Charles Ryrie (1926-2016) And The Role Of Women In The Church -- By: Dorothy Kelley Patterson

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 021:1 (Spring 2016)
Article: Charles Ryrie (1926-2016) And The Role Of Women In The Church
Author: Dorothy Kelley Patterson

Charles Ryrie (1926-2016) And The Role Of Women In The Church

Dorothy Kelley Patterson

Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas


For more than half a century I have been intrigued by the legendary theologian Charles Caldwell Ryrie.1 As a young adult, I was drawn to his writings because of his clarity and depth. Ryrie has always wielded his pen in an incisive but winsome way, drawing his readers into a private classroom full of biblical knowledge to be unleashed and philosophical conundrums to be considered. He is one of the few theologians who is equally at home and adept at explaining the breadth of theological issues while pursuing a depth of understanding that appeals both to the young novice who is only beginning her spiritual journey and to the seasoned scholar who still looks for something new under the sun!

Ryrie’s Basic Theology remains my standard text in the courses I teach on understanding the foundational underpinnings of Scripture and faith, and the volume also has a place in the resources I keep close to my desk for ready reference to bring clarity to a student question or to my own wrestlings with how best to frame a discussion on issues of theological debate. Of course, the Ryrie Study Bible was the forerunner in what has been a steady stream of study tools that surround the text of Scripture with brief annotations and explanations—a desk volume for both pastors and laity who seek better understanding of the truths of Scripture. His works have been translated into twenty languages and are scattered around the world in theological training centers as well as in the hands of those who struggle to understand God’s Word without the benefit of large personal theological libraries or formal training.

With this background in mind, let me draw your attention to the volume that has meant the most to me—not only in enlightening me on the difficult questions burning in my own heart but the most divisive issue that has come to the forefront of Christendom in the decades completing the last century and moving into the 21st century in which we now live and work. That question is this: What can a woman do in the church of God? Are women needed or wanted in the service of Christ and His kingdom? Again, Ryrie finds himself in the role of a prophetic scholar engaging in cutting-edge debate over a question that really had not been asked when he first penned this work as his doctoral dissertation in the mid-twentieth century, nor was the issue really of importance when Moody Publishers first issued his monograph on the subj...

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