The Resignation of Eve: What If Adam's Rib Is No Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone?
Surprising and Revealing
Some women want to have an active role in the Evangelical church, some have fled to other churches where their voices and contributions can be appreciated. Some have resigned themselves to fit into the mold of a church where women are not a dominant voice. The central part of this book are the interviews discussing the lives, traditional and nontraditional viewpoints, and experiences of many different women concerning the woman's role in the church and home life. What is a woman's influence in the different available church positions and are they being utilized with what they are capable of contributing?
What an eyeopener this book was to me. Not giving much thought before to a woman's role in the success/failure of a church, I now have a good understanding of the whys and viewpoints that make up some of the women in the churches population today. Also beneficial to me was what bloggers wrote at the end of each interview/chapter. They added greatly to the conversation and brought a whole new perspective to the material that was being presented. I did not know what to expect when I first started reading The Resignation of Eve and was surprised at how much I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book to others especially to those who feel their voice is surpressed when it comes to voicing concerns in the church.
August 2, 2012
Not at all what I was expecting
When I picked up this book, I thought the premise would be that men need to step up in the Church. However, the author proceeds to show that we should encourage and promote women being leaders and pastors and teachers in our churches. This flies in the face of all that I read and understand in Scripture and I did not enjoy the book. Granted, it was written in a way that I still finished the whole book, hoping to find a representative of those with my belief system, those who take God's Word literally and trust Him when He says that man is the head of the woman just as Christ is the head of the Church. And also, I'm not sure why women would want to take these roles of leadership away from men, as we're told in Scripture that "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1)
I really didn't enjoy the liberal bent of the book, but if you're in that camp, maybe you will...
July 20, 2012
Good concept but less than satisfying
The Resignation of Eve is a provocative and critical analysis of the treatment of women in todayÃ¢ÂÂs evangelical church. Directed primarily toward male pastors of evangelical churches, Jim Henderson rebukes leaders for failing to recognize and appreciate the contributions women make within the body of Christ. More philosophical than theological, HendersonÃ¢ÂÂs narrative centers on personal interviews with women he places into three categories: those who are resigned to their churchÃ¢ÂÂs position on women; those who have resigned from the church because of the churchÃ¢ÂÂs position on women and those Henderson describes as Ã¢ÂÂre-signedÃ¢ÂÂ or Ã¢ÂÂre-engaged in their churches Ã¢ÂÂ¦ leading and influencing despite opposition.Ã¢ÂÂ
While the book is a conversational, easy read, HendersonÃ¢ÂÂs biases are obvious. For example, he tends to denigrate the women he interviewed who hold more conservative positions, in one case explaining away a womanÃ¢ÂÂs beliefs by concluding her childhood experience in a broken home led to her need for Ã¢ÂÂstructureÃ¢ÂÂ within her family and within the church. At the same time, he seems more accepting of those who have walked away from the church, laying blame for their decisions at the feet of evangelical leaders while assigning no responsibility to the women for their attitude and actions.
A potential strength of the book is the random survey of women by the George Barna group. Unfortunately, the survey results play a lesser role in the narrative than the qualitative interviews. As a result, the research fails to add the dimension of objectivity required to offset HendersonÃ¢ÂÂs biases.
On the other hand, HendersonÃ¢ÂÂs description of Pastor David ChoÃ¢ÂÂs work at Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, strengthens the book. Recounting ChoÃ¢ÂÂs conversion to Christianity and the growth of ChoÃ¢ÂÂs church to the largest congregation in the world, Henderson shares a particularly compelling quote from a conversation between Cho and Pastor Rick Warren on the role that women played in the development of ChoÃ¢ÂÂs church in a traditionally patriarchal society. Cho said,
Ã¢ÂÂIn 1964, when I was almost total (sic) infected (with tuberculosis), I had the choice of one of two steps - to delegate my ministry to lay Christians or keep up the ministry. But when I tried to delegate my ministry to the men, they would all make excuses saying that they were too busy, or not trained, or "You receive a salary not me." So I had to use women.
In Korean society - for long periods of time -- women had no power or voice in the church, and I began to use women. This was a big risk - but I had no choice - it was a step out in faith, and I had no alternative. Then the women made a tremendous contribution to church growth! Now all the Korean churches - even Catholic -- have accepted women. When I come to Europe and America encouraging pastors to use women, I always receive a lot of opposition - especially in Europe.Ã¢ÂÂ http://tinyurl.com/davidcho
(Please note that the reviewerÃ¢ÂÂs attempt to find the original source of the quote at pastors.com was unsuccessful).
Finally, HendersonÃ¢ÂÂs book addresses an important and divisive issue. The Resignation of Eve raises the issue of womenÃ¢ÂÂs roles in a way that could lead to reasonable discussion among men and women within the evangelical community. Unfortunately, the lack of objectivity, theological argument and balance between qualitative and quantitative research prevent the book from becoming the authoritative commentary it could be.
I received an electronic copy of the book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
March 25, 2012
Women All Fired UP!
The overall focus of the book centered on the topic of whether women should be lead pastors or not. Jim stays mostly away from letting this book be about a biblical study or theological debate on the issue of the role of women in ministry. He goes about it by simply sharing story after story after story of women talking about what this issue has done for them in regards to them being in the ministry, if at all (the book is 282 pages with results from a Barna Group Survey on Ã¢ÂÂWoman and the ChurchÃ¢ÂÂ).
What I enjoyed about this book was the wide spectrum of stories shared by women with differing views. There were cases of women who left the church and wanted nothing to do with it, and there were cases of women who were upset about the church, but were not willing to let that stop them from being an influential part in advancing the Kingdom of God through the local church.
Although I enjoyed reading these stories, it became somewhat monotonous of hearing how these woman had hurtful experiences of men or were inspired by women while growing up. While IÃ¢ÂÂm not minimizing their awful experiences or taking light of their influences (as my mother showed faithfulness to me), it would be cautious for all of us to understand that the Bible, not our pasts, must guide our beliefs. This is not an easy thing to do. Even men hurt by women of their past could be living out of those hurts while being pastors. The church should not be driven merely out of empiricism or pragmatism. Jim calls attention to these things as well.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve no doubt that RoseÃ¢ÂÂs passionate commitment to a more traditional interpretation of submission is authentic. At the same time, none of us escape the influence of our past. When you consider her confusing childhoodÃ¢ÂÂ¦itÃ¢ÂÂs easy to understand why Rose is grateful for the structure and security submission has provided for herÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 35)
Ã¢ÂÂMy mom, my sister, and my wife are all leaders, and even my first pastor was a woman. So compared to many men, IÃ¢ÂÂm decidedly pro-womenÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 177).
Ã¢ÂÂI found it appealing largely because I love anything subversive- especially when itÃ¢ÂÂs done in the name of GodÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 130).
It also became monotonous about how most of these women wanted to be preachers on the stage, but because of church policy, they were denied the privilege; and therefore leaving them shortened on using the gift God gave them. It makes it as though men are the sole problem that they canÃ¢ÂÂt teach, encourage, serve, give to the needy, lead, or cheerfully show mercy (Romans 12). It also makes it as though men are driven by their love of power, than them living out a sincere desire to obey God in how they have interpreted the Scriptures. Or maybe Jim is calling out both men and women in their love for power? ItÃ¢ÂÂs certainly been a struggle between man and woman since the entrance of sin and judgment in Genesis 3.
Ã¢ÂÂPerhaps we can start by trying to understand some of the underlying forces- specifically our [men and women] views of sin and power- that have a more profound impact on our beliefs than we generally realizeÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 257).
In one sense, it marks another category of people who are leaving the church as we know it. We know men left the church long ago. WeÃ¢ÂÂve learned that young people have left the church in the last decade. And weÃ¢ÂÂve learned that America is far from a Christian nation it once was thought to be. Seeing that the Ã¢ÂÂmedian age of women who attend, volunteer in, and give money to churches is somewhere between fifty-six and fifty-nine years oldÃ¢ÂÂ (p. 248), we wonder if there is hope for the future of the church.
These stories are meant to help open the eyes of pastors, leaders, and women about what women are feeling and perceiving about the church. Hopefully, pastors, leaders, and women can also see that there is hope to continue this dialogue and partnership. Prayerfully, we can continue to explore this issue biblical and sensitively together for the sake of the church and the souls of the world. No matter where, how, or if you draw the line for woman in the ministry, itÃ¢ÂÂs evident that we canÃ¢ÂÂt do it without each other.
March 20, 2012