Evangelical Feminism A New Path To Liberalism?, By Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006) 272 pp., Paper $10.99
Wayne Grudem is perhaps the most prolific evangelical author today writing in defense of the biblical roles of men and women in the church and in the home, known as complementarism. His thesis in this particular volume is that evangelical feminism (egalitarianism) has become a new path by which evangelicals are being drawn into theological liberalism (pp. 15, 17), because it undermines the authority of Scripture (p. 261). This thesis is repeated in virtually every one of the 36 chapters.
The strength of this particular work is responding with solid biblical answers to the common equalitarian attacks on the traditional understanding of the biblical roles of women. These attacks, which began among evangelicals only in 1974 (p. 43), include:
Accusations that portions of Scripture are wrong (pp. 33-52)
Trajectory hermeneutics which claim modern developments in culture trump Scripture (pp. 53-80)
“Cherry picking” favorite verses while ignoring others (pp. 81-102)
Parachurch organizations circumventing Scripture, thus setting a pattern for the church (PP. 107-114)
Allowing tradition or experience to trump Scripture (pp. 115-142)
Biblically, the third part of the book is the strongest. Here Grudem deals with specific texts such as 1 Tim 2:1-8; 1 Cor 14:34; 1 Pet 3:1-7. He also addresses the meaning of important Greek words translated “head” (pp. 193-198) and “authority” (pp. 199-206) in our English Bibles. In addition he also dismantles unsubstantiated claims by egalitarians concerning women apostles, bishops or teachers of men in the Bible (pp. 165-192, 215-221). Grudem concludes the book with a final section composed of seven chapters showing where the egalitarian position is taking evangelicals, including the acceptance of homosexuality (pp. 232-250).
Evangelical Feminism is a valuable source. It is well-documented, readable and biblically sound. In understanding and defending the role of women as found in Scripture, this book serves as an excellent guide.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel