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New book by Grudem offers exhaustive biblical critique of evangelical feminism

November 29, 2004

If there is an egalitarian argument against the complementarian teaching on gender, Wayne Grudem’s weighty new book gives the biblical antidote to it.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – If there is an egalitarian argument against the complementarian teaching on gender, Wayne Grudem’s weighty new book gives the biblical antidote to it.

Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth (Multnomah) analyzes and refutes more than 100 arguments used by egalitarians in the debate over biblical gender roles. The book is massive in content as well as word count– including eight appendices and the subject index, Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth totals 856 pages in length.

More than 13 years after co-editing with John Piper the landmark work Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Grudem sets out to answer all the egalitarian arguments against biblical gender roles that have arisen since the first volume’s release.

Grudem’s new book was released in mid-November to coincide with the annual national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Grudem is a board member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) and professor of theology at Phoenix Theological Seminary.

“For some time I have thought that another book was needed for supplementing Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in several ways,” Grudem writes.

Grudem seeks to supplement the 1991 book in myriad ways. In this treatment, which John Piper says will serve as “the standard complementarian manifesto for years go come,” Grudem seeks to accomplish five goals:

  • To answer new arguments made by evangelical feminists.
  • To adopt a user-friendly format that enables readers to find a fair summary of egalitarian arguments from the last three decades accompanied by clear, biblical responses.
  • To summarize the results of new scholarly research and to articulate it in such a way it can be easily understood by laymen.
  • To provide an updated assessment of where the evangelical world is headed on issues of gender. The book includes policy statements from men and women in leadership from dozens of evangelical parachurch ministries.
  • To warn about troubling trends in the evangelical feminist camp that indicate an even more dangerous trend toward theological liberalism. Grudem argues that feminists employ a hermeneutic that implies a subtle rejection of the effective authority of Scripture in the lives of believers.

Grudem examines more than 100 egalitarian claims and sets forth their arguments from the major egalitarian theologians and writers. For example, Grudem shows how egalitarians make the claim that male headship is a result of the Fall in Gen. 1-3. They argue that male headship did not come about until after the product and is therefore a product of sin.

To this claim, Grudem says there are at least 10 arguments that prove there was male headship before the Fall. He answers the egalitarian claim by unpacking the 10 arguments. Much of the book proceeds in like fashion.

The Q&A format is arranged in 14 chapters according to different topics that deal with issues central to the debate such as hermeneutics, evangelical feminist claims from history and experience, evangelical feminist claims that the complementarian view is harmful, and evangelical feminist claims about the church from 1 Tim. 1 and 2, among other claims.

Among the eight appendices, Grudem includes such documents as three reviews of Catherine Kroeger’s 1992 book I Suffer Not a Woman, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the “Complete List of Eighty-Two Examples of Athenteo (‘to exercise authority’) in Ancient Greek Literature” by H. Scott Baldwin, and the policy statements of numerous of selected denominations and parachurch organizations on women in ministry.

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