Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review: Jim Henderson's The Resignation of Eve

  In talking with women around the country, Jim Henderson has come to believe that there is an epidemic of quiet, even sad resignation among dedicated Christian women who are feeling overworked and undervalued in the church. As a result, many women are discouraged. Some, particularly young women, respond by leaving the organized church . . . or walking away from the faith altogether. 
  Containing personal interviews with women and new research from George Barna, The Resignation of Eve is a field report on what women have to say about how they’ve been affected by their experiences within the church. It is crucially important because, across the board, the research shows that women are driving changes in the church . . . so what will happen if they resign?
   Inviting women to speak for themselves, The Resignation of Eve is a must-read, life-changing book for women who have been engaged in the Christian church as well as their pastors and ministry leaders.
  Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the roles given to women in the church, even before reading this book. I will go ahead and say that I find less, and less proof that women weren't intended to be pastoral positions in the church.  It seems like we are picking and choosing from the cultural expectations of Paul's time to keep women in a very odd fragmented box that doesn't many any sense. If all churches told me my head needed to be covered and that I couldn't speak at all in church then I might be more prone to see where churches are getting their basis to keep women from leadership roles, but since it's obvious that the majority of churches don't have women keeping their head covered there is a disconnect in logically telling women why they can't teach. Either you follow all of what Paul says, or you have to accept there is a problem with how you're choosing and picking what to think. 
   This book addresses all that, and more. It brings up the problem of how these views can also put the feeling of dominance in men, and how domestic violence has even been defended because of churches stance on the leadership of men. Probably the most heartbreaking of stories is when a woman shares how abusive her husband was, and had an affair, but since he was the authority he blamed her for his inability to stay committed to her. When she went to her church for support they took the husband's side. I think this book is exposing a lot of issues these views have caused amongst Christians. 
   Jim is also very patient, and understanding with the women he interviews. I find it admirable that this male pastor has taken it upon himself to push for people in the church to think of why they think women should have the suppression they do in the church.  Even his wife started out passive as to understanding why it was so important for the role of women to change in the church. The questions he asks are good ones, and you can tell the women are stumped as to discovering the illogicality of why women can't teach at higher levels than they do. My only wish is that Jim would have went deeper into why he believes it isn't wrong from women to have higher authority in the church. He does mention that the culture Paul was directing was different from ours, and that he had reason for saying what he did, but I think it would have helped if a whole chapter would have been dedicated to the cultural context. There are a lot of good arguments for it being okay for women to be pastors, and in other usually male only roles. 
  I think this book should be read by men and women. It is insightful, and hopefully gets people who are open-minded to reconsider there stances, and why they have them.

This book was provided by Tyndale in exchange for a review. 


  1. Holly

    Thank you for noting this point "Either you follow all of what Paul says, or you have to accept there is a problem with how you're choosing and picking what to think."

    Thats what I have always wondered as well

    Thanks for taking time to share your insights. I hope you continue to stay connected with this story

  2. Thank you for commenting! I've been thinking a lot about this issue for the past year, and I definitely enjoyed how the book pointed out the illogicalities of the many churches current stance.

    I hope the book gets many people considering the same things it did for me.

  3. Holly - thanks for your review and your insights. As one of the "Eve's" in the book, I'm enjoying reading the various reviews. I am really looking forward to reading the entire book. I think if nothing else, this book will give women - and men- cause to reopen a discussion that has mostly been a power struggle-going-no-where. Maybe it's time to have a respectful dialog and put behind us some of these weights that only hinder us in the race. Thanks again.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Laura. I really enjoyed reading the book. It was insightful reading how this common view in the church has affected women in ways that I wasn't aware of. I definitely hope it gets people to thinking, and initiating this conversation with their churches.

  5. Thanks for the thoughtful review of my book. I would like to invite you and your readers to our upcoming free - Resignation of Eve Cloud Conference on Feb. 27 @8pm EST – you only need a telephone to join the call and have a chance to participate in a conversation with myself and the women of “Resignation of Eve.” David Kinnaman, President and author of the Barna Group will also be on this call to talk about his latest research on women and the church. – Hope you are able to join us. Thanks, Jim Henderson


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