Book Review: Freedom & Boundaries

boundaries deyoungWhat do complementarians think and why do they think it? Why do some churches, men, women, denominations and networks in this day and age still think that some roles are reserved only for men. For some people that is just simply an unfathomable mystery or the answer is found in misogyny, sexism, power games and oppression.

Kevin DeYoung does his best in 170 pages to explain the views of complementarians and deal with all the relevant key texts, gives examples of what that actually means in a local church and deals with some of the more common objections and rebuttals.

As in most books (on either side of the debate) there is little that is new here, after all everyone knows the key texts, the arguments are well rehearsed on both sides, and very little new evidence has been brought to the table in quite some time. However, even though the texts haven’t changed the culture has and increasingly one view is seen as outdated so for that constituency there remains a need to keep presenting the position.

DeYoung writes well, writes clearly, logically and marshalls all the relevant information in a clear and concise manner. He’s also (I think) mostly a calm voice, trying not to antagonise, trying not to caricature (I think) and with an awareness that his position and many men who hold it have both abused it and caused great pain. It is an attempt to handle the issue pastorally as well as theologically.

As such, whether you agree with all that DeYoung says (and many will not) it is perhaps the clearest and most accessible presentation of the broad complementarian position (there are differences, it’s not a monolithic block). I’m not sure I would define ‘teaching’ the way DeYoung does being more in agreement with John Dickson on that one.

However, if straw man arguments are to be avoided and you want to read just one side (as opposed to two) then this is probably the first book I’d recommend.



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