Jessalyn Hutto—mother, blogger, and writer—talks with Michael A.G. Haykin about his new book, 8 Women of Faith (Crossway), a book that introduces us to the inspirational examples of women like Jane Grey, Ann Judson, Sarah Edwards, Jane Austen, and many others.
Church history books are filled with the stories of men and women who have faithfully (and sometimes not so faithfully) carried on the gospel message from generation to generation. But if we are being honest, the stories of our sisters in the faith are often given short shrift in comparison to those of their male counterparts. This is understandable in many respects, as women have typically played less public roles in society until modern times. Often our Christian sisters’ contributions to the church and society have been less visible, though no less obvious or essential.
That being said, there are many women throughout history who have made tremendous contributions to our faith and impacted our society for good in such public ways that their stories should not be overlooked. In fact, I would argue that it is pivotal that their stories be told in order for the church to have a full orbed view of how men and women have worked hand in hand throughout history to carry on the banner of faith.
Dr. Michael Haykin, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, agrees and has graciously taken the time to share how he has sought to convey the contributions of such women through his new book 8 Women of Faith in the interview below.
Why do you feel that your book, 8 Women of Faith, is important for the church today?
For the past half century gender issues have dominated public discourse, and among them in particular, those concerns generated by the Feminist movement and one of my great fears is that evangelical Christians, in their response to feminism, will deliver a knee-jerk reaction and so fail to be true to the entire gamut of the biblical view of womanhood.
Do you see this as a book written for women or do you desire for men to read it as well?
Both men and women. I hope it serves as an encouragement to women to see all that God would have them do. And for men: to give them insights how women have served the Lord in the past and so give them an understanding of how they can serve in the present.
How did you choose the women to include in your book? Were you familiar with each of their stories already or did something spur you on to focus on these particular women?
I wanted a range of women from different social contexts and also a range in how their lived out their service of the Lord. I was familiar with most of the women, yes.
The majority of these women lived during or around the 18th century. What drew you to this particular time period?
I find the 18th century especially important. Christians lived on the cusp of the modern world and faced many of the same intellectual challenges we do. But they also know revival in a way we have not seen for decades and thus it was a most curious time: very modern in its challenges and yet also vibrant in revival.
Though these women lived in a very different time and had very different struggles than modern women, in what ways do you feel they can still encourage us in our current culture?
As I said, some of the issues we face they did also. The 18th century saw the rise of the feminist movement with Mary Wollstonecraft. And so they did face some of the same issues. But what we also see is their desire to be faithful to Scripture in all of their circumstances and that is much needed.
In what ways have these women’s stories impact your own life as you’ve “gotten to the know” them?
Immensely: why do men think only men can serve as models of holiness. Lady Jane Grey encourages me to bold for Christ, for instance.
Jessalyn Hutto is a regular contributor to Credo Magazine. With a passion for theology, she loves to encourage women to study, treasure, and apply the Word of God to their daily lives. She is blessed to be the wife of Richard Hutto (a Pastoral Resident with Acts29) and the mother of three little boys: Elliot, Hudson, and Owen. She is also a regular contributor to The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s women’s channel: Karis.