5 out of 5 Stars
Author: Claire Smith
Publisher: Matthias Media
Reading Level: Easy
Claire Smith offers an exposition of the relevant texts surrounding men and women’s role in the church and home. Her exegetical work is thoughtful, careful, and skillful. She has the academic chops to do the heavy lifting and the backstory with feminism.
What I loved. Primarily Claire’s work is exegetical. But it’s not overly academic. Each section of Scripture is examined in a way which is understandable for the average Christian. Also, she doesn’t just present her side. She offers the alternative interpretation for each passage.
Second, Claire holds a high view of Scripture. She makes the point several times that Scripture is our final authority. And it’s more than just lip service. In her own story, she explains how her respect for Scripture as the word of God moved her from feminism to complementarianism.
My only note of concern is the interpretation of Genesis 3:16. Honestly, it’s a quite popular take on the fall and its consequences but I don’t think it’s a very good take. To fully explore the issue would take more space than I can offer here but if you want a slightly fuller look check out Wendy Alsup’s “Her Desire Will Be For Her Husband.” Basically, Claire’s interpretation (and I would say the most popular interpretation in complementarianism) is Eve’s desire for her husband in Genesis 3:16 is negative. When Scripture says Eve’s desire will be for her husband, it’s saying her desire is to control, dominate, and usurp his loving leadership. First, this interpretation is a phenomena appearing as the rise of feminism occurred. Second, it misses the most straightforward understanding of the passage--that Eve’s desires would be for Adam. Not to usurp his leadership necessarily or to take control but that she would desire him. Saying this doesn’t mean those things may not happen. Just that this verse doesn’t teach that.
God’s Good Design is a book I would confidently recommend to anyone who is searching for what Scripture says on gender issues. Claire never loses focuses on God’s word. It’s a book that anyone can read and understand. There are certainly other books that focus on the exegetical side of things (Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood for one) but none that I’ve read that do so in a way that’s approachable for the average Christian. I would also encourage pastors to read this book. She offers some much needed admonishment for pastors to focus on Christ when preaching.