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Mimi wrote in Arise last week that baptism rather than circumcision had, in Christ, become the expression of a covenantal relationship with God and life. She pointed out that “just as Christ rose victoriously over sin, we too rise out of the waters of baptism, symbolizing our rising victorious with Christ over sin.” What I can’t help but notice is how the imagery of circumcision and its newfound irrelevance in the light of baptism ties to the bit of handwritten script posted at the end of the book. In Galatians 6:14-15, Paul writes: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.... Read more
Joy Fenner of Gaston Oaks Baptist Church in Garland was elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) earlier this week, narrowly defeating BGCT pastor David Lowrie by a margin of 900-840 votes to become the first woman to occupy the post. The Baptist General Convention of Texas is the largest Baptist state group of its kind in the nation, with over 5,000 affiliated congregations and more than two million members. Despite its size, less than one percent of BGCT pastors are women. A former missionary to Japan, church secretary, and executive director emeritus of the Women’s Missionary Union of Texas, Fenner has been involved in missions work for over thirty years. Many in the BGCT working in recent years to increase BGCT missions work and multicultural aw... Read more
Recently a friend of mine received a very distinguished award from her denomination for her long-term leadership in promoting the “maximum baptismal role of women in the Church.” As I pondered our baptismal role, I remembered that many baptismal fonts from the early church had Galatians 3:26-28 inscribed on them. Why? Baptism, rather than circumcision, became the public expression of our covenantal relationship with God, attained through our union with Christ. Just as Christ rose victoriously over sin, we too rise out of the waters of baptism, symbolizing our rising victorious with Christ over sin. United to Christ in baptism, God does not look upon our sins, but sees that we are clothed in Christ, a reality that Paul summarizes in Galatians 3:27-29: “You a... Read more
Some, complementarian or otherwise, may believe that we egalitarians don’t love our fathers. Well, I loved my father. I want to share some memories of my father to show why I loved him so much. When I was twenty, I had to take some medicine. My father was worried that the condition I had would interrupt my studies. As a result, he asked me daily if I was taking my medicine. My mother asked him to stop. A couple of days later I received a phone call. When I picked it up I heard a very low voice say ‘Did you take your medicine today?’ I said ‘Yes, dad.’ My father said bye and abruptly hung up. This happened again two days later. I think my mother caught him, because he never did it again. Another time, we couldn’t buy anything extra because money w... Read more
So many of you have thanked us for our weekly newsletter, Arise. In fact, almost every week we receive comments from the CBE community expressing appreciation for our work! Do you realize how rare it is to receive so many words of thanks? Research suggests that very few people actually take the time to thank those who serve them! This month is clergy appreciation month. As such, it is an opportunity for us to thank those who have helped build us up in Christ. If there are those who have inspired you spiritually, why not take the opportunity to thank them this week? Why not also send thanks to those who have inspired you as egalitarians? Perhaps there is someone in your life who has lived courageously, out of their giftedness, or has boldly rejected unbiblical teachings that limi... Read more
My husband recently sent me a link to an news blurb about new traffic signal laws which were passed last year in Spain. In an effort to do away with sexism, the Spanish town council of Madrid decreed that half of all road signs and traffic signals should alternate between male and female walking figures. And how can you tell it's a female figure? The silhouettes will have ‘feminine attributes’ such as a skirt, ribbon, and ponytail instead of simply being the outline of a striding man. This is their way of fighting inequality in their streets and giving women more visibility. Some quotes from the people in Madrid: ‘It's fantastic, but there's still a lot to fight for. There are many things that need fighting for so women can finally be valued for what we a... Read more
Several places in the New Testament, had ‘headship’ been God's intention, it would have been stated and described. Rather, in those places we find no such direct statement and, in fact, other descriptions of marriage indicating full equality. Two such places are as follow. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, when Paul states that the husband's body belongs to his wife and and wife’s to her husband, no distinction is made between the two parties, in spite of the fact that the word ‘authority’ is used. The second, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, concerns itself with the value of staying single in the culture of the time. It talks about a married man being ‘anxious about the affairs of the world and how to please his wife’ (NRSV), and then the same words a... Read more
“In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8, TNIV). Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what empowerment for Christian service in the church and world means in light of the model Christ has provided us with. Suffice it to say, it’s a challenge. There is nothing assertive or upwardly mobile about God putting on flesh and serving, then dying on a cross.... Read more
Has it occurred to you that, on some level, the current gender debate comes to this--Do women have permission to talk about Jesus or the Bible? A friend of mine is a well-known missionary. Her passion for Jesus is plain to all. A prolific writer and speaker, her research enjoys global respect. When asked whether as a woman she should be allowed to teach or preach the good news, my friend said this: Very few people object when I speak or teach on topics such as writing and publishing, or on missions or gender. However, the more Scripture I engage as I explore these, the more unbiblical I am viewed, and the more criticism I receive. This doesn’t make any sense! The Gospel is something to be shared! And, as our verse for our Toronto conference says, “How beautiful are the... Read more
Lately there has been here quite a bit of reporting of statements from other blog sites, referring to roles and responsibilities for wives and husbands, women and men. The verses being quoted to support such claims have seemed, at best, verses fraught with interpretation or translation issues, and not as clear as some would have us believe. Meanwhile, there are countless places within Scripture where our responsibilities towards one another within the body of Christ are encouraged, and there can be no argument against those plain statements. For example, in Galatians 5:13-14 we have the words ‘For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love, become slaves to one another. For the whole law... Read more