I’ve read the Bible, I’ve been to the electives, I’ve heard sermons, I’ve read articles, here we go again. This isn’t a new conversation. In fact, serving alongside women in a local congregation, it’s a conversation I have quite often. I got a phone call yesterday from a woman asking about the application of 1 Timothy 2. She wants to honour God as she’s called on to share reflections in small group devotions in her Christian workplace. What should she do?
Precisely because it’s on ongoing conversation, Claire’s book is immensely valuable. I've thought about these things before. I’m reasonably settled in my convictions of what I think God says in these passages. And I keep on having this conversation with my Christian brothers and sisters, with my non-Christian family and friends. The world keeps asking, ‘Did God really say that about men and women?’ My identity in Christ is very different to the one the world says I should have as a capable, independent woman. So I’m thankful for another voice urging me to listen to my Lord.
I appreciate Claire’s clear language and forthright presentation. Hearing her speak, I’ve come to expect a well thought out, well structured and easy to follow layout. Claire’s writing delivers. Her brief outline of our cultural milieu and history of feminism is not overwhelming but helps orient us as we come to God’s Word. Then she starts working closely through what God says. Claire herself says, ‘And when I say ‘closely’, I mean text by text, verse by verse and sometimes even word by word.’ (God’s Good Design, 18). Her treatment is careful and rigorous without leaving us swept away in the litres of ink spilt in this debate.
In this conversation I want God to speak. Who am I in Christ? Who am I as human creature of a marvellous creator? Who am I as a woman? Sister? Daughter? How can I speak the gospel to my sisters in Christ, my family and friends through this conversation? I feel like it’s too important for me to let my culture, my expectations, my wisdom or my baggage to dominate it. I don’t want to assume I’ve got all the answers. I’ve still got lots to learn. I still take a deep breath and wonder what to say next whenever this conversation comes up. So I’m praying that God might use Claire’s book to help me listen to him. What does God really say about men and women?
About our contributor: I grew up in western Sydney. In early high school my Christian friends started an Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF) group and my Nan gave me a copy of the New Testament. I thought I was good enough for God. As I read the gospel I met Jesus and realised I needed him as my Lord and Saviour. I put my trust in him and became a Christian.
At university God graciously and persistently challenged me that His plans and purposes demanded my efforts and priorities. After uni I completed a ministry apprenticeship part-time on campus and then studied at Moore Theological College and the Presbyterian Theological Centre. I now serve Christ and his people full time at Chatswood Presbyterian Church. I tell kids about Jesus, at church on Sundays and in schools during the week. I read the bible and pray with women.
I love my morning coffee, brunch by the beach, homemade pasta or pizza with friends, playing my guitar, chasing a flying disc at ultimate frisbee and watching sports of all kinds, especially cricket.