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Book offers point-by-point defense of complementarianism

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (BP)–If there is an egalitarian argument against the complementarian teaching on gender, Wayne Grudem’s weighty new book gives the biblical antidote to it.

“Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth” (Multnomah) analyzes more than 100 arguments used by egalitarians in the debate over biblical gender roles. The book is massive in content as well as word count — including eight appendices and the subject index, it totals 856 pages in length.

Complementarianism, affirmed by the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message, is the view that men and women have been created equally in God’s image but have different yet complementary roles. Egalitarianism is the view that that men and women have been gifted equally so that no role is limited to one sex.

More than 13 years after co-editing with John Piper the 1991 book, “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood,” Grudem sets out to answer all the egalitarian arguments against biblical gender roles that have arisen since that book’s release.

Grudem’s new book was released in mid-November to coincide with the annual national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Grudem is a board member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and professor of theology at Phoenix Theological Seminary.

“For some time I have thought that another book was needed for supplementing Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in several ways,” Grudem writes.

In the new book, which Piper says will serve as “the standard complementarian manifesto for years to come,” Grudem seeks to accomplish five goals:

— To answer new arguments made by egalitarians.

— To adopt a user-friendly format that enables readers to find a fair summary of egalitarian arguments from the last three decades accompanied by clear, biblical responses.

— To summarize the results of new scholarly research and to articulate it in such a way it can be understood easily by laymen.

— To provide an updated assessment of where the evangelical world is headed on issues of gender. The book includes policy statements from men and women in leadership from dozens of evangelical parachurch ministries.

— To warn about trends in egalitarianism. Grudem argues that egalitarians employ a hermeneutic that implies a subtle rejection of the effective authority of Scripture in the lives of believers.

Grudem examines more than 100 egalitarian claims and sets forth their arguments from the major egalitarian theologians and writers. For example, Grudem shows how egalitarians make the claim that male headship is a result of the fall in Genesis 1-3. They argue that male headship did not come about until after the fall and is therefore a product of sin. Grudem counters by saying there are at least 10 arguments that prove there was male headship before the fall. (For instance, Adam was created first and Eve was created as a helper for Adam.)

The Q&A format is arranged in 14 chapters according to different topics that deal with issues central to the debate, such as hermeneutics, egalitarian claims from history and experience, egalitarian claims that the complementarian view is harmful, and egalitarian claims about the church from 1 Timothy 1 and 2.

Among the eight appendices, Grudem includes such documents as three reviews of Catherine Kroeger’s 1992 book “I Suffer Not a Woman,” the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and the “Complete List of Eighty-Two Examples of Athenteo (‘to exercise authority’) in Ancient Greek Literature” by H. Scott Baldwin..
“Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth” is available online at www.LifeWayStores.com.

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  • Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson is director of news and information at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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