Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: The Resignation of Eve by Jim Henderson

When I picked up this book I was expecting to read about burnout among the hardworking female volunteers in our churches.  What I found instead was a quantitative and qualitative study of what women think about their roles in the church today.  The Barna Group did the quantitative part of the study.  Jim Henderson then found women in different locations and denominations and listened to their stories.  Henderson organizes these women into three groups: 

                1. resigned to accept their roles, including women who are content with being excluded from certain roles because they believe it is biblical and those who tolerate limitations as a trade-off they are willing to accept for the sake of harmony/husbands/children;
                2. resigned from the church, including women who went to parachurch organizations where they had greater freedom to use their gifts and women who were failed by the church (heartbreaking stories of abuse) and

                3. re-signed, including women who pushed back and carved out a niche in which they could use their gifts in service to the body of Christ.

I found this book to be thought provoking, especially since I am in a church where women play important roles, but are not ordained.  Since my spiritual gifts are not in any area that would require ordination, I had never really thought much about the issues this book raises.  Henderson challenges men and women to think about women's needs and women's gifts in light of how Jesus treated women. This is must reading for church leadership in every denomination, since Barna warns that service by adult women in churches declined 20-30% between 1991 and 2011.

I reviewed this book for Tyndale House publishers in return for a free copy of the book.