Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Liberating Tradition

Women’s Identity and Vocation in Christian Perspective

series: RenewedMinds

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


"A valuable contribution to continuing contemporary understandings of what it means to be females and males who are partners in the gospel."--Shirley J. Roels, Calvin Theological Journal

In this work, Kristina LaCelle-Peterson seeks both to affirm the central place of Scripture in the Christian life and to highlight the liberating nature of the gospel for both men and women. To do this she first considers the biblical ideal for human beings and then offers a biblical foundation for each of the topics under discussion, from identity and body image to language for God. She also examines the cultural nature of gender roles and the ways in which these roles have become entangled with ecclesial expectations.

Liberating Tradition provides readers with a clear Christian perspective on the issues that women face in the twenty-first century. The book does not provide a Christian gloss on the field of gender studies as it exists, but rather provides Christian women with a gender-informed, scholarship-based, Christian platform from which to enter into dialogue with the scholars and scholarship that constitute that field.


"Powerfully written, powerfully argued. A real manifesto for those desiring a biblical understanding of the manifold issues associated with our concepts of gender."--Catherine Kroeger, founder and former president of Christians for Biblical Equality

"Compelling, informative, and comprehensive! This book does exactly as the title suggests--liberates. If one wants to read a single book to understand gender issues, this is it! Simultaneously, the reader is inspired to 'lean into all God created us to be.'"--Jo Anne Lyon, founder/chief executive officer, World Hope International

"LaCelle-Peterson has written a book that is at once biblical, engaging, comprehensive, forthright, balanced, and caring. It should be especially helpful for those on the 'women's side' of the debate to read something as irenic as this, and hopefully these same features will calm some of the rhetoric on the other side. I am glad to commend it to all."--Gordon Fee, professor emeritus, Regent College; coauthor, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

The Author

  1. Kristina LaCelle-Peterson

    Kristina LaCelle-Peterson

    Kristina LaCelle-Peterson (PhD, Drew University) is associate professor of religion at Houghton College in Houghton, New York, and is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church.

    Continue reading about Kristina LaCelle-Peterson


"Kristina LaCelle-Peterson is a fresh public voice in the growing chorus exploring the intersection of Christian faith and life as sexual gendered beings. . . . She is careful in her exegesis and thoughtful about its implications for faithful Christian life in the twenty-first century. LaCelle-Peterson is not an uninformed novice. This book reveals her knowledge of the Bible, exegetical frameworks, church history, female experience and thought over several centuries, social science, and engagement with contemporary thinkers. . . . For those already engaged in related work, her substantial description of women's roles in church leadership through the centuries may be the greatest source of learning. Bringing such research into the forefront is one of her considerable contributions in this book. For readers who seek a broad introduction to some central issues regarding the intersection of faith and sexual identity, this is an excellent book. It could be an engaging resource for college students and church members because of its many examples and stories, told with wit and wisdom. Particularly for those who are pulled between the current evangelical poles of complementarianism and egalitarianism in gendered relations, this is a valuable resource. It is a careful thoughtful scholarly work that avoids easy political and public relations appeals. . . . Liberating Tradition is a valuable contribution to continuing contemporary understandings of what it means to be females and males who are partners in the gospel. . . . Read [LaCelle-Peterson's] book as a resource for Christian women and men who wish to become all that God has created them to be."--Shirley J. Roels, Calvin Theological Journal

"[LaCelle-Peterson] present[s] her research in a multifaceted format, exegetically drawing forth the women from scripture, expounding on the role of women from American culture and history, comparing her own experience from marriage, and offering historical mooring from every century of church history. In each chapter she has provided an excellent foundation of resources by drawing the reader into current research and historical documents--her endnotes are as valuable as the body of her book. . . . The book is applauded for its steady description of female ministers, deacons, preachers, bishops, and apostles--throughout the centuries of church history."--John R. Miller, Pneuma Review

"A welcome contribution to the ongoing skirmish between complementarians and egalitarians in the evangelical gender wars. It provides a thoroughly biblical and comprehensive tour of the key issues at the heart of this battle. . . . With solid scholarship, engaging illustrations and wit, LaCelle-Peterson works to untangle American cultural assumptions about the nature and function of men and women from a Christian perspective on gender and more specifically women. Her attention to gender language, use of historical analysis, and discussion of body image are particular strengths. In the end Liberating Tradition achieves its goal persuasively. LaCelle-Peterson has effectively highlighted a powerful biblical truth: God has created men and women as fully equal and valuable people called to become like Christ."--Russ Gunsalus, CCCU Advance