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Designer Women: Made by God
Author: Ruth Tuttle Conard
Publisher: Authentic Publishing
238 pp.

One of my longstanding difficulties with the conservative bent of the Christian church has been its position on the role of women within the church.  Can they teach?  If so, would that be only to children?  Is anything permissible as long as it falls under the authority of the elders?  What if she addresses the congregation?  What if, as a man, I
am “taught” by a woman’s speaking, singing, writing, or other expression of her gifts?

Ruth Tuttle Conard’s position on these topics is clearly and simply stated to all women: “You are a designer item, one of a kind.  No one can tell you the way you were made is wrong.  That is an insult to the Designer.”  She lays out her case in Designer Women, which depicts the women of the Bible using the gifts they have been given by their
Creator.

Often churches, even well-intentioned churches, will allow certain positions to be filled by women.  If God has given all Christians gifts (and He has), would it then be characteristic of God to place limitations on one gender and not another?  How would it be consistent for God to allow men the ability to use their gifts within the church,
yet restrict women to certain areas?  Could it be that a male-dominated church hierarchy relied more on church tradition than the Scriptures?

Conard explores each woman’s character, and explains how their gifts were used in the early days of the church.  She speaks of Phoebe’s ministry, Priscilla being considered more advanced spiritually than Aquila, and Junia (Romans 16:7) being called an apostle by Paul.  She mentions how the entire Gospel was begun by the faith of a woman willing to give birth to the Son of God, despite her lack of understanding.

A question leaps to mind: how much has the church limited itself over the years by denying the use of God-given gifts to women?  We will never know the answer to that, but Conard gives us many Biblically based reasons not to let such practices continue.  A well-researched, theologically sound book that is both readable and informative.

Brian A. Smith
22 July 2009


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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