At Monyhull we ascribe to the FIEC statement on the role of women in ministry. This is summarised by the term complementarian as distinct from the egalitarian view. We respect but disagree with those Christians and churches who believe there are no scriptural differences in gender roles. A small mid-week Focus Group has been meeting in recent weeks studying this subject using a great resource by Sharon James called God’s Design for Women.
One of our church members, Caroline Bell, who is preparing to serve in full-time Christian ministry overseas wrote the following review of a book we would recommend as a church if you want to read more deeply on the subject.
God’s Good Design
In this book Claire Smith explores 7 Bible passages which outline God’s design for women, particularly focusing on their roles within marriage and in the church. I found her style clear and methodical, as she outlined what each passage says and addressed common objections to a literal interpretation of them. She draws the conclusion that God’s design is for men and women to have complementarian roles (that men and women have equal value but different roles which complement each other). I appreciated how she recognises that this is counter-cultural and her honesty in sharing her journey of how she changed from an egalitarian (men and women don’t have different roles) understanding to a complentarian one. I thought this was a very accessible read, with a logical flow and helpful suggestions for application.
I picked this book up at Word Alive this year, and have taken some time over my holiday to read it. Whilst both my parents are currently relatively well, I am aware that this may not always be the case, and I have found this book really helpful in thinking through some of the issues, both for my own situation, but also in considering others who may be facing this particular life challenge.
Emily Ackerman was a GP, and more recently has suffered chronic illness herself. Alongside this she has been faced with the challenge of caring for her own elderly parents, so she is well qualified to tackle the subject. However, she does not just draw from her own experience, but also from friends whose experiences cover a wide range of issues, recognising that no one situation is the same as another.
I found Emily’s approach refreshing, practical, Biblically based and eminently readable. She makes the point early in the book that this is a situation and challenge that the majority of us are likely to face, and yet there is very little preparation or training. At the end of the book she reminds us that as we have a God given duty and privilege of caring for our elderly parents, so as a church family we should also be caring for the elderly amongst us, and for those parent-carers who are part of our church.
Each chapter deals with a different aspect of parent-care, for example: “Some days I want to scream: Dealing with pressure”; “Why do I feel this way? Working with difficult emotions” and “But I’m so far away! Honouring from afar”. Each chapter ends with some questions to ask yourself to help apply the chapter to your own situation.
I found this book so very useful and would love to lend you my copy – however, I will be keeping it to dip back into it again….and again….and again, as and when I need to! But this is a book that I would recommend to any of us since at some time we are all likely to face this particular challenge in one way or another.