Reading Reflection:

Modern Reformation Magazine, Vol. 21/NO.3/May-June 2012

I received my copy of Modern Reformation in the mail today and am so pleased with their theme for the May/June issue: No Girls Allowed. It addresses the lack of women learning theology in our day. This is such a passionate issue for me. As I grew in my faith and wanted to learn more about God, I found that many women dismiss theology as an academic field that does not relate to their life. Much of their Christian reading (if they were reading anything) was focused on the obvious “women” issues: feminism, homemaking, and parenting. While these are important topics, there is more to a woman than this. Oftentimes, I am more enriched reading books written by men because the theology covers more aspects of my life. Of course there are great books out there to help us with our roles as wives and mothers, but why limit our learning to these two parts of our identity?

Theology is simply the study of God. Women play a huge role in showing the face of Christianity to the watching world and need to be better equipped with God’s truth in their own lives. But the focus has to be on God, particularly the revelation he gives us in Christ through the gospel, not our own skills as a wife, mother, or hostess with the mostest. All of us are theologians. As Gerstner so aptly put it in his book, Theology for Every Man, the question is whether or not we are good ones. God has bothered to reveal himself in Scripture, have we bothered to read and learn it?

Modern Reformation reveals in the Top Ten Best-Sellers For Christian Women that we are consuming a lot of self-help books. Part of the reason may be that this is what the publishers are pumping out, yet they wouldn’t be publishing what we won’t buy--right? The concern is that we are consuming a lot of law and little gospel. Modern Reformation interviewed author Kathleen Buswell Nielson on this issue. As the director of women’s initiatives for The Gospel Coalition, Kathleen was pleased to discuss the upcoming TGC women’s conference this summer that is for women, but not all about women. The theme is “Here is Our God! God’s Revelation of Himself in Scripture.” I am excited to attend this conference and to hear from the many wonderful women who are committed to teaching solid theology and Bible study. As discouraged as I have been about the lack of biblical study among women, there is reassuringly some wonderful resources being published for us.

I regularly enjoy reading Brooke Mintun’s contributions both in Modern Reformation and on their White Horse Inn blog. She has a great article in this issue titled Chick-Lit, encouraging us women to balance our romance novel diet with theologically sound, educational non-fiction. Right on!

There is also an article written by Simonetta Carr that incites mothers to “grow in our understanding of doctrine so we can continue to lead our children on the correct path (borrowing from Michael Horton) from drama to doctrine to doxology to discipleship. Skipping doctrine, which is the correct understanding of the biblical drama with its redemptive emphasis on the gospel of Christ, is an easy path but one that inevitably leads to moralism (if not outright unorthodoxy). Children need to have the gospel repeated to them on a daily basis, because it’s unnatural to human minds” (19). There’s some parenting advice for ya.

The opening line of LeAnn Trees’ article is “Theology matters.” Yes it does! She shares how Thomas Boston’s teaching on the providence of God (in his 1737 Sermon Series that later became a book, The Crook in the Lot) helped her cope through the horror of losing her 16-year-old son in a skiing accident. Yes, theology matters.

There are so many more treasures for me to read in this issue. There’s an ode to women by Herman Bavinck (well, the real title is A Gift of God Out of Adam). I can’t wait to sink my teeth into that article over tomorrow’s coffee. Also, there’s a great article by Michael Horton critiquing the hyper-masculine trend afoot in evangelicalism…

Although I sometimes get discouraged about the Christianity Lite that is sold in the local “Christian” bookstores, I am heartened by Modern Reformation addressing this issue, the upcoming conference full of women passionate to teach and learn biblical truths and its applications, the many great books that are now being published for women’s studies, as well as my wonderful community of readers and commenters here at Housewife Theologian. I’m grateful for more women who want to learn theology, and all the wonderful men who have grown out of “no girls allowed” club.

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14 Comments

[...] a traditional housewife

[...] a traditional housewife and mom, but she is trying to take women deeper in the faith. I appreciated this post where she reflects on the lack of women learning theology. Her blog actually is not a [...]

Looking forward to your post

Looking forward to your post where you expand on your thoughts! You mentioned that your blog is not a "women's blog" but a theological one. This statement begins to put into words something I've been thinking about. I mostly read blogs written by men b/c they tend to be general about theology (and NOT through the lens of fatherhood, being a husband, etc). Why is it that so few women are capable of this? Most women's blog seem to be through a lens of being a wife/mom/housewife...so no men would be interested, nor women who are not a wife/mom/housewife. There IS a time and place for discussing men and women issues. But women as a whole seem unable to see themselves in any way except through their "role". I think this is problematic on several levels for women.
Well, these thoughts are not as articulate as I'd like as I'm still thinking this through...

I can identify with you in

I can identify with you in your article, Laura. That's a major reason why I started my blog. It's not a "women's blog," just theological reflections from everyday life. I like your line: "I appreciate her point that precisely because women tend to be more emotionally or relationally geared is why they need more objective teaching." That is exactly what led me to be more serious in theological study. Since I am intuitive/emotional/relational, I wanted that grounded in the truth. I just realized that I have a lot to say about this, so the rest of this reply will be an article this week. Thanks for sharing your article.

Also, briefly, I have not read Jesus Calling. I don't want to give a critique of the whole book without reading it, and I don't really plan on reading it. I will say that it sounds a bit subjective at best and should be presented that way.

Thanks for this article. I

Thanks for this article. I often feel like a lone voice in the wilderness when i speak up with similar thoughts. I get discouraged and find that many women just don't "get" our concerns. It seems hard to get many women to realize why they need to study theology. I sometimes feel very frustrated with the female sex! Here is a link to an article I wrote on the same issue: http://lightenough.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/be-a-woman-of-depth-who-lead...

On another but related topic, what do you think of the devotional "Jesus Calling" that seems so popular with Christian women? I recently had a post on it, and decided to be diplomatic rather than harshly condemn it. But I am having second thoughts that I was too diplomatic, and am considering writing a new review that is my own and more detailed (in the post I reference some other reviews and then tack on my own thoughts). I think that "Jesus Calling" is the last devotional most women need...something that lacks biblical depth and focuses on feelings/emotions. This is like playing right into the weakness of many women. Any thoughts?

Hope I am not too forthright in these points.

Thank you for challenging all

Thank you for challenging all the ladies around you, to read and think for ourselves and not just settle for what we are taught by others...for challenging us to read and know what we believe! I don't think you realize what a blessing you are to those around you and to those reading your blog! :)

It really is a great issue.

It really is a great issue. Thanks, Angela.

It was a wonderful edition of

It was a wonderful edition of MR, wasn't it? I had been looking forward to receiving it in the mail for weeks, and wasn't disappointed. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

Glad to be an encouragement,

Glad to be an encouragement, Hannah. Enjoy your time in seminary!

I'm so encouraged to have

I'm so encouraged to have found this post today. I'm a young woman in seminary who loves theology, and Herman Bavinck! Thank you for sharing and for inviting the breakdown of the "no girls allowed" club.

Wow Andrea, thanks! You've

Wow Andrea, thanks! You've got such a great husband to discuss your reading with as well. God has really placed some great people in our lives. It's been a pleasure knowing Christ through you as well.

Aimee does a good job

Aimee does a good job teaching men to stretch themselves too, Andrea. Good stuff here, good stuff!

Thanks to you, I own more

Thanks to you, I own more theology books than my husband!! You have such a gift for teaching women to stretch themselves, and God reveals himself to us!! I see him more when I seek him, not myself. Thank you friend for holding my hand through those tough books!!

In HIm,
Andrea

Thanks, Tim, I appreciate

Thanks, Tim, I appreciate that.

Great topic, Aimee. Leslie

Great topic, Aimee. Leslie Keeney asked a number of questions recently and came up with possible answers as to why there are so few women participating in theology: http://www.theruthlessmonk.com/where-is-the-voice-of-the-evangelical-aca... . I pointed her to your blog as an example of a woman who isn't afraid to take on theology.

Glad I'm not in the "no girls allowed" club (or "no boys allowed" either)!

Tim