Book Review: “The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and Girls”, By Elizabeth Gerhardt (IVP Academic, 2014) -- By: Shaun C. Brown

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 29:4 (Autumn 2015)
Article: Book Review: “The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and Girls”, By Elizabeth Gerhardt (IVP Academic, 2014)
Author: Shaun C. Brown


Book Review: “The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and Girls”, By Elizabeth Gerhardt (IVP Academic, 2014)

Shaun C. Brown

Shaun C. Brown holds an MDiv from Emmanuel Christian Seminary and is a PhD student in Theological Studies at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. A native of Pennsylvania, he served in youth and associate ministry in Bristol, Tennessee, for six years before beginning his doctoral program. His wife, Sherri, is a registered occupational therapist.

The media has in recent years given increasing attention to global violence toward women and girls. In 2012, the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) went to Saving Face, which focuses upon survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan. In October 2014, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager, became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her activism on behalf of young people (especially girls) denied access to education. Another past Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former US President Jimmy Carter, has also committed himself to activism on behalf of subjugated women. In light of these occurrences, Gerhardt’s The Cross and Gendercide is a timely work.

Gerhardt confronts domestic violence, rape, gender-selective abortions, female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, early marriage, disfigurement, and other acts of violence toward women and girls around the globe. Gerhardt utilizes the term “gendercide,” coined by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn in Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunities for Women Worldwide (Knopf, 2009), as an umbrella term that can refer to all of these acts of violence. She also notes that many women and girls live in poverty and lack access to education, nutrition, clean water, and basic health care.

She warns the church against “detached confessionalism”— the preaching of the gospel divorced from the “reality of the plight of millions of women and girls” (19). Alongside the need for prayer and reflection, she argues, “What is needed is a powerful, holistic and missional response rooted in a biblical theology of the cross because a theology of the cross does not separate proclamation of the gospel from the prophetic and active role of working to end injustice for millions of women and girls” (25). She sees the gospel as “the right point of departure” for the church’s response to gendercide (32). In addition to theological resources, she utilizes the writing of journalists, social scientists, and statisticians, as well as her own extensive experience with victims of gendercide as a clinical counselor, battered women’s program director, and educator.

Gerhardt notes, “Historica...

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