Book review: The gender agenda

I continue to regularly read books on the role of women in church leadership, seeking to weigh the various arguments as carefully as I know how. The latest is The Gender Agenda by Lis Goddard and Clare Hendry. The book takes the format of a series of exchanged emails between Lis and Clare as they debate this issue. Both women minister in the Church of England and teach and preach. Lis is convinced that all roles are open to both men & women whereas Clare is convinced that there is…

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Book Review: Hearing her voice

John Dickson is a minister in Australia and a senior research fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University in Sydney. He describes himself as a ‘soft complementarian’ and in this short e-book, Hearing Her Voice: A Case for Women Giving Sermons he makes the case for opening the pulpit to both men & women. His argument is very simple and very concise but it’s also limited. Dickson doesn’t discuss leadership and as a result has ample opportunity to offend complementarians by going too far and egalitarians by not going far enough.…

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How do you solve a problem like Deborah?

Every now and then I comment on the debate about the role of women in the church, and the arguments on both sides are well rehearsed and increasingly entrenched. One of the key examples given for the egalitarian case (those who believe that every role or office in the church is open to believers of either gender) is the old testament character of Deborah. It’s often seen that Deborah poses a challenge to the complementarian view (those that think that God differentiates some roles according to gender while loving and…

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What the Bible says women can do: some reflections

I recently compiled a list of positive examples of what the Bible clearly affirms for women, in an attempt to start from a positive rather than more negative question of whether there are any restrictions. Having spent some time reflecting on this list, there are a few observations that stand out to me. See what you think. Firstly, the idea that women should be restricted to home-making and childcare is bunk. This isn’t to underestimate the importance of the role of wife and mother but to argue that’s where it…

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What the Bible says women can do

I always tread carefully before stepping into the muddy waters of writing about the Bible and gender roles. It’s an arena that usually ends up in greater separation not unity and proves to be an exercise in how not to engage charitably with those who don’t see things your way. The first point is to pay attention to the title of this post; it’s a positive one. While that won’t stop any debate from ending up wrestling with the question, ‘is there anything the Bible says a woman can’t do?’…

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Gender myths and other stuff

Following my post last week on fighting over Junia, there have been a few more posts worth mentioning on the subject of gender roles. Firstly, in my opinion, Andrew Wilson has written an excellent post busting twenty myths in the gender debate and has been very even-handed busting ten from each side! To demonstrate why this whole debate matters and generates a lot of heat and passion, let me give you a couple of examples that I’ve read recently. Firstly Paul Levy wrote about reaching men in university and then this…

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Fighting over Junia

Every now and then one of the hot topics bursts into life on some of the blogs I read and over the past few weeks that’s happened with the issue of the role of women in the church. This post gives the links to who said what and where. I think it may have started with these posts by Krish Kandiah when he posted on women, men, church and twitter part 1 and part 2 An earlier post by Krish led Mark Heath to ask ‘do complementarian churches hinder women…

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