We need to be alert and equipped, because Christian bookstores don’t have genre labels like “fluff” and “I may look like I have my life together more than you, but I’m about to wreck your theology.” —Aimee Byrd, No Little Women
About the Book
Why are so many well-intentioned women falling for poor—even false—theology? The Devil has been effectively targeting women from the beginning, so why are they often left to fend for themselves in so-called women’s ministries?
Strengthening women in the church strengthens the whole church. Cultivating resolved, competent women equips them to fulfill their calling as Christ’s disciples and men’s essential allies. Writing to concerned women and church officers, Aimee Byrd pinpoints the problem, especially the commodification of women’s ministry. Aimee answers the hot-button issues—How can women grow in discernment? How should pastors preach to women? What are our roles within the church?—and points us in the direction of a multifaceted solution.
This book will be a tough pill to swallow for some, yet what Aimee Bryd has to say in No Little Women needs to be addressed. To summarize, women should aspire to be good theologians with the aid of the church. By addressing women and church leadership individually and as a whole, she opens the door for much needed dialogue and reform. Indeed without change I fear women will become more and more disillusioned with the church and continue, perhaps in greater numbers, to fall victim to false teachers and weak theology.
Byrd covers a multitude of topics in 278 pages, yet I found her arguments to be thoroughly fleshed out and followed through to their end. Her “Questions for Reflection and Discussion” at the end of each chapter are some I’ve pondered myself, while others I’d like to see addressed by my own church. Of the many topics she broaches the following resonated the strongest with me:
- Women should be recognized as competent allies (cobelligerents; important to the spiritual health of the church and home)
- It’s up to church officers to “equip competent, theologically minded, thinking women”
- “If there is a clear mission for the women’s initiatives in your church, then the officers of the church should have a plan for equipping qualified women’s leaders”
- Bible study curriculum needs pastoral oversight
- Poor doctrine that has seeped into the church needs to be addressed by leadership
- Discipling is the role of the church
- A distinction needs to be made between the ministry of the Word and other “ministries” within the church
- Women need to be taught to discern truth in what they read and hear
I felt a commonality with the author despite our differences in theological training and denominational backgrounds. When I mentioned how this book may be a tough pill for some to swallow, I had a few reasons in mind. First, Byrd has doctrinal differences with churches who ordaining female ministers and those who claim to receive direct revelations from God. Additionally, you may not agree with how she defines the role of parachurch ministries. I cringed at the mention of an international Bible Study ministry which has helped me grow immensely in my faith, bible literacy, and prayer life. The point she is trying to drive home is that “the primary place where discipleship should be taking place is in the local church.” Finally, in chapter 9, an eye-opening chapter titled “Honing and Testing our Discernment Skills,” the author challenges readers to (re)examine the writings of several prominent Christian authors, including Beth Moore, Pricilla Shirer, Lysa TerKeurst, Rachel Held Evans, Ann Voskamp, and Jen Hatmaker among others. I refuse to take offense on behalf of these authors, some of whom I’ve read and enjoyed, but those who have deep loyalties to Christian celebrities may. For me, Byrd’s exercise prompts me to be more vigilant in the future.
No Little Women is a call to action! For women, it’s to request theological training equal to (as deep as) our male cobelligerents, and not settle for teachings that appeal to our emotions and sentimentality while subverting Scripture. As for the church, Byrd asks church officers to remain involved and in-tune with the women of their congregation—shepherding, training competent leaders, and dispelling false ideas as they arise. I recommend this book to members of church staff, Women’s Ministry leaders, and laywomen alike.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from P&R Publishing for this review. All opinions are my own.