John Piper and Wayne Grudem are fully convinced that reading the creation order as anything other than man being created with authority over woman will result in increasing homosexuality. Seriously. They are so convinced, that they have copied 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood from their previously published book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism because they think people won’t take the time to read the latter in its entirety but would read one of its chapters republished. I’ll just go ahead and say that if one is remotely interested in reading 50…, he or she should just get Recovering… There is nothing that helpful in brevity that, when encountering questions that cannot be sufficiently answered, simply appeals to the authors’ view of the creation order and/or refer the reader to certain chapters in another book. Bottom line: skip this book.
However, if you’re still interested, you may read all fifty questions by looking inside the book within its Amazon.com entry. Some of the answers include the following (my summary and paraphrase):
- The authors believe that “helper” (Gen 2:18) must mean either someone stronger aiding someone weaker or someone aiding a loving leader. Really? What about a helper being someone who simply helps without being stronger, weaker, submissive, or authoritative? This is an extremely weak argument for the authors’ view of the creation order (Eve being created as a “helper for a loving leader”).
- The authors agree that there are ambiguities that are difficult, but they do come down very hard on the ambiguities they believe further their view of the creation order.
- The authors explicitly state that they believe “the issues of infant versus believer’s baptism, of premillenialism, and of Presbyterian, congregational, or episcopal polity are less threatening to the health and mission of the church than questions of gender roles” (82).
- The authors believe that female leadership occurred in the Old Testament only in service to male leadership or when that leadership was failing. So, does that mean gender roles aren’t as important as they claim? Can women leaders rise up when men are failing? They imply this has been, is, and will be the case in mission work, but aren’t sure what to do about that because it is furthering the spreading of the gospel.
What I find rather telling about books by traditional, hierarchical complemetarianists is that they never address the change from the creation order in Eve’s curse in the fall that “her desire shall be for [her] husband, and he shall rule over [her]” (Gen 3:16, NRSV), nor how their view of the creation order plays out in their eschatological view of the new heavens and new earth. This doesn’t mean that answers to these questions from a complemetarian perspective do not exist; it’s that I’ve never heard one.
*I received a complimentary digital copy of the reviewed book from Crossway through the Blog Review Program in exchange for this honest review.