Gender Roles and the People of God
By Alice Mathews
Zondervan, PB, 238 pages
Mathews approaches one of the church’s most controversial topics: the role God has given women in the church, the home and the world. But, by stripping the book’s perspective of language barriers and cultural differences, she is able to analyze the core of what God has said about the sacred roles of both genders.
This text debunks the historical idea that women are inferior to men. However, it still recognizes the special differences between the genders and the holy union between them. Mathews backs her statements with specific scriptural references and takes into account their context within the Bible. When analyzing a passage, Mathews offers multiple interpretations to allow the reader to come to a conclusion independently rather than telling the reader what is “correct.” A brief history of the female role is given, as well as the stories of pivotal women of the Bible, such as Mary Magdalene, Abigail, Deborah, Ruth and Naomi.
This book gives a refreshing perspective on the value of women in a world where gender roles have become challenged, distorted and maligned. Matthews recognizes the merits of femininity, wifely support, motherhood and female distinctiveness. She is not a promoter of male bashing. Rather, she spotlights the harmony the different genders can create when respect is mutual. Whereas many modern Christians shrink from discussing this subject, it is important to study God’s will for gender identification and fulfillment. Each of the thirteen chapters is followed by a list of questions for discussion or personal reflection.
Reviewed by Megan Alms, a Professional Writing Major at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana.