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

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A missionary friend spoke with me this last week about beauty and the cosmetic industry. While on sabbatical at the University in Winnipeg, he wrote about this topic for one of his courses. I was intrigued and quite provoked to think about this a lot more. He spoke with me about various psychological and emotional phenomena that often accompany various aspects of cosmetic surgery [specifically breast enhancement, tummy tucks, facial uplifts, botox injections etc.] I moved from thinking about psychology and emotions to thinking about the Scriptures. Another missionary friend from Asia was in on the discussion. He mentioned that people in Asia are now doing many breast enhancements and they are having surgery on their eyelids so their eyes look bigger. I came away thinking that we ha... Read more
Hello dear friends. Thanks for your faithful support and readership on this blog! We're so glad you're here. Below is a collection of blog posts from around the web as well as a round-up of Scroll posts from this week, for you to peruse over the weekend. It takes a community to raise the banner for biblical gender equality. Thanks for joining us.   A Cautionary Tale about Rape Culture in the Church & #TakeDownThatPost, by Heather Celoria (The Junia Project) It is a problem that none of those bells went off in the editors’ minds regarding a story in which the victim is female. Rape culture in the church is a problem that is fed by purity teachings that place responsibility on girls for the thought life of boys. It is a problem fed by blaming victims... Read more
When the messiah comes, says the Old Testament, he will “proclaim freedom for the captives.” (Is. 61:1 TNIV) Jesus the Messiah came, but he brought something better than the expected freedom from foreign domination: instead, he was interested in making people’s spirits free. Jesus himself said, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:34-36 TNIV) Of all the authors of the Old and New Testaments, Paul speaks most often about freedom. Christ, he says, brings freedom from sin (Rom. 6:18-22; 7:14), freedom from death (Rom. 7:24-25; 8:2, 10-11) and especially freedom from the bondage of the [Jewish... Read more
Let's look at our generation from the view of church historians. I think they will simultaneously wince and praise us. I think they will wince as they consider evangelical theologians holding to a subordinationist view of the Trinity and receiving a broad complementarian audience. I think they will further wince as they think of process theologians, in the name of evangelicalism, telling us that God does not absolutely know the future. I think they will wince as they consider our waffling on life issues such as abortion, on sexual moral/ethical issues such as homosexual ordination. I actually believe there will be more wincing than this. With all of the wincing, I also think there will be at least two places where they will praise our generation. I think that church historians wil... Read more
Hailing from Kansas, Maude Cary went to Morocco in 1901 and worked as a single missionary for 50 years there. How was 50 years of sacrificial living rewarded at her funeral? Ruth Tucker writes that her obituary read, “a small handful of people, seven of whom were ministers, attended the funeral. There were only two sprays of flowers and hardly any tears.” We now see in hindsight that God himself was and is her reward. Many female missionaries of today are honored in the same way -- that is, primarily by God himself and only with a "handful" of others to applaud. Then, of course, there are those who would not applaud her at all -- they would accuse Maude Cary of "Moral Rebellion" for her 50 years of preaching without the "covering" of a male leade... Read more
Recently there was a blog post regarding preferential treatment given to men, even by those who espouse egalitarian beliefs. How can this happen ? It is very evident that the cultural mindset over such a long time is deeper than many first imagined and so it is no wonder than it keeps resurfacing in the most unlikely places. It occurs to me that something that has taken hundreds of years to become entrenched will not go away just by careful exegesis and teaching. Attitudes will change in the same way they developed - very slowly and with repeated statements and demonstrated truth. We need to find ways of "speaking the truth in love" to those who have differing beliefs about gender issues and use opportunities as they occur to encourage a better way to speak and act in compan... Read more
My wife and I spent a year of missionary service in the gorgeous southeast asian city of Singapore in 1990. While there, we ate dinner one night with a senior missions couple who have been widely used and are vocal egalitarians. They peppered me repeatedly with Bible questions and vitually ignored the presence of my wife at the table. The amusing thing in all of this is that she has an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell, has contributed to more than one study Bible published by major publishing houses, and has taught the whole content of Scripture for thirty years. After another conversation with an outspoken egalitarian president of a leading seminary where the same phenomenon occurred, both of us looked to each other and asked ourselves why does this happen? The only answer we can come up with... Read more
I'm wondering if many of you are uncomfortable in Bible book stores. It seems like an awful lot of them are highly gendered. Books aimed at women and girls (guess which ones); books aimed at men and boys ("Bible stories of strength and courage!"). Non-book items, more than half the inventory, like pseudo-Victorian home knick-knacks (decorative pastel figurines like Precious Moments), dried flower wreaths and teddy bears give a sweet, non-cognitive feeling to the place. Julie Ingersoll makes similar observations in a chapter of Evangelical Christian Women; War Stories in the Gender Battles called, "The Power of Subtle Arrangements and Little Things," where she says, "But what is most interesting is that the distinct demarcation between genders is... Read more
Ever since I was a child, I have loved writing. I love crafting good stories and entertaining people with them. Recently, it occurred to me that it might make a fascinating book if I wrote about my experiences as an American living in Britain. It's certainly been fascinating to compare the two cultures firsthand! I decided to make it a fictional book so that I could protect people's privacy. Since I have never published a story before, I thought it would be wise to do some research about the Christian writing industry . I found a website run by an editor in a Christian publishing house, one which publishes for the mainstream evangelical audience and which comprises the bulk of readers and buyers of Christian fiction. This website also features a discussion board, but in talkin... Read more
We live our lives in history's continuum. Pearl S. Buck honored her missionary mother and father by writing biographies about them. Even with her Godly heritage, being raised by missionaries to China, Pearl S. Buck really had no faith in the gospel at all. This is both unfortunate and instructive. Ruth Tucker writes that Buck's mother, Carie Sydenstricker, was a victim of serious sexual discrimination and oppression in the family [her husband was, in Tucker's words, "embued with the Pauline doctrine of the subjection of the women to the man"]. This produced resentment in Carie. One must ask the question, did this obvious violation of the freedom of the Gospel turn Pearl S. Buck away from the gospel itself? Indeed, we live our lives in a continuum of history. Read more