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.
Eldredge’s immense popularity, must not be allowed to disguise the fact that his suggestions are often incongruent with the teachings of Jesus. Although the author’s premise may be valid (men are bored with contemporary church life; change must be made in an effort to address this problem), his corollary ideas are both untrue and harmful.
Giles, a longtime egalitarian, establishes what the Bible actually teaches by critiquing biblical arguments for the permanent subordination of women; in other words, Giles critiques complementarian theology and methodology.
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.
In The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth, Beth Allison Barr shares her personal story of rejecting complementarian views on male headship and female submission.
Answering his title question in the affirmative, Giles forcefully argues that “headship teaching can encourage and legitimate domestic abuse and it must be abandoned if domestic abuse is to be effectively countered in our churches.”
Wayne Grudem’s commitment to Scripture is to be commended, but his lack of serious engagement with key challenges undermines a work that has been over twenty years in the re-making. Those looking for an evangelical systematic theology that is up-to-date on recent theological and exegetical advances should look elsewhere.
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.
My advice: Buy this book. Read it slowly. Chew on its words. Digest its content. Let its truths tutor your mind, penetrate your soul, and motivate you toward embracing, modeling, and conveying a more humble, Christlike expression of power.