I have not yet had been able to read Cynthia Long Westfall‘s new book, Paul and Gender. I do not yet know her conclusions on this hugely important theological and pastoral issue, nor the extent to which I will find myself in agreement or disagreement with them. These words in her preface (page x), however, appear indisputable:
Diligent work on a biblical and a systematic theology of gender needs to continue as a priority in the academy. Applications in denominations, local churches, and the home need to be placed under an informed biblical scrutiny and accountability. This discussion should not be cut short or settled by authoritative statements, political strategies, or the popular influence of conferences, charismatic speakers, or internet blogging. We have barely begun to scratch the surface of issues that concern humanity as male and female, issues that may well be as complex as the theology of the Trinity or the theology of the relationship between the human and the divine in the person of Christ. Its complexity demands commensurate effort.