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Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women Hardcover – March 16, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Carolyn Custis James has written an unusual and compelling book, mixing her personal story with the dramatic changes in today's world and her thoughtful interpretations of the Scriptures and how women can respond with greater fervor to the Bible's call for change and betterment of the world."
--Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of Half the Sky


"Half the Church is a significant contribution to the current public discourse of the role and responsibility of the church in responding to the suffering of millions of women and girls due to oppressive cultural and traditional norms. In her excellent book, Carolyn James reminds us of the urgent need for action in order to protect girls and women from gender-based violence and cultural practices such as trafficking, forced child-marriage, gang rapes, abduction, infanticide, and female genital mutilation."
--Fatuma Hashi, Director, Gender and Development
World Vision International


"Carolyn Custis James combines passion for the suffering women of our world with rigorous biblical observation and exegesis. The result is a prophetic word that challenges both our apathy and ignorance in the face of terrifying facts, and our theological shallowness in the face of abundant biblical teaching. The title and subtitle only tell half the story. For this is a book for the whole church and urges us to see God's global vision for men and women. Half the church badly needs to think again about the message of this book. So does the other half. Otherwise both halves are the tragic losers."

--Christopher J. H. Wright, International Director
The Langham Partnership International


"With the care of an experienced scout, Carolyn James has lined the fire pit with stones, then assembled the kindling and logs, and in the final chapters of this remarkable book has struck the match to ignite a blaze for God and his kingdom. No thoughtful Christian woman can walk away from this book unchallenged or unmoved, as she senses the glory of her ezer-warrior calling. Nor can any thoughtful Christian man remain unmoved by the vision of the Blessed Alliance so skillfully sketched in these pages. The challenge of Half the Church is to the whole church to fulfill God's purpose in creating all of us as iconoclastic bearers of the divine image in a broken world."
--Alice Mathews, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Carolyn Custis James expertly weaves contemporary reality with biblical story. Reaching into the Old Testament as well as the New, Carolyn shows that God has always been and continues to be at work through women and girls. They are, like men and boys, His image bearers. This book should open the eyes of everyone who takes Jesus seriously to the horrendous injustices against women around the world and provoke within us a serious drive to do something about it. The day is near (and I believe this book will help usher it in) when the church will be a significant cultural catalyst for bringing equality and dignity to women and girls around the world by providing education, empowering women with microloans, and liberating them from oppressive regimes, sex trafficking circles, and secular philosophies that are ultimately degrading to them. It is time for the other half of the church, men, to be strong and courageous and do all we can with all we have to bring divine freedom to women and girls so they can be all that God created them to be."

--Mark L. Russell, coauthor, Routes and Radishes

"Once again Carolyn Custis James calls us to radical thinking and living. Half the Church opens our eyes to the global problems facing women, drives us to God as the only solution, and refreshes our passion that we can 'do something.' And the writer in me loves Carolyn's exquisite phrases and vibrant images. This book is a must-read and I will be giving it to many people."
--Judy Douglass, Director of Women's Resources
Campus Crusade

"With hope, beauty, and clarity of vision, Carolyn Custis James takes a megaphone to the biblical call to mobilize justice on behalf of those who suffer violent injustice in our world today. She argues that all in the Body of Christ are God's image bearers, called to be used by God in restoring His image in those who have been most deeply stripped of the freedom and dignity intended for them. We are more aware of the scope of violent injustice in our world today than in any other time of human history; brutal abuse is committed against our neighbors-- neighbors next door and neighbors across the globe. Carolyn calls the whole Church to see the opportunity at hand--to rise up, together, and make God's justice and restoration known."
--Bethany H. Hoang, Director of the IJM Institute
INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION


"In Half the Church, Carolyn Custis James offers a striking theology as to why men and women are called to live and lead together. Her insightful, integrated and unapologetic plea leaves us with no option but to get on with it ... all of us ... men and women together urgently working for God's best in this world."
--Elisa Morgan, author, speaker, and publisher of FullFill

About the Author

Carolyn Custis James (MA, Biblical Studies) travels extensively as a popular speaker for women's conferences, churches, colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations. Her ministry organization, WhitbyForum, promotes thoughtful biblical discussion to help men and women serve God together. Carolyn founded and is president of the Synergy Women’s Network. She is a consulting editor for Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament and author of When Life and Beliefs Collide and Lost Women of the Bible. Carolyn and her husband live in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. They have one grown daughter.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310325560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310325567
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carolyn Custis James (BA, Sociology, MA, Biblical Studies) thinks deeply about what it means to be a female follower of Jesus in a postmodern world. As a cancer survivor, she is grateful to be alive and determined to address the issues that matter most. Her speaking and writing ministry is dedicated to addressing the deeper needs which confront both women and men as they endeavor to extend God's kingdom together in a messy and complicated world.

She travels extensively as a popular speaker for women's conferences, churches, colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations. Carolyn blogs on her website www.whitbyforum.com and at Huffington Post. You can also find her on FaceBook and Twitter as @carolynezer. She founded and is president emerita of the Synergy Women's Network which is now part of Missio Alliance. She is an adjunct faculty member at Biblical Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, a consulting editor for Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament, and contributing editor of Leadership Journal. She and her husband live in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

Her books have been described as "provocative", "honest", and "deeply moving". Her latest is Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Many books are written to inform. Of those, several aim to change the reader's opinion of the given topic. Only a few succeed in forcing the reader to rethink previous assumptions and actually see the world through an entirely new perspective. It takes a special talent to draw a reader out of their shell and get them to really engage with the vision the author is struggling to convey.

In "Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women", Carolyn Custis James gives us a book of this exceedingly rare kind. She has a burden to share and she draws the reader in and delivers her message well. Her book is a riveting account of the trials of women in today's world and a passionate plea aimed primarily at women, to take up the call and make their lives count for the kingdom of God.

Carolyn Custis James builds a case on the creation story of man and women being joint image-bearers for God called to subdue His world. She approaches the text with insight from studying today's patriarchal societies of the Middle East. Her insight into the first few chapters of Genesis, the tales of Ruth and Esther and to several stories in the New Testament is alone worth the price of getting this book. She brings a fresh perspective and makes these passages come alive, yet she is not offering an innovative rewrite that unfaithfully handles God's Word.

This book awakened in me a new awareness of the horrible prejudice and persecution women around the world endure. In India, girls between 1 and 5 are twice as likely to die as boys. They die of neglect and deprivation -- no one cares for girls. And if they do make it into the young teenage years, they are open to being trafficked as a way to get rid of them.
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Format: Hardcover
The role of women continues to be a question that looms large. In business, politics, education and countless other arenas, the opportunities for women in the western world are virtually unlimited. Yet in other parts of the world, in the Middle East or in nations ravaged by poverty, these opportunities don't exist. Indeed, in many countries, women are treated as little more than property.

This issue has not left the church unscathed. Are women "merely" to be focused on the home and family? Are there limits to how women can serve or should serve? Does the church give women--who comprise at least half of it--an inspiring, captivating vision of what it means to be a woman created in the image of God?

Carolyn Custis James seeks to answer these questions in Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women. In many ways this book is a companion piece to Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, which focuses on the abuses perpetrated against women around the world--among them sex trafficking, genital mutilation and honor killings. In light of the horrific crimes being perpetrated against women globally every day, James asks why the Church is not the loudest voice in this crisis; why the Church is not "the most visible at the forefront of addressing this humanitarian crisis" (p. 21). Half the Church, in James' estimation, represents a call to action in combating these atrocities as the author describe what she sees as God's vision for women.

From a male perspective, reading Half the Church was an unusual experience. It's primary audience is women and James writes with that assumption in mind.
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Format: Hardcover
Christian books for women usually fall into one of two dreadful categories: either a North-American evangelical perspective that sees women as little more than a marketing niche within Christendom, or a feminist-driven perspective that contains a Rosie-the-Riveter "I'll show you" subtext. Books about the role of women in the church usually fall into a dreary debate between highfalutin words like complimentarianism or egalitarianism. Carolyn Custis James' Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women falls into "none of the above." That's refreshing.
James invites North American Evangelicals to lift our eyes and see women's issues in global and Biblical perspectives. "I was determined to find out if God's message for women was universal," she writes, "encompassing the full spectrum of every woman's life regardless of her demographics or circumstances." In fact, much of our gospel presentation--beyond gender issues--would benefit from James' perspective. Is the good news good news for everyone? Prosperous or poor, socialist or capitalist, male or female?
Half the Church challenges the comfortable reader to think not only globally, but Biblically as well. While avoiding the tiresome debates over whether the opening chapters of Genesis are meant to be "taken literally," this book focuses instead on the meaning of the creation account, especially the meaning of how humanity bears God's image. "[God] gives both male and female the exact same identity--to be his image bearers. He gives both the exact same responsibilities when he entrusts all of creation to his image bearers."

Even if creation is broken (and it is) God's purposes and methods remain unchanged, and we would do well to excavate the foundations again.
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