A Review Of Benjamin Reaoch, “Women, Slaves, And The Gender Debate: A Complementarian Response To The Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic” -- By: Benjamin L. Merkle

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 18:2 (Fall 2013)
Article: A Review Of Benjamin Reaoch, “Women, Slaves, And The Gender Debate: A Complementarian Response To The Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic”
Author: Benjamin L. Merkle


A Review Of Benjamin Reaoch, “Women, Slaves, And The Gender Debate: A Complementarian Response To The Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic”

Phillipsburg: P&R, 2012. 224 pp. $24.99.

Benjamin L. Merkle

Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina

Benjamin Reaoch, pastor of Three Rivers Grace Church (SBC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has offered a thorough and compelling response to the redemptive-movement (or trajectory) hermeneutic endorsed by egalitarian scholars such as Krister Stendahl, R. T. France, Richard Longenecker, David Thomas, I. Howard Marshall, and especially Kevin Giles and William Webb. This work is a revision of his doctoral dissertation completed at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary under Thomas R. Schreiner. Reaoch’s thesis is that the “significant differences between the New Testament instructions to slaves and to women seriously undermine the conclusions made by the redemptive-movement hermeneutic. The fact that the New Testament ‘points beyond’ the institution of slavery does not indicate that it likewise points beyond God’s design for gender roles” (xix). In the end, the crucial distinction between the issues of slavery and women’s role within marriage is that “no biblical writer advocates for slavery based on the order of creation” (xix).

Reaoch’s approach includes a combination of an exegetical study with a hermeneutical analysis. Chapter 1 provides a description of the redemptive-movement hermeneutic, including the key scholars (those mentioned above) who advocate this hermeneutic. In its essence, the redemptive-movement hermeneutic insists that the New Testament sets a trajectory of ethics but does not necessarily give us the best or final ethic. It is only by following that trajectory that we arrive at the ethic the New Testament would have given us if it was not bound or limited by cultural concerns. Chapters 2 and 3 offer an exegetical study of key passages that pertain to slaves (chapter 2: Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22-4:1; 1 Tim 6:1; Titus 2:9-10; and 1 Pet 2:18-25) and to women (chapter 3: Eph 5:22-23; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:9-15; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 14:33b–35; 1 Pet 3:1-7...

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