- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: IVP Academic; 02 edition (July 25, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780830828340
- ISBN-13: 978-0830828340
- ASIN: 0830828346
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy Paperback – July 25, 2005
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About the Author
Ronald W. Pierce (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical and theological studies in the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He is the author of
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I love having chapters written by so many scholars and thinkers, male and female. The writing quality varies, of course. Scholars and thinkers aren't necessarily good writers. But they're all digestible, and some are quite tasty. Gordon Fee's chapters, for example, stand out as excellent scholarship combined with clear writing.
I do think the last section of the book, "Living It Out (Practical Applications)," is mostly weak. Most of the chapters in this "practical" section are far from practical, with way too many abstract ideas and too much psychological and academic jargon. I ended up skimming most of these final chapters.
But NOT the very last chapter! The final chapter, Alice Mathews' "Toward Reconciliation," positively glows. It's the most important chapter in the book, and one of the best written. It should be published separately as a must-read for Christians on all sides of this or any other potentially divisive issue. It absolutely nails the most important issue of all.
I am also convinced that the popular label 'complementarianism' by which the opposing camp would like to be identified with is a facade for what is really gender hierarchichalism albeit in function, because at the heart of its position is a belief in male authority (over the woman), however one softens it with concepts like 'servant leadership', 'honor of headship', 'accountability', or 'shepherding', etc. On the other hand, the egalitarian contenders are really arguing for gender *complementarity*, the kind that does away with any notion of hierarchy or authority on the basis of one's gender; it is not simply advocating equality per se, which is often confused with identity/undifferentiation. Perhaps, the revision of the respective labels is an essential first step in clearing the confusion and maintaining the integrity of what each position is really pitching for. Both views in fact advocate complementarity; the difference is that one has the principle of male functional authority worked into it and the other does not.
This book is a pleasure to read for the gracious and intelligent way in which the egalitarian (ie. complementarity without hierarchy) view is laid out from a wide variety of angles. However, for all its erudition and scholarly work in exegesis, it still remains to be seen if it has produced a persuasive case against what seems to be derived from the 'plain sense of the texts', esp in Paul (1 Cor 11, 14, Eph 5, 1 Tim 2) which appear at face value to support male headship rooted in the intent of the Creator and perhaps even the nature of the economic Trinity(?), however 'incoherent' it may seem to our modern minds. Hence, the issue remains open for me and perhaps will remain so for a long time to come. In the mean time, the old adage is ever so relevant: 'unity in essentials, liberty in adiaphora and charity in all things!'