I loved this book! FINALLY a book that takes a good, hard look at what the Bible has to say on the roles of men and women, the meaning of 'submission', and clarifies those passages which make us squirm and reluctant to explain to our non-Christian friends.
Claire Smith shares her own story of how she became a Christian as a young adult, yet it wasn't until years later that she had her feminist views challenged by the very passages she examines closely in this book.
The controversial passages include:
1 Timothy 2
1 Corinthians 11
1 Corinthians 14
1 Peter 3
The passages are divided into those who are about men and women's roles in the church and the roles of husbands and wives in the home, and how God did not intend these to be vastly different. What I liked about this book was the methodical look at each verse in the passage, the mention of the context, and the challenge to take off our cultural 'glasses' when we approach the Bible. When I first read some of the Bible properly as a first year uni student, I was coming to it with my own biases firmly in place, heavily influenced by what Australian society says about men and women. It was very, very hard to come to the Bible and not immediately get my back up (it still is sometimes). Claire makes no apologies for what the Bible says. She knows Christians often cringe about these passages and would love an easy escape route in the form of a preacher who would say they are no longer relevant. But God's Word, although written in a different time and place, is as relevant today and tomorrow as it was back then.
The book neither dismisses submission as old-fashioned and no longer required, nor does it add a list of culturally-inherited 'rules' for women to follow. Submission will look different for each woman depending on the context she is in. The way I submit to Duncan will look different to how my other married Christian female friends submit to their husbands. Although I appreciate the example of other godly women, my marriage is not to be modelled on someone else's - it is to be shaped by God's Word.
I appreciated the reminder that men and women were designed by God to be equal, yet different. God is not a male chauvinist, nor are men and women exactly the same. Both are equally loved by God, both are as equally important, both are sinful, but they have different roles.
This book is available from the Matthias Media Australian store here.
There is also a US store here.