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Book Review : Hearing her voice

November 27, 2013

John Dickson makes the comment in the introduction of his book, Hearing her Voice that there will be those who will be disappointed that his book doesn’t go far enough in allowing women to hold leadership positions in all areas of the Christian Church. While others will believe it goes too far in allowing women to preach. I’m in the first of these categories but nevertheless found the book very helpful.

Dickson makes the point that in our context we use the word “teach” in a broader range of ways – everything from sermons, to Sunday School lessons, to giving instruction in sport, or a job. Paul, however, uses the word in a very restricted way to mean the original passing on of what was to become the Scriptures as we know them today. The work of memorizing Jesus’ words and the events of his life became the task of qualified men, like the passing on of the Old Testament Scriptures had been. Memorization was valued above the written word in that culture at that time.

Therefore it is not Biblically accurate to use the word “teach” in relation to a sermon. We would better reflect Biblical terminology if we were to use the word “exhort” or “prophesy” to refer to a sermon. The tasks of exhortation and prophesy were not restricted to men so Dickson makes the comment there is no reason why women cannot fulfil the task of bring a sermon.

This is the gist of Dickson’s argument. He writes very strongly and sometimes repetitively to get his message across. Since I agree with his position, it was an easy book for me to read and enjoy. No doubt I would have felt differently if I disagreed with him!

by Susan Barnes
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Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith