Scorgie, Glen G. The Journey Back To Eden. Restoring the creator’s design for women and men. Zondervan. 2005.
G.S.- professor of theology at Bethel Seminary, San Diego.
Glen has developed his position on egalitarianism based on his interpretation of biblical teaching on the topic. I agree with that position but having said that I am sure many would be quick to declare that a strong case can be made for a complementarian position. The writings of Paul may be used to support either position. Evangelical leadership is certainly not united on this topic. The Church’s impact on culture is impacted negatively by this controversy and the effectiveness of gifted women in leadership is very much at stake. Each reader will have to decide for themselves how strong a case Glen has made for the endorsement of his thesis.
“The thesis of this book is that the Holy Spirit is nudging the people of God today toward a fuller embrace of the gospel vision of gender equality, freedom, and mutuality”. (10) Evangelicals are polarized on two contrasting positions on the ‘gender’ issue, “complemetarianism and egalitarianism”. (25) Understanding of Scripture (on this and other issues) should be guided by, “a progressive redemptive movement hermeneutic”. (34)
Man and woman were both created in the image of God, they were both (equally) God-like. They “are equally image-bearers of the divine”. (60) This image is functional, substantive, moral and relational.
Those who hold Eve responsible for precipitating the Fall are misinterpreting Genesis 3. Gender hierarchy originated with the Fall.
In the patriarchal society of the Old Testament women treated as inferior to men and those who were barren or man-less were especially vulnerable. Women were excluded from meaningful Jewish worship in the temple. In the synagogue they were segregated from the men.
The interaction between Jesus and Mary (the sister of Lazarus) is portrayed as Jesus’ “launch of a gender revolution”. (113) Women were included in Jesus’ ministry of healing and teaching. “They (women) were the last to leave the cross and the first to discover the empty tomb.” (118) Of the gospel writers, Luke was the most egalitarian.
There was no hierarchy of gender in the Pentecost experience. The Spirit fell on all. Paul’s comment in Galatians “there is neither male nor female- is widely regarded as the high water mark of Paul’s views on gender, i.e. egalitarianism.” (134)
Some of Paul’s teachings reflect “the persistence of patriarchy”. (149) i.e. ITim. 2:11, 14, ICor. 14: 34, Eph. 5:23, ICor. 11:3, etc. ICor. 11:3-16 is taken as a “case study to help us interpret Paul”. (162) The stream of gender equality has ‘meandered’ through history demonstrating all manner of troubled and peaceful waters.
The history of egalitarianism “has been evident in recent centuries through the Reformation, the evangelical tradition, modern missionary enterprises, and the Holiness and Pentecostal movements”. (185)
The author is optimistic about the opportunities and openness that he sees regarding the return of gender equality as it was meant to be at the time of the creation of man and woman in the image of God.