The Full Rights of Sons

As a follower of Jesus, a pastor, and a husband, father, and grandfather of females, I am intensely interested in one of the most controversial subjects in the twenty-first church: the place of women in church, home, and society. As a result, I read fairly widely on that topic, from writers with whom I tend to agree as well as writers with whom I expect to disagree.

A welcome addition to the former category is The Full Rights of Sons, a new book by K. E. Stegall. Stegall makes no claim of being a biblical scholar. She calls herself "an ordinary Christian" who reads the Bible in English, not the original languages. She writes without pretense. But her book displays a careful, thorough, logical approach to and knowledge of Scripture. For that reason alone, it is a valuable addition to the growing and compelling (and for me, utterly convincing) case to be made for the full participation of women in ministry and leadership in the church.

She deals with textual problems with a mathematician's precision (she is a math teacher, after all). She acknowledges the differences between men and women, and says "I believe in role distinctions. I believe they are biblical....But that is not how complementarians use the phrase. What they usually mean is rank distinctions." She draws a key distinction between the words submission and subordination. She applies sound hermeneutical principles to the English word "head." She carefully footnotes her statements. And she winsomely and convincingly shows the sound Scriptural basis of "the perfect equality of all believers."

I recommend this book. Because of its non-scholarly but thoroughly logical and Scriptural approach, it would be most appealing to people who have participated in Bible Study Fellowship or other systematic Bible study programs. But I hope it finds a broader audience, and convinces many that "in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman" (1 Corinthians 11:11, NIV).


  1. Thanks so much for this review, Bob. I am only now seeing it. Your words are so encouraging to me. This is my prayer for all of us 'desperate' preachers:;ESV;NASB;KJV

  2. Thank YOU for commenting, Kathy. It's a fine book. Matter of fact, I just cited it (again) LAST NIGHT!