Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Michigan Theological Journal
Volume: MTJ 01:2 (Fall 1990)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Role of Women in the Ministry Today. By H. Wayne House. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990. 192 pp. Paperback.


As evangelicals assess the critical issues of the 1990’s, the role of women in the ministry of the church will emerge as a primary controversy. A great deal of theological misinformation has circulated in evangelical circles concerning this issue largely due to the fact that many statements are not based on careful exegetical treatment of the relevant passages. Wayne House’s book has provided a helpful analysis of this issue from both a textual and applicational standpoint.

For many, the assumptions stated in the introduction to the book (pp. 13-14) will seem to be a betrayal of the authoes conclusion. Emphasizing the importance of the inspiration and authority of Scripture as well as its relevance to life today, House applies the historical/grammatical method of interpretation of the Scripture to the relevant texts. Only in this way can any certainty be provided in the discussion, as many would voice their theological concerns and/or presuppositions and then selectively analyze Scripture to address those concerns. Some even go so far as to discount key biblical texts as genuine, or appear to use this theology to inform their decisions in weighing textual matters.


The book is essentially an evaluation of three approaches to the question of women in ministry (pp. 17, 18). The first is the “equalitarian or egalitarian” view, which holds that the image of God in men and women assures equality in essence and hence in function for men and women in the church. The second view may be called the traditionalist view, for it holds that women should be restricted from most roles in the church including pastor, elder, or a member of the pastoral staff. The third position is the one closest to that which House advocates. It is that women should have “virtual freedom of service in the New

Testament church except as an elder or teacher who reproves, rebukes, instructs, and corrects in righteousness the mixed congregation directly from the Word of God.” Under this model a woman may teach and have authority over women in the church, hold a paid position in the church as long as she does not have direct authority over men as an elder, and participate in team-taught Bible studies with men present.

(House does not advocate the woman teaching in such a setting, as he makes plain on p. 139).

Chapter one addresses “Feminism in the Church” and begins with an overview of evangelical perspectives on the role of women in the contemporary church. House proceeds in the cha...

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