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

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I would like to generate some discussion about how to attract men to CBE. At the conference last summer there was some mention about CBE wanting to do that -- maybe it was even put in terms of a goal -- I can't remember. If any of you have been successful in doing that (signing men up), I'm sure it would be helpful to the organization if you would share it here. Personally, I don't have much hope that it can be done, at least in large numbers, due more to the nature of the way Christianity is practiced than the nature of CBE. Beyond the obvious reason that many do not agree with CBE's mission, a lot of men don't like something even more basic: going to church and other Christian organizations' meetings. In Why Men Hate Going to Church [Thomas Nelson,... Read more
I have been driven to biblical egalitarianism by honestly evaluating what the Bible teaches in the light of historical research. I have never actually thought of myself as a "feminist". Given the "lightening rod" kinds of connotations around that word, I am surprised I have not thought about it more. This is especially true, given the fact that I am a linguist, Bible translator, and teacher. I suppose that people would consider me a "feminist" but I have honestly never even given it a thought until today. I am actually quite neutral about this label. The label is less important than the content in the can anyway. I bet there are others out there that think like I do. Read more
Conversations continue about Today's New International Version (TNIV) translation of the Bible. While much has been debated over this issue already (see CBE's articles in response to criticisms of the TNIV here), I believe the direct personal critique of the people involved in this translation warrants a post. Gordon Fee, Ronald Youngblood, Bruce Waltke, and others on the translation team are men of that stature and outstanding biblical scholars; I studied text criticism under Dr. Fee and I know Dr. Youngblood from his work in the ministry I presently help oversee. One wonders where this might lead. Read more
Christianity Today surveyed 750 people in 2002. There were many interesting results but two are especially important for CBE. 1. 78% stated that "Christian leaders need to speak out on proper roles for men and women". 2. 38% agreed with the complementarian contention that only men should be ordained. 47% disagreed with the complementarian contention that only men should be ordained for ministry. Both of these conclusions argue strongly for our task to preach the truth of Scripture about gender relationships to a generation which hears many competing voices. [For the whole survey, see Christianity Today, the article titled "Adam and Eve in the 21st Century," March 11, 2002.] Read more
Together with a team of 5 others, I translated a New Testament for an Asian Bible-less tribe back in the 1980's. Wycliffe, Living Bibles and others helped us get it out. I know something about translating. Having written that, the recent activity of whole denominations and religious groups publicly stating that the recent TNIV translation is "not commendable" makes me flash back to the 1950's to the pictures of fundamentalist churches piling up huge stacks of RSV's in their church parking lots and burning them. I suspect God cringed in the 1950's and He does now in the early part of a new millenium over the same behaviors. The issue is control. The critics of the TNIV want to control 60% of the church [read: the women]. These self-proclaimed "Bible ev... Read more
The most popular Christian web site according to the traffic counter is a Bible question and answer site called The most asked question out of 84,289 total questions asked is: "What about women pastors and preachers, what about women in the ministry?" Our task on the web at CBE is extremely important. We have an important voice and answer to the most often asked Christian question on the web. Read more
"Soft patriarchy is described in several recent books. For example Christian America, by University of North Carolina sociologist Christian Smith, finds that American evangelicals speak complementarian rhetoric and live egalitarian lives." I read this recently in an Australian article on the web. I have felt this often, as well. I watch my complementarian friends and they often live just like egalitarians. It seems that their lifestyle is ahead of their doctrine. Unfortunately, this is not true all of the time. Read more
The very witty Dorothy Sayers calls on women to be looked on as individual humans in her Are Women Human? (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971). Here's some of what she says. "A woman is just as much an ordinary human being as a man, with the same individual preferences, and with just as much right to the tastes and preferences of an individual. What is repugnant to every human being is to be reckoned always as a member of a class and not as an individual person." [24] "What is unreasonable and irritating is to assume that all one’s tastes and preferences have to be conditioned by the class to which one belongs. That has been the very common error into which men have frequently fallen about women." [25] "It is p... Read more
I sat in a discussion thirty years ago at Gordon-Conwell Seminary listening to Dr. Andrew Lincoln and Dr. Gordon Fee discuss the place of women in ministry. The discussion between egalitarianism and complementarianism had only really begun back then. The two terms were really not even used because "complementarianism" was not even a word commonly used in the English language. Even today, 99 percent of Christians in the church around the world probably know neither the term "complementarian" nor "egalitarian." The real question has been "Is it legitimate for a woman to lead in the church of God?" At the time, Lincoln was less egalitarian than he has become. Fee, then as now, was egalitarian to the core. I find Lincoln's drift both commendable an... Read more
The issue of gender equality is far more important and much bigger than many Americans realize. Because of the degrading views that so many cultures have towards women, women continue to suffer in record numbers. Millions of girls and women are less educated, are sold into the sexual slave trade, are victims of mutilating clitorectomies, and are systematically destroyed as infants because of their insignificance. "Two thirds of the world's illiterate people are women." See Daughters of Hope by Kay Marshall Strom and Michele Rickett, IVPress, 2003, p. 13. Daughters of Hope is available for purchase at CBE's bookstore, While the issues of equal recognition of spiritual gifts, ordination of women, and the correct interpretation... Read more