Book Review - 'Gender Agenda' by Lis Goddard and Clare Hendry

Colin Randall

For the vast majority of people in Anglican congregations there is no debate on the issue of women in ordained leadership roles. Sadly this has not been helped in that much writing on the topic has been highly polemical in tone and often too technical. There has been little that we can actually put in people's hands to help lay people see that there is a real issue to be debated.

For these reasons this book by Lis Goddard (a Vicar in London) and Clare Hendy (on the staff at Muswell Hill and an FWS Council Member) is extremely valuable. For a start it helps immensely that we have two women debating the issue, but what stands out is the tone of the debate which is friendly. The emails show a concern for one another and prayer for the different things go on in their lives at the time of writing the book. I believe this tone makes the reader take seriously the more serious arguments that they have. The style of the book works through the Bible, starting from Genesis and going through to Revelation. This makes the book easy to follow and also easy to refer back to. Inevitably at points one would like to have seen longer discussions, but there is a good bibliography for further reading at the back.

If this book had come out years ago, we might have had better debates. It will foster mutual respect and encourage people to come to their own conclusions based on biblical evidence. I welcome it and commend it enthusiastically.