Becoming a Woman of Dominion -- By: Courtney Reissig

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 15:2 (Fall 2010)
Article: Becoming a Woman of Dominion
Author: Courtney Reissig


Becoming a Woman of Dominion

A Review of Mark Chanski, Womanly Dominion: More Than a Gentle and Quiet Spirit. Merrick, NY: Calvary Press, 2008.

Courtney Reissig

Writer, Speaker
Louisville, Kentucky

Every few months an “expert” will appear on a morning news program belittling the vocation of wife and mother in light of the great “options” now made available to women in the twenty-first century. To be the former means limiting a woman’s choices and “letting down the team.” To be the latter means showing the world just how far we have come since the days of June Cleaver and the dutiful wife.

But according to Mark Chanski, godly womanhood means working for a purpose much higher than the corner office and executive title. In Womanly Dominion: More Than a Gentle and Quiet Spirit, Chanski, pastor of Reformed Baptist Church in Holland, Michigan, writes to dispel the “false stereotype of a Christian woman being a helpless and frail mouse, who passively shades herself under the parasol of her soft femininity, and adoringly waits for her husband to do all the heavy lifting” (13). He argues that godly womanhood is much grander and stronger than the modern feminist’s caricature of wimpy housewives desperate for freedom from patriarchal men. Chanski runs the gamut of issues related to womanhood in this book. While some topics receive more discussion than others, he speaks to virtually every practical and theological aspect of womanhood. Much like what he did in his previous book for men, Manly Dominion, Chanski takes the command to “subdue and rule” in Genesis 1:27-28 and applies it to womanhood (15).

Chanski divides the book into three parts. In the first part (16-59), Chanski explains the concept of womanly dominion and the assumptions and assaults against womanhood. In this part he provides a framework for dominion that shapes the rest of the book. He shows that the “dominion mandate” given in the Garden was for both Adam and Eve. Chanski aims to help women understand what it means to exercise dominion in this world, and “provide answers at a critical hour when misguided voices from both sidelines, and even from inside her own head, are shouting at her all kinds of foolishness” (20). In order to understand womanly dominion, Chanski says, a woman must learn (using a sports analogy) to “play her position” (21). Part of playing her position means having a proper theology of work. Chanski shows what work is supposed to be, regardless of the location of the work. When women work, they are “imitating God, in whose image [they] are made” (29). He further explains that women need to “work and play with a win it instead of with a surrend...

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