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.
While this book does not explore new territory regarding the issue of women in ministry, it does serve a useful purpose: This is an ideal book to give your pastor, especially if he is straddling the fence on this issue. One pastor speaking to other pastors can have a powerful impact.
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.
In 1991 Lutz met with leaders of two other global women's movements, the Women's Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Lausanne Women's Network, to see how they could work together. A book committee was set up to include representatives of the three groups, and Lutz was commissioned to do the writing.
The book's thirteen chapters deal with the many facets of concern that arise when we seek to examine the issue of gender and the church: the theology of gender, gender in the Bible, sex differences, homemaking vs. careers, masculinity and femininity, violence and gender, aging, singleness, racial ramifications of gender, and parenting concerns.
Intellectually we know God is beyond gender; however, using only masculine pronouns sends image-shaping messages to our hearts and minds that are incorrect. By neglecting the feminine imagery for God, we have distorted our understanding of God.
Woman in the Pulpit exposes the myriad ways in which Christians read the Bible inconsistently. "A practice prohibited in one sentence and regulated in another, by the same author, shows either variability in opinion, or else an intended limitation in the original prohibition."
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."
Carroll Osburn's second edition of Women in the Church is a welcome contribution to the ongoing conversation on this topic, and he has reworked the book to take advantage of new developments and research. It feels like a textbook, but nonstudents will still glean valuable insights.
Sarah Sumner writes an apologetic that is especially helpful to dissatisfied complementarians who do not want to see themselves as "feminists." She wants the Christian community to function as the family of God.