As Christian women confront the complex (and often negative) baggage carried by the word "feminist" today, these women can often feel ill-equipped to sort out the many social and theological issues regarding women's roles.
Groothuis clearly defines and describes Evangelical Feminism in contrast to other forms of feminism and in distinction from "traditionalism." Two other areas treated in the book make significant contributions from my point of view. One is the historical evidence that the church has accepted in its view of the role of women from the culture, rather than constructing a truly biblical view. The second is the role that Satan plays in restricting women's use of their Spiritgiven gifts in ministry to the church and to the world.
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.
Val Webb has written an engaging, readable, and mostly historical approach to feminist theology. Her thesis is straightforward and often restated: "The goal of this book is to look at the diversity of the feminist movement and show how limited and inaccurate negative stereotyping is."
Slaves, Women and Homosexuals is a hermeneutical tour de force. Webb severs ties with traditional hermeneutical textbooks by offering intra-scriptural and extrascriptural criteria and a case study approach (akin to W. M. Swartley's Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women) rather than a step-by-step methodology.
Daughters of Islam: Building Bridges with Muslim Women is a wonderfully relevant book for Christians who have little knowledge of Islam or the people who subscribe to it. This book helps readers peer into the hearts of Muslim women, to perceive what they feel and think, and to understand how they live.
Based on my reading, Winter in each instance seems to interpret key texts in dispute in a way completely in sympathy with the hierarchical-complementarian agenda. If his exegesis were compelling we would need to listen, but it is not.
Rise Up is primarily about African American women discovering their capacity to lead, whether in large or small ways. In the introduction, Rose gives a wake-up call to African American women, claiming that there is a crisis in church leadership and African American women need to step up into those roles.
Alan Johnson's work on 1 Corinthians is particularly engaging. His reference notes and bibliography provide an entry into further study if desired, all while maintaining an appealing readable style. He deftly bridges the two horizons of the Greco-Roman culture and American culture.