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Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy Paperback – August 25, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ronald W. Pierce (Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies and theology in the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University (La Mirada, California), and author of Old Testament Interactive, a computer learning program for Old Testament survey classes.

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Women Caught in the Conflict: The Culture War Between Traditionalism and Feminism and Good News for Women: A Biblical Picture of Gender Equality.

Gordon D. Fee (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has written several books and commentaries, including Listening to the Spirit in the Text, God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, New Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors and commentaries on 1 Corinthians and Philippians (NICNT) and the Pastoral Epistles (NIBC).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; 02 edition (August 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830828346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830828340
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found this book *incredibly* helpful as I sought to understand the Scriptures that referred to gender. Having grown up and then attended a Bible College in highly complementarian/patriarchal camps, when I began asking questions about whether or not the "males-rule-females-submit" theology was sound, I wasn't sure where to go for help. (All my life, I'd only been taught the Scriptures in one particular way. Yet as I studied the Scriptures on gender for myself, I began to see something quite different)...

I ended up ordering about 10-12 books explaining egalitarian views, and while some were good, I found *this* book to be wonderful. The chapters handled Bible passages and complementarian/patriarchal arguments with clarity and, always, with a deep scholarly bent. I think I appreciated the footnotes as much as the actual text, and many chapters ended up being "jumping off" points that introduced me to topics I would then study in more depth. In short, I can't recommend the book enough.

Even if a reader ends up disagreeing, he/she will at least gain an accurate understanding of Scriptural backing for why egalitarians don't see male hierarchy as God's ideal. I've heard comp's teach "what egal's believe" often, but rarely do they accurately portray egalitarian thought. Many of the things I'd been *told* egals believe were corrected as I read this book.

The book is not a "novel" but more like a textbook (ie, not for someone looking for a "light read," but rather for study), though I found the writing style to be engaging and highly interesting. If the study of gender and faith is one of interest, this is a book that is a "must-have" in your library.
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Format: Paperback
Rebecca Merrill Groothuis and Ronald Pierce have done the church an extraordinary favor editing this much needed volume that vanquishes the pitiful stereotypes of "evangelical feminism." Far from being sold out to cultural mores, the authors examine biblical and historical sources carefully examining their hermeneutics and philosophy showing the position of universal gender hierarchy to be erroneous and detrimental to the church.

The book's chapter "Equal in Being; Unequal in Role" is worth the money alone in that it delivers a devastating blow to the nonsensical paradigm of "complementarianism." Richard Hess also delivers a fine chapter on "innocence and equality before the fall." William Webb introduces the important "redemptive movement" hermeneutic that is beautifully applied by I. Howard Marshall, and Gordon Fee graces us with his exegetical gifts in delineating the right meaning of Galatians 3:26-28. Not only so, but the ethical chapters on homosexuality, abortion, and abuse are outstanding.

To be sure, there are some weaknesses. Linda Belleville's chapter on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is helpful at points, but doesn't fully deal with all the issues raised by Kostenberger et al. Giles' Trinitarian thinking is in the right direction, but is triumphalistic and ignores some important facts. However, the books is a winsome apology for the vision of "complementarity without hierarchy" that honors the humanity of both sexes sufficiently and harmoniously.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive books on this subject from an Egalitarian perspective. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much response *of substance* from the other side of the fence (Grudem often seems like he's more interested in straw men and ad hominem attacks than anything else).

As for the book itself...

The first chapters on history are fantastic discussions that show that the Egalitarian Movement is *pre*-feminism and has roots going back much much farther into history.

The exegesis chapters are rich - the one on Genesis 1-3 thoroughly puts its corresponding chapter in _Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood_ in its place for the inadequate and at times contradictory exegesis that it was.

The chapter on 1 Tim 2 is also great, but Belville took an unusual approach - I'd say the most enlightening part of the chapter though is the *extremely* clear bias in how post-1940s translations deal with authentein. It puts the whole chapter into perspective. There's simply no lexical or semantic basis for the translation, "excercise authority" that data cannot support such a conclusion.

Rebecca Merrill Groothuis' philosophical chapter is a complex but quite accurate criticism of the problems of associating the Trinity to marriage. The responses I've read of her chapter have clearly not understood its point.

Finally the chapters practical significance are incredibly helpful and were a blessing to read both for myself and for my wife.

All in all, the book is an important and excellent read that I would recommend again and again.
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As one of the editors of Discovering Biblical Equality, I find the sample citation and key phrases chosen by Amazon to be misleading (unintentionally, I'm sure). I suggest the following:

"This book is born of the conviction that both the world and the church urgently need to hear and take to heart the message of biblical equality, because it is at once true, logical, biblical and beneficial..." (taken from the Introduction).

Key Phrases: biblical egalitarians, mutuality, evangelical patriarchy, 1 Timothy 2, partnership, authority, submission (see "tags" below...)
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