by Tim Bayly on September 2, 2013 - 12:51pm
Here's a reading list of thirteen books on the meaning and purpose of the two sexes created by God—man and woman. It's been slightly reworked since it was last published.
1. Scripture, starting with these texts
2. Henrik Ibsen: A Doll's House
3. Paul King Jewett: Man as Male and Female
4. Stephen B. Clark: Man and Woman in Christ
5. Walter Neuer: Man and Woman in Christian Perspective
6. Steven Ozment: When Fathers Ruled
7. G. K. Chesterton: What's Wrong With the World or The Thing
8. Doug Wilson: Reforming Marriage
9. Bill Mouser: The Story of Sex in Scripture
10. Elisabeth Elliot: Let Me Be a Woman
11. George Eliot: Middlemarch
12. Ivan Turgenev: Fathers and Sons
13. CBMW: Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Now, thirteen explanations:
- Scripture: Some may quibble with my selection, but this is my own list of the texts I think should be carefully examined in order to come to a right understanding of the meaning and purpose of sex.
- Ibsen: Historian Paul Johnson said Ibsen's play "really started the women's movement." The play's protagonist, Nora, is as weak and narcissistic as every feminist. Try reading it aloud one evening with a group.
- Jewett: A Fuller Theological Seminary prof, Jewett's work serves as the locus classicus of the feminism that purports to honor Scripture. Of course, it’s a fool's task. As the late feminist Mary Daly put it, "Christianity is hopelessly patriarchal." Still, I recommend this book because Jewett was one of the few honest enough to say Scripture said it and Scripture was wrong. Don't waste your time on any other feminist tracts, especially those written by the liars claiming the Apostle Paul didn't say it, or that until now, no one has properly understood him.
- Clark: If you read nothing else, you simply must read Clark. He's far and away the best on God's Creation Order of man and woman. Nothing comes close. Buy your own copy and mark it all up.
- Neuer: A translation from the German, Neuer is shorter than Clark, but also helpful as a Biblical theology of sexuality. Don't read Neuer unless you've first read Clark.
- Ozment: Today's men who claim the Reformers as their theological heritage have little to no understanding of how central the restoration of the dignity of fatherhood was in the work of the Reformation. Ozment's fascinating work provides the historical goods on the battle for fatherhood at the heart of the Reformation.
- Chesterton: If you're discouraged by our culture's despising of motherhood, reading Chesterton will go a long way to restoring joy to your life. Read it aloud to your daughters, especially if they're young mothers. Chesterton will change their lives.
- Wilson: If I get one go at a man who claims the Name of Jesus while despising work, authority, marriage, and children, it's Wilson for sure. There's no better book for reforming unbiblical marriages and men. Our church has always had multiple copies on hand and yours should, too. But be warned: Wilson's perspicuity and manliness in controversy has blessed him with many enemies.
- Mouser: Father Bill Mouser is a dear friend and longtime contributor to Baylyblog who, with his wife Barbara, has developed a church curriculum titled Five Aspects of Man/Woman. In his The Story of Sex in Scripture, Bill gives simple and direct explanations of the meaning and purpose of sexuality across God's creation.
- Elliot: Every godly woman who has read Betty's books—particularly this one—has testified that she is a great help to those desiring to stand against the pressures of this world that seek to turn every woman into a man. Betty responds, "let me be a woman!"
- Eliot: This is a long and detailed introduction to the world of women. Men who are insensitive brutes or disembodied intellectuals would do well to read Eliot for a better understanding of their sisters, mothers, and wives.
- Turgenev: For a literary picture of what Freddie Mercury was talking about when he sang "father to son to son," read this by Turgenev. Across the life of man, rebellion and father-hunger are constants.
- CBMW: A work from the mainstream evangelical world, RBMW has the strengths and weaknesses all compilations of essays by different authors have. This work is best understood as an exercise in dialog with feminists claiming to be evangelicals. Two chapters are particularly helpful: Piper and Grudem's "Questions and Answers" and Vern Poythress's "The Church as Family."
What other books would our readers recommend?