BOOK


This book speaks to the intersection of gender and power within American evangelicalism by examining the formation of evangelical leaders in two seminary communities.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary inspires a vision of human flourishing through gender differentiation and male headship. Men practice “Godly Manhood,” and are taught to act as the “head” of a family, while their wives are socialized into codes of “Godly Womanhood” that prioritize prescribed gender roles. This power structure that prioritizes men yet offers agency to their wives in women-centered spaces and through marital relationships.
 
Meanwhile, Asbury Theological Seminary promises freedom from gendered hierarchies. Appealing to a story of gender-blind equality, Asbury welcomes women into classrooms, administrative offices, and pulpits. But the institution’s construction of egalitarianism obscures the fact that women are rewarded for adapting to an existing male-centered status quo rather than for developing their own voices as women.
 
Featuring figures such as high-profile evangelicals such as Al Mohler and Owen Strachan along with young seminarians poised to lead the movement in the coming decades, this book illustrates the liabilities of white evangelical toolkits and argues that evangelical culture upholds male-centered structures of power even as it facilitates meaning and identity.


“In this remarkably perceptive study, Lisa Weaver Swartz shows us precisely how male power is perpetuated and embodied in white evangelical institutions. She describes this process in captivating detail, both at the complementarian stronghold of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and at egalitarian Asbury Seminary, and the result is an altogether fresh, sometimes surprising, and always deeply illuminating examination of gender, power, and American evangelicalism.”

–Kristin Kobez Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this book takes readers into the hallways and classrooms of places that shape – through what is said and what is practiced – the lives of evangelical pastors. Both the differences between the seminaries and their similarities may surprise you. How they create gendered religious worlds is worth knowing about.

–Nancy T. Ammerman, author of Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention

In a brilliant and compelling narrative, Lisa Weaver Swartz shows how patriarchy persists and adapts even in spaces supportive of women in ministry. Her research explains why women defend complementarianism as well as why the gender-blindness of egalitarianism fails. Regardless of your theology, you should read this book. I promise it will help you better understand the plight of evangelical women.

―Beth Allison Barr, author of The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth