Nothing New Here -- By: Jason G. Duesing
JBMW 15:2 (Fall 2010) p. 52
Nothing New Here
A Review of Global Voices on Biblical Equality: Women and Men Ministering Together in the Church. Edited by Aída Besançon Spencer, William David Spencer, and Mimi Haddad. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2008.
Chief of Staff, Office of the President
Assistant Professor of Historical Theology
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas
The fourth title in the House of Prisca and Aquila Series, a series which seeks to “empower women and men to minister together in a multicultural church,” regrettably does little empowering due to the presentation of a muddled picture of biblical equality (ii). With contributions from a wide range of egalitarian authors, Global Voices on Biblical Equality contains descriptive and sometimes differing perspectives of the status of women in various contexts. At times the chapters veer more into an analysis of the current place of women in society and fail to address their relationship to men and how the two are ministering in the church—both key features of the book’s subtitle. At other times, the chapters take a polemical tone and claim global unanimity for egalitarian interpretations of key biblical texts without adequately referencing or dealing with the legitimate questioning of those interpretations. These observations aside, some aspects in the volume are helpful; and exposure to the latest egalitarian perspective provides an opportunity for learning and further understanding of this particular interpretation of biblical equality.
Edited by Aída Besançon Spencer, William David Spencer, and Mimi Haddad, Global Voices on Biblical Equality comes together as a survey “exploring how well we are succeeding in fulfilling God’s intention for us to work in unity to bring Christ’s reign in all our lives together as God has commanded us” (xx). However, while some of the authors argue clearly for the achievements of ontological equality between men and women—something with which this reviewer and most complementarians agree—inconsistency when discussing the functional roles of genders in society, church, and home brings confusion in the volume. In Haddad’s introductory chapter, for example, she endeavors to show how the gender debate is really a reform movement with ties to the Protestant Reformation and also the Abolitionist movement. Linking the three together, Haddad rightly notes that a return to Scripture is key to all genuine movements of reform (3). However, she denounces a hermeneutic that relies on “a plain reading of Scripture,” citing that such was the folly of slavery advocates as well as contemporary complementarians. Haddad is persuasive; and by blurring any distinction between ontological equality and functi...
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