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Women have played significant roles in ministry and leadership throughout the history of the church and the pages of the Bible. Today, women make up more than half the church, and do much of the mission, ministry, and discipleship in the life of the church. But women have often been held back from ministry roles. Graham Joseph Hill outlines the biblical vision for women in ministry and leadership. He offers a biblical and passionate call for women to be released to teach, to lead, to preach, to serve, to pastor, and to minister in every area of the church. The Bible paints a radical vision of women, empowered and emboldened for full ministry participation in Christ's church. The biblical vision for women and for their role as teachers, witnesses, disciplers, and leaders transforms not only personal lives, but also the church and the world. This book offers a biblical case for women teaching and leading in the church. Hill then explores practical ways that we can empower and release more female leaders in the church, and ways that we can amplify the voices and honor the gifts of women in the way Jesus intended. Together women and men can revitalize the church and renew the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532686115
Publisher: Cascade Books
Publication date: 04/30/2020
Pages: 154
Sales rank: 920,700
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)

About the Author

Graham Joseph Hill is Research Coordinator of Stirling Theological College (University of Divinity) in Melbourne, Australia. He is the founding director of The Global Church Project and the author of Healing Our Broken Humanity: Practices for Revitalizing the Church and Renewing the World (with Grace Ji-Sun Kim); Global Church: Reshaping Our Conversations, Renewing Our Mission, Revitalizing Our Churches; and Salt, Light, and a City: Ecclesiology for the Global Missional Community.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Every church should make copies of Graham Joseph Hill’s book available, which pulls together a tightly argued case for revitalizing women in their gifts, . . . It is peaceful yet firm, biblical without being ornery, theologically sound without becoming abstractions, pastoral without being condescending, and clear from word one. I endorse and highly recommend Graham Joseph Hill’s Holding Up Half the Sky.”

—Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

“Graham Joseph Hill can be credited with soundly presenting the case that having women in leadership matters immensely for mission and ministry, not because some radical feminist manifesto said so, but because Scripture and the history of the church proves so. An eminently readable and persuasive case for women to be freed to lead in the local church and in para-church organizations. Books like these often change people’s lives!”

—Michael F. Bird, Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology, Ridley College

“Graham Joseph Hill offers a helpful study in support of women in ministry which deals both pastorally, practically, and exegetically with the relevant biblical texts and issues in a convincing way. Highly recommended.”

—Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

“I am grateful for friends like Graham Joseph Hill who fight for women’s rightful position in the church. His prophetic voice speaks with distinct truthful clarity about the role of women in the church. Holding up Half the Sky examines the historical context and cultural complexities of the early church and the Pauline writings, later advancing towards revealing poignant theological and biblical affirmations of the female presence and their promised roles in the church. Hill’s message will shape our understandings of the past and guide our actions in the future.”

—Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Professor of Theology, Earlham School of Religion

“Just as Christians today no longer need to argue for the abolition of slavery (despite the existence of many prima facie pro-slavery passages in the Bible), so I hope—with Graham Joseph Hill—that the need to make ‘a biblical case for women leading and teaching in the church’ will become obsolete. In the interim, books such as these will surely help us in the church get there.”

—Grace Yia-Hei Kao, Associate Professor of Ethics, Claremont School of Theology; and Co-Director, Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion

“My hope is that this book will reach a new audience who will be assured that women are not secondary in God’s plans and that women ministers are not a modern innovation but are present in Scripture. God did not make women only to be assistants of men. God did not intend for women to be restricted to support services within the community of his people. Men and women working in partnership, using their talents and gifts together without artificial restrictions, can only enhance the health and the mission of the church, and this mutuality brings glory to our Lord Jesus.”

—Margaret Mowczko, writer and speaker

“I found it a delight to read Graham Joseph Hill’s book, Holding Up Half the Sky. It is a wonderful book that clearly and forcefully puts the biblical case for women in leadership without any caveats. It is well-written, well-argued, and well-researched. . . . It has always been true that women hold up half the sky, and this has become undeniably obvious in the last forty years. Appeals to a few texts in the Bible to support the claim that men should be in charge in the church, the home, and in society as well, make no sense in today’s world.”

—Kevin Giles, author of What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women

“One of the pillars of Missio Alliance’s identity and ministry is comprehensive mutuality. We describe this as ‘advancing the partnered voice and leadership of women and men among the beautiful diversity of the body of Christ across the lines of race, culture, and theological heritage.’ Holding Up Half the Sky is nothing short of a biblical manifesto for this conviction. We commend this book as an essential resource for churches on the subject of God’s design for female leadership.”

—J. R. Rozko, National Director, Missio Alliance

“This book belongs on the shelf of anyone exploring the topic of the role of women within the church. Whilst demonstrating respectful and honoring awareness of the range of positions within the church on women in leadership, Graham Joseph Hill offers a robust theological exploration of the topic, looking at the lives of women leaders within the Bible, addressing hotly debated passages in Scripture, and considering the example of Jesus with women. Then, knowing that our beliefs need to be expressed in our practices, Hill brings the conversation into the present day with practical guidance on how to amplify women’s voices and honor their gifts and calling.”

—Jo Saxton, author of The Dream of You

“Graham Joseph Hill’s Holding Up Half the Sky is a brilliant and compelling summation of the case for women as equal partners with men in the church’s ministry. After reading it, it is hard to ignore how unbiblical it is to exclude women from participating in the full authority of the church’s offices. The book reads like an emancipation proclamation releasing all God’s people, not just men, into the ministry of God’s mission in the church.”

—David Fitch, Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology, Northern Seminary

“Graham Joseph Hill has created a compelling and thorough resource! Through deep scriptural engagement, historical insights, and practical actions, Holding Up Half the Sky is an essential tool for people passionate to see the full flourishing of women in their context! Hill sheds light on some of the stories of amazing women, who have too often lived in the shadows.”

—Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Executive Director, Evangelicals for Social Action, Sider Center

“What Graham Joseph Hill accomplishes in this brief work is remarkable! His careful handling of the Scripture, thorough coverage of contested texts, and compelling case for women as equal partners in all level of church life and leadership, make this book a must read for everyone. Not only does Holding Up Half the Sky provide the important biblical case, it also offers practical ways to amplify women’s voices and ensure their inclusion and flourishing in the church. I couldn’t more highly recommend this book!”

—Lisa Rodriguez-Watson, Leadership Development and Training Director, Christian Community Development Association

“I am known to highlight favorite sentences in books because they say something that I want to return to, or that I want to share. Graham’s book quickly became a colored rainbow of hope. It points to truth, points to a better way for the church, and points to Jesus. I am grateful to Graham for this important book. It will be one that I will be gifting to the next generation to read. Thank you, Graham, for your advocacy.”

—Jen Barker, Founder, Fixing Her Eyes

“Graham Joseph Hill’s practice of amplifying voices of women from the global church is rooted in his biblical conviction. This book is a thorough treatment of a biblical case for equality in ministry without ignoring the cultural challenges and opportunities that face us. Graham’s excellent intersectionality of social realities with exegetical work makes this a must read.”

—Sandra Maria van Opstal, Executive Director, Chasing Justice; and author of The Next Worship: Glorifying God in a Diverse World

“You have in your hands a thorough, well-researched, and compelling biblical and pastoral study, written in accessible language for women and men who are seeking to offer their gifts in the service of Christ. In these pages, Graham Joseph Hill, one of the new generation of scholarly, emerging, global Christian voices, has written a definitive text on gender equality and thus opened a way so that together we may all flourish. I trust it is studied widely and deeply and the possibility it uncovers is able to unfold.”

—Andrew Menzies, Principal, Stirling College—University of Divinity

“Graham Joseph Hill’s book Holding Up Half the Sky presents a reasoned, logical, and well-argued outline of the debates around women’s involvement in the church at various levels of leadership. He outlines the basis for Paul’s approach to this issue in detail, centered upon the biblical text and drawing upon some of the best research on the issue from Marg Mowczko, Gail Wallace, Diana Butler Bass, and Julia Baird. This book models a male leader’s approach to listening to women, and as such, is a must read for complementarian and egalitarian male leaders alike.”

—Tanya Riches, Senior Lecturer and Masters Program Coordinator, Hillsong College

“This is an outstanding book. Graham Joseph Hill presents a biblically solid and theologically grounded case for why God called men and women to lead and teach in the church.”

—Sarah Breuel, Revive Europe Director and Evangelism Training Coordinator, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Europe

Holding up Half the Sky is a crucial read for those who have a high view on scriptural authority and are concerned for embracing God’s mission in this world. In simple language and accessible discussion, Graham Joseph Hill unpacks key biblical passages to demonstrate the central message of ministry by the whole people of God based on gifting and calling. A rich resource for guiding the church to rise above the morass of ‘culture wars’ to faithful Christian practice in which men and women are equally empowered to lead and serve.”

—Perry Shaw, Professor of Education, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary

“The conversation about men and women in the church has become toxic. Instead of creating a Christlike spirit of peace between men and women, it has contributed to the cultural anxiety. We need imaginative, differentiated voices to draw us out of our anxious striving for a quick fix. Even while providing scriptural guidance, Graham Joseph Hill has found a way to shape a new kind of space, drawing us back into relationship, honesty, and hope. By adding prayers and practices to his teaching, he engages us as whole humans: welcoming our minds, hearts, and spirits back into peace with one another.”

—Mandy Smith, Pastor, University Christian Church; and author of The Vulnerable Pastor

“If you are a Christian woman, or know a Christian woman, Graham Joseph Hill’s book needs your full attention. This is the book I wish I had written, and the book I wish everyone would read.”

—Kylie Maddox Pidgeon, Registered Psychologist and Lecturer, St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Charles Sturt University

“I love how honest, fair, and humble this book by Graham Joseph Hill is. It’s a simple read and yet it does a solid job of exploring God’s word and will. As a woman who is passionate about seeing every person empowered and released to use their gifts for God’s kingdom, I highly recommend this book to anyone—wherever you currently land on this topic.”

—Esther Thackray, St. Clair Baptist Church, Sydney, Australia

“What I particularly enjoyed reading this book is Graham Joseph Hill’s intent to unpack the issue with grace and clarity. Often the sheer weight of opinion on this topic makes it hard to know where to start. Too often shrouded in the noisy dialogue of culture, complementarianism, and egalitarianism lies the beautiful gospel truth. I recommend this book for anyone seeking an introduction to the biblical case for male and female equality in Christ and ministry.”

—Philippa Lowe, Chief Ideas Officer, Incredible Communications

“In stanzas that ring with celebration, examination, confession, and exhortation, this little book invites us to sing an anthem of resounding joy over the gift of mutually submitted, Spirit-empowered service as God’s image-bearing people. In it, Graham Joseph Hill helps tune our ears to the Spirit’s new creation song, echoed throughout Scripture and the life of the church, in which women and men manifest their priestly calling together for the sake of the world. Hill specifically chorales the ears and voices of brothers to harmonize with those sisters who have, historically and globally, led in singing the gospel of life together in Christ. Thus, we hear the beauty and costly glory of full participation in servantship with Jesus, ‘the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.’ I recommend this book to churches, friends, and students who want to practice listening for as well as telling the good news of shared ministry under the full sky of God’s kingdom.”

—Cherith Fee Nordling, Associate Professor of Theology, Northern Seminary

“As a female theology student who has felt the call by God to preach, I know I have not been alone in having to justify my position to those who oppose women being called to preach. Graham Joseph Hill has beautifully and gracefully wrestled with these objections by examining complex Bible passages that have led some to their convictions against women preaching. It’s a must read for every theological student and curious church member as we learn to work together as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all called to use our God-given gifts for the advancement of the gospel and to bring glory to our Father. Thank you, Graham, for using your voice to support and advocate for women in ministry.”

—Melissa Ramoo, physiotherapist and theological student

“This compelling book invites the reader to engage in and relate to its every page. The biblical convictions of the author, coupled with his passion and commitment to see women fully involved in the church and ministry, are inspiring. Graham Joseph Hill offers thoughtful and practical insights not only for academics, but also for the average reader. As an Arab woman involved in theological education and church ministry in the Middle East, this book comes as a valuable resource that makes a strong case for the participation of women leaders and teachers in the West, and in no lesser capacity, the East.”

—Grace Al-Zoughbi Arteen, Head of Biblical Studies Department, Bethlehem Bible College, Palestine

“This book provides a much-needed corrective to the seemingly never-ending egalitarian vs. complementarian and progressivism vs. conservatism debates. Graham Joseph Hill provides straightforward analyses of difficult biblical passages to increase their relevance in twenty-first-century churches. The highlight of this book is fifteen practical steps leaders can take to better incorporate women into church life, so that women can continue to thrive as the ‘heartbeat of a living faith.’”

—Gina A. Zurlo, Co-Director, Center for the Study of Global Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“This important book asserts the biblical case for women in leadership and ministry and, in the process, provides evangelical scholars and practitioners with a framework for rigorous scriptural engagement. For all our emphasis on being ‘biblical’, we can run the risk of approaching the Bible as if we already know what it will say. Graham Joseph Hill approaches the text with great respect, but refuses to allow the traditions of the past to gag the Living God. He reminds us that a scribe discipled in the kingdom will bring forth both old and new treasures from the biblical store.”

—Glen Powell, Executive Director, Uniting Mission and Education

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