Josiah's Reviews > Neither Complementarian Nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Evangelical Gender Debate

Neither Complementarian Nor Egalitarian by Michelle Lee-Barnewall
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it was amazing
bookshelves: sexuality-issues, best-of-2020

Really fascinating, thought-provoking, and well-argued book that makes a very persuasive case on a number of fronts. Contrary to what you might expect from the title, this isn't really a book about the things that complementarians & egalitarians debate over: it isn't about female pastors nor is it about authority within marriage. Rather, it's about a bunch of theological themes and principles outside of those two specific questions that may shed light on those two specific topics--but have a host of applications beyond it. The author refuses to give a real position on the complementarian vs. egalitarian question, but there are perhaps a number of hints in the book that indicate where she leans on the issue.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the way it constantly seeks to interpret passages in a literary way--taking the whole thrust, purpose, and genre of the passage into account instead of just playing the prooftexting game. There aren't many theologians that do this, but I really appreciate those that do since Ryken persuaded me years ago that this is one of the best ways to interpret Scripture. I also really appreciated the argument Lee-Barnewall made on the core thrust of "one-ness" in the Gospel and how that serves as a corrective to focusing too much on authority or too much on equality. It's a concept I'll need to meditate on more, but she made a rather compelling argument there for why thinking about everything in the lens of authority vs. equality is perhaps missing the point.

This is perhaps probably my favorite book on the topic that I've read so far. And as I'm writing this review in the midst of an ongoing debate within Reformed circles about these issues, this is the type of book I have long been looking for from those in the Reformed camp who are critiquing the CBMW position. The major players in the current debate haven't (in my opinion) given terribly persuasive arguments for their position, and I don't know where Barnewall's theological persuasions are and if she's Reformed or not, but this is the type of book I've been looking for from Reformed critics of CBMW. As a result, this was very refreshing to read in the midst of that ongoing debate. It's a more academic read (though not overly so), but certainly one I'd recommend.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Very Good).
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Reading Progress

April 14, 2016 – Shelved
April 14, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 14, 2020 – Started Reading
June 21, 2020 – Finished Reading
June 27, 2020 – Shelved as: sexuality-issues
December 31, 2020 – Shelved as: best-of-2020

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