Half the Church


“When half the church holds back — whether by choice or because we have no choice — everybody loses and our mission suffers setbacks. Tragically, we are squandering the opportunity to display to an embattled world a gospel that causes both men and women to flourish and unites us in a Blessed Alliance that only the presence of Jesus can explain.”

Half the Church





AWARDS:      2012 Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year!—Culture

Jesus Creed Book of the Year for World Issues


“Carolyn Custis James has written an unusual and compelling book, mixing her personal story with the dramatic changes in today’s world and her thoughtful interpretations of the Scriptures and how women can respond with greater fervor to the Bible’s call for change and betterment of the world.”

Sheryl WuDunn, coauthor with Nicholas Kristof,
Half the Sky: Changing Oppression into Opportunity for Women  

“Carolyn Custis James combines passion for the suffering women of our world with rigorous biblical observation and exegesis. The result is a prophetic word that challenges both our apathy and ignorance in the face of terrifying facts, and our theological shallowness in the face of abundant biblical teaching. The title and subtitle only tell half the story. For this is a book for the whole church and urges us to see God’s global vision for men and women. Half the church badly needs to think again about the message of this book. So does the other half. Otherwise both halves are the tragic losers.”

—Christopher J. H. Wright, International Director
The Langham Partnership International

“With the care of an experienced scout, Carolyn James has lined the fire pit with stones, then assembled the kindling and logs, and in the final chapters of this remarkable book has struck the match to ignite a blaze for God and his kingdom. No thoughtful Christian woman can walk away from this book unchallenged or unmoved, as she senses the glory of her ezer-warrior calling. Nor can any thoughtful Christian man remain unmoved by the vision of the Blessed Alliance so skillfully sketched in these pages. The challenge of Half the Church is to the whole church to fulfill God’s purpose in creating all of us as iconoclastic bearers of the divine image in a broken world.”

—Alice Mathews, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“With hope, beauty, and clarity of vision, Carolyn Custis James takes a megaphone to the biblical call to mobilize justice on behalf of those who suffer violent injustice in our world today. She argues that all in the Body of Christ are God’s image bearers, called to be used by God in restoring His image in those who have been most deeply stripped of the freedom and dignity intended for them. We are more aware of the scope of violent injustice in our world today than in any other time of human history; brutal abuse is committed against our neighbors– neighbors next door and neighbors across the globe. Carolyn calls the whole Church to see the opportunity at hand–to rise up, together, and make God’s justice and restoration known.”

Bethany H. Hoang, Director of the IJM Institute,
International Justice Mission


“Wow. I’m egalitarian, and I started this book looking for further justifications for what I believe is right. But I found my attention drawn to a much bigger vision: men and women living in the Kingdom of God, giving 100% of themselves, sacrificing, taking risks, and not accepting that things in the world are just ok. James urges women to use the gifts God gave us to further his Kingdom and stop holding ourselves back because we’re not exactly sure what our roles are. Jesus makes it perfectly clear what our roles are: preaching good news to the poor and oppressed. This book provided a deep realignment to my purpose and God’s vision that I sorely needed.”

Sarah Bessey recommendation:

The issues that can arise around women in the church is of particular interest for me. So I was a bit nervous when I received the book for review, concerned that it would just be more of the same although the title gave me reason to hope. But by the time I was finished the first chapter, I was nearly standing on my couch, waving my little charismatic white hankie and shrieking “Preach, sister!” For instance (from page 40-41): “Instead of addressing the wide range of questions and situations women are facing today, we focus mainly on marriage and motherhood, and that within a two-parent, single-income family. We overlook all the other seasons of a woman’s life–which impacts every girl and adult woman, and excludes entirely women whose lives follow a different path.” It was equal parts inspiration and challenge. Myself, I felt convicted at how narrowly I had been looking at the issues for women in the church (my view being decidedly western and particularly north American). This book helped to open my eyes and my heart. My interest and focus in social justice has primarily followed a feminine projection, and yet, I felt like this book was challenging, sobering and inspiring. Verdict: Highly recommended.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Seeing Beyond Ourselves
CHAPTER 1:      Going Global
CHAPTER 2:      Identity Theft
CHAPTER 3:      Bearing God’s Image in a Broken World
CHAPTER 4:      The Shaping of a Leader’s Soul
CHAPTER 5:      The Ezer Unbound
CHAPTER 6:      Here Comes the Bride!
CHAPTER 7:      The Blessed Alliance
CHAPTER 8:      The Great Debate
CONCLUSION:  Waking the Sleeping Giantess

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS with each chapter


TO ORDER:        Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women