Women in the Shadows: An Ethical View of Pastoral Wives Engaged in Ministry

By Renee McKey
Berrien Springs, MI: Logos Library Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary (2015)
E-book, 151 pages

Reviewed by RICHARD S. KURTZ

The premise of this e-book appeared to be two-fold. First, it presented the value of pastors’ wives regarding the roles they fulfill in the ministry of the church alongside their spouses. The author then addressed the issue of women’s ordination in the SDA administrative hierarchy. Both of these issues are of vital importance, especially regarding the current battle to honor the importance of women in the SDA church. The book fairly presented the case that both of these issues appeared to be interconnected.

The author presented her own personal struggles regarding being a pastor’s wife, and the importance of her role to the church, but not really having her own identity. She was continually not recognized as being valued as a person but rather as an appendage to her spouse. She presented the various activities that a pastor’s wife performs in the church which, if accepted by the church’s governing body, would enhance and promote church growth. She gave succinct arguments why pastor’s wives need to be recognized for their roles in promoting this growth.

The author also presented her internal struggles regarding feeling called to the ministry and the roadblocks she felt in responding to the calling. She pointed to the importance of women as pastors and their roles as women in ministry and that women need to be affirmed in their roles through ordination.

This book presented both logical and succinct arguments using biblical sources and the writings of church pioneers for the basis of not only the role of women in the church at the local level but also their roles in the church at large in the United States. The arguments were compelling, and this reviewer found agreement on every point that was presented. If the SDA church is supposed to be mission-driven to share the gospel, then it seems an appropriate time for men and women to join hands and get the job done.

Due to the conflicted attitudes of the North American SDA church body regarding women in ministry, this book is a must read for all pastors, church board members, church administrators, and anyone else who sees the value of women as being a vital force in propelling the mission of christ at this hour of earth’s history.

This reviewer gives this book an A+ rating and would recommend it to all those interested in issues related to the service of women in the church.

Richard S. Kurtz serves as a pastor for the Dakota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists assigned in the Pierre church district in South Dakota, and is currently a Master in Pastoral Ministry candidate.

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