Some of the more well-known books on evangelical doctrine and systematic theology have been written by staunch hierarchical complementarians and patriarchalists such as Wayne Grudem, Louis Berkhof, and J.I. Packer. But there are some excellent books that have been written by scholars who hold to a more egalitarian or mutualist ideology when it comes to men and women in marriage and in the church.
I’ve compiled this list of books on Christian doctrine in response to a reader who has been asked to lead a woman’s group and teach “solid doctrine”. Her pastor gave her a book written by a well-known complementarian, but she would prefer to use one written by an egalitarian. I only knew of Michael Bird’s new book on theology, and wanted to know if there were others written without a complementarian edge, so I asked around.
The books below are the ones recommended to me by egalitarian friends and acquaintances. I don’t have much personal experience with these books myself. So, apart from a few personal comments, I have simply copied and pasted information provided by the publishers which I have sourced from Amazon.
Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction
by Michael Bird (PhD University of Queensland)
(Zondervan, 2013) 912 pages.
Michael Bird is Lecturer in Theology at Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry. His book on Evangelical theology, which was published in 2013, has received a lot of great press. I love Michael’s lucid writing style and his book is on my wish list. Michael blogs at Euanggelion.
“Evangelical Theology is a systematic theology written from the perspective of Australian biblical scholar Michael F. Bird who contends that the center, unity, and boundary of the evangelical faith is the evangel (= gospel), as opposed to things like justification by faith or inerrancy. The evangel is the unifying thread in evangelical theology and the theological hermeneutic through which the various loci of theology need to be understood. Using the gospel as a theological leitmotif—an approach to Christian doctrine that begins with the gospel and sees each loci through the lens of the gospel—this text presents an authentically evangelical theology, as opposed to an ordinary systematic theology written by an evangelical theologian.” (Source Amazon)
This book is available through Logos Bible Software.
Theology for the Community of God
by Stanley Grenz (ThD University of Munich)
(Eerdmans, 2000) 723 pages.
I have Grenz’s book Women and the Church on my shelves. If this book is any indication of his writing then Grenz’s book on theology should be excellent. Grenz completed his doctoral dissertation in 1978 under the supervision of Wolfhart Pannenberg who wrote a famous systematic theology.
“This proven systematic theology represents the very best in evangelical theology. Stanley Grenz presents the traditional themes of Christian doctrine — God, humankind, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, and the last things — all within an emphasis on God’s central program for creation, namely, the establishment of community. Masterfully blending biblical, historical, and contemporary concerns, this new edition of Grenz’s respected work provides a coherent vision of the faith that is both intellectually satisfying and expressible in Christian living.” (Source Amazon)
Introducing Christian Doctrine
by Millard J. Erickson (PhD Northwestern University)
(Baker Academic, 2001) 448 pages.
Millard Erickson is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Western Seminary, Portland. His Christian Theology is deservedly well known. What I didn’t know until today was that the author is a member of Christians for Biblical Equality and is on their board of reference.
“Introducing Christian Doctrine is an abridged, less technical version of Millard J. Erickson’s classic Christian Theology. Pastors and students alike will find this survey of Christian theology and doctrine a practical and accessible resource with both breadth and substance. Erickson begins by explaining what theology is and then progresses through the doctrines of revelation, God, creation and providence, humanity, sin, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the atonement and salvation, the church, and eschatology. This second edition adds pedagogical aids, includes a chapter on postmodernity, and features the pertinent chapter from Christian Theology contemporizing the gospel message.” (Source: Amazon)
This book is available through Logos Bible Software.
Oxford Handbook on Evangelical Theology
(Oxford University Press, 2010) 552 pages.
This book contains chapters written by some of my favourite authors: John Stackhouse wrote the chapter on Jesus, Craig Keener wrote the chapter on the Holy Spirit, Scot McKnight wrote the chapter on the Gospel, Dallas Willard wrote the chapter on Discipleship, Howard Snyder wrote the chapter on Spiritual Gifts, and Cherith Fee Nordling wrote the chapter on Gender.
“Evangelical theology is a burgeoning field. Evangelicals have been growing in numbers and prominence worldwide, and the rise to academic prominence of evangelical historians, scripture scholars, ethicists, and theologians–many of whom have changed the face of their disciplines–has demonstrated the growing maturity of this movement’s intellectual leaders. This volume surveys the state of the discipline on topics of greatest importance to evangelical theology. Each chapter has been written by a theologian or scholar who is widely recognized for his or her published work and is considered a leading thinker on that particular topic. The authors critically assess the state of the question, from both classical and evangelical traditions, and propose a future direction for evangelical thinking on the subject.” (Source Amazon)
by Gilbert Bilezikian (ThD Boston University)
(Zondervan 2009) 306 pages.
Gilbert Bilezikian is a professor emeritus of Wheaton College, a charter member and elder of Willow Creek Community Church, and his books are well known to many egalitarians.
For something a little lighter: “This book presents eight basic doctrines of Christianity–The Bible, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Human Beings, Redemption, The Church, and The Last Things–in clear, simple language that gives seasoned Christians a fresh understanding of the Bible and its teachings and puts new Christians on familiar terms with Christian doctrine. Gilbert Bilezikian does not shape his analysis of these doctrines in the worn-out, rationalistic categories of older systematic theologies, but in vibrant, dynamic language designed to communicate biblical truths to contemporary believers.” (Source Amazon)
Other top scholars with egalitarian leanings include Kenneth E. Bailey, David Instone Brewer, F.F. Bruce, Gordon D. Fee, Joel B. Green, Walter Kaiser, I. Howard Marshall, Scot McKnight, Ben Witherington, and N.T. Wright. More here.
Are there any other books that should be included here?
If you’re looking for Bible Commentaries without a complementarian edge, take a look at this list compiled by Alan Padgett.