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."
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.
Kristina LaCelle-Peterson writes a compelling outline of Christian feminism that serves as a valuable tool for the average evangelical seeking more refined and informed thinking about gender from a biblical perspective.
Craig Keener's 1-2 Corinthians is a wonderfully engaging and easily read commentary on Paul's letters to the Corinthians. It is tightly packed with documented information from ancient sources on the historical/social/cultural setting of Corinth in Paul's time. This information enables the reader to understand more clearly the intentions behind Paul's letters to the Corinthians, underlining how the cultural emphasis on rhetoric in Paul's time shaped his writings.
The great benefit to Starbuck's book is in its ability to pose deep questions in a friendly way, thereby encouraging Christian women of many ages, cultures, and points of view to dialogue. In a culture that bombards women with destructive ideas about their worth and identity, and in a church that has not adequately addressed its deep devaluing of females, Unsqueezed is a refreshing challenge that I highly recommend we take up.
If you want a book to give to your feminist friends and your feminist skeptics, pick up Jesus Feminist. Bessey’s gentle and profound reminder of the biblical message of feminism has the power to break down barriers, unravel misconceptions, and raise the spirits of undercover Jesus feminists.