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"...in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." Three retired women volunteered at CBE’s office recently. As they worked, they reminisced about their youth—a time when hearing from a female evangelist was not that uncommon! In fact, our eighty-year old friends remembered having heard the female evangelist team Stockton and Gould preach and sing at some of the most prominent evangelical churches in the greater Chicago area! The rest of us were amazed as they named the churches and places this team had preached and sung. The truth is, most churches active in the revivals of the 1800s and 1900s gave female evangelists a platform. As teams like Stockton and Gould drew hearts to our Lord, the results were clear. Ministry worked best when it was gift-b... Read more
I recommend to you the work of John Polkinghorne, the noted Christian apologist and Cambridge physicist. Working in the area of particle physics, Polkinghorne notes that the physical world does not always behave the way scholars and scientists expect. Because the world is so strange and mysterious, a critical analysis of any field will always require a healthy skepticism of the assumptions made by any scholarly tradition. Polkinghorne calls this "bottom up thinking"—an inductive approach to research. Bottom up thinking greatly helps us in our work as egalitarians, too. Why? Bottom up thinking encourages us to really look at data (biblical or historical) in assessing the statements made by the experts in any field. For example, scholars and church leaders have,... Read more
How many of us are in churches where we have been told that the time isn't right to consider the gender issue? Timing is everything, right? How many of us wonder when is the right time to model the example of women like Priscilla, who explained the way of the Lord to Apollos (Acts 18:6)? When is the right time to consider the examples of house church leaders like Lydia (Acts 16:14), Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11), the Elect Lady (2 John 1:1, 5), and Nympha (Colossians 4:15)? When should we notice Phoebe, who served the church in Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), or Junia the female apostle (Romans 16:7)? What about the women who prophesied at Pentecost (Acts 2), or the women prophets in the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:5), or Philip's prophesying daughters (Acts 21:9)? When is t... Read more
Thanks to Sue for pointing out this interesting bit of news to CBE. Towards the end of last week’s Republican presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, a debate that dealt largely with foreign policy and the war in Iraq, the debate turned sharply to the issue of marital submission, and by extension, biblical equality. Here is an excerpt from the debate’s transcript, found in its entirety here. Governor Huckabee, to change the subject a little bit and focus a moment on electability. Back in 1998, you were one of about 100 people who affirmed, in a full-page ad in the New York Times the Southern Baptist Convention’s declaration that, quote, 'A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.' Women voters in both part... Read more
I came across a book recently that reinvigorated my dedication to the mission of CBE. This book argues that because men are God’s appointed leaders in the home they are therefore God’s chosen leaders in the church as well. As I read the author's perspective, I wondered why he failed to insist upon male authority in society as a whole. To be perfectly consistent, male authority, if divinely appointed, should be ubiquitous—it should be practiced everywhere. It seems to me that if God intends for men to hold final positions of authority then women should not become CEOs of companies, nor should they hold final positions of authority as elected officials, nor should they be allowed to run hospitals, schools, businesses, or ministries where women make decisions apart from... Read more
Why do some people say that there is no evidence kephale can mean 'source' or 'origin?' The Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott Greek lexicon lists, among the possible meanings of the Greek word kephale (translated as ‘head’ in English), ‘source’ or ‘origin.’ This is the word translated ‘head’ in 1 Corinthians 11:3 ("Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God") and Ephesians 5:23 ("For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior"). Here’s the reference from the lexicon, and a... Read more
'You should learn how to play the piano or something... since you'll be a minister's wife someday.' An older gentleman said this to me as we were walking along toward the Sunday school class where my husband Sam and I were to share about our missionary experiences. When we were single, Sam and I had both individually heard God's call and confirmation to be long-term missionaries, and both of us had taken steps of faith on short-term trips to answer that call. And, though they had invited my husband to be the speaker that morning, as equal partners in all things Sam of course wanted me to share my story as well. Sadly, the assumption was that Sam was the minister and I was the minister's wife! The gentleman's comment left me dumbfounded and speechless. I... Read more
A friend of mine was recently asked to explain the gender prejudice noted in many Christian churches. Seated next to a stranger on an airplane, she was asked why the world’s major religions all fail to include women among their leaders. How would you have responded to this charge? The failure to engage the talents and leadership of women discourages many people from participating in churches. Research suggests that gender prejudice is one of the most significant reasons young people become involved in pagan religions like Wicca—an issue addressed in Catherine Edwards Sanders' important book, Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality. As Christians, we boldly declare the truth that knowing C... Read more
"… the righteous will live by their faith" (Habakkuk 2:4, NRSV). Even before South Africa began to dismantle apartheid, Desmond Tutu did something very profound. Though he had no official platform or office, though he was without institutional power, he invited his opponents to join him. He treated them as colleagues who one day would work together as equals. His actions were prophetic and filled with faith in God’s redeeming work in our world. His actions reminded me of another story I heard recently, from the front lines of the gender debate within the church. A scholar working at an institution unsympathetic to biblical equality quietly shared his journey away from gender-hierarchy. He said that though he had grown up in a church that gave authority in the h... Read more
"Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4, NRSV). As Christians who are called to walk in newness of life, we oppose, rather than advance, the consequences of the fall. Most Christians I know eagerly resist death, pain in childbirth, and toiling against other thorns and thistles—all the results of sin. We are thankful for good medical care that prolongs our lives. Most women are also grateful for pain medicines used during delivery. And, the agricultural industry invests billions of dollars to lighten our labor in producing food. However, men’s inclination to rule over women—also a consequence of the fall, is... Read more

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