Freedom and Boundaries - Book Review

I read "Freedom and Boundaries" by Kevin DeYoung several months ago, and am just now getting around to reviewing it.

I've said a couple of times that Kevin DeYoung is one of my favorite authors right now. His book on the Emerging Church was fantastic. His book on knowing the will of God was great as well. DeYoung has an ability to write about tough topics in a really easy manner. He's appropriately funny and appropriately serious, which are hard traits to have in balance.

Because the topic of women in ministry is such a powder-keg topic, DeYoung writes much more technically in "Freedom and Boundaries" than in some of his other books. But, the book is still written in such a way that us "less-than-technical" minds can grasp it.

DeYoung does, in my opinion, a masterful job handling a really difficult issue. The Bible gives two or three black-and-white instructions about gender roles in church leadership; enough that we can't dismiss them without making a statement about how we interpret Scripture, but few enough that we don't have instruction on every single possible scenario that could come up. That's what makes this issue so difficult.

DeYoung is a complementarian who believes that men and women were created to serve complementary but distinct roles in the family and in the church. Women can't ever be daddies, and men can't be mommies, but both men and women are vitally important in the family relationship. In the church, DeYoung believes, there should be a similar affirmation of value and distinction of roles.

"Freedom and Boundaries" examines each of the Scripture passages that talk about gender roles, and helps us understand where the Bible draws hard and fast lines, and where we have freedom to choose. Too often, Christians read "I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority" and either dismiss it or make sweeping declarations that aren't warranted by the passage. DeYoung does a good job at finding a healthy balance. He works hard to speak where the Bible speaks, but to not go a step farther than that, and I really respect that about his work.

The issue of gender roles in ministry can be a really difficult issue because it hasn't been handled carefully in the past. It's hard to be a complementarian sometimes, because a bunch of domineering idiots have so abused it to the point that we want to throw everything out with the bath water. There is a way where you can honor the value and gifting of every person, male or female, while recognizing that God has created us for different roles. DeYoung does a great job striking that balance.

This is a great book. It won't be of interest to people who don't want to think pretty hard about a difficult issue. But, if you're interested in doing some thinking about the role of women in the Church and want to see an example of how it is possible to hold women in the highest regard while maintaining a distinction in roles that the Bible sure seems to require, this is a great book to pick up.