"In light of the massive literature already available on the topic, why are we publishing another book on gender roles in ministry? First, the evangelical church has not yet arrived at a clear-cut consensus in the debate. The relevant theological, biblical, and exegetical issues are all very much still open for examination. This should not cause surprise; throughout its history the church has repeatedly faced challenging issues that required rigorous and extensive debate. Already within the pages of the New Testament, the first apostolic council was convened (see Acts 15:1-29) to determine if circumcision, and thus the keeping of the entire Mosaic Law, was a prerequisite for salvation. Although a preliminary agreement was reached, steering a balanced course between Judaizers on the one hand and antinomians on the other continues to be a difficult problem throughout the subsequent New Testament epistles (for example, Galatians, 2 Corinthians 10-13, Philippians 3, 1 Timothy 1, and 2 Peter 2) and remains with us in many forms today...." "Second, there is an acute need for a new (or renewed) commitment to and irenic spirit in this debate. Emotions understandably run high when one discusses whether or not (normally) unchangeable characteristics bequeathed to a person at birth dictate what roles this person can play in ministry. A generation ago it was more common than today for conservative evangelicals to stress the belief that theological decision-making must be founded on the Bible alone, apart from human experience. But some of the early scholarly publications on gender roles in home and church developed a pattern of appealing to personal experiences an unavoidable factor in the positions and attitudes one adopts in this debate. At the popular level, countless Christians have admitted that is was largely their upbringing, their tradition, and their positive or negative experiences with women in ministry, including at the highest levels of leadership, that shaped their views. At the scholarly level, it is far less unusual today to see evangelicals arguing for existential viability as a key criterion for theological decision making, even as scriptural exegesis remains primary...." "Third, an enormous amount of scholarship has appeared in the last decade on our topic. Much of this material is accessible only to specialists; this volume hopes to make it available to a wider audience. In the 1980s, two books following formats similar to ours provided precisely such comparative studies in gender roles, but in rereading them we are struck by how much has occurred in recent years and how the debates have taken significantly different turns and key points...."Blomberg, Craig L. is the author of 'Two Views on Women in Ministry', published 2001 under ISBN 9780310231950 and ISBN 0310231957.