dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


Book Review: 50 Crucial Questions

Well, I said a month and a half ago that my first book review was (hopefully) coming in the next week. I could talk about final exams and starting a new job, but. . . excuses, excuses. Here is (finally) an actual review, the first of what I hope to be many--several of which are currently in my drafts folder. Admittedly, the reason that I'm finishing this review before several others which I had already begun is that this book is, in comparison, easier to rev--wait a minute. I already wrote a piece on writing book reviews; I'd better just start reviewing.

What does it mean for a man to have headship? Why are women permitted to prophesy if they are not permitted to be pastors or elders? How can we as Christians come to clear and Biblical convictions on matters that many evangelical scholars disagree on? 50 Questions addresses these and other questions on the topic of Biblical manhood and womanhood, including foundational questions such as "Why do you regard the issue of male and female roles as important?" and "What do you mean when you call the husband 'head'?" (Questions 1 and 6) as well as matters ranging from whether women can prophesy in church to the connection between evangelical feminism and liberal views of homosexuality (Questions 23 and 41).

The best description of the book is its full title: 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns About Manhood And Womanhood. At just over sixty pages, 50 Questions is a short, informative read. Written by John Piper and Wayne Grudem, editors of the much larger work Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, it provides concise yet insightful responses to fifty common questions regarding the complementarian view of manhood and womanhood. Piper and Grudem ably defend the Biblical model for humble male headship and church leadership, providing numerous Scriptural citations in every response to every question.

One answer that I found to be particularly helpful was that which addressed selective literalism. In answering the question "Aren't you guilty of selective literalism when you say some commands in a text are permanently valid and others, like 'Don't wear braided hair' or 'Do wear a head covering,' are culturally conditioned and not absolute?" Piper and Grudem give three keys for discerning whether or not a Biblical command is "culturally conditioned." As they explained,

"(1) we seek for clues in the context that this is so; (2) we compare other Scriptures relating to the same subject to see if we are dealing with limited application or with an abiding requirement; and (3) we try to show that the cultural specificity of the command is not rooted in the nature of God, the gospel, or the created order."

This excerpt also represents another valuable aspect of 50 Questions. Rather than trying to give lists of certain things that are permissible and others that aren't, they explain how they seek to exercise Biblical discernment in addressing the issue, and equip readers to do so as well. Overall, I enjoyed reading 50 Questions, and have found that I now have an increased interest in digging deeper into the issue of complementarity by reading Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

(The book is also available in a web-based format here.)

Rating: Recommended




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