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Review: Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, by Aimee Byrd (part 1)

Cover of a 1901 edition of The Yellow Wallpaper by American Feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman 
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

 By Pastor Mike Meyers - Posted at 

In 2020 Zondervan Academic published Aimee Byrd’s fifth book, “Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: How the Church Needs to Rediscover Her Purpose.” Here is a basic overview of the major points of the book:

Purpose: “This isn’t a man-bashing book. And this isn’t a woman-empowerment book. This is a book that appeals to the reader to look at the yellow wallpaper in the church and to do something about it…One of our biggest challenges is to actually see this yellow wallpaper’s scrawling patterns that are stifling the force of the biblical message and strangling the church’s witness and growth. Don’t we want to rip those away and reveal the beauty and unity in God’s Word?” (19).[1] Later she writes, “I am writing because we need to recover a better way. We need to peel off this yellow wallpaper and reveal our true biblical aim. We are not directed to biblical manhood nor biblical womanhood; we are directed to Christ. Our aim is to behold Christ, as his bride, as fellow sons in the Son” (132).

Target: “[Charlotte Perkins] Gilman had her doctor in mind when she wrote her novella. She intended to open his eyes to this problem. But he refused to acknowledge her. I too hope to get the attention of a specific audience—church leaders, the ones entrusted with shepherdingGod’s people, the ones who can prescribe a better approach, the ones who can lead the way forward to a richer culture in God’s household” (19)

Thesis: After misconstruing John Piper on page 22 (see No Little Women, 139-140 and Why Can’t We Be Friends, 25, detailed here), she writes, “This kind of teaching chokes the growth of God’s people. Certainly plenty of Christians disagree with this extreme of so-called manhood and womanhood. And yet it goes unchallenged and continues to cover the walls in many evangelical churches. It is also showcased in more nuanced ways that are dull enough to confuse the eye in following. And that is what I hope to address in this book” (22-23). In a related blog post, Mrs. Byrd concisely summarizes her thesis: “…a contemporary movement has damaged the way that we disciple men and women in the church.” This book was her effort to highlight this while “focusing on the way we read scripture, the way we view discipleship, and our responsibilities to one another.”

Notably, this is the first book Mrs. Byrd has authored that included a disclaimer like this, “Of course, the opinions in the book are my own and do not represent my church or my session” (12). In this review, I will focus upon the origin and meaning of ‘yellow wallpaper’ and identify two serious categories of concern.


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