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Evangelical women face a myriad of messages related to pastoral and teaching roles in the church and academy. Some evangelical churches open their doors to women leaders while others reject the ordination of women and endorse explicitly hierarchical models of gender relations, both in marriage relationships and also in church and church-focused institutional hierarchies.Others even extend male authority to secular arenas, excluding women from exercising leadership or authority over men that is direct and/or personal. Read more
Throughout history, movements have arisen to challenge the status quo of society and the institutional church. In the history of the United States and into the present, many have spoken out against the way women are perceived and treated. These voices have fought to open to women spaces and leadership positions in the church and society that have traditionally been exclusively for men. These movements, known collectively as feminism, have requested—sometimes demanded—a transformation in the ways evangelicals conceive of women’s roles. Read more
Does it really matter what the Bible says about man and woman? Jesus repeatedly affirmed the Scriptures to be God’s word. Paul affirms that all Scripture is God-breathed. The Bible is God’s perfectly holy word and has final authority on all matters, including man and woman. So when some argue that the Bible opposes the equal standing of man and woman in the church and home, they are taking the issue to the final court of appeals, as they should. Twelve seemingly strong biblical pillars support their argument... Read more
This list is meant to provide a brief sampling of the rich literature of Bible commentaries written by evangelical scholars in the last few decades. All of the Bible commentaries listed here are friendly to an egalitarian perspective. Commentaries are not listed for every book of the Bible, but only those which are most relevant to the debate about gender and race in the church. Read more
In York Minster, the cathedral in the English city where I used to live, there is a famous window called “The Pilgrimage Window.” Two panels within this window usually draw the most attention from onlookers. The first shows a knight upon a white horse, holding a triumphant banner. He appears to be venturing forth on a pilgrimage. However, whenever I came to contemplate this window, it was not the knight’s panel that drew me. Read more
I have always lived in other worlds. As soon as I learned to read, I began devouring books. If I could understand most of the words, I read it. I was always asking Mom what this word and that word meant, and as a result, Mom soon taught me how to use a dictionary. I was in glasses by the time I was ten. There is no proof, but I think that because I read so much, my eyes didn't think there was anything beyond the length of my arm (or the tip of my nose for that matter). By the time I finished sixth grade, I had read the Little House on the Prairie books, A Wrinkle in Time trilogy (back then it was a trilogy), The Chronicles of Narnia, every Judy Blume book, and too many Nancy Drew books to count. In fact, I would sit down after breakfast on Saturdays with a Nancy Drew mystery and have it finished by supper. And of course, writing stories did not lag far behind learning how to read them. Read more
I recently had the opportunity to interview three of CBE’s most devoted members: Alvera Mickelsen, Ginny Erickson, and Betty Clark They were crowded around a table in CBE’s office, having volunteered to organize our historical files. As a newcomer to CBE, I had expected a cordial but formal interview (perhaps even with a few awkward silences). Instead, I was surprised and delighted by their sincerity and warmth. They welcomed me into the friendly conversation of longtime companions, openly discussed their lives with me, and asked me about my own life. They displayed all the humility and grace of true disciples of Jesus Christ. Read more
Positive evidence for the equality of male and female is nowhere more clearly apparent than in Genesis 1:26-28. If God creates in his image, and that image is defined in v. 27 as “male and female,” then the most important distinction between human beings and all other life on earth is a distinction that is shared by both male and female. Throughout the first chapter of Genesis, God creates groups of animals (birds, fish, etc.).  The creation of the human species is more specific; it is the species that is created with both sexes, not a single person or general group.   Read more
Biblical battles tend to reveal the importance of Scripture in church life. We may not like to admit it, but sometimes it is the Bible (and therefore the church) that loses in our biblical battles. The Bible and the church lose when we fail to read the whole Bible on debatable topics, when we fail to read the Bible as connected to a historical and cultural context, or when are simply too lazy or worn down by debates to spend the time necessary to truly think through a subject. Many of us tire of old debates, finding it easier simply to give in to the first person who comes along with a sense of conviction in what they believe. We’ve been there, done that, and we often feel as if we have nothing new to offer. Read more
Sometimes it seems as if a Christian liberal arts college is the last place in the world to find evidence for equality. Women often seem focused on finding the perfect husband, and men on becoming the strong leader in the household. Captivating is the number one Bible study tool throughout the women’s dorms, and professors openly profess complementarian views without giving attention to egalitarian thought. Yet in this often overwhelming complementarian collegiate world, I find evidence—evidence for equality. Read more

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