16.3.09

A book review I'd like to read in full




Kevin Giles reviews Wayne Grudem’s Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism.

Here's a few snippets of the full review

If the hierarchical complementarianism “men and women are equal, yet role-differentiated” gender paradigm of Grudem, John Piper, the True Woman Movement, CBMW and others is so biblically sound and “divinely inspired,” why can’t it stand up to scrutiny? ...

When an author claims that one’s interpretation of God’s word is God’s word without any caveats, then, by implication, one is claiming to speak for God. The
author is asserting that what he says the Bible says is what God says, and, thus, if you disagree with him, you are disagreeing with God...

Evangelical egalitarians do not reject the authority of Scripture; they reject an
interpretation of the Scriptures that suggests that God’s unchanging ideal is the subordination of women.
..

Here's Giles' response to Grudem's charges:
1. Egalitarians endorse the authority of Scripture, but not the authority of human interpreters. To dispute an interpretation is not to dispute the authority of Scripture itself.

2. We do not embrace the several secular feminist agendas. We are motivated to work for the full emancipation of women on exactly the same ground as other evangelicals have opposed unjust rulers, slavery, apartheid, racism, human trafficking, and ignoring the poor. It is not secular humanism, existentialism, Marxism, or any other “ism” that motivates us, but the Bible.

3. We embrace sexual differentiation; what we deny is that the permanent subordination of women is God’s unchanging ideal. No evangelical egalitarian is arguing for a dreary unisex society or church and never has. We want the equal contribution of women as women and men as men, complementing each other.

4. We accept without question or dissent what the creeds and confessions actually say about the Trinity: the divine three persons are one in being and authority. They are “co-equal.”

5. On male “headship,” the situation is more complex. I, for one, hold that the answer lies in a sound method of interpretation that fully acknowledges cultural contexts. Paul lived in a world where the subordination of women was taken for granted and patriarchy prevailed. Paul subverts this patriarchy by saying that
“headship” in a Christian marriage involves serving one’s wife with agapē love, even to the point of giving one’s life for her. The challenge for both hierarchists and egalitarians is how to apply these words in a culture that insists on the equality of the sexes.
It is my hope that the erroneous arguments put forth in Evangelical Feminism will be overcome as more and more Christians discover, firstly, that the partnership understanding of marriage advocated by Jesus and Paul as the ideal is the most enriching, and, secondly, discover that allowing women to use the charismata that Paul insists are given without discrimination to men
and women will enrich the life of the church.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.