Taken from the introduction to the book:
Perceptions and images abound on the subject of gender-based roles. Abuse, privilege, power, oppression, culture, archaisms, sexism, patriarchal, freedom, empowerment, feminism, liberal, accommodation—these are all emotive words involved in heating up the discussion. The issue of gender in the church has long been debated and many books have been written on this subject. So why another book? What would possess this author to step into the line of fire and potentially take shots from all sides?
The answer is that the subject will not go away; as long as there are men and women striving to understand this wonderful subject, there will be discussion and debate. Scholarly and popular works have proliferated, roughly lining up on one of two sides: the complementarian viewpoint and the egalitarian viewpoint. Complementarians are those who see male and female as equal but different, having some distinct roles in church, home and life. Egalitarians are those who view male and female as equal and their roles largely interchangeable in social, spiritual and familial contexts (except for the obvious roles related to physiogeny such as ability to bear children). Much of what has been written remains inaccessible to the average Christian because of 1) the technical or voluminous nature of some writings, 2) the sectarian or pejorative flavor of some writings, or 3) the shallowness of some writings. Few are prepared to do the required work to sort through both the rhetoric and the passion presented by both sides.
It would be arrogant of this writer, to say the least, to think that I have discovered the final or clearest word on the subject. In fact, I do not lay claim to high scholarship that will compete in the learned and academic circles with what has been written before. Indeed, many great minds have wrestled with this subject and with each other over this subject. But having studied and preached on this issue over the past 20 years, and having been in church leadership, on the front lines of implementing my convictions, I can say clearly that the subject is still front and center in the minds of many people who sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday. In addition, I believe the position any given church takes on this issue will have an impact on that church’s ministry and how people view and relate to the opposite sex. How the church deals with this issue will also have a direct affect on the health and welfare of the Christian family.
In terms of interactions with the larger church body, we dare not let ourselves be satisfied with “agreeing to disagree” on this subject, because it cuts to the core of who we are as individuals. Sexuality is essential to our nature as human beings created by God. Within our churches, we must be clear about what we believe and straightforward in how we teach it, for the roles of God’s people, whether men or women, really do matter to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. We dare not glibly follow a favorite teacher or denominational perspective without embracing the Berean mindset. Remember, the Bereans were commended by Dr. Luke in the book of Acts for,
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)
In our sexually confused society, the non-believing world needs to have a clear compass from Christians who not only have a cogent, biblical perspective on the sexes, but who can provide a demonstration of the beauty, satisfaction, practicality and sexual affirmation of that biblical lifestyle.
My own sense is that there is need for a defense of a conservative viewpoint on the subject of the sexes, which also recognizes and corrects the faults of what I would call a wooden conservatism. Too often unbiblical extremes have been codified beyond scriptural warrant. Likewise, the role of men and the concept of authority has been distorted to the point of causing unnecessary tension and burden on women. I believe a proper biblical understanding of the sexes leads us to celebrate the differences—not to be embarrassed by or fearful of them. As men and women discover God’s wonderful variety and glory in their lives and ministry together, the Lord will indeed be glorified, for we grow in our understanding of His magnificent creation.
I submit this book for the glory of God and for the encouragement of men and women to enjoy the differences and the balance of their roles in ministry.
Dimensions: 6 x 9 x .50 inches
Author: Chuck Gianotti
Page count: 218