Arise: the official blog of CBE International. Mobilizing Christians for biblical gender equality

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As a fourth grader at a local public school, I got into a classroom debate over the rights of women, and in particular, the right of mothers to work outside the home once they have children. The other outspoken Christian in my class, a boy hailing from an extremely conservative home, stated with deliberate clarity that a woman’s place once she had children was at home, tending to said children. “What if she doesn’t have a husband to help provide for the family?” I asked. “She should go on welfare,” he said. “She needs to stay home and take care of her family.” We were ten years old and even then, I knew his ideas were unfair and wrong. That afternoon, I demanded help from my mother. “Where does it say in the Bible that women ar... Read more
The Co-Inheritance of Women John 15:9 affirms that God’s love for human beings is identical to God’s love for Jesus. Every child of God inherits the throne of God, the Spirit of God, holiness, and eternal life. Anyone who believes, including women, will receive equal authority with Christ. Jesus said, “As for those who emerge victorious, I will allow them to sit with me on my throne” (Revelation 3:21 CEB). Some complementarians agree that women will receive the same inheritance in heaven as men, but argue that on earth, men are to have greater authority. And yet, does not the Lord’s Prayer instruct us to pray for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven now? So, whatever will be true in heaven is what we should strive for on earth. If wo... Read more
I have never been raped or physically assaulted. That can change at any moment. We’ve all heard the stories. We’ve read the statistics. We know the pain and fear of men’s violence against women. All women live with some level of primary (first-person) and/or secondary (vicarious) trauma due to men’s violence, abuse, and sexism. Experiences of abuse and sexism are not isolated. They happen daily for so many women, sometimes multiple times in a day. That’s a painful reality. I recently did a presentation on rape culture to a church group and diverted from my usual script. I spontaneously spoke about my experience working with victims of sexual violence. I shared how that work has exposed me to the deepest level of pain I’ve ever known. I fou... Read more
How do we get from sinner to whore in our perception of Bible women? (Note: this offensive term is used only to highlight the false dichotomy applied to Bible women, not to imply that any women should bear this label). In Luke 7:36-39, a broken, sobbing, unnamed woman enters the home where Jesus is dining. She anoints his feet with oil and tears, wiping them with her hair. The men present talk about her like she isn’t even there. They are offended by the “sinner” in their presence. In our modern context, it is easy to read “promiscuous” into the character of the mystery woman. Christians have a historical tendency to interpret Bible women’s non-specific sin as sexual sin, and often, female promiscuity is inferred with no support from the actual tex... Read more
God of Hagar, Tamar, and Mary Magdalene Of Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel God of Ruth, Esther, and Rahab Of the Woman at the Well and the Woman They Would Have Stoned God of the unseen, unwanted, and unheard God of the silenced Of those rendered invisible God of those who wait God of those who struggle God of those who rise God of the broken Of the healing and the healed Of the hopeful and the hopeless God of the forgotten, who never forgets, we pray Remember your daughters in 2017 Remember the women who wait— the women who ache to hear the church call their names, the women who press their skin against stained glass, searching frantically for cracks Remember the women who serve in the shadows, the women who long to lead, the hungry women, the thirsty... Read more
The recent election has prompted significant reflection for many evangelicals, including notable contributions from Christianity Today managing editor Katelyn Beaty[1], Fuller president Mark Labberton and Fuller president emeritus Richard Mouw[2], and Northeastern assistant professor of New Testament Esau McCaulley[3], who writes about being black, evangelical, and an Anglican priest. I appreciate these insights on the future of evangelicalism, especially those coming from evangelicals of color. Yet it’s time for some additional reflection on one important microcosm of evangelicalism—the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), which shapes and reflects the state of the majority of evangelical institutions of higher education.[4] A few days after the election, the ETS met for... Read more
The great church reformer, Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582), wrote of Christians: "Christ has now no hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes with which Christ looks compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world." Join me in thanking God for the hands and feet of Christ, dismantling patriarchy as a biblical ideal in global communities. This year, we fanned an awareness of biblical gender equality around the world, beginning with CBE’s presence at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Building on momentum from last year’s meeting, President Dan Wallace affirmed support for women and egalitarians at ETS during his presidential address. Growing in... Read more
Holy Chutzpah Mary is big lately. This week, I read a blog post about Mary by a woman trying to discover a Mary to identify with. She writes, “it’s exactly the kind of feminine archetype I don’t really relate to—the kind of person about whom people say, ‘oh, she’s really nice,’ as if yielding compliance and non-offensiveness are her primary attributes. The kind of woman who fades into the background, whose worth lies only in her utility to the patriarchal narrative.” This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly. On this side of history,... Read more
Two Christmases ago, I was six months pregnant. The season of Advent, a time of waiting and expectation, has never made more sense to me. Most of us know that Advent is a story of expectation. But of course, children aren’t the only things we anticipate, and waiting doesn’t just mean excitement. Those of us know who have apprehensively endured any impending event know that well. It also means fear, and hope, and maybe a little anxiety.  And if you’re like me, it’s a lot easier to get wrapped up in the here-and-now expectations of the holidays than it is to stop and feel the anticipation, hope, fear, and longing of Advent. So I’ve had to ask myself: what are we, the church, preparing for? We think we know what’s coming. Most of us alrea... Read more
I recently finished a new book that hit the shelves a few weeks back. It’s entitled Underdogs and Outsiders, written by my good friend, Tom Fuerst. Though the main title may catch one off guard—noting it’s a study particularly written for the Advent season—it actually highlights the exact thrust of the book. This new work from Fuerst is an Advent study of how God used five unexpected women—underdogs and outsiders, to be exact—to accomplish his redemptive purposes. In particular, these five women are found in Matthew’s genealogy—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and, of course, Mary. To introduce the work, Fuerst writes: “This Advent study focuses on just a few of the broken branches: the unlikely heroines... Read more

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