Traditional Roles Defended

Man and Woman in Christ, by Stephen E. Clark (Servant, 1980, 753 pp., $15.95), is reviewed by Donald G. Bloesch, professor of theology, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa.

Stephen Clark, a Catholic layman, has given us a highly relevant and controversial treatise on past and present man-woman roles. Clark is a theologian of the Word of God community, a bold ecumenical venture in Christian living located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In opposition to current feminism, he strongly argues for the retention of male-female roles as outlined in Holy Scripture. He believes there is a biblical basis for the traditional patriarchal notion that the husband is intended to be ruler and provider-protector of the family, and the wife organizer and maintainer of the household.

This book brings together in a remarkable way sociological, theological, and biblical scholarship. Clark provides ample documentation from the social sciences to support his contention that men and women differ significantly in their emotional, intellectual, and social responses. He ably shows that much feminist exegesis of Scripture is strained and that the feminist attempt to deny the principle of subordination simply lacks biblical foundation. The ideal in Scripture, he points out, is neither domination nor independence, but community. His complaint that the feminist movement has provided much of the active support today for abortion, homosexuality, sexual freedom, and legislation destructive of family life may not be wholly justified. But it should be taken seriously by all sides in this controversy.

Clark is especially perceptive in describing the devastating consequences of the technological society on the modern family. ...

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