No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God

No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of GodNo Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God by Aimee Byrd

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was sent to me to review from Netgalley, so I don’t have specific page numbers, but have given the location number ( LOC ####) from my Kindle to highlight quotes. Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

Evangelical Christians are not generally expected to be critical thinkers. LOC1254

Very true. And so it is with a heavy heart that I must write about this book. The overwhelming feeling of this book is that Byrd is so wrapped up in rules and regulations that she misses out on the joy of discovery and understanding our Creator God.

Several times Byrd makes it clear that she doesn’t accept the ordination of women to the “capital M ministry.” There are many roles for women in the church but Scripture makes it clear that the offices of elder and pastor are not among them. (see 1 Timothy 2:12) But this interpretation of Scripture is just that, an interpretation which is the action of explaining the meaning or way of explaining. Another way of seeing this verse is to look at the whole context of the letter. The church in Ephesus was having troubles with people teaching and preaching false doctrine. Paul was teaching the church in Ephesus that people were to sit quietly and hear the truth of the gospel as Paul had taught his chosen leaders to teach it. It becomes clearer in 1 Timothy that a number of women were teaching these misleading philosophies. This is the reason he wrote that women were to sit quietly and not have authority over a man. But if this is really the rules that Paul wanted every church to follow, why didn’t he write about it in his other epistles? Why does Paul write to nine different churches but only restrict women in three? He didn’t write it because it wasn’t an issue in the other churches. Paul wrote to Timothy about the issue because it was plaguing the Ephesus church. Paul wanted to correct unbiblical teaching being given by the women. Some of these rebellious women were disrupting the meetings, attempting to teach their false doctrine; Paul put an end to it by telling the women to shut up! But he never meant that a woman couldn’t be a pastor or a leader of the church. Paul wrote to specific churches about specific problems.

The phase they are not allowed to speak does not clarify the issue. The verb lalein (to speak) is too general to refer to any particular kind of speaking. It is used of tongues (27) and also prophecy (29) and refers equally to the questions with which women might interrupt a discourse. So general is the word that the suggestion that Paul is merely referring her to irregular talking, be it chattering, calling to children, soothing or more often rebuking babies, or interjecting a remark or query, cannot be ruled out.
New International Bible Commentary. Based on the NIV
F.F.Bruce, General Editor 1979

The churches didn’t have what we call the New Testament; at best they had a letter or two from Paul to read out aloud at meetings. Out of 44 writers of the Bibles 66 books, only Paul restricted women and only in a couple of locations. We are not to take this verse and misconstrue its meaning. Women are often gifted and called to be exceptional elders and pastors.

I strongly dislike Byrd’s way of blackening the names of women who have had a huge impact on the Christian world. She claims that Aimee Semple McPherson had herself claimed new revelation from God, as if she wanted to add to the canon of the Bible. But that is misrepresenting Aimee Semple McPherson’s words. Now undoubtedly Byrd has an issue with Semple McPherson who had no problem with women being ordained because of her history with the Salvation Army and their stance that women can and should be in leadership. But to say that she claimed special revelation from God when it is blatantly obvious that she meant she felt led by God’s Word to lead people to Jesus is just outrageous.

And to attack Sarah Young for a writing method meant to encourage readers to imagine Jesus talking to them directly is ridiculous. Sarah Young writes truth from Scripture in a first person style. She has never claimed that she was being given new Scriptural revelation. One might wonder at what Mrs. Byrd’s view on Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of the Bible called The Message might be.

So if all Christians agree that it is normative for God to speak, the disagreement is merely over method, says Seth Barnes, founder of Adventures in Missions. The Bible promises that God speaks through the closed canon of Scripture. But that doesn’t confine God to speaking only through the written word. “God is going to speak however he chooses,” Barnes says. “At the same time we know that God is personal and is very clear in Scripture that ‘my sheep hear my voice.’”
Christianity Today, 10 /1 / 2013

Beth Moore, of Living Proof Ministries has a pretty rock solid statement of faith clearly set out on their webpage www.lproof.org . It seems petty to complain about her story telling style as teaching wrong theology, when all she is striving to do is to make the truth of the Bible more easily applicable to a modern ear.

It is important for us to learn what God has communicated about himself; that he is one being, one Godhead, in three ‘persons’ – namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Lord God is one. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. They are not three separate beings. LOC 2558

In Christian theology, a hypostasis or person is one of the three persons of the Trinity. The three persons are distinct, yet one in “substance, essence or nature” ( homoousios). There is only one God in three persons, distinct from each other – Father who generates, the Son who is begotten and the Holy Spirit who proceeds, co-equal and co-eternal. Each is God, whole and entire.

If an author is not in line with what God says about himself, then you should have serious doubts about what she is teaching you. LOC 2572

I think that many of the differences I have with Mrs. Byrd’s statements comes down to points of view. She claims people are saying one thing, and I interpret what they say through a very different lens. I think that she is right about us taking theology much more seriously; we should wrestle with everything we are taught. But my opinion is that Byrd is taking things other people say and express way out of context to stir up controversy for controversy’s sake. I did agree with her exhorting preachers and pastors to take ministries focusing on women more seriously. I appreciated that each section of the book finished with questions to further provoke thought and understanding. I just don’t agree with a lot of what she teaches, but I think that should be seen as a victory for this book. It made me search my Bible and explore histories and look for meaning rather than just gullibly accepting what she has written, which was her underlying goal.

Read and do your own research of this book, don’t blindly accept everything that is taught to you.

For further reading:

10 Lies the Church Tells Women J. Lee Grady 2000, 2006
Published by Charisma House

Fashioned to Reign – Kris Vallotton 2013
Published by Chosen Books

View all my reviews

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