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Beyond Sex RolesWoman in church and family—again

Here's another book (see Discovering Biblical Equality below) arguing for an egalitarian viewpoint on the role of women, and it's a persuasive one. It is Beyond Sex Roles: what the Bible says about a woman's place in church and family by Gilbert Bilezikian (Baker Academic, 3rd Edition, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8010-3153-3).

The author faces up boldly to every relevant Bible text and every common argument for women's subordination and, with both scholarship and passion, puts forward an alternative viewpoint. I read this book straight after Wayne Grudem's Countering the Claims of Evangelical Feminism, which I found pedantic and unconvincing, whereas Bilezikian's treatment of the subject has (to borrow J.B. Phillips’s phrase) the 'ring of truth' about it. Ultimately, the whole issue is one of hermeneutics and you must decide for yourself where you stand. As for me, I've changed sides decisively on this one—see my Shifting Ground article.

Conspicuously absent in Genesis 1-2 is any reference to divine prescriptions for man to exercise authority over woman. Because of the importance of its implications, had such an authority structure been part of the creation design, it would have received clear definition along with the two other authority mandates [God over humanity; humanity over nature]. The total absence of such a commission indicates that it was not part of God's intent. (p30)

[Eve] was led into error by none other than God's archenemy, a powerful supernatural opponent. Adam was led into error by his wife. (p35)

This text [Prov 31:10-31]…accomplishes a verse-by-verse demolition of the male-dominated hierarchical structure that issued from the fall, by showing God's ideal for women—to share fully in the responsibilities of governing community life in the family and beyond. (p58)

'And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy'… In the age of the Spirit, the highest levels of ministry will be open to believers without regard for gender. (p97)

Consistently placing the responsibility for the final word on the husband…puts an unrealistic burden on the husband always to make the right decision. It also promotes a cop-out mentality for the wife, who then resigns herself to the status of permanent loser or of devious manipulator of the power-wielding male. (p99)

[Re 1 Cor 14:33-35] The appeal to the practice of the 'churches of the saints', the unwarranted adducting of 'the law', and the unyielding comprehensiveness of the injuction to silence indicate that Paul is quoting derisively the words of his Judeo-Christian opponents, who often troubled the churches he had established in Gentile territory. In this prohibition statement, Paul is giving them back one of their own slogans. He is citing their own teaching in order to oppose it. (p114)

[I have reviewed another, more comprehensive book on this subject. Click here to read it.]

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