Editorial -- By: Peter R. Schemm, Jr.

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 10:1 (Spring 2005)
Article: Editorial
Author: Peter R. Schemm, Jr.


Peter R. Schemm, Jr.

Editor, Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Dean, Southeastern College at Wake Forest
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina

In 1991 a cadre of complementarian scholars published what has become known in popular circles as “the big blue book” or “RBMW.” It is in no way an overstatement to say that Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem, is one of the most significant evangelical books on gender that has been published in the past two or three decades. Indeed, in 1993 RBMW won Christianity Today’s book of the year.

RBMW includes the officially published copy of the widely affirmed Danvers Statement around which complementarians have united since 1987. Though not all complementarians affirm every detail of every chapter of the book, nevertheless, there has been a strong consensus that it represents us well. Still in print today, this text is well received by students whose instructors argue for a traditional view of gender roles—in our estimation, it remains the uncontested, single volume work of its kind. Though its contributors come from a variety of theological backgrounds, RBMW is united in its robust and winsome vision of biblical manhood and womanhood. It is at once clear, charitable, and convincing.

Nearly a decade and a half later, egalitarians have now offered their written response to RBMW. The work is titled Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy (DBE), edited by Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, with contributing editor Gordon D. Fee (Downers

Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004). It is said to be “the first comprehensive scholarly collection of essays from an egalitarian perspective to have been published in North America in the past thirty years.”1 The book is not identified formally as a “rejoinder,” and several of the chapters in DBE do not even interact with their counterparts in RBMW. Yet it is clearly a response to RBMW— its title, cover, and the order of the table of contents each mirroring RBMW. As coeditor Ronald Pierce says, “I have dreamed of a volume like DBE for decades…. I wanted a text to set beside John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s 1991 comprehensive work … so that my students could read a strong defense of both views from a wide array of recognized scholars and make up their own minds.”2

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