The Gospel-Centered Woman Points Readers to Their Ultimate Example—Christ
Seattle: The topic of women and the church puts many people on high alert, ready to defend their views. But what is the Bible’s view on women? What does God want a woman to be? Is the Proverbs 31 woman God’s ideal? In The Gospel-Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel (January 2013/ISBN: 978-1451574821/$8.99), author Wendy Horger Alsup sets out to help readers understand what the Bible truly says to and about women.
Biblical womanhood has been a hot topic in Christian discussion, especially with popular books on the subject being the center of attention in recent months. Many of the books focus on the value of being a good wife and mother with an emphasis on love, submission and respect in marriage. While Alsup’s book deals with these topics, The Gospel-Centered Woman addresses a hole in how she felt the topic was being presented. While striving to be like Ruth, Esther or the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman is certainly not wrong, most discussions on the topic seem to overlook the instruction given in Romans 8 for men and women alike: that we were designed to be conformed to the image of Christ. Jesus should be our first and foremost example of how to live.
Regardless of our background or life experiences, we all struggle, and we all need the life-saving grace of the gospel. Although Scripture certainly gives comfort and healing that transcends gender, Alsup shares how the gospel is a particular balm to women in their vulnerabilities. She not only outlines what God declares good for His daughters, but also how the gospel equips them to deal with the vast gulf between what God declares to be His good plan for them and the reality of their daily lives. When the light of the gospel shines on Scripture’s teaching on the role of women in the church, the home and life in general, it should resonate as well with the single woman as it does with the wife, mother, or widow next door.
Alsup writes that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important piece of Scripture's instructions to women, and understanding His good news is key to unlocking anything else the Bible says to women. Many lift up the Proverbs 31 woman as the prototype for good, Christian women. However, if you look at the whole of Scripture, there are a lot of different women in very different circumstances that shed positive light on Biblical womanhood. “Abigail, Ruth, and Esther. Priscilla, Phoebe, and Lydia. Some had husbands, some did not. Some had kids, some did not. Each had very different stories and responsibilities in life,” explains Alsup. “But perfection (or maturity ) in Scripture for both men and women is Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith. We were created, male and female, as image bearers of God, and we all, male and female, are being conformed back to the image of Christ.”
“The good news of Christ is that we have hope that equips us to endure. That hope is not that our circumstances will change. But it is the confidence that when we finally sit with Jesus in heaven, we will NOT be disappointed in how He directed our life. The story is written, and the end is certain. And the final scene is each of us in Him with a satisfied smile on our face in perfect relationship with our eternal Husband, Jesus Christ.”
For more information about Wendy Alsup and The Gospel-Centered Woman visit her blog at www.theologyforwomen.org.
About the Author
Wendy Alsup is a wife, mom and college math teacher who loves ministering to women. “I feel I've almost always been in ministry, from the earliest years of my life helping my dad with his bus ministry at a small Baptist church in South Carolina,” explains Alsup. As an adult, her ministry work has included working in Christian camps and Christian schools in the U.S. and Korea and leading the women’s ministry at a large church in her current home city, Seattle. Her heart is most centered in the informal counseling and discipleship of women.
Alsup has published three books: Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference in our Daily Lives, By His Wounds You are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman's Identity, and the new release, The Gospel-Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel.
“I don't have it all together. But then again, if I did, I wouldn't need the gospel. The Gospel-Centered Woman is written by and for women who don't have it all together. Who struggle. Whose burdens in life sometimes feel overwhelming. This is not a guilt-inducing book. God forbid! It would be the height of hypocrisy if I wrote a book that made other women feel guilt because of some imagined pinnacle of Biblical womanhood I had achieved.”
Find out more about Wendy Alsup and The Gospel-Centered Woman at www.theologyforwomen.org. Readers can keep up with Alsup via the Practical Theology for Women Facebook page and follow her on Twitter (@WendyAlsup).