Recovering From Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: How the Church Needs to Rediscover Her Purpose, the newest book by Aimee Byrd, confronts a teaching that she believes started with good intentions but now “chokes the growth of God’s people.” Until I read her book, I didn’t know about the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. After visiting the site, I see her concern, but that’s another post.
I heard the term complementarian the first time a few years ago, and I wondered why the word was necessary. It states what I believe is an obvious fact. According to an article by Mary Kassian called Complementarianism for Dummies, the term “was coined by a group of scholars who got together to try and come up with a word to describe someone who ascribes to the historic, biblical idea that male and female are equal, but different.”
The author of the article goes on to say, “The need for such a label arose in response to the proposition that equality means role-interchangeability (egalitarianism).”
And so the great debate of how women can serve the Church began.
Only in recent years have I become aware of what I call a hyper-complementarianism, and the mean spirited attacks from both sides when a controversial event happens, such as a female Bible teacher giving a Mother’s Day sermon at the request of her pastor.
Aimee is no stranger to controversy. Her willingness to call out an errant teaching used to reinforce the idea of biblical manhood and womanhood caused a stir several years ago. Because of that, I expected Recovering From Biblical Manhood & Womanhood to be….well…..controversial.
What is most controversial about the book is that it is NOT controversial. Aimee faithfully seeks to understand and apply God’s Word and reminds us “we, men and women, are called together in the same mission: eternal communion with the triune God.”
I agree with Eric Schumacher in his list of what Aimee is doing:
- She is writing out of a spirit of meekness and humility.
- She is speaking with appropriate emotion and a controlled speech.
- She is doing the diligent, responsible, patient work of fostering a biblical understanding of what it means to be a man or a woman.
- She is calmly identifying problems, asking precise questions, and making thoughtful applications.
- She is doing responsible and informed exegetical and theological work.
- She is writing to bring clarity, health, and unity to the church.
The author tells us from the beginning the book is a critique, but it’s not only that. It’s “also an invitation to recover the beauty of God’s church and participate more fully in it.” I’m thankful I accepted the invitation.
She invites the reader to think about how the biblical manhood and biblical womanhood movement affects the way we view three things and breaks the book into these three parts: the way we read our Bibles, the way we think about discipleship, and the way we think about our responsibilities to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Aimee does this with great care and deep love for Jesus and the church. She helped clear away some old ideas passed down to me by pointing to what God says in His Word.
Our churches need both men and women who recognize the authority of God’s Word and speak it to one another. We need life in the local church to be coactive. We need men and women to join together in recognizing our calling under God’s mission. And we all need godly interruptions from our default modes of thinking.Aimee Byrd, Recovering From Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, p.47
Somehow we’ve shifted our aim from becoming like Jesus to becoming a biblical man or woman. We have it all wrong, and the author helps us rediscover what we’re here for.
Ultimately, not one of us will hear “well done, good and faithful complementarian, or good and faithful egalitarian.”
Jesus will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
All of us, male and female, will benefit from Aimee’s passionate call to us to rediscover the purpose of the church. You can purchase her book at any big name book sellers or, for a more personal touch, contact Hearts & Minds Books. They would love to serve you.
You can also enter for a chance to win the book. To enter, leave a comment or a question about what you think about this topic. Or tell me what interests you about the book.