Moving Beyond Gender Stereotypes in Church and Home

Putting Women in Their Place: Moving Beyond Gender Stereotypes in Church and Home

Pamela R. Durso

Putting Women in Their Place: Moving Beyond Gender Stereotypes in Church and Home. Edited by Audra and Joe Trull. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2003. 149 pp.

In their recent book Putting Women in Their Place, Joe and Audra Trull set out to introduce readers, both Baptists and others, to the current events and controversies over the idea of female equality and then to offer an alternative view. To do this, they gathered a diverse group of writers, including pastors, college and seminary professors, missionaries, editors, and scholars. The writers, all committed Baptists, are Sheri Adams, Ruth Ann Foster, William Hull, Fisher Humphreys, Dan Gentry Kent, Catherine Clark Kroeger, Gladys Lewis, Karen Massey, Julie Pennington-Russell, Audra Trull, Joe Trull, and Charles Wellborn.

Each writer provided either personal, biblical, historical, or theological responses to the Southern Baptist debate about the role of women. The result is a book filled with brief well-written essays, ranging 10-20 pages, that discuss such topics as “Jesus and Women,” “Paul: Supporter and Exhorter of Women,” and “Biblical Authority, Inerrancy, and Equality.”

The two personal responses to recent events are Julie Pennington-Russell’s “One Woman’s Response to the SBC” and Gladys Lewis’s “still a Baptist Woman.” While the other materials found in the book contain helpful and insightful biblical and theological content, these personal essays seem to be the most compelling. The Trulls have rightly recognized the importance of the stories of individual Baptist women who have lived through and survived the recent events of Southern Baptist life. The stories of women who have persevered and remained Baptist need to be told and preserved for future generations, yet few available resources provide insight into the their recent experiences. After reading the stories of Pennington-Russell and Lewis, the lingering desire is for more personal stories to have been included.

The one drawback to the book is the front cover. The 1950s-style picture of the “happy little lady” is distracting and makes the book appear to be a less-than-serious treatment of the subject. Yet, the book is a well-done, serious treatment of the Baptist debate over female equality, and a different cover would have enhanced the first impression of the book.

Putting Women in Their Place offers an excellent introduction to the controversy among Baptists about the place of women and provides insight into biblical equality. The book has the potential to stir up dialogue among those who read it and would be an excellent resource for use in seminary classes, deacon retreats, and small-group discussions.–Reviewed by Pamela R. Durso, associate director, Baptist History and Heritage Society, Brentwood, Tennessee.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Baptist History and Heritage Society

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group