CBMW REVIEW: "Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry" by Michael Bird

Michael Bird is one of the most entertaining theological writers I have read. Having reviewed a section of his systematic theology, Evangelical Theology, only weeks ago as well as having become a regular reader of his blog Euangelion, it is apparent to me that I will never read his writing and walk away bored. That holds true in his recent contribution to the gender roles debate. More of a pamphlet than a book, Bird’sBourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry is a fun, honest, and concise presentation of “Biblical Egalitarianism.”
Except it isn’t. Bird’s book isn’t boilerplate egalitarianism. But neither is it complementarianism.[i] He writes:Michael Bird is one of the most entertaining theological writers I have read. Havingreviewed a section of his systematic theology, Evangelical Theology, only weeks ago as well as having become a regular reader of his blog Euangelion, it is apparent to me that I will never read his writing and walk away bored. That holds true in his recent contribution to the gender roles debate. More of a pamphlet than a book, Bird’sBourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry is a fun, honest, and concise presentation of “Biblical Egalitarianism.”
My own position is either almost-complementarian or nearly-egalitarian, depending how you look at it. Yet I have changed my view on women and ministry, and some of my friends have shaken their head in disappointment, thinking that I have sold out to the cultural tide of feminism by adopting a fashionably left-leaning version of evangelicalism. My own perspective is that I have simply followed the testimony of biblical texts that affirm women can and should be involved in pastoral care and the church’s teaching ministry.[ii]
Neither Complementarian nor Feminist
Bird’s book has its merits. It’s true: Bird has not “sold out to the cultural tide of feminism.” Indeed, this book is incredibly respectable in that Bird has not said with many “so-called Christian feminists” or the recently en vogue “Jesus feminists” that Paul was just wrong, the Bible is irrelevant or outdated, or that we ought to ignore relevant passages about gender in the church. Likewise, Bird hasn’t manipulated texts beyond recognition. Instead, he addresses each relevant passage to the debate head on in order to show why he has become an egalitarian in regards to ministry in the church.
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Read the rest of the review over at CBMW
here.

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