Author, blogger, speaker, and podcaster Aimee Byrd has boldly written a very helpful book for the church in No Little Women. I’ll put my cards on the table early here – I loved this book and I think every Pastor, Elder, and Women’s Ministry Leader should read it immediately. It is clear, brave, biblical, sometimes funny, and extremely timely with the current publishing and media landscape of watered down women’s ministry books, Shack-like movies, and increasing misunderstandings of women’s roles in the church. She states that she would like to “open up the doors of biblical womanhood and let the sunshine of theology for every woman shine through.” Byrd accomplishes this extremely well. [Disclaimer: I’m pretty passionate about the issues in this book and I agree with where the author is coming from, so consider yourself warned.]
Byrd immediately identifies the well-founded need for theological clarity in women’s ministry and the usual weak and sometimes outright false doctrine that is contained within it’s books. Byrd boldly comes out against a “Christian” publishing industry that knows all too well that women are a big revenue stream, and one that can put operating income at a higher priority than correct biblical teaching. I echo a hearty AMEN to this and thank Aimee for being so candid.
She writes, “many books marketed to women that appear to be godly, while a closer look reveals that they are not in accord with Scripture.” Pastors, Elders: we need to hear this – the responsibility for what people are being taught in our church falls squarely in our court. (Titus 1:9) Byrd is correct in pleading “please do not let your women be susceptible targets. This is a pastoral issue.” We also have a responsibility to train and equip our people to know biblical doctrine and be able to spot false teaching. (2 Tim 2:23-26) Frankly, we can do better. I know I can. The women and families in our church are far too important.
Women, as all new creations in Christ, need to be good theologians and the church needs to clearly understand the true biblical roles which they are called to. “[Women] are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. So there should be no little women.” I greatly appreciated how Byrd explored the issue of gender roles in the church. While holding to an orthodox complementarian view, she pushes against an over-realized view of it that, I agree, most likely goes beyond the boundaries of Scripture’s intent and can pigeon hole men and women into a mere “men can do this, and women can do that” mindset. “Women should thrive alongside the men as they are serve according to their giftedness and the needs of the church.” While I support what I believe to be the biblical view of male leadership in the church (Pastors and Elders), I do believe we can, and have, stifled women’s ministerial growth by regulating them to roles solely within women and children’s ministries. There is more than this – I have much to learn from the Godly women of our church. There is more of a need, gifts need to be used, but biblically. This is what has contributed to the explosion of parachurch women’s ministries and the gangrenous spread of weak or false teaching contained therein.
Two additional perspectives added to the book’s significant helpfulness for me. First, this is not a book written just for women, but rather Byrd consistently and powerfully speaks to the Pastors and Elders of churches. The author provides practical biblical insight that challenges us as leaders of the church. She also provides an entire chapter at the end of the book about preaching to the women’s perspective, while supporting a sound exegetical and expositional pulpit.
Second, Byrd boldly identifies false teaching by some of the most beloved female authors and ministry leaders…by name and writing excerpts. I especially appreciated her tone in this – one that wasn’t mean spirited or malicious, but thoroughly biblical – while all the while not hiding the serious damage done to theological underpinnings of many women. I have seen this first hand, and am thankful that Aimee was so bold in doing this. The need to clarity in biblical teaching will only grow in the future.
Thank you, Aimee Byrd, for skillfully and passionately articulating the many nuances on this important topic that, until now, have not had a loud voice in reformed biblical circles.