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Critical Review: Beyond Sex Roles

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Critical Review: Beyond Sex Roles

Beyond Sex Roles is a book written by Gilbert Bilezikian who argues for an egalitarian viewpoint on the role of women. The book is in study-guide format that allows the reader to engage by themselves or with a small group. Chapters one and two are mixed with different passages from Genesis followed by a lesson that is to be gained by the reader. The amount of lessons depends throughout the chapter and there may be a passage that has only one lesson or in some cases three or four.

One of the best parts of the book comes in chapter three. Bilezikian makes some good points about women being unfairly treated by their husbands because of the idea of rulership. Meaning men have always had an upperhand on women because they are stronger beings. Some would say that all abuses of male-rulership are natural, but Bilezikian disagrees and says that men should love their wives. Men should be encouraging to their wives and not to abuse their rulership.

Bilezikian uses language that is understandable and the book is broken up into chapters that explain his ideas. After giving the readers his opinions he gives them the option to digest and figure out what he means by setting up a review exercise at the end. The review exercise helps to prompt readers and see the biblical facts covered in the book rather than just believing the assumptions about female roles. That's one of the techniques that allow the reader to develop their own opinions and not be forced to agree with the author.

One weakness was Bilezikian's point that the "one flesh" idea of Gen 2:23 argues in favor that there is no leader between husband and wife. When a man would leave his family behind, like his mother and father, and be with his wife. It seems clear that he is taking the role of a leader. The man is becoming a leader because now he has responsibilities of his own. He and his wife don't have equal roles in this situation. It is up to the man to be the provider for the family and be a protector from dangerous around them. That's what makes the man a defined leader. His wife doesn't have any of those commitments or obligations by being married.

Although Bilezikian gives some good arguments for his view throughout his book, he's very concrete in his views. At times it is clear that he doesn't even consider complementarian to have legitimacy. Through reading Bilezikian he makes the reader consider that the views and different things they have been taught as acceptable may be wrong. Women in the church and in the home can have significant roles that we have over looked in the past.

All in all, this book is badly in need of revision either by himself, if he's alive, or the publisher. Whether intended for use in school or for a popular audience, it still needs to be looked. Since this book is over 20 years old opinions and



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