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For most of my life, I didn’t attend a church that affirmed women in ministry. In fact, most of the churches I grew up in held the opposite view. They took the issue very seriously too. One Wednesday night when I was in maybe sixth grade, the male teacher for the boys’ class was absent. The female teacher for the girls’ class refused to allow the junior high boys to join us. Why? Women weren’t allowed to teach males once they graduated from elementary school. The same teacher encouraged us to aspire to become elders’ wives when we grew up. We were never encouraged to focus on our own gifts for ministry. We were not encouraged to serve the kingdom as writers, singers, missionaries, or worship ministers, and certainly not as preachers. I never saw a woman teac... Read more
The church has been increasingly criticized, especially in the last couple of years, for responding poorly to or remaining silent about sexual, physical, and spiritual abuse. Survivors and allies are calling the church out for enabling and overlooking abuse, and urging Christians to educate themselves on the issue.  Many churches have a tendency to keep abuse in-house, prioritizing the reputation of the church over the trauma needs of abuse survivors. Worse, they sometimes even defend perpetrators and deliberately silence victims. Why have we sometimes struggled to do justice and not harm? Sometimes, churches respond unjustly to abuse because they elevate the word of powerful men above the word of women. Other times, churches fail survivors because their theology doesn’t easil... Read more
Did the pastor really just say that? Mouth hanging open and holding my infant daughter, I looked over at my husband. “I know. Don’t freak out. I know,” my husband whispered. The pastor’s sermon was good—until he made some demeaning comments about his wife’s years as a stay-at-home mom. He went on to explain that now she was “working hard,” because she has a job outside of the home. I’ve heard many problematic remarks like these over the years. I usually just roll my eyes and carry on. But that morning, the pastor’s comments shattered something in my spirit. I was broken-hearted for all of the times I’ve heard male pastors demean their wives from the pulpit. I was angry for all of the times I’ve heard people say,... Read more
Editor’s Note: This article makes a case for restorative justice in the wake of #MeToo as one way to transform our violent culture and challenge patriarchal beliefs at the root of sexual violence. The article’s intent is to ask what comes after #MeToo and propose a way forward that could transform and restore our society. We affirm that no survivor should be pressured to pursue restorative justice. On a temperate Southern California evening in 1982, I was raped. It was one of those all-too-common stories of a college girl being assaulted at a party. It was also one of those well-hidden stories of a Christian male refusing to take “no” for an answer. I remember that, when he began to pull at my pants, I said, “No! We are not going to do this.” As he cont... Read more
In late January, Dr. John Piper argued that if the Bible doesn't permit women to be pastors, then they also shouldn’t be seminary professors. As an Assemblies of God minister, I’m shaking my head and asking: are we still having this conversation?  The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal fellowship of churches. Pentecostals believe that God poured out his spirit on both men and women at Pentecost, inspiring both sons and daughters to prophesy (cf. Acts 2:16-8; Joel 2:28-29). We believe Scripture indicates women’s inclusion in the ministries of the new covenant age. Not only do we not have a theological problem with women in ministry in my denomination, but we fully embrace them. But do we really embrace women in ministry? Do we hi... Read more
Most evangelical egalitarians know that the Bible has words that mean “man/men” and words that mean “person/people, human(s).” Many egalitarians also know that some Bible translations use “man/men” to translate words which aren’t limited to men. This is especially common, for example, in the King James Version and the pre-2011 editions of the New International Version. But recognition of the distinction between “man” and “human” is growing. It has influenced modern translations such as the English Standard Version (Crossway, 2001) and the Christian Standard Bible (Holman, 2017). Though the translators of these Bibles tend to be strongly complementarian, and though I don't believe they’ve gone far enough to accurat... Read more
Life doesn’t come with a manual, and neither does marriage. Whether we’re making difficult decisions, entering new seasons, or dealing with unexpected changes, most of us married folks are just figuring it out as we go. Doing life with your spouse can be tricky, especially in a culture that places unnecessary and unbiblical burdens on women. Thankfully, we can look to Scripture for tips on what a healthy, equal partnership Christian marriage looks like. Here are three reminders for egalitarian couples that have been extremely helpful to me on my own marriage journey. 1. Submit to Christ Many Christians quote Ephesians 5:22-23 out of context, focusing only on the command for wives to submit to their husbands. First of all, this passage is already radical because it speaks... Read more
It’s been an agonizing couple of weeks for survivor Jules Woodsen. Woodsen was sexually assaulted by megachurch pastor Andy Savage in 1998, while he was serving as her youth pastor. On March 20, 2018, Savage released a statement admitting he had abused his power over Woodsen, and announcing that he would step down from his pastoral position at Highpoint Church. A few short days after Savage resigned, yet another prominent megachurch pastor was in the news. Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, has been accused of sexual harassment. That story is still unfolding. It’s worth noting that both pastors received standing ovations from their congregations when they made a statement in response to the abuse allegations. Both churches claimed they took proper steps to a... Read more
Margaret Mowczko
There are more than a few women in the Bible and in church history who risked their lives for a godly cause. In this post, I look at three brave women who are not in the Protestant Bible. These women were, most likely, not even real people.  They are legendary women with enduring and inspiring stories—stories that give us insight into the religious thoughts and aspirations of past generations—stories that deserve to be better known. 1. Judith of Bethulia in Judea Judith was a heroic woman who has long been admired by both Jews and Christians. Her story is found in the book that bears her name and is included in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. It was also included in early editions of the King James Bible until it began to be published without the apocryphal (or de... Read more
Most of us—no matter our stance on gender roles or faith background—are stunned by the vast number of people demeaned by sexual abuse and harassment. Tragically, girls and women are abused at essentially the same rates inside and outside the church. It’s clear that complementarians and egalitarians alike must press toward humility, self-reflection, and an honest assessment of Christian complicity in gender-based violence (GBV). Like many other Christians in the age of #ChurchToo, John Piper is searching for the root cause of GBV. He believes he has found it: egalitarianism. In a recent Desiring God podcast entitled “Sex-Abuse Allegations and the Egalitarian Myth,” Piper argues that egalitarians are to blame for abuse of girls and women because we neglect God... Read more

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