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If someone asked you to highlight the most obvious biblical fact supporting your position as an egalitarian, what might you say? If you were pressed to give ONE reason for believing that Scripture advances gift-based, rather than gender-based ministry, what would that be? Perhaps CBE should hold a contest and give awards for those who offer the most concise and comprehensive fact supporting an egalitarian interpretation of Scripture. If I were asked this question, I might be tempted to suggest that because Scripture celebrates the leadership of numerous women throughout the Old and New Testament, even though there are a few places where women are silenced from teaching and excluded from holding authority, it is clear that God does not universally oppose the authority or public ministry... Read more
The 'priesthood of all believers doctrine' is well stated on the Southern Baptist Convention’s website: “We affirm the priesthood of all believers. Laypersons have the same right as ordained ministers to communicate with God, interpret Scripture, and minister in Christ's name. That is why the Convention requires strong lay involvement on its boards. This doctrine is first and foremost a matter of responsibility and servanthood, not privilege and license.” (  The clearest Scriptural statement about this is in I Peter 2: 5,9 “…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. …... Read more
“…you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints – be subjects to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer” (1 Cor. 16:15-16, ESV). Here is a pearl lost in a list of greetings. Why a pearl? Because in the Greek text, we observe Paul’s opinion of his coworkers and his desired response from the church they serve. He commends a whole household that has a diakonia or ministry. This same word is used abundantly in Acts and by Paul to describe the apostolic ministry, as well as in all three major spiritual gifts lists in the broader sense of the service of the church (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12, Eph. 4). Archippus is also exhorted to pursue his ministry... Read more
Kudos to the people at The Jesus Film Project for their latest release, Magdalena: Released from Shame. I have not yet seen the film, but according to a Christianity Today reviewer, Magdalena “combines footage from the original Jesus film with new material emphasizing Christ’s compassion for women.” Apparently the purpose of the new film is to deliver the essential message of the original film specifically to women, as well as to non-Western cultures in which “honor and shame are more powerful paradigms than guilt and innocence.” The Jesus Film Project website describes the film this way: One woman caught in the scandalous act of adultery; another, rejected and ignored because of her promiscuous... Read more
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory" (Rom. 8:17, TNIV). In the last issue of Arise we considered how Scripture makes no gender distinction among those who reign with Christ,as joint-heirs in Christ’s kingdom (Gal 3:26-4:7). Reigning with Christ, Paul suggests that Christians will judge not only spiritual affairs (the angelic world), but also human affairs (1 Cor. 6:2-3). Passages such as these reveal the spiritual authority men and women share with Christ, as heirs with Jesus of God’s kingdom. In response to this issue of Arise, a thoughtful reader wrote to say that while they understood the point I was making,... Read more
The other story of Mary and Martha – Martha an example of faith We often hear the wonderful story of Mary, how she choose to listen to Jesus’ teaching rather than do housework like her sister Martha, and how Jesus commends her for her choice. (Luke 10:38-41).  We see Mary as the one who is more mature in the faith and Martha as the one who is less.  But do we ever consider the other story of Mary and Martha?  In John 11, Mary and Martha’s dear brother Lazarus has just died.  Jesus goes to visit them.  In the midst of her grief, Martha greets Jesus with these words.     21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God... Read more
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, t... Read more
"… husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." (Eph 5:25, NRSV) How often have you heard a sermon celebrating love as the primary characteristic of male headship? The fact that few of us have is curious when you consider the number of times Paul asks husbands to love their wives in Ephesians 5. Love your wife, Paul tells husbands, just as you love your own body and just as Christ loved the Church by sacrificing for her. No less than ten times Paul reminds husbands to love their wives—tending to their needs as they would their own body—tenderly and with nurture. Husbands are to nurture their wives as they do their own body because in marriage husband and wife are one-flesh. To emphasize the one-flesh union betwee... Read more
We hear about how God used Abraham to establish the nation of Israel through whom the Messiah would come, and we hear how Abraham’s faith helped accomplish this.  We also hear about Abraham’s faults, and how God accomplished His will through Abraham in spite of them.  But do you know that God used Sarah in the same way?  She also was used to establish the nation of Israel, and her faith was also instrumental in achieving this.  And like Abraham, God accomplished His will through Sarah in spite of her faults. Here is a brief overview of her life.  To learn more about her read Genesis 16 and 21. Today's New International Version Genesis 17:15-16 – Sarah is a woman who was unable to have children.  Yet God promises to give he... Read more
Almost everything we do is based on custom or tradition. The languages we speak, the food that we eat, the clothes we wear, even our religious beliefs. Learning another language is difficult; to eat food different from our usual fare is not easy. Most of us hold religious beliefs and attend a church similar to that of our parents. As children mature, they often question the tradition of their parents in all these areas. And that is not bad. We are each responsible to God for what we do and think, but it is not easy to move away from our traditions, and most of us don’t want to hurt our loved ones in any way. Jesus faced the same problem. At one point in his ministry, his mother and brothers came to “take him home” (Mark 3:20-35). And he had to say that doing “... Read more