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Embracing Complementarianism (ebook)

Embracing Complementarianism ebook

Turning Biblical Convictions into Positive Church Culture

from 6 reviews

A biblical vision for the roles of men and women in the church—and how to put them into practice.

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It can be tempting to shy away from addressing the issue of gender roles in church because it’s often controversial. But this can result in churches either being increasingly influenced by secular culture or simply sticking with the status quo when it comes to what men and women do in church.

Building on the belief that complementarianism is both biblical and positive, this book focuses on what these convictions look like in practice. Moving beyond the familiar discussions around "gender roles", and leaving room for variety in how readers implement these ideas, it will encourage a church culture where men and women truly partner together—embracing their privileges and responsibilities, and maximising their gifts, in joyful service of God’s kingdom.

With discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this book provides a great opportunity for church leadership teams to think intentionally about complementarianism and discuss how it manifests itself in their church context.

Product details


  • 1. Complementarianism Today
    2. Men and Women Today
    3. How Are We Made?
    4. God's Call to Men and Women
    5. The Goodness of Men Leading in Ministry
    6. Understanding Ministry
    7. Understanding Church
    8. Coming in to Land
    9. Putting It into Practice


Contributors Jane Tooher, Graham Beynon
ISBN 9781784987978
Format eBook
First published October 2022
Language English
Publisher The Good Book Company

Christopher Ash

Writer in Residence, Tyndale House, Cambridge.

I much enjoyed reading this fresh, sensitive, thoughtful, well-informed and engagingly positive treatment of what is so often seen as just a troublesome and controversial topic. The authors leave space for readers to come to different conclusions in detail, under the shelter of a glad affirmation of the goodness of the word of God in every passage of Scripture. I especially valued the tone of gentle gladness allied to a confident affirmation of essentials.

Carrie Sandom

Director of Women's Ministry, The Proclamation Trust

The abuse of power by some prominent church leaders in recent years has left many in our constituency wondering if the complementarian position is as toxic as many of our opponents would suggest. Certainly, those who define complementarianism purely on the basis of what women cannot do are shooting themselves in the foot and exposing their ignorance. So, what does it mean to be complementarian, and how can we be sure that our biblical convictions are having a positive rather than a negative impact on our church culture? In this book, Graham and Jane are not just asking us to consider the biblical principles but actually show us (and model for us) what it means to embrace them and live by them. If we believe that God’s design for men and women is for our good, then embracing it is not an optional extra for Christians but absolutely key if our families and churches are to flourish.

John Stevens

National Director, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, UK

Few issues have generated more controversy in our culture and the church in recent years than the relationship between men and women. Complementarian theology has been condemned by some as abusive, and its advocates have all too often taken a defensive approach. Drawing on their many years of church ministry and training experience in Britain and Australia, the authors present a compelling, positive vision for complementarianism that rejects outdated stereotypes in favour of a holistic biblical vision of God’s creational plan for men and women. Irenic in tone, culturally sensitive and exegetically rooted, this book will help reluctant complementarians to more joyfully embrace what they believe. Egalitarians evangelicals who read it will gain a better understanding of the convictions and concerns of complementarian brothers and sisters. It unpacks the practical implications of complementarianism for church life without being prescriptive and provides helpful reflection questions for individuals and groups.

Independent reviews

A wise and irenic work

Chase Kuhn, Moore Theological College, 1 Sep 2022

Is there a more contentious topic for church life than the matter of how men and women are to relate and partner in ministry? Conversations about this topic aren’t new, but they aren’t getting easier either. For this reason, I’m very glad for the rich resource of Embracing Complementarianism: Turning Biblical Convictions into Positive Church Culture.... continue reading

"It’s my hope that many church leaders will read this book"

Tim Challies,, 21 Oct 2022

To be complementarian has always been to be counter-cultural. If that was true a few years ago, how much more today when society’s questions have progressed from “what can women do as well as men?” to “what is a woman, anyway?” Yet I agree with these authors that church members tend to respond to a confident, convictional, and robust complementarianism. I very much appreciate their desire to encourage believers to truly embrace complementarianism by practicing it in a way that is worth embracing—one that is faithful to God’s Word, that celebrates both the distinction and equality of the genders, and that frees both men and women to serve in all the ways God permits and invites them to. It’s my hope that many church leaders will read this book and carefully work through it as they attempt to implement a complementarianism that honors God and is faithful to the Scriptures.... continue reading

Customer reviews

31 May 2023

“Helpful and humble”

(Review written for 'Embracing Complementarianism')

This is a helpful book to thoughtfully consider how to put into practice the Biblical conviction of complementarianism. Without telling the readers exactly what to do, the authors give clear Scripture support and application for how men and women should work alongside each other in ministry. They graciously cover a sensitive topic with an outpouring of Scripture and an obvious humility. Each chapter ends with reflective questions and group questions to dig in further. This would be a great book for church leaders to read and discuss together as they carefully consider how to put complementarianism into practice in a God-honoring and faithful way.

11 Feb 2023


Love opening w positivity

3 Feb 2023

“A Great Introduction to a Big Topic”

(Review written for 'Embracing Complementarianism')

Having seen myself as potentially a complementarian but without really thinking a huge amount about the theological arguments for each theological interpretation, this was a really helpful introduction to the subject before reading some more detailed, academic volumes.
The authors set out a clear scriptural case for complementarianism and, unlike many books on the topic that I've read recently, they also move from the theological discussion to a good wrestle with the application, particularly in the areas of church leadership, preaching, staff teams and similar areas of common questions. This will be really useful to think through with our staff team, whatever they think about complementarianism, so as to clarify our thoughts and study scripture together with some key questions at the end of each chapter. A bold book which will serve many congregations in the years to come.

6 Oct 2022

“Very helpful”

(Review written for 'Embracing Complementarianism')

This book was written for people like me: we believe in the authority of Scripture, we trust God even when He says things we find hard, countercultural or inexplicable. I've long been convinced of the complementarian interpretation of the Scriptures - that men and women are equal sharers in the image and glory of God and at the same time they have assymetric but complementing callings in God's church. However I have often felt embarrassed and confused by it in the egalitarian world in which we live.

Unfortunately, all too often complementation teaching goes no further than presenting a list of the things that women can and cannot do - especially focusing on the latter. However, this book wants to help us as individuals and church communities to strive to live into the positive and glorious opportunities opened up by the Scriptures.

In essence it challenges us to see that what God has said is good news and needs to be embraced and worked out in positive ways that release the gifts of women and opportunities to be fulfilled in God's service.

As I read many of the questions that have lurked under the surface in my mind were anticipated and answered. They also engage sensitively with the spectrum of thinking within the complementarian camp that was illuminating.

So compelling was the read that I finished the book in one evening! The practical appendices were also very helpful and reassuring that the way our church approaches these things is on the right track, even as we have more distance to travel along it. I will be preaching 1 Timothy 2:8-15 in a week's time and intend to advertise this book as a helpful resource for those interested in thinking more.

I received a copy of this book from The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review.

5 Oct 2022

“We need to do the hard work”

(Review written for 'Embracing Complementarianism')

The point I appreciate most about this book will likely be the most contentious: it provides very few hard and fast instructions, instead pushing the reader to make up their own mind. What Beynon & Tooher recognize is that proper expression of male and female roles within the church cannot be divorced from their unique contexts. Certain roles which women perform without issue in some complementarian churches may appear to be a usurpation of male headship in others depending on a variety of factors. What this book does then, is help the reader process and work through those factors so that their complementarian expression can grow fuller, avoiding unbiblical restrictions on women 'just in case' or 'because it's simpler this way'. If you're willing to think hard, dive into this book.

19 Sep 2022


(Review written for 'Embracing Complementarianism')

This was a very interesting book to read through. Obviously, given the current cultural issues surrounding men and women, this book will cause some division.

Beynon and Tooher structure the book with nine chapters and several appendices. These chapters dive into the role of men and women that God created and how they are applicable in today's modern church.

The appendices are as follows:

- Can Only Elders Preach?

- Common Grey Areas

- Women on Staff Teams

- Writing a Position Paper

There were questions and frustrations throughout every single chapter of this book. I wish there was more scripture and historical/cultural context provided throughout the book but unfortunately I felt that was lacking.

Each chapter concluded with a reflection questions section. This section provided several questions for the reader to ponder or discuss on either an individual basis or a group basis. These questions did help to dive a bit deeper.

I was hoping for a bit more from this book but was disappointed in the overall presentation of the position. Whether I agree with it or not, the supporting information was not as full as I would have expected or desired.

I received a copy of this book from The Good Book Company in exchange for an honest review.

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Embracing Complementarianism (ebook) | Jane Tooher, Graham Beynon |