I had high hopes for Alsup's book. As a woman I had been told I should not be teaching adult Sunday School classes because there were men present. I saw families leave my church when I was elected as a deacon. So I had high hopes.
My high hopes continued as Alsup pursued the theme of Jesus restoring all that was lost in the Fall. I liked her exploration of God's original perfect purpose for women, working side by side with men in harmony, image bearers of God. I was excited by her assuring me that I have hope in Christ for repossessing all that was lost in the Fall.
Much of Alsup's book deals with the Old Testament. When I got to the New Testament part of her book, my high hopes began to deflate. She encouraged me to take the “long view” of not merely the present but heaven too. She reminded me that the good for women was really the “lose your life to find it” kind of good. I knew then that women repossessing all that was lost in the Fall would be postponed and was not something for this life.
Alsup concludes from her investigation of difficult (for women) passages in the New Testament that women can serve, such as being a deacon, but not lead, such as being an elder. Galatians 3:28 indicates equality of men and women as joint heirs of the promises of God but does not apply to roles and responsibilities in the Christian community. Women are not to lead worship nor make spiritual decisions for the church (nor preach, I would think).
I feel that Alsup gave me false hope by leading me to believe that what was lost in the Fall has been redeemed and restored by Christ. Perhaps in heaven men and women will walk and work side by side but not now. While we as Christians are encouraged to defend the right of a woman to vote or be the CEO of a corporation, we are to not allow her to have a decisive position on a church board.
Alsup admits in the book that she would not answer all the questions regarding woman and the Bible and she has not. This is not a definitive work by any means. I think there are other books addressing the issues that are much better, on both the egalitarian and complimentarian sides.
There are discussion questions included so this book could be used in a discussion group.
You can download the first chapter of the book here.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
Wendy Alsup began her public ministry as a deacon of women's theology and teaching at her church in Seattle. She now lives on an old family farm in South Carolina where she teaches math at a local community college and is a mother to her two boys. Her previous books include The Gospel-Centered Woman and By His Wounds You are Healed. She writes at http://theologyforwomen.org/ and http://gospelcenteredwoman.com/.
Multnomah, 224 pages.
I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.