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Review: God’s Good Design

Discussion of gender roles is a thought-provoking read.

Claire Smith did not grow up in a Christian home and was a passionate feminist. By God’s grace, she came to Christ in her young adulthood.

Claire Smith. God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says About Men and Women. Sydney, Australia: Matthias Media, 2012. 238 pages.

Claire Smith. God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says About Men and Women. Sydney, Australia: Matthias Media, 2012. 238 pages.

During her time at Moore Theological College, where she earned a doctorate in New Testament studies, Smith conducted an in-depth study into what the Bible really says about men and women and how they should relate to each other. She eventually came to a complementarian view of gender. 

In God’s Good Design: What the Bible Really Says About Men and Women,” Smith begins with a brief overview of feminism and how it has affected our culture. She reminds us that “our task is to sit under God’s Word and have it critique our culture, our lives, our relationships, our prejudices and our fears. Not vice versa.” In Part 1, she deals with the roles and relationships of women and men within the church. Part 2 focuses on their relationships within marriage. 

Smith tackles seven of the most sensitive Bible passages about the roles of men and women. Each is examined to draw out its plain meaning. Various responses, reactions and even rejections of the passage are then discussed. 

Smith does an excellent job clarifying perceptions that cloud the gender debate. She compares commendable examples of women teaching, as recorded in the Bible, to the authoritative teaching in an assembly. She distinguishes between the ability to do something and the right to do it — and between being submissive and simultaneously influencing others. She hits the nail on the head when she discusses the common misconception of equality, which assumes that we cannot have differentiation and hierarchy without also having inferiority and superiority of dignity or worth.

Sarah Chan is a member of the Belmore Road Church of Christ in Melbourne, Australia, where she and her husband, James, serve the Chinese ministry. This review is excerpted from InterSections magazine. Find the expanded review at intersections.com.au. 

Filed under: feminism Opinion Reviews sensitive subject women's roles

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