When Phylicia Masonheimer founded the Every Woman a Theologian ministry and then wrote a book with the same name, it had nothing to do with all women becoming qualified to write commentaries or work on Bible translations. It is much more practical.
“One of the things we have to recognize is that every Christian should be a theologian. Every Christian, man or woman, should understand what it means to follow God, what the gospel is and how to communicate it,” Masonheimer explained.
This ministry and book are products of a conversation Masonheimer had with an old friend from high school who had left Christianity and was exploring other religions. As they talked, Masonheimer used theology — the study of the nature of God and religious belief — to share who Jesus is.
When her friend said she had “never heard it explained that way” and that she had some thinking to do, Masonheimer grasped how important it is for every Christian to study theology.
“I think most Christians today recognize that all people need theology because there’s so much unhealthy and unbiblical theology out there. And a lot of women are discipling other people — their kids and whoever else is in their lives,” she said.
The book, released Feb. 28 by Thomas Nelson, is one of the tools Masonheimer developed to fulfill the vision God has given her of disciples making disciples. It’s subtitle, “Know What You Believe. Live It Confidently. Communicate It Graciously.” is the way Masonheimer hopes other believers will answer such questions as: Why does the gospel matter? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Why do we baptize?
“All of those are theological questions,” noted Masonheimer. “Shouldn’t a woman be able to answer those questions?”
“My goal would be, even if nobody ever knew the name ‘Every Woman a Theologian’ or Phylicia Masonheimer, they would have gone deeper in their theology because of someone who was exposed to our ministry and discipled other people to know God and the gospel,” she revealed.
Masonheimer geared the book toward women for several reasons. She’s a woman herself so she has that perspective, and fewer women go to seminary than men. But mostly she wrote it for women because “women have incredible influence — in their communities, in their homes — because they’re very relational. They’re very connected, and they’re good at welcoming people in.”
“Not that men aren’t too, but women are particularly gifted, and so for a woman who knows theology and who’s just living her life and bringing the gospel into [her life] every day, that’s really powerful,” she continued. “You could call it raising up lay ministers — women who are living their regular lives and are ministering the gospel as they do it.”
Masonheimer lives this lay ministry life. Though she and her husband run the ministry together, she has three young children, homeschools and lives in northern Michigan on a small farm, complete with goats, rabbits and chickens.
‘Living the life’
“[‘Every Woman a Theologian’] was written living the very theology and life … a lot of women who read it will be living. As I’m writing these truths from Scripture and researching in these commentaries and reading these scholars, I have diapers to change and dinner to cook and laundry to fold — and I’m doing those things. I’m not holed up in an ivory tower studying this stuff. I’m [living] a very real life split between studying theology and walking it out with my kids and in my city and in my church,” she said.
Because being able to effectively share one’s faith is the ultimate goal of the book, it touches on the major doctrines of Scripture: God, creation, humanity and sin, Christ, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Church and last things. Though it is not a devotional, each chapter includes personal examples and ends with a takeaway, something to focus on as a key point of the chapter. There is also an eight-week Bible study for churches or individuals.
Masonheimer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religion, and “Every Woman a Theologian” has been endorsed by several pastors. The many resources used are listed at the end of the book. Though it’s written with women in mind, the truths included are all applicable for men and women.
To order this book and learn more about the many resources Masonheimer has, go to phyliciamasonheimer.com/.