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Liberating Truth, The: How Jesus Empowers Women Paperback – Aug 2011

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About the Author

Danielle Strickland is a Major in The Salvation Army. Outspoken and vivid, she is widely appreciated as a speaker. She and her husband have two young children.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Passionate and Biblical advocacy for biblical equality Sept. 29 2011
By Clint Walker - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women
By Danielle Strickland
ISBN 978-0-85721-019-7
Monarch Books
Review by Clint Walker

Over the last few years, I have been amassing a several books just on the issue of equality for women in the church. I live in a community where my commitment to Biblical equality is not always well-received, and I need to be well-versed in why I believe what I believe about women's equality in and out of the church. Recently I was able to add The Liberating Truth by Danielle Strickland to this section of my library. It is a great edition.

Danielle Strickland is a skillful and passionate writer. She is an officer in the Salvation Army, and has spent much of her ministry reaching out to women in an intercultural and global manner. She communicates several cases of gender injustice that most of us should be shocked by, and shares anecdotes on how she brings Jesus into those extreme situations with her.

Her global observations about the oppression of women make Strickland keenly aware that oppression of women is a huge global problem. As she sees these situations, she finds clear hearings for the good news of Jesus, and how his gospel is a call of good news and equality for women.

Unfortunately, she is also able to notice that there are many anti-gospel messages in Christian circles. One of those anti-gospel messages are the messages that women are to be meek and subservient, supporting their men in their dreams but never submitting to the callings God may have put on their own hearts to preach and to lead. She challenges these anti-egalitarian viewpoints Biblically.

Throughout The Liberating Truth, Strickland tells many interesting stories about experiences she had while she was in the ministry. She writes captivatingly, and with true passion. The Liberating Truth is a tour de force in what God calls the church to be, and what God calls the church to do in relation to this call. An excellent book that I will return to again and again.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A brief, uneven entry into the discussion. Sept. 3 2011
By Artur - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book sets out to demonstrate that women should be allowed to serve in leadership and pastoral positions in the church. It does so by first walking the reader through many examples of oppression of women worldwide, then by connecting the idea of women not serving in leadership to a manifestation of that oppression, and finally by arguing that there is no biblical warrant for such restrictions on women in the church.

The book is at its best when Major Strickland offers legitimate points from scripture about Jesus' valuing of women, the existence of female disciples, and the large role of women in the early gospel movement. It sinks to its lowest points when she nods approvingly at the ritual abasement of men, and when she intimates that any who disagree with her interpretation of scripture either cannot use proper exegetical and contextual tools, or are hiding a nefarious agenda to keep women oppressed. Having been a pastor, I have known and know many people, male and female, who hold graduate level degrees in Theology or Biblical Studies who hold differing opinions from Major Strickland. They are quite competent in biblical exegesis and interpretation, and have as strong a passion for God and the gospel as the author of this book. The accusations of lacking intellectual rigor or being a tool of the enemy are sloppy, and detract from the valid points in this work.

The book does not really say anything new, and the author's points range from solid to very shaky; a bit of knowledge of koine Greek and New Testament history quickly sorts them out. The author says at one point that she is tired of having this conversation, and it shows in places. There are many works that simply deal with these issues much more in-depth and comprehensively.

Does the church impoverish itself by keeping women out of leadership roles? What is the proper way to obey the scriptures and live out Jesus' commands? This is a conversation worth having, and that continues in the Christian church. I didn't find that this book added much to that discussion, and had things in it that would keep me from recommending it to others.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
May be a bumpy ride for some Sept. 30 2011
By TypeFace - Published on
Format: Paperback
Before starting to read this book, I read several reviews. A number of folks panned the book completely--so I wasn't quite sure what I'd find. The role of women and the issue of women in ministry or leadership are still hot topics in many circles. A plethora of books and papers have been written on the subject over the past few decades. I've read many of them and have thought long and hard about these issues.

I looked forward to a fresh voice on the subject. Some might consider the book a rant for evangelical feminism. Perhaps, and it does seem as though the author has little tolerance for views that differ from hers. She lets you know what drives her "nuts." Nevertheless, regardless of the camp you're in, patriarchal, complementarian, or egalitarian, the book is a worthy read--if only to help you understand how others think or find support for what you already believe. Warning: if you're in the first two camps, strap your seatbelt on--the ride will get bumpy.

What I liked:
1. The author's verve and passion. Anyone who would spend time bringing cupcakes to prostitutes is someone I respect. Anyone who isn't afraid to move beyond his or her comfort zone and strike up a conversation with someone from a different culture--getting to know how they think, who they are--is someone who has my vote.
2. The author's honesty and freedom of expression.
3. The author's encouragement of women to use their God-given gifts.

Strickland's style is engaging. I enjoyed a few of the personal anecdotes in the first half of the book. She's a gifted storyteller. But she spends a great deal of time presenting the issues of trafficking and persecution of women (especially in two-thirds world nations). She includes a number of quotes from "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" a groundbreaking book on the topic, written from a "secular" rather than biblical perspective.

And that is where the author may run into trouble. The subjects of trafficking women and persecution of women (in the U.S. and in two-thirds world nations) do deserve the attention they have received in the press. They do demand our outcries. Increasingly, people are becoming more aware of these horrific practices as well as other social justice concerns. That's a good thing. However, Strickland seems to equate these issues with opportunities for women in ministry. This is a simplistic, (and at times, subtle) big leap. The issues are not equal. Good people who disagree with her views also abhor those practices. Strickland (who kept her maiden name after marriage) seemed to be saying that unless you hold an egalitarian position, your kind of thinking leads to those practices. Not. I found myself saying "wait a minute" more than a few times. With a subtitle like "How Jesus Empowers Women," one might expect to find comprehensive biblical support for the author's reasoning. It's not there, at least in the first half of the book, where she speaks much about those issues.

The latter half of the book is dedicated to presenting "what the Bible says." Some explanations of the cultural context of a passage (such as those that speak of women keeping silent in churches and submitting to their husbands) provided food for thought. But saying something is irrelevant due to context can be a very slippery slope. That kind of reasoning leads to throwing out whatever passage of Scripture one deems difficult or personally offensive.

I would have liked to hear the author's response to the following questions.
1) If Jesus' view of women was so radical (and yes, it was, in many ways), then why weren't women among the original twelve? (Yes, women travelled with the disciples but that's not the point of my question.)
2) Why were the leaders of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) men only?
3) While she seems to debunk the qualifications for elders, the fact is, Scripture does state that elders were to be men. She does not adequately deal with this issue.

If she reads this review, the author may find these questions boring and familiar. But rather than respectfully dealing with those who disagree with her, Strickland tends to put them down repeatedly, implying they are ignorant and backwards. This attitude won't win friends or influence people.

In a list of women leaders who made great contributions, she lauds one who, despite the naysaying of her pastor and husband, went on to do important work. What happened to her marriage? There seems to be something wrong with this picture. In this case, where is even the mutual submission that Scripture speaks of? Many men who have problem marriages and secret sins build ministries and work for the Lord. But God examines the motives of our hearts.

There was one thing in her book--to use her expression--that every time I see it, drives me "nuts." She cites the oft-quoted fact that Jewish men thank God they were not created women. However, what Strickland misses is that religious Jewish men prayed (and still do pray) this as a way of thanking the Creator for the privilege of honoring His commandments. I would encourage her to read through several Jewish prayer books. Some modern ones also include a related prayer for women, thanking God for the privilege of being a female. While Strickland provides quotes from rabbis that portray women in a negative light, what she doesn't tell you about (perhaps she doesn't know) are the passages which praise women, the Jewish customs that honor women.

Strickland closes by saying she wrote the book out of obedience to God. That sounds like she's saying God told her to write this book in which there is ultimate truth (implying everyone who disagrees with her is misguided and isn't led by the Holy Spirit). How often do people say God told them to do something to rationalize whatever they want to do? Saying God told me to do thus and such (though she didn't state it that way) as well as personality conflicts and theological arguments have given rise to thousands church splits and new denominations over history.

Also in her closing, Strickland states, "let's challenge the structures that are based on faulty translations and poor exegesis." Sounds good. However she has some faulty exegeses of her own. Here's one example. She cites Luke 15:8-10--the passage about the woman searching for the lost coin. In her explanation, as support for the premise that women are created in the image of God (of course they are), she states that Jesus was "choosing to describe God as a woman." Not really. Let's be careful not to read things into the text that aren't there. The point is the dedicated search and the rejoicing of the angels over one who repents. But yes, of course Scripture contains nurturing images of God.***

A complimentary copy of the book was provided for review by the publisher, Kregel Publications.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Something to Think About Sept. 26 2011
By Karla - Published on
Format: Paperback
I recently finished reading The Liberating Truth by Danielle Strickland. The sub-title is "How Jesus Empowers Women" and as a Jesus loving woman, I was excited to dig in.

Throughout the book, she attempts to prove, through scripture, quotes from other authors and personal musings, that women are equal to men in the calling to serve. She says on page 73 . . . "It's obvious that biological differences exist. And much work has been done on possible emotional and spiritual differences between the genders. The real point is not that there is no difference, but that there is no equality distinction and there are no limitations in using our gifts in and for God's kingdom." And that's where my appreciation with her ideas stopped. If you know me at all, you know my favorite bible study teacher is Beth Moore - a strong, blessed, called, passionate woman of God. And I am passionate about MOPS. A ministry run entirely by strong, blessed, gifted called women. And pastor's wives? I think pastor's wives are called just as strongly as the pastor themselves to the job they will have in the church they are called to serve. My problem is not in the fact that Jesus empowers women.

As the book continued, I felt she portrayed Jesus and the bible as a liberal women's rights advocate manual (even naming one chapter "Jesus the Feminist"). Now please don't misunderstand me . . . Jesus was an advocate for many people and shook things up by honoring and calling "the least of these" including women during his time on earth. And I agree that God has an amazing plan for women in His kingdom and gives us the same Holy Spirit and the same distribution of gifts . . . it's just that I don't personally view the scriptures to lay out a clear agenda to put women on a pedestal demanding their equality.

I understand what she was trying to describe or debate and agree that there are many cultures who think it is okay to demean women and treat them as second class citizens . . . this is wrong. In no way am I trying to excuse that behavior or even began to say I understand what these women must go through each day just to be treated as a human being.To our amazing creator, all people are His children - man and woman, young and old, strong or weak. In our culture however, I think there is a common misconception of the word "submissive" and for a lot of people it is a bad thing representing weakness or lack of input in a relationship. I disagree. God clearly lays out His plan for women in the bible . . . and we are called to be a "help mate." There are a million ideas and philosophies out there and I don't want to engage anyone in a heated debate over a "non-salvation" issue . . . if you acknowledge that you are a sinner, ask for forgiveness, believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again for your eternal salvation, if you ask Him into your heart, you are saved. Those are salvation issues. Whether or not you'd agree with Danielle Strickland that Jesus is a feminist or not is up to your own research and thought.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A passionate argument for women's God-given rights Sept. 19 2011
By The Loopy Librarian - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Liberating Truth is a well-written, well-researched and passionate argument for the rights of women to have true equality with men, especially when it comes to serving in the church. The author, a major in The Salvation Army in Canada, writes from her own personal experiences of working with women in all countries who have been oppressed. Some of the stories she tells are especially heartbreaking.

I'm not a theologian, but I don't necessarily agree with all of Strickland's interpretations of the Bible. I am a Southern Baptist, and we don't allow women in the pulpit based on some of the same scripture that she cited but interpreted differently. I'm also what she termed a "complementarian." I believe that men and women are equal in value but designed to serve different roles in the church and in marriage.

Nevertheless, I felt the author's frustration about not being able to preach or pastor in some places, as is her calling, because of some of these very same church views that I have spent the last twenty years building my life around. One book, however, passionate, is not going to change my mind, but it definitely left me with a lot to think about. There are denominations that accept women as pastors, and that's a good thing. Just because I'm uncomfortable with a woman pastor doesn't mean I'm right. It could just be that I'm clinging to what I've been taught because it's what I'm comfortable with.

I do believe she was right about Jesus. He believed in the rights of women. I hesitate to say, as the author did, that Jesus was a feminist. Not because he wasn't but because there are such negative connotations associated with that word today. But the Biblical evidence she presents is compelling. Jesus spent time with women; he talked with women; he taught women the Word at a time and in a culture where this was unheard of. He loved women and still does. Strickland says women are not princesses and what she meant was that we are strong and independent and not meant to be arm candy for some knight in shining armor. But, I believe that I AM a princess, a very empowered one, because Jesus is my King.

The Liberating Truth will make you rethink the roles of women. It will make you angry that women are still oppressed, even in the church. Strickland sometimes lets her frustrations override her arguments, but for the most part she uses clear evidence, biblical citations, experience, and undeniable Truth to make her points. And she does it well. As I said, she left me with a lot to think about. For more on this subject the author suggests the website (...)

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