Sometimes that seems like a great achievement! It seems ages since I have read a Christian book designed to stimulate my thinking. I have started a few of late but haven't finished them. I can think of a number of reasons why that was the case! One book I started was Jerry Bridges Respectable Sins. My problem was just the title alone reminded me of the truth of my sin. I haven't got more than a chapter into it yet - not because it is no good but because I am driven to self-evaluation of my own sins that I ignore or consider, somehow, to be OK! Repentance is needed, all right and sometimes that takes time! One day I will actually get to the end and then I will review that one more fully. Now I will just say he is certainly dealing with a problem SO real we need to engage with it! I can see the sins committed by others so much more clearly than my own!
But, that is not the book I finished. That one is called, God's Good Design by Claire Smith. In it Claire takes us through the main Bible passages that relate to how women and men are designed by God to relate together. She carefully explains passage by passage what the Bible teaches and what it doesn't teach on these issues.
Claire comes from a background where she lived and breathed the feminist belief that everything a man can do a woman can do better. So it was a bit of a shock for her to discover, several years after becoming a Christian, that God taught a different pattern of relating. One which recognised that both men and women are created in the image of God, where both women and men are equally saved through the amazing work of Christ on the cross, but where there were different responsibilities for men and women when we gather together and in our marriages.
Claire works through each passage carefully and also through the major objections to her understanding of each passage. She carefully considers arguments and then explains why she agrees or disagrees. I found this very helpful.
In some ways there was nothing particularly new for me in this book. It is not the first time I have looked at these passages and thought about what they mean for me in the way that I live out my faith within the Christian community and in my home.
But what an encouragement it was to find a book that clearly summarises the Bible’s teaching, engages with objections in a clear and gentle way and points us again to Jesus and His word which can be trusted!
This is a book well worth reading by all women and men who are trying to be obedient in following Christ – particularly in how we relate to each other.