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Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood.

Grudem, W. & Rainey, D., (2002).

Pastoral leadership for manhood and womanhood. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. Paperback. 295 pp.. $14.99. ISBN 1-58134-419-8.

Wayne Grudem is Vice President of the Counsel on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary. Dennis Rainey, executive director and co-founder of FamilyLife, hosts the nationally syndicated radio program FamilyLife Today, which airs daily.

The authors believe that the moral drift and decay prevalent in America today can be changed by strengthening the smallest societal unit, the family. Further, they believe the pastor's personal life and family should reflect and demonstrate health and spiritual integrity. This unit, the pastoral family, must then strengthen and bring health to the next unit of society, the church, and from there, influence local communities.

In Part II six male authors focus on opportunities, which are mostly missed by the average North American pastor. These seven topics are well handled and would be of great assistance to any pastor, no matter how long he has been in ministry or at a given church. I particularly appreciated the attention given to building a ministry that is welcoming to singles (chapter 6), and the discussion of the theology and rationale for a marriage ceremony that restores dignity and meaningfulness to the wedding event (chapter 8). I also appreciated the discussion of church discipline, written by a lawyer who is also a pastor and mediator (chapter 9). Part III of the book focuses on today's challenges: marital roles, issues of homosexuality, moral failures among singles, and domestic violence. Seven authors, all male, addressed these topics. I found these chapters to be strong on doctrine, and somewhat weak on psychological insights and integration. Little was said about cooperating with existing community resources. Nothing was mentioned about abuse of minors and elders. (I realize that a book must limit its scope to a few prominent issues, but I didn't see the rationale for choosing these four issues.)

Strengths of this book include the scholarship and experience of outstanding practitioners-authors. These men are not just theorists. The resulting work is very practical and thoroughly Biblical. The authors are consistent in espousing their complementarian view of marriage issues.

Weaknesses of the book are the failure to allow for other views of marital roles (do the authors believe that egalitarian views of marriage are wrong?). Another unease I felt was that the male voice is dominant throughout the book (are there no women able to speak on these issues?). Still another concern was the monocultural stance as if there are no other Christian populations in the world, and no other cultures represented in the North American church. Research was somewhat limited, and problems spiritualized. There was a failure to acknowledge and encourage the use of existing community resources. Further, there was no reason given for limiting church challenges to the presented four. Finally, there was little or no attempt to integrate psychological concepts in the discussion of either causes of problems or their resolution.

Nevertheless, the book is well worth reading and retaining as a reference and guide for pastors. It will be of great benefit as a counseling tool for Christian therapists who have the freedom to counsel from a Christian perspective, and when dealing with church members who accept God's Word as the highest and sole authority and only acceptable resource for their lives.

Reviewed by LAURA MAE GARDNER, D.Min.
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Author:Gardner, Laura Mae
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Words:570
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