Fearless Daughters of the Bible
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Mary was not power-hungry, ambitious, or seeking a place of fame or fortune. She was poor in spirit. She had an innocent willingness to please God. When the angel announced the divine plan in generalities, she did not ask, “What’s in this for me?”
This book takes the stories of twenty-two women of the Bible (13 individuals and two groups) and uses these women to illustrate how women’s various gifts — determination, persistence, courage, etc — helped them serve God. The author then goes one step further to use each of these women as examples of why he thinks that women should take on leadership roles in the church, the mission field, and the world as a whole.
The sections where the author is speaking of the women in the Bible and the amazing ways that God worked through them were interesting. I was looking forward to a book full of Bible stories of amazing women whom God used to fulfill His will. The list was great, and included many women that, indeed, had phenomenal roles in scripture. The section on Mary the Mother of Jesus was particularly compelling as the author looked at all of the ways in which Mary truly put her entire life and being into God’s hands, trusting and submitting wholly to Him. Some of the stories of modern day women making a difference around the world were interesting and inspirational, though some of them it seemed a bit of a far stretch to be comparing them to their Biblical counterparts.
However, for me, this book is simply a case of “we’re just not going to be able to agree on this.” After all, one can only hear their beliefs called “chauvinistic” and “antiwoman,” and be accused of “twisting Scripture” (because we only have men as pastors) so many times before you throw the book down in frustration and disgust.
The author also makes a number of Biblical assumptions — that Hannah asked for a son for the sole purpose of raising a leader for her troubled nation? and assumptions from tradition such as the idea that Miriam was the sister that watched Moses as a baby, or that Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem — and ignores other contextual information that doesn’t fit in with his agenda — such as praising Lois and Eunice as those who trained Timothy, not mentioning the fact that the passage before that refers to the fact that they did this “from infancy” as a good mother and grandmother would, and that the whole point of the book of 2 Timothy was that Paul was training Timothy for the ministry. It made me suspicious of all of his Biblical arguments, and I spent quite a bit of time after that point fact-checking for myself.
The author is obviously coming from a different viewpoint from myself, and not only uses terms like born-again, but also speaks of having direct visions from God about his calling, and speaks out against churches that don’t have altar calls. During the chapter about Mary, he not-so-gently corrects the Catholic views on Mary, using some rather pointed quotation marks about Mary being “immaculately” conceived, “assumed” into heaven, and “Coredemptrix” with Christ, that were rather unnecessary and quite simply, even though I’m not a Catholic, seemed somewhat insulting. In fact, many of the author’s views in this book were presented in a rather harsh, barbed way which left no room for opinions, and which — after chapter upon chapter of making the same point — made it feel like the point of the book was secondarily to empower women, but primarily to bash other churches. For instance, stating that “I always find it amusing that many tradition-bound Christians do not believe that a woman can lead worship.” Really? Amusing? And that “I will let the theologians continue the ivory tower arguments about sexism and hymnology” — statements that come off as arrogant, sarcastic, and rude… not at all the kind and loving instruction we Christians should afford one another when we have a difference of beliefs. It made me wonder if the author himself felt he had a personal vendetta to settle.
Overall: Should be renamed “Why I Think Women Should be Pastors: Argued Through 22 Women of the Bible”