J. Lee Grady’s 25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church : A Review Article -- By: Rob Lister

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 09:1 (Spring 2004)
Article: J. Lee Grady’s 25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church : A Review Article
Author: Rob Lister

J. Lee Grady’s 25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church1 : A Review Article

Rob Lister

Managing Editor, Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Louisville, Kentucky

J. Lee Grady—a staunch proponent of egalitarianism—wrote 25 Tough Questions About Women and the Church as a way of publicly responding to the kinds of gender role questions that he is frequently asked to address. As it unfolds, the book is presented as something of a popularly written egalitarian field manual (xi), addressing questions that range from matters of interpretation to assessing the value of moms staying home with children to counsel on how and when to defy the authority of church leaders. In all of this, Grady’s underlying thesis seems to be that one’s gifting and calling are the only relevant factors for discerning roles in ministry and in the home (ix). According to Grady then, any consideration of gender—be it for the office of elder in the church, for leadership in the home, or for other related considerations—is an evidence of unbiblical gender prejudice and therefore ought to be eliminated entirely from our thinking (viii).

Before proceeding to a detailed analysis of Grady’s proposal, however, several preliminary observations need to be highlighted. In the first place, it should be noted that Grady is an evangelical and an inerrantist (ix), which means that he has committed himself not to dismiss key passages that are inconvenient for his view. This is, of course, a commendable starting point. What’s more, several of his concerns are entirely valid and shared by complementarians. For example, biblical complementarians wholeheartedly agree with Grady’s identification of the abuse of women as an intolerable injustice (4). He also appropriately counsels those who have been sinned against, even in this terrible way, not to harbor unforgiveness in their hearts (5). Grady even recognizes that “[g]ender differences are part of the creation order” (16).2

Despite those commendable acknowledgements, however, Grady’s central aim in this book is the advancement of an egalitarian thesis, and it is this complex of interwoven arguments that calls for a response. The fact that the book is popularly written—and therefore likely to receive a wider reading—only heightens the need for a response. In offering this review then, it is my judgment that Grady, though undoubtedly well intended, has produced a line of argument that runs counter to the Bible’s teaching and that will ultimately prove harmful to the health of the church. I note the unhealthy effect on the church not to be mean-spirited, but merely as an observation that any...

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