Book review - Why Not Women?
Reviewed by Jeanne Wherrett
Loren Cunningham, who with his wife, Darlene, founded Youth with a Mission in the1960s, 'has led in releasing people to obey God's call: young people, laypersons, short-term workers, non-western missionaries, and women.'
David J. Hamilton 'is a veteran missionary and scholar who wrote his master's thesis on the difficult Bible passages related to the ministry of women.'
They did not enter into such an important and potentially divisive subject 'without the fear of the Lord upon [them]'.
This is one of those books that I have intended to read ever since I first heard of its existence and it is one that has not disappointed me. Initially Loren Cunningham talks about the current situation. Then David Hamilton continues to set the scene with a description of the Greek, Roman and Jewish attitudes towards women by the first century and their origins in the Greek and Roman creation myths and in rabbinical teaching. This is contrasted with the place of woman in the biblical creation story. Understanding the cultures and attitudes of the time emphasises how radical both Jesus' and Paul's teaching was, restoring the God-given equality between men and women.
Hamilton discusses the meaning of the Greek, contemporary cultural settings, other contemporary writings, the structure of the Greek writing (with helpful diagrams), problems caused by lack of punctuation in New Testament Greek, interpretations that are consistent with the rest of scripture and they do not take short passages in isolation… in arriving at a considered opinion of the intended meaning of the difficult passages relating to women's ministry roles. For example, he demonstrates that the idea of 'headship' is much more likely to refer to origin, as in the headwaters of a river, than authority.
All arguments are firmly based in scripture and, as someone who has never studied Greek, but desires to understand and obey God's Word, I found it enlightening, affirming and very useful. It is written in an easy-to-read style and never once did I find it dry or obscure. I found it hard to put it down.
One of the desires of the authors is to help the next generation of young women growing up now to be released into the ministries for which God is equipping and calling them. It also has wider implications as 'multiplied millions of women all over the world are looking over the church's shoulder, longing to see the freedom Jesus purchased for them at Calvary.'