Some of the material in this present writing is excerpted from an earlier
book published in 1975, titled A Woman's Worth. Another writer has
preempted that title to set forth a quite different agenda, therefore not
to be confused with the theme of this book.
The compulsion to write this book was born out of my own experience in the
business world, as wife and mother, as friend and counselor. At that time
it appeared little attention was directed within the Christian community
to the basic issues of identity and equality, and biblical terms such as
"submission", "authority" and "headship" were
in serious need of review. The church had long been remiss in giving honest
and in-depth consideration to our sexuality. To fill this vacuum, many reactionary
and polarizing views were being aired.
Our hope was that as Spirit-instructed and gifted men and women sought with
integrity the biblical perspectives that would clarify and heal us all,
the Body of Christ could address our wounded, confused society with the
radical and revolutionary realities of Truth and Love which God has revealed
to us through His Word, that our understanding of God would inform and correct
Twenty years later, it seems we are in danger of losing more ground than
we have gained through the avid--sometimes morbid--and far too introspective
discussions that have been spawned in the name of "religion."
The system of hermeneutics once considered the norm for evangelicals, has
been virtually turned on its head. Biblical interpretation is at the mercy
of any who can offer academic degrees, and/or compelling subjectivity (the
two combined are powerful, indeed), and it appears women are now being given
preferential treatment as theological gurus. Overreaching for "equality,"
men have too easily abdicated their leadership responsibility and women have
too eagerly replaced them. And once again the unity of the Body of Christ
has been jeopardized as extreme positions are taken and categories are hardened.
We have not yet learned the difference between compromise and the consistency
of biblical Truth. Biblical truth is multi-faceted and dynamic. It is neither
simplistic and rigid nor fanatical and arbitrary.
Is this issues-captivated church, consumed as we are with relational fever,
the spectacle of God's character the world so desperately needs, even hungers,
to see? Are the questions we raise, the answers we seek, coming from transformed
minds, obedient wills and hearts hungry to serve purely for Jesus' sake?
Is our discussion bringing healing to our brokenness, and are we now instructed
to face our circumstances with godly contentment, knowing that God says who
we are and why we are here?
Does the "city set on a hill" now more convincingly model a community
that relates and serves like our Master? Has society benefited from our
debate, from the role-shifting, lexicon-dueling, the "biblical"
presumptions? Or have we premised our debate on the secular value system,
simply cloaking it in religious biblical terminology? Are we self-deceived,
religious entrepreneurs, in a struggle for personal power and prestige?
My husband, who faithfully pastored me for more than forty years, is now
in the Presence of the Lord Jesus whom he served so well. It was his desire
that I again address our mutual concerns for biblical coherency, and particularly
for the straightforward, "simple" message of who are in Christ.
It is this shared concern which prompts me to offer this revived and somewhat
edited reprint of A Woman's Worth.
Grants Pass, Oregon
Copyright 1975 by Elaine L. Stedman
A Key-Word Book
Word Books Publisher
Revised May 1996.