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Why Not Women?: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership

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Millions of believers are hungry for an uncompromising look at the roles of women in missions, ministry, and leadership. This book brings light, not just more heat, to the church's crucial debate through- historical and current global perspectives- a detailed study of women in Scripture- an examination of the fruit of women in public ministry- a powerful revelation of what Millions of believers are hungry for an uncompromising look at the roles of women in missions, ministry, and leadership. This book brings light, not just more heat, to the church's crucial debate through- historical and current global perspectives- a detailed study of women in Scripture- an examination of the fruit of women in public ministry- a powerful revelation of what's at stake for women, men, the body of Christ, God's kingdom, and the unreached


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Millions of believers are hungry for an uncompromising look at the roles of women in missions, ministry, and leadership. This book brings light, not just more heat, to the church's crucial debate through- historical and current global perspectives- a detailed study of women in Scripture- an examination of the fruit of women in public ministry- a powerful revelation of what Millions of believers are hungry for an uncompromising look at the roles of women in missions, ministry, and leadership. This book brings light, not just more heat, to the church's crucial debate through- historical and current global perspectives- a detailed study of women in Scripture- an examination of the fruit of women in public ministry- a powerful revelation of what's at stake for women, men, the body of Christ, God's kingdom, and the unreached

30 review for Why Not Women?: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam Ross

    An excellent book that covers all of the relevant issues, one of the best I've read thus far. The bulk of the book is spent on the contested passages (1 Cor. 11, 14, and 1 Tim. 2) in a number of chapters, in careful and extensive detail. The book is heavily documented too. Growing up in circles that denied women the right to hold public office in the Church, I was told that all such arguments were nonsensical, and either denied the Scriptures or got around the problem by claiming Paul didn't real An excellent book that covers all of the relevant issues, one of the best I've read thus far. The bulk of the book is spent on the contested passages (1 Cor. 11, 14, and 1 Tim. 2) in a number of chapters, in careful and extensive detail. The book is heavily documented too. Growing up in circles that denied women the right to hold public office in the Church, I was told that all such arguments were nonsensical, and either denied the Scriptures or got around the problem by claiming Paul didn't really write them. To my surprise, it turns out that the argument is not based on the supposed importation of "radical feminism" into the Church, but is rather grounded in a careful examination of the texts themselves and in their structures (did anybody else know there was a chiasm in 1 Cor. 14?). It also revealed to me how important correct translation is, as a number of passages have not been translated as clearly as they could have been. In this regard, the ESV is a particularly unreliable guide to the actual statements of Scripture. As J. I. Packer said 25 years ago, the burden of proof now lies with those who would deny women full equality of office in the family and the Church, and not with those who seek to include them. I really do recommend this book to anyone interested in thinking through what the Scriptures say about the issue of women and the Church.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roxanneandvince Weber

    This is, hands down, the very best book on women in Christian leadership I have ever read. There is no glossing over of difficult passages and no dependence on a handful of convenient scriptures commonly used to limit the role of women in the body of Christ. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone, male or female, who has ever wrestled with the subject of women in ministry. This is an awesome, life-giving, healing resource. Read it!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    A very powerful book. I'm not 100% sure I agree with everything but it challenged me immensely and gave me a lot to think about. I love how footnoted it was. Entirely readable but still academic. Why Not Women? explores the role of women in "missions, ministry, and leadership." It emphasizes the very things that grounded my faith as young teenager: Jesus' radical, culture-changing attitude towards women. The knowledge that this God looked upon women and treated them equally changed the way I app A very powerful book. I'm not 100% sure I agree with everything but it challenged me immensely and gave me a lot to think about. I love how footnoted it was. Entirely readable but still academic. Why Not Women? explores the role of women in "missions, ministry, and leadership." It emphasizes the very things that grounded my faith as young teenager: Jesus' radical, culture-changing attitude towards women. The knowledge that this God looked upon women and treated them equally changed the way I approached life. I was raised in the church and God's fair, loving, and just treatment of women should not have taken me by surprise. But it did. I was reading Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You one day when it finally dawned on me how radical and kind Jesus was. It led me to worship. It still blows my mind and steals my heart. In fact, the moment when I first understood the implications of Jesus' conversation with the women at the well, I realized a passionate, awe-filled love for God that has never left me. I cannot overemphasize the sense of value it gave me to know that this Jesus went against all the cultural expectations of his time to bring grace to that woman. If this book did nothing but remind me of that sense of value, it would have been worth it. But the authors do more. They engage in a very intense and interesting discussion of the verses that talk about women in the Bible, specifically women in ministry. They look broadly at the historical position of women around the time of Jesus (I will never think of the Greeks the same. What a bunch of...let's keep it G. Idiots.) The Greeks did not value women. The Romans did not value women. The Jews ignored the very precepts that gave equality to women. Then Jesus came...and kabam. He changed everything. Cunningham and Hamilton argue that the church, however, belittle women when ignoring their role in church leadership, both in the early church and now. A very hard, powerful book. Definitely worth reading! I feel like many of the things I have been taught have been challenged, and not in a bad way. This is only the beginning of a larger debate I look forward to exploring. Women pastors (or women in church leadership in general) remain a controversial subject and there are one or two things I'm not sure I totally understood. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 still puzzles me. I think the authors provide a very good option, but they don't explain thoroughly enough how they got to their explanation. Still. Read it. A book full of grace that goes a long way in restoring the identity and value of women, in the church and out.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I walked into a small Christian book store and asked for a book that dealt with the issue of women's roles in the church. I was told they had no such book. I then began to look around and, bingo, I found a lone copy of this. It uses old testatment scripture to point out that God intended men and women to be equal from the beginning of his creation. It was mankind's sin in the world that caused the inequality. The book also uses new testament scripture to show Jesus, in addition to freeing us fro I walked into a small Christian book store and asked for a book that dealt with the issue of women's roles in the church. I was told they had no such book. I then began to look around and, bingo, I found a lone copy of this. It uses old testatment scripture to point out that God intended men and women to be equal from the beginning of his creation. It was mankind's sin in the world that caused the inequality. The book also uses new testament scripture to show Jesus, in addition to freeing us from our sin, came to restore equality to women. I didn't just believe this book because it said what I wanted to hear, I read the Bible and I read another book, "Beyond Sex Roles, " by Gilbert Bilezikian. I also talked at length to a pastor I respect who leads a church where women are not allowed to be leaders. This book uses scripture that has not been pulled out of context (quite opposite, it cites what was happening in history at that time) which makes it hard to argue with. It is a rare gem and should be read not only by every woman, but also by every man. I will hang on to my well-marked copy and pass it on to my daughters and granddaughters, sons and grandsons.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Very interesting. I'm not sure that I agree with all of their conclusions, and some of their defenses seemed a little weak, but on the whole they made a very compelling case and I really appreciate their thoroughness in discussing practically every relevant scripture. My overall impression is positive: it was informative and encouraging in many points and at least left me with something to think about in those points with which I'm unsure of my agreement.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I found Hamilton's scriptural arguments the best part of the book. The "logic" arguments, devoid of the exegesis of scripture, were irrelevant in my opinion. Anyone who has studied matters of faith knows that human "logic" has very little to do with truth. For instance, the Mormons claim there is a Father God and a Mother God, because we would not have a single parent in heaven. That seems logical, but it is not biblical. However, I do think this book is an important read, if not just to underst I found Hamilton's scriptural arguments the best part of the book. The "logic" arguments, devoid of the exegesis of scripture, were irrelevant in my opinion. Anyone who has studied matters of faith knows that human "logic" has very little to do with truth. For instance, the Mormons claim there is a Father God and a Mother God, because we would not have a single parent in heaven. That seems logical, but it is not biblical. However, I do think this book is an important read, if not just to understand how most of our modern translations (translated mostly by men) mistranslate certain passages, ever so slightly, in order to slant Christianity to the patriarchal. My favorite example is that of translating "prostatis" as "servant" (in reference to Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2). Everywhere else it occurs in literature, according to Hamilton, "prostatis" means "noblest ruler." There are many, many more examples like this. Good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lena Satterlee

    This book isn’t simply about women in ministry, although it gives a powerful and clear argument for releasing women in every way; it is more importantly about how to study the Bible and the necessity of understanding context and audience, especially as we interpret challenging passages. Even if you can’t agree with all the authors’ conclusions, this book is a must-read in my opinion to expose places our culture has shaped our thinking. Like the authors emphasize throughout the book, the completi This book isn’t simply about women in ministry, although it gives a powerful and clear argument for releasing women in every way; it is more importantly about how to study the Bible and the necessity of understanding context and audience, especially as we interpret challenging passages. Even if you can’t agree with all the authors’ conclusions, this book is a must-read in my opinion to expose places our culture has shaped our thinking. Like the authors emphasize throughout the book, the completion of the Great Commission is too important to get this issue wrong.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Armstrong

    Why Not Women gives a clear, intelligible, and meaningful look at how we need to learn to interpret scripture in general and specifically how we should examine the role of women in ministry. Cunningham and Hamilton take a careful look at the context, culture and language of specific difficult passages and offer their trained guidance on how to make sense of them. I felt empowered and encouraged, I learned a lot and am thankful for the clarity and insight provided.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book opened my eyes to the difference between the beliefs we hold from our upbringing and culture, and the beliefs actually based on the Word of God. It's exhaustively researched and infinitely practical. In "Why Not Women", Loren Cunningham explains the history behind the oppression of women in Greek and Roman societies which led to centuries of discrimination in our western society, and even infiltrated the Church. He shows how Jesus and the early church were truly revolutionary in their This book opened my eyes to the difference between the beliefs we hold from our upbringing and culture, and the beliefs actually based on the Word of God. It's exhaustively researched and infinitely practical. In "Why Not Women", Loren Cunningham explains the history behind the oppression of women in Greek and Roman societies which led to centuries of discrimination in our western society, and even infiltrated the Church. He shows how Jesus and the early church were truly revolutionary in their equal treatment of women. David Hamilton digs into the controversial passages in God's Word to show how our preconceived biases have tainted our interpretation of these verses. He clearly breaks down the original language of the text in order to show what the writers were truly saying. If you are willing to let God's Word, not your opinions, determine what is truth, this book will open your eyes to God's heart for women, and the giftings and callings he has given them. To those reviewers who are obviously threatened by the subject matter and seem content to merely prooftext scriptures to back up their bias against women in ministry, I have this recommendation: try actually READING this book before you review it. The authors dig into the original language and context of every scripture you misquote. A little research might do you some good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    I might write up a longer review later, but in short: I liked this book, I found it generally persuasive, although the arguments seemed to push certain ideas beyond where they should have gone. The first four chapters, written by Cunningham, are a little too polemical for my tastes and add little overall to the book. There is also more promotion of his missionary organisation than feels necessary. The remainder of the book, written by Hamilton, feels more scholarly in tone and less emotional. I ag I might write up a longer review later, but in short: I liked this book, I found it generally persuasive, although the arguments seemed to push certain ideas beyond where they should have gone. The first four chapters, written by Cunningham, are a little too polemical for my tastes and add little overall to the book. There is also more promotion of his missionary organisation than feels necessary. The remainder of the book, written by Hamilton, feels more scholarly in tone and less emotional. I agree that Christ and Paul's attitudes towards women were radical given their context. However, I'm not sure that's necessarily the same as the idea of equality advocated here. Perhaps it is, but in general you can tell this book was written by missionaries and not by academics. Probably a helpful introduction to the topic, which I suspect is what the authors were going for, but lacking the authority of a rigorous academic work.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lynne

    Now this was a fascinating book. The authors are conservative Christians, and yet they do manage to climb out of the unbiblical idea that women weren't and shouldn't be leaders of any kind within the Christian community. And they do it well, outside of one tiny, ridiculous swipe at Gay people in the intro (the only one there, and easily ignored for what it is). The authors use the Bible itself, going back into its original languages and linguistics to cover topics like should women keep silent i Now this was a fascinating book. The authors are conservative Christians, and yet they do manage to climb out of the unbiblical idea that women weren't and shouldn't be leaders of any kind within the Christian community. And they do it well, outside of one tiny, ridiculous swipe at Gay people in the intro (the only one there, and easily ignored for what it is). The authors use the Bible itself, going back into its original languages and linguistics to cover topics like should women keep silent in church, and are women allowed to lead and/or teach? I'd recommend this to everyone.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becky Stewart

    I highly recommend this book for the way it analyzes the difficult passages written by Paul using the original language of the writer, and within the original context and structure. For those (especially women) who already have an intuitive sense or personal experience of the detriment caused by the exclusion of women from ministry, the first few chapters of the book may have you saying "Well, duh!". If you start to get bored or frustrated with Loren Cunningham's section, skip to Chapter 5, as t I highly recommend this book for the way it analyzes the difficult passages written by Paul using the original language of the writer, and within the original context and structure. For those (especially women) who already have an intuitive sense or personal experience of the detriment caused by the exclusion of women from ministry, the first few chapters of the book may have you saying "Well, duh!". If you start to get bored or frustrated with Loren Cunningham's section, skip to Chapter 5, as the historical context and textual analysis by David Hamilton is very enlightening.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mom 2

    I think women can be called by God to every office in the church that is named in the Bible - apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, evangelist. I think women have been called to these. I think some have answered, some have wanted to, and some have attempted. I haven't found a book that I think most closely describes my own take on it, but some get close, and provide excellent background study. I really love it when most of these freedom-giving books are written by men!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Van Luven

    This is a powerful book because it stomps on the stereotypes of Christianity. Cultural beliefs of sexism are not rooted in Christianity, they began much before this time. If you are a christian woman, you need to read this so that you understand your power and authority. If you are skeptical of Christianity then you need to read this too.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Belinda

    A well-documented, thorough look at some of the most debated Bible verses regarding women's place in ministry and leadership in the church. It answered many of my own questions and literally set me free from bad theology which has pervaded the global church since it adopted a Greek- rather than Biblical-world view. A must read for both genders!

  16. 4 out of 5

    faithful

    Excessively provocative topic in Christian circles. The factual handling of Scripture and original language writing was very informative. Knowing the info does not change the world I live in, but it is comforting to know that God esteems me highly even if it may seem people in the Church do not.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Seth Little

    This is a clear presentation of good exegesis of some controversial biblical passages. The case presented is is somewhat less than airtight, but such may be the nature of exegesis. I trust that my own thinking is greatly affected for the better having read Why Not Women?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andy Hickman

    Encouraging recognition of women in ministry. Cunningham, Loren, and David J. Hamilton. Why Not Women?: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership. Seattle, WA: Youth With A Mission Publishing, 2000.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Regardless of where you stand on faith, man or woman, you MUST read this book. Excellent and exhaustive historical resource!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Baraka

    Excellent academic resource.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katt Smith

    I don’t think I can possibly overstate my recommendation of this book. I’m sharing this review because I want to strongly encourage - nigh on beg - every Christian friend I have to read it. It is a deeply theological, well-researched, heavily footnoted, yet still incredibly readable look into some of the most challenging passages in the New Testament - passages that have confused me since I started reading reading the Bible for myself as a child. This book takes us back to the original contexts, I don’t think I can possibly overstate my recommendation of this book. I’m sharing this review because I want to strongly encourage - nigh on beg - every Christian friend I have to read it. It is a deeply theological, well-researched, heavily footnoted, yet still incredibly readable look into some of the most challenging passages in the New Testament - passages that have confused me since I started reading reading the Bible for myself as a child. This book takes us back to the original contexts, cultures and languages from which these passages came (including two incredible chapters on the Greek and Roman culture - I learned so much) and pulls them apart to get to the root - the heart of what the author was saying, and indeed what Jesus was saying to His Beloved Church - a church that has been known to then take the amazing, redeeming, freeing messages conveyed throughout the Bible and twisted them to restrict half of its members from using all of their gifts. Just, please read this book. Even if you disagree with every word, read each one anyway and be challenged by what these amazing authors have to say. This is an issue worth digging into deeply. This is worth talking about. Read it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben Cook

    Good points this book raises is the amazing work of women in the mission field over the centuries. Also presents a very helpful description of the difficulties of being a woman within the church. However, fundamental premise is one based on experience rather than biblical exegesis as its authority. Eg because women have leadership gifts they therefore must use them in a particular way or God is unjust. When it does attempt exegesis it does so poorly, eg. Citing Deborah as a model example of lead Good points this book raises is the amazing work of women in the mission field over the centuries. Also presents a very helpful description of the difficulties of being a woman within the church. However, fundamental premise is one based on experience rather than biblical exegesis as its authority. Eg because women have leadership gifts they therefore must use them in a particular way or God is unjust. When it does attempt exegesis it does so poorly, eg. Citing Deborah as a model example of leadership in judges 5. Also fundamentally misunderstand gifts. Categorises them into spirit given gifts and ministry gifts. If one has a spirit given gift, they must use it. This is a false dichotomy. Its definition of masculinity is also troubling, to paraphrase it argues that you are 'not a real man' if you don't free women up for ministry. Problematic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Ruhl

    This book transformed me as a college student who was trying to grapple with my understanding of God versus the evangelical church's low view of women. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are many different interpretations of the Bible, leading me to the discovery that interpretations that are not oppressive to women, LGBTQ+, refugees, etc. exist. It has been awhile since I have read this book, so while I can no longer comment on specifics, I can say that it truly transformed me and helped This book transformed me as a college student who was trying to grapple with my understanding of God versus the evangelical church's low view of women. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are many different interpretations of the Bible, leading me to the discovery that interpretations that are not oppressive to women, LGBTQ+, refugees, etc. exist. It has been awhile since I have read this book, so while I can no longer comment on specifics, I can say that it truly transformed me and helped launch me on a journey away from oppressive Christianity.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    An interesting book that looks at the most used anti-women in ministry Scripture and uses the lenses of history to interpret them. My opinion on the matter isn't important but it's a good book about the unity required by all believers in yielding to God's plan for their life and not our own. If you know someone who is adamant about women being lesser citizens in society and in church, I recommend this. NB. It is dated - it was written in 2000, before 9/11 and I believe that dates it a bit since w An interesting book that looks at the most used anti-women in ministry Scripture and uses the lenses of history to interpret them. My opinion on the matter isn't important but it's a good book about the unity required by all believers in yielding to God's plan for their life and not our own. If you know someone who is adamant about women being lesser citizens in society and in church, I recommend this. NB. It is dated - it was written in 2000, before 9/11 and I believe that dates it a bit since we know so much more now about oppressed people around the world.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Luke Williams

    This book was brilliant in many ways, but I particularly enjoyed the theological perspectives and exegesis on the difficult passages for this issue. The exploration of context and passage structure was thorough and convincing. The best book I’ve ever read on this issue from an egalitarian standpoint.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joost

    At the start i was frustrared due to all the remarks on women abuse while i first expect a theological answer. In the second part fortunately that was brought in. It is ann interesting line of thinking allthough i am not sure if i agree with everything

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    Very thought provoking! Will definitely re read again and do more deeper research.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Morgan

    Informative but not enjoyable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Winkelman

    great book and great perspective! I loved the insight and learned a lot from this book!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emma Browne

    Most helpful and logical book on the topic of women in leadership. Every Christian should read it.

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