cover image 40 Questions About Women in Ministry

40 Questions About Women in Ministry

Sue Edwards and Kelley Mathews. Kregel Academic, $23.99 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8254-4725-9

These contemplative meditations by Edwards (Invitation to Educational Ministry), a ministry professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, and former ministry leader Matthews (Organic Ministry to Women) explore the role of women in Christian religious practice. The authors answer 40 questions (“Can women be priests?”; “What is the significance of Jesus choosing only men as the twelve apostles?”) pertaining to debates around “complementarianism” vs. “egalitarianism.” Complementarians, Edwards and Mathews contend, believe that God assigned men authority over women, while egalitarians believe that God “wants men and women to function in the world according to merit.” The authors answer “Can women teach or prophesy?” by laying out evidence for both camps, observing that while Deborah and Huldah are biblical women prophets, Paul asserts in Corinthians that women shouldn’t speak in church. This ambivalence characterizes Edwards and Mathews’s approach, and while some readers will appreciate their evenhandedness, others may wish they took a more proactive role to reconciling contradictions, as when they probe the conflict between Paul forbidding women from teaching and the story of Priscilla mentoring Apollos without proposing a way to resolve the inconsistency. Still, the perceptive exegesis impresses and the authors demonstrate a strong mastery of the debates they cover. Readers will be enlightened. (Nov.)