Book Critique: Two Views On Women In Ministry

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Two Views On Women In Ministry

The topic on women in ministry is often debated. Various questions arise regarding this subject such as does a woman has the right to minister, preach or counsel a man. Any woman of this era would need answers to these questions. It has been evident over years that women have been able of performing ministerial functions in the church. The contention is not whether a woman is capable but whether she is allowed to do that by God instead of a man. Two Views in Women in Ministry gives two intellectual and academic interpretations as regards this theme. There are twofold opinions that are argued. These are the egalitarian view and the complementarian attitude. The egalitarian opinion presents the opinion that ministerial roles between man and woman should be shared equally. Complementarianism varies and covers a wide range but the contributors to this book are seen to give a more modern attitude towards the traditional perception of male leadership and authority in the church. In some instances, similar passages in the Scriptures such as Genesis 1-3 have been used in the demonstration of the egalitarian notion and also back the argument of the complementarians. Each of the other contributors have constructively criticized the works. Two of the writers will be discussed as the extreme illustrations of either opinion.

All contributors of the book contend that here is no questioning of the value of women. Both genders have the same access to Christ and his salvation as stated in Galatians 3:28 on of the complementarian writer prefaces his stance with the verse that authenticates the value and worth of women. He states that before God, all of His children are made in His resemblance. This is an suggestion that God has given each individual similar access to salvation and that there is no special place for either a man or a woman or even Jews. Most egalitarians thus construe that verse to mean that all persons have equal access to the function or role of the church. This forms the basic theme of the book with the debate being whether there is equality amongst the functions of pastors or church leaders. This is in particular, the positions of women over men in worshipers. Schreiner, one of the complementarians points out that equality of persons does not rule out variances in functions.

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Genesis 1-3 is used by egalitarians and complementarians to back their opinions. Each side applies the basic beliefs of the verses and some read between the lines. Adam being created first may give one the idea that man should lead woman. This makes a woman leading a man in church inappropriate. The egalitarians have referred to that verse in Genesis to stress on the parity between both genders as both were made out of dust and in God’s image to have power over the earth. Adam and Eve were both held responsible for disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit. This shows that man and woman are created for equal roles in ministries. Genesis 1-3 and other verses have been used by both debaters to back their opinions, particularly he verses regarding women in various ministry roles. For instance, Galatians 3:28 has been used to illustrate male leadership in the home and the humble submission of females in church.

Critical Interaction with the Author’s Work

The book offers a wide array of discussion of the role women play in the ministry. It does not challenge the value of women as it states that Galatians 3: 28 provides that every person, regardless of their genders, is allowed equal access to Christ. It seeks to use various attempts to explain and offer a comprehension of part played by women in the ministry. The book allows a reasonable and balanced attitude on its subject of the ministerial role of women.

The central theme of the Two Views on Women in Ministry is that everyone is equal in their access of the church and God. The nature of the book is not considered as a compact analysis of the role of women in the ministry but rather, it is a collection of essays. Due to this, this critique will seek to address the individual views of the essays rather than make a blanket critique.

The Egalitarian Outlook by Linda Belleville

Linda Belleville is a biblical literature lecturer at the North Park Theological Seminary. Belleville poses four queries regarding the leadership of women in the church. She asks whether there are any biblical teachings on a hierarchical arrangement of the relationships of men and women, and whether women hold leadership posts in the Bible. Belleville further asks whether women have led similar parts in leadership as men, and whether the Bible restricts women from holding particular roles.

Belleville addresses these questions systematically arguing that women have the privilege to be leaders in church. She answers the first question by employing Genesis 1and 2 from which she asserts that the key theme of these two chapters is the equality of man and woman. Belleville further uses Genesis 3: 16 and the Pauline books to express that man-woman relationship is not meant to hierarchical but rather that of unison. The second and third questions are answered through the provision of a comprehensive listing of biblical women who have held positions in the ministry. In discussing the justifications for their roles, Belleville depicts these positions as places of leadership and honor.

The particular strength of Belleville’s work is that she demonstrates her understanding and use of the Scriptures with proficiency. Among her work’s weaknesses, however, is that she appears to have delved way too deep into the Scriptures that her demonstrations could be viewed as that which she only wants to see rather than the actual truth.
Belleville’s work could be of great importance in striking out common perception that women lack a place in the roles of ministry.

Thomas Schreiner’s Complementarian Perspective

Thomas Schreiner is a professor at Kentucky’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Schreiner’s belief, as demonstrated from his work, is that women are not allowed to hold leaderships above men. They are also not allowed to give teachings to men.

In justifying his belief, Schreiner refers on how culture influences people’s perception of the Bible. He also discusses the sameness of men and women as persons and offers some cases similar to those by Linda Belleville. Schreiner asserts that the Bible, through Christ, employs women as a figure of love, forgiveness and righteousness. Schreiner offers his illustration as the washing of Jesus’ feet by a woman using her tears and hair. He also indicates that in the Bible, women funded Christ’s ministry and cared for the needy. They also partook in prayers in groups with men.

An important point to note is Schreiner’s assertion that women were often rewarded by God for their service in the ministry but never addressed or taught congregations. He refuses that women were leaders in the church as persons would meet in these women’s houses. Schreiner argues that there is no proof of their being leaders.



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Schreiner takes to employ Genesis 1 to 3 to explain the hierarchical standings of men and women. He claims that, despite both bearing similar images to that of God, God had an order meant for man and woman. He explains that women should only study the scripture but should do so in a submissive manner. He further explains that women can lead and teach but not over men.

Among Schreiner’s strengths is the doctrinal soundness of his work. He accepts that women can lead and teach but offers restrictions to this. He alludes to traditions in his work and this helps earn more credibility making his work more convincing.

Schreiner’s boldness in his stand that women should not lead in the church makes him a pillar. He stands his ground in an era that is more feminist.

Schreiner’s work has a weakness of losing on the intensity with which Schreiner begins his essay. One would have anticipated the high intensity level all through the essay.

Schreiner’s work is a clear reflection if the society since its beginning. It is a real issue that is experienced and propagated by many persons despite the rise in feminist movements. It, therefore, bears a great sense of validity.


Gundry and Beck try to present the two main common perceptions to the women in ministry argument. Through permitting 4 contributors, two representing the perceptions of the debate, there was the achievement of the projected goal. The participants were well equipped with the knowledge on the scriptures and the traditions of the church. Their arguments were not founded on individual opinions but were presented founded on information and extensive research. The reader sees the entire argument of both sides and is able to make their own conclusions.

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I back the opinion of Craig Blomberg even though he has not been talked about in this paper. He is of the opinion that the scriptures give women the same position of leadership in church as that given to men.8 Every person has equivalent access to the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit and God has given them to all persons to use them to worship Him, whether a man or a woman. Why should a woman fight to have the same role as a man when she may not be received in the same way as the man will? Isn’t preaching meant to benefit all individuals, men and women? Ministering should be for the sake of spreading the word of God and should not, therefore, be characterized by personal gain, societal norms or pride.

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