On a Journey to Women’s Ordination and Beyond?

 By Wes Bredenhof

Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher. Bloomington: Bethany House, 2020. Softcover, 301 pages.

Jesus & Gender: Living as Sisters & Brothers in Christ, Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Eric Schumacher. Bellingham: Kirkdale Press, 2022. Hardcover, 282 pages.

In October 2021 I attended our biannual pastors’ conference in Western Australia. A talk by two pastors’ wives was the highlight. Amanda Poppe and Kristen Alkema spoke about domestic abuse in the church. They shared real-life stories of CanRC and FRCA women who’d been raped by their husbands, physically battered, psychologically controlled or manipulated, and emotionally beaten down. It was eye-opening and deeply disturbing. After this conference, I read Darby Strickland’s book Is It Abuse? A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims. Amanda, Kristen, and Darby convinced me we have to do better in our churches with how we view women and how we treat women.

I used to subscribe to the Journal of Biblical Counselling, so I was familiar with the name of Elyse Fitzpatrick. In the early 2000s, she wrote several wise and insightful articles. So, when I saw that she’d recently co-authored these two books with Baptist pastor Eric Schumacher, I was expecting good things. Perhaps these books would be helpful for steering us in a better direction. Sadly, the authors let me (and you) down.


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