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Women's Ministry in the Local Church Paperback – January 17, 2006
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"What sets this book apart is not only the authors' careful thought but their compelling personal examples. The result is a deeply biblical yet intensely practical guide that will greatly benefit not only women, but pastors as well."
—C.J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville
"In this day and age, we need more courageous visionaries who seek to release women in ministry while honoring the complementarian framework of God's Word. This is a helpful resource for all who wish to join in this pursuit."
—Mary A. Kassian, Professor of Women's Studies, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild
"Women's Ministry is a biblically rich reflection of the authors' very thesis-when men and women humbly and joyfully complement each other's God-given roles and gifts, spiritual grace flows for the nurture of His Church."
—Peter A. Lillback, president, Westminster Theological Seminary
"Finally, Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt have given the church a clear theological framework from which to build an effective women's ministry."
—Randy Stinson, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration and Provost, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
About the Author
Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.
Susan Hunt is a mother, grandmother, pastor’s wife, author, and the former director of women’s ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America. Hunt has written a number of books, including Spiritual Mothering.
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I wish somehow that I could have struck the word "covenant" from the authors' vocabulary, because it recurs gratuitously again and again. For example, on pages 62-64, I counted the word covenant used as a noun or adjective 21 times! And that is just the beginning. In planning a Bible study, the authors tell us to ask women to identify characteristics of the covenant in a passage, and when planning events, to consider what characteristics of the covenant are driving the planning (p. 65).
Alleged scriptural exegesis/ illustrations are sometimes quite fanciful. We are told that two different Hebrew words translated "pillar" illustrate two kinds of women in the church (p. 137). The authors then choose Lot's wife as an example of "women who are easily led astray by their self-indulgent passions. The root is authority." Really? Authority, or unbelief? As they continue the extended illustration of the pillars, the authors extend the analogy to the temple pillars and inform us that "David [in Psalm 144] was thinking of women who have been shaped and smoothed to serve God's purpose in the home and church." This interpretation could only have come from the authors' imagination.
A final illustration of covenantal interpretation: Genesis 15:18 is quoted on page 154, "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'To your offspring I give this land." The authors do not take this literally (so there is no promise of land for Israel), but tell us instead that "The promise was fulfilled in Jesus who dwelt among us and is the way home." If you lean toward dispensationalism, your stomach will be churning at this point.
I don't mean to say that there is nothing of value in this book. The authors have helpful suggestions for starting a women's ministry and they obviously accept the biblical teaching of the role of women in the church. While I feel I can only give this book a 2-star ratiing, there is another book by Susan Hunt ("Spiritual Mothering") which would receive much higher marks.
Women are to be in submission to the elders. I agree. Everyone in the church should be in submission to the elders not just the women. We should all be in submission to one another, not just women to men.
The ideas for ministry are frequently simplistic - "make coffee???"
On the whole, if you're from the north, and don't think all women should be doing is "cultivating domesticity" this is not the book for you.
This book is wonderful if you agree with these ideas. There should be some kind of alert so people will know these folks think women are to subject to men who often are not even interested in issues concerning women. I noticed from their bios, that they seem to wonderful people, who have devoted their energy and skills to the Lord. The book has a fair amount of Scripture which gives a foundation. Give it a read, maybe you will find it helpful.