The message of women — creation, grace and gender
Derek and Dianne Tidball
304 pages, £11.99
Star rating : 2
This book explores the teaching of the whole Bible regarding women. It falls into four parts. First it considers the foundations: the image of God, the Fall and the new creation.
Part 2 looks at women in the Old Testament, focusing on a number of representative examples, such as Deborah, Ruth, Huldah and the anonymous women of the Song of Solomon and Proverbs 31. We are shown the huge scope given to women in God’s service in those times.
Next, the place of women during Jesus’ ministry is highlighted, and then part 4 focuses on the teaching on the role of women in the New Testament letters.
The perspective of the authors is egalitarian. They believe that gender role distinctions are a mark of the Fall and that in the present age we should be working together with God towards their obliteration. Not every reader will agree with that viewpoint, but this in no way lessens the value of the book as a whole.
The issue of women in ministry is confined to just one of the book’s 20 chapters and, throughout, the authors seek to grapple with the biblical text with integrity.
Generally, their doctrine of Scripture is sound, though at times they seem to waver towards giving the specific teaching of Jesus a higher authority than other parts of the Bible, implying that ‘patriarchal’ cultural presuppositions have coloured some of what other parts of Scripture have to say.
There seems to be a danger of failing to recognise that all Scripture is equally the Word of God through Christ, and not just those parts which record Christ’s actual words. Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone will quibble with the statement that ‘gender is not the primary issue, only commitment to Christ and the formation of a Christ-like character’.