THE DISCIPLINES OF A GODLY WOMAN
Author BARBARA HUGHES
The fact that Crossway published this book will indicate that it is a good solid, conservative evangelical offering on the subject of womanhood. The author is a pastor’s wife and has supported her husband’s ministry for more than forty years. At the time of writing they were ministering in College Church, Wheaton, Illinois. Those ladies espousing the evangelical egalitarian idea will not favour the stance taken in these pages. Barbara Hughes represents the complimentarian viewpoint, that male and female are equal, but different. Obviously being a pastors wife ministering in a not so downtown area the book has that kind of flavour. Feminists, at points, will want to toss it in the rubbish bin. There is a personal tone throughout, stories, examples, as well as some good Biblical foundations exposited. As the title indicates, the framework concerns discipline. Not a word enjoyed by so many nowadays. She certainly wants her readers to escape from becoming legalistic but knows that godliness involves the embrace of discipline in many areas. She indicates that true discipline issues from a vital and daily relationship with God and must be systematically applied, not necessarily all at once, such attempts would be counterproductive, but steadily, in the context of fellowship with Jesus Christ. The main body of the book is divided up into four sections, the disciplines of soul, character, relationships and ministry. There is a chapter toward the end on the discipline of grace. Perhaps that would have been better at the beginning of the book, someone getting this book might want to read it first. As for disciplines of the soul there are chapters on coming under the mastery of the gospel, submission, prayer and worship. Disciplines of Character include that of the mind, contentment, propriety and perseverance. Then there are disciplines of church, singleness, marriage and nurturing that she believes comprise the disciplines of relationships. The final section concerning those of ministry include, giving, good deeds and witness. At the end a longish list of helpful resources are added. Worthwhile to look at these and follow some of them through. This is helpful book. One to work through methodically and possibly quite slowly, letting the wholesome picture it presents grip the heart and not threaten with what, to some, might be its onerousness and impossibility of achievement. Let us remind ourselves that through Christ we can do all things He asks of us.