God’s Design for Women (Book Review)
New challenges call for thoughtful and practical ways forward. A revised edition of God’s Design for Women is a book that offers real hope.
Looking back on the past couple of decades, it can seem like a hurricane of change has swept through British society.
But, while much of that change may worry us, author Sharon James reassures the reader that we mustn’t be overwhelmed or lose heart.
In her revised edition of her 2002 classic, God’s Design for Women, Sharon says contemporary issues such as gender confusion, gender fluidity and gender identity affect us all in some way, whether in our personal, family, education, employment or church lives.
Challenging issues present us with difficult questions, so, thankfully, Sharon’s revised book provides thoughtful and comprehensive answers aimed to inspire action in today’s world.
This book should impact what happens in our churches in terms of ministry, evangelism, pastoral care as well as our involvement in society and the world.
Sharon asserts that Christianity is ‘Good News for women’! Throughout the text, she uses historical and current examples to show that women living out God’s good design has contributed positively to society and to the church in the UK and overseas.
She masterfully critiques the feminist movement as it has developed, right up to the ‘#MeToo’ movement, and shows that, against the failure of feminism, “Christianity offers true liberation” (p79).
The next chapters shine the spotlight on God’s good design. There is, in God’s Kingdom, equality in personhood, dignity and worth for every man and woman. Men and women who trust in Christ are equally loved, equally forgiven and brought into God’s kingdom in the same way, and will share equally in the new creation when Jesus returns.
Sharon tells the reader that complementary difference is designed by God so that “when working in partnership, there would be a synergy, a fruitfulness, that would not be possible for either on their own” (p87).
Helpfully, Sharon explores what it means to be male and female, while rising above damaging caricatures. As you read the text, your sight will be set on God’s purposes now and in eternity.
God’s Design for Women in an Age of Gender Confusion is eminently readable but not lightweight. It will leave you with questions to ponder that will impact the day-to-day as well as the bigger life decisions you make.
Parts four and five of the book help us to respond to the challenges of society, community, church life, singleness, marriage, and motherhood in a positive and biblical way. Sharon is committed to women in ministry from a complementarian perspective, and, refreshingly, wants to see that worked through well in church life.
She writes passionately and sensitively, so this book will inspire you to fulfil the God-given design for women – individually and collectively. It will help you to remove the idols of our time, and to shine like stars in this generation which so needs women of all ages and backgrounds to live, work and serve courageously, compassionately and sacrificially to the praise and glory of our Saviour.
This book is much-needed and should be read by men and women, and discussed and applied. To that end, the book concludes with eight studies (structured with discussion questions, suggested prayer focus and a section summary).
If you would like to hear Sharon introducing the main themes of her revised book, do listen to her 40-minute podcast on baptistwomenireland.org
Another title by Sharon, Gender Ideology: What do Christians Need to Know?, is due to go on sale in bookshops in November. It can be pre-ordered via 10ofThose.com.
Sharon was also one of the contributors to Primer issue 03 on Gender and Sexuality.