s ministry as portrayed by Luke in Acts. It’s a valuable source in shedding light on the social setting or Sitz im Leben of the letter, and Hoag studies in particular five passages: 1 Tim 2:9-15; 3:1-13; 6:1-2a; 6:2b-10; 6:17-19.