Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a clear way through the confusion?
We see a growing trend whereby biblical truth is gradually blended with prevailing secular wisdom; and Christians who have absorbed widely-accepted standards may be unaware of their own confusion. Where does the truth lie, and must we modify our understanding of Biblical teaching? In this revised edition of her earlier book, Sharon James helpfully examines these issues in the context of ‘God’s design for women’.
She traces the history and development of feminism, which has led to attacks on male leadership, marriage, and Christian morality. God is seen to be the enemy, and evangelicals dangerous. Sexual freedom is viewed as the answer to perceived inequalities. The Bible is judged to be the root of the ‘problem’ – though that same book shows that complementarity, co-existing wonderfully with equality, is good for women. This beautiful design has been distorted by sin, and women are now encouraged to have other aspirations and expectations to do whatever seems right in their own eyes.
God’s design is explored in the areas of relationships, family (singleness, marriage, motherhood, childlessness, etc), community, and church. Chapters discussing work and women’s ministries, including the ministry of comfort and counselling, provide helpful reading for those unsure where their particular abilities can be used rightly within the church, or in helping others. The weaknesses of two extremes of cultural interpretations of Paul’s teaching are discussed here, and the need for discernment and clear teaching in the church is highlighted.
The final part asks the question, ‘how should we then live?’, and contrasts the relentless, ambitious search for fulfilment, physical perfection, and material security, against the love that never dies, the beauty that never fades, and the life that never ends.
This timely, well-researched edition is helpfully illustrated with personal stories. It is pastoral in its understanding of the cultural pressures faced by women, and the dilemmas those pressures present for Christian women. It is biblical, readable, and gives clear answers to the questions. An extensive reading list and useful study guide at the end could be used for either personal reflection or as a resource for group study. Do read this excellent book!