Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
All We're Meant to Be
Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship
233 Langdon Madison, Wisconsin 53703
From: JASA 29 (March 1977): 45.
I would like to share some reflections regarding the book .All We're Meant To Be, reviewed in the March 1976 issue of the Journal ASA. I was saddened by much of what t read in the review, and book itself. Any notions I had of the evangelical movement having unified beliefs were largely shattered.
Some interesting, and positive things were included in the book. Overall however, the following points stand out:
(1) The book intimates that only those Christians that find themselves in an "ideal" cultural setting can be joyful believers, and suggests that true joy on earth comes, not from being reborn in Christ, but one's earthly environment. It's inferred, that one's peace in the Lord is dependent on other people's choices, rather than my regeneration and relationship with the Lord, (2) The title "Biblical approach to Women's Liberation" seemed indeed quite unbiblieal due to extensive use of secular references; opinions of theologians known so be more liberal than many evangelicals; secular opinion placed on 'equal footing' with the Holy Word. (3) Low regard for the wisdom, constancy, and inspiration of all Scripture. For example, Paul's writings are set against those of Jesus as if they don't mesh, and we must choose between them. It is hinted that one is redundant, or naive, to take the Scripture at face value. It breeds doubts about many "distasteful" passages. (4) The salvation message, is viewed as, "But the Good News was that achieved roles were what counted in the kingdom of God p. 84 (5)
Wholesome attitude of acceptance of order, rightful authority, peace of the body, and love for brothers in Christ is lacking. I was left with the impression that the book's intent was not to praise and honor God, but rather to negate all that didn't conform to current women's lib standards. A prevailing mood of defiance seems characterized by the comment on page 20, "To speak of God otherwise is considered blasphemy." Many were shocked to hear singer Helen Reddy accept her Grammy Award with, "I'd like to thank God because She made everything possible." Any pastor who began by praying, "Our Mother, who are in heaven would probably be defrocked forthwith. Yet the Bible is not afraid to use that image of God ................
With regard to discerning biblical principles, I thought the book was weak in realizing that Christians and non-Christians are guided by different values. Quotes from non-Christians seemed to be utilized as if automatically applying to the believer's circumstances (i.e., attitude toward being single).
For a book claiming to be "A Biblical Approach to Women's Liberation" it seemed to include far too many unrelated references. While scholarly by English Department standards I expect, many of the over 275 references were not close to being exegetical. No effort was spared to bring the weight of today's secular women leaders, past cultures, psychology, et. al, down on the "wayward and errant man of the Bible." (marks my own) Though this often made for interesting side points, constant evangelical exegesis is suspect.
Of major concern to me was the degrading way the Holy Scripture was handled. For example, Paul's writing was treated as being less inspired than Jesus. Are we to now see his writing as only semi-inspired? or 25% inspired? The book has the thrust of casting doubt over the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture, generally.
As to the inferences that God has somehow slighted or ripped off those unmarried people, the need to believe God knows best is apparent. Again, the biblical principle: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Prov. 3:5-6, is missing in applicable and needed situations covered by the book, in my opinion.
In closing, t want to thank the men and women of this evangelical magazine for their rigorous efforts to keep this such a publication. We know that the path of least resistance among seminaries, denominations, and periodicals, is to become "of the world." May the Lord continue to bless your ministry.