Another Theological Treasure — This Time, It’s Feminism!

Gilbert Bilezikian, a professor at Wheaton College and one of the founding pastors of Willow Creek Community Church, is widely regarded by friends and foes as one of the principal thinkers in the evangelical feminist/egalitarian movement. And yet, in nearly a decade of serious study of the issue of women’s Biblical place in Church, family, and society, I’ve never managed to read his work.

That’s been to my loss. I just got ahold of “Beyond Sex Roles,” his seminal (yes, I’m aware of the irony of “seminal,” thanks) treatise on Biblical egalitarianism, and it’s nothing short of phenomenal, probably the best single study I’ve ever read. I recommend it to those who can’t or won’t understand the true message of Scripture as it regards women, men, Church and society. Bilezikian employs a “creation, fall, redemption” hermeneutic not unlike William Webb’s “redemptive-movement” method, and his commitment to the authority of the Word and the necessity of wrestling with passages in context is evident. While I still intend that Prevailing Winds be self-generated and not a compilation of other people’s words, I will occasionally post particularly insightful observations from both Bilezikian and from the theologians featured in “Church, State, and Public Justice.” There’s just too much good stuff there to keep it out of the spotlight.

And to my critics: Why are you so upset that it might actually be true that women are Biblically able to serve alongside men, in full equality and in mutual submission, in every area of society, both secular and ecclesiastical? Not a rhetorical question at all; I really want to know.

(Gilbert Bilezikian, “Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family,” Baker Academic, revised 2006)

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