A Review Of Ronald W. Pierce. “Partners In Marriage And Ministry.” -- By: Todd L. Miles
JBMW 18:1 (Spring 2013) p. 30
A Review Of Ronald W. Pierce. “Partners In Marriage And Ministry.”
Minneapolis: Christians For Biblical Equality, 2011.
Associate Professor of Theology
In Partners in Marriage and Ministry, Ronald W. Pierce summarizes his convictions and concerns regarding the roles of men and women in the family and church. Calling for relationships marked by mutual partnership, Pierce hopes to persuade the lay audience at which the book is aimed to rethink the traditional complementarian biblical interpretations that call for male leadership in marriage and ministry. Pierce, longtime Professor of Bible and Theology at Biola University, former board member of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), and the co-editor of Discovering Biblical Equality (InterVarsity, 2004), has dedicated a significant portion of his academic and ministerial life to the egalitarian cause, and this book represents a brief summary of his thinking on the relevant biblical texts.
The book is brief and concise and does not advance any new arguments or biblical interpretations. Everything in the book can be found in greater exegetical and explanatory detail in numerous egalitarian works by Pierce and others. Such is the intent of Partners in Marriage and Ministry. Pierce’s goal is to summarize his theology of the roles of men and women in the church and family. Written for the lay person, and directed toward those who are curious about what the Bible teaches on male and female roles, it reads like a primer on egalitarian theology and biblical interpretation. Partners in Marriage and Ministry is comprised of an introduction and three major sections, “Partners from Creation to the Cross,” “Partners in Marriage,” and “Partners in Ministry.” Each section ends with principles for application, and each chapter ends with discussion questions.
In the introduction, Pierce begins with some biography, chronicling his early commitment to male leadership in the home (which he describes as “baggage”) before he “began to study the Bible in earnest regarding the topic,” where he discovered that he could find “no evidence in Scripture that God intended for only one to lead and the other to follow” (11). His thesis is that “the unity and diversity shared by men and women should be characterized by mutual submission in the body of Christ—in both the church and the home” (11). The rest of the book seeks to advance that thesis.
As I mentioned earlier, the book, by design, does not advance any new theories, interpretations, or models. Rather, it summarizes Pierce’s egalitarian i...
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