Book Review: What Bible History Says About Women in Ministry: From Bondage to Blessing | CBE International

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Book Review: What Bible History Says About Women in Ministry: From Bondage to Blessing

From Bondage to Blessing

If you want one book that clarifies controversial biblical passages about women in leadership, documents God's use of women in both the Old and New Testaments, and explains how and why the church grew away from equality after the time of Christ, this is it. In From Bondage to Blessing, Dee Alei traces the argument for biblical equality chronologically through the Bible and history. She also takes readers through the questions to a greater depth of understanding of biblical equality.

Alei is an ordained minister who has worked in a team ministry with her husband for the past 11 years in northeast England. She is a teacher, pastor and counselor.

With thorough research but understandable language, Alei gives the reader tools to see the biblical standard for women's equality within the church. She cites ancient manuscripts, past and current biblical scholars, and her own research, giving readers a thorough but clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about women in ministry and leadership.

The first chapter explains why there has been so much confusion within the church regarding the gender issue—even among evangelicals with similar commitments to biblical authority. The second chapter documents the necessity for in-depth study of the Scriptures, utilizing sound scholarship and the many resources available today. Alei also explains the importance of cultural and historical studies.

The next three chapters provide a study of the Old Testament passages on the Creation, clarifying God's intent for women. Alei then documents God's utilization of women in leadership in the Old Testament. The next three chapters study Christ's teaching and involvement of women in ministry, and its radical challenge to the culture of the day, as well as to the religious culture of that time.

Alei also outlines the church's movement away from Christ's teaching, beginning as early as the third century but especially during the Dark Ages. She shows how the church's attitudes toward women have been influenced by culture and sin, rather than by biblical teaching. This provides a reader with a good understanding of the basis for the present day struggles.

Chapters 10-13 provide in-depth but readable studies on the controversial passages that are most frequently cited to prohibit women in leadership and ministry in the church. These include 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Ephesians 5:21-33 and 1 Corinthians 14:33-35. The variety of cited research, including Alei's own research, provides the reader with a solid basis for understanding God's heart toward women in ministry. Although comprehensive and thorough, these chapters are clear and succinct enough to provide assistance to readers who are new to this topic as well as to those who want a complete summary of the passages in question.

Finally, Alei documents individuals and church movements in the past three centuries that have begun reversing this trend away from biblical equality for women. The book ends with a challenge to the reader to take up the cause. The author believes we are on the edge of a spiritual revolution in this area of equality for women, poised to move from bondage to blessing.

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CBE advances the gospel by equipping Christians to use their God-given talents in leadership and service regardless of gender, ethnicity, or class. Together with supporters and ministry partners from 100 denominations and 65 countries, CBE works to inspire and mobilize women and men with the Bible’s call to lead and serve as equals.

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