One of the most contested issues in the church in recent days concerns the role of men and women in the church. The chief question among many people is this: “Can a woman preach on a Sunday morning to a congregation that consists of both men and women?” People also ask, “What are they commanded to do? What are they prohibited from doing?” Kevin DeYoung tackles these thorny questions in his excellent book, Men and Women in the Church. The subtitle captures the essence of the book: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction.

The book is arranged in two parts. Part 1 focuses on biblical exposition. DeYoung begins in the Old Testament, works his way through Scripture, and highlights the pertinent themes concerning the role of men and women in the church. Readers must bear in mind that this book aims to introduce the central themes and cause them to take a deeper dive into more comprehensive treatments of this subject.

Part 2 contains questions and applications. DeYoung explores common questions pertaining to men and women in the local church and provides clear biblical answers.

One particularly helpful section concerns parenting children and teaching them their respective roles as aspiring men and women. DeYoung is intrigued (as am I) with John Piper’s helpful question: “If your son asks you what it means to be a man, or your daughter asks you what it means to be a woman, what would you say?” DeYoung builds on this thought-provoking question and explores ways for parents to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. He concludes:

What do we say then to our sons and daughters who ask, ‘Daddy and Mommy, what does it mean to be a man or a woman?’ Tell them they are made in the image of God and for union with Christ. And then tell your daughters that they should strive to be beautiful in the way God wants them to be beautiful. And tell your sons to strive to be strong in all the ways God wants them to be strong.

While the arguments in DeYoung’s work are not as detailed as those found in works like Recovering Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem, the arguments are still substantial. Indeed, DeYoung’s arguments are concise. But more importantly, the arguments are biblical. I commend Men and Women in the Church to anyone who will take time to wrestle with DeYoung’s essential arguments. I hope that many readers will be convinced. The result will be a strengthened and more obedient church.

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