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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
This paper was given by Kevin Giles at the Evangelical Theological Society annual conference on November 15, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. The other speakers on the plenary Trinity forum were Dr. Bruce Ware, Dr. Millard Erickson, and Dr. Wayne Grudem. Dr. Storms presided. Thank you, Dr. Storms, for your welcome. It is a huge honor to be invited to give the introductory address at this ETS plenary forum on the Trinity. In putting my case this afternoon, I am going to speak very forthrightly and unambiguously, as from past experience I am sure Dr. Grudem and Dr. Ware will do.1 Dr. Erickson who stands with me in opposing Dr. Grudem and Dr. Ware’s teaching on the Trinity I am sure will be the clearest in what he says and the most gracious. I speak bluntly because the issues we are disc... Read more
For most of my life, I didn’t understand the significance of Advent. It paled next to Christmas. And I felt the same indifference for Advent that I had for every other church season. As a young girl in a strict Lutheran elementary school, the arrival of Advent meant that I was required to attend yet another school chapel service. It meant two extra hours of acute religious boredom, and it triggered the same hyper-awareness of my femaleness that I always experienced in church. The students sat in straight-back wooden pews, some of us so young that our feet barely touched the floor. A male pastor with a booming voice encouraged us to reflect on our innate depravity. Jesus’ impending birth was celebrated chiefly as the remedy to our shame. The pastor wore a spotless white... Read more
In the past few years, numerous people have asked me why I make such a big deal about gender equality. Have I experienced such extreme inequality? What traumatic experience drives my activism? Why am I so passionate and outspoken about this issue? People often assume that a tragic event in my personal life led to this behavior. I am not sure what they have in mind, but I have seen: Women discouraged from and not chosen for church leadership Men and women shamed for not fitting culturally-defined gender roles Exclusion born from semantics and titles Sexual harassment such as groping, leering, and unwanted comments Women shrinking themselves to be more socially acceptable, both inside and outside the church I have witnessed all of the above examples of gender inequality... Read more
Recent revelations in the news and social media have once again highlighted the discriminatory and sometimes dangerous environments that women must navigate, both in the world and the church. Women expect to face discrimination and mistreatment in the world, but we hope to find comfort, shelter, and respect in the church. Too often, this is not the case. Too often, women are devalued in their church communities. They are told that their role is "equal but separate,” and they should only use their gifts under the authority of men. Too often, women are relegated to strictly supportive roles in the body of Christ rather than fairly considered for preaching, teaching, and leadership positions. Too often, women are pushed to the sidelines despite their clear gifts and cal... Read more
"There were several women who had never heard that the Bible says they can be leaders. It brings me to tears every time... more women have been freed by the truth to join God's mission! Praise God!" We rejoice in this hopeful observation from a long-time CBE member, donor, and volunteer. Her words represent the heartfelt wish of the CBE community—to see women freed to join God's mission as empowered leaders. CBE labors toward that beautiful vision of biblical gender equality every single day. 30 years ago, CBE had no staff, no furniture, and no bank account. In fact, we didn't even have an office! Since that time, God has taken our resources and multiplied them beyond anything we could have imagined. Today, we have much to be thankful for... Read more
[Editor’s Note] This is the final installment in a two-part of a series by Dr. Bob Rakestraw on the relationship between complementarian theology and subordination in the Trinity. See Part 1. How is male-female authority involved in the controversy over subordination in the Trinity? As alluded to in Part 1, there are two main groups within evangelicalism debating the issues of subordination (lesser authority) among the members of the Trinity and subordination among male-female relationships. Complementarians believe, among other things, that women should be under the authority of male leaders in their churches, and wives should be under the authority of male leaders (their husbands) in their marriages. Their main organization is the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CB... Read more
[Editor’s Note] This is the first installment in a two-part series by Dr. Bob Rakestraw on the relationship between complementarian theology and subordination in the Trinity. What is the controversy all about? At the risk of overwhelming serious readers with yet another piece on Trinity and gender, I offer this contribution with the hope that some may gain a bit more clarity on an aspect of the dispute that continues to smolder and even burst into flames regularly. In this series, I will address and support the necessary qualitative distinction between the eternal inner life of the Trinity and the temporal inter-relationships of women and men in church and marriage. The debate about the Trinity within evangelical Christianity, especially since the beginning of the twenty-fi... Read more
In the last few years, it has become popular for people (especially celebrities) to identify as “feminists” on the secular stage. While this may sound like a positive trend, it has effectively rendered the term “feminist” meaningless. Anyone can join the club. You can be a pornographer or hold deeply sexist attitudes toward women while simultaneously self-identifying as a “gender equality advocate” because you supposedly “love women.” But this version of equality doesn’t threaten the status quo, it reinforces it.   Defining feminism as an ambiguous ideology of “equality” may destigmatize the movement and get more people on the bandwagon, but doing so also neutralizes its power. Patriarchy, power, and privilege will c... Read more

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