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The great church reformer, Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582), wrote of Christians: "Christ has now no hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes with which Christ looks compassion on the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world." Join me in thanking God for the hands and feet of Christ, dismantling patriarchy as a biblical ideal in global communities. This year, we fanned an awareness of biblical gender equality around the world, beginning with CBE’s presence at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Building on momentum from last year’s meeting, President Dan Wallace affirmed support for women and egalitarians at ETS during his presidential address. Growing in... Read more
Holy Chutzpah Mary is big lately. This week, I read a blog post about Mary by a woman trying to discover a Mary to identify with. She writes, “it’s exactly the kind of feminine archetype I don’t really relate to—the kind of person about whom people say, ‘oh, she’s really nice,’ as if yielding compliance and non-offensiveness are her primary attributes. The kind of woman who fades into the background, whose worth lies only in her utility to the patriarchal narrative.” This year, I have noticed Mary more than usual. One of the things I’ve seen is a very strong person who bucks her culture to be what God calls her to be. That resistance has a hidden cost that the Bible doesn’t record directly. On this side of history,... Read more
Two Christmases ago, I was six months pregnant. The season of Advent, a time of waiting and expectation, has never made more sense to me. Most of us know that Advent is a story of expectation. But of course, children aren’t the only things we anticipate, and waiting doesn’t just mean excitement. Those of us know who have apprehensively endured any impending event know that well. It also means fear, and hope, and maybe a little anxiety.  And if you’re like me, it’s a lot easier to get wrapped up in the here-and-now expectations of the holidays than it is to stop and feel the anticipation, hope, fear, and longing of Advent. So I’ve had to ask myself: what are we, the church, preparing for? We think we know what’s coming. Most of us alrea... Read more
I recently finished a new book that hit the shelves a few weeks back. It’s entitled Underdogs and Outsiders, written by my good friend, Tom Fuerst. Though the main title may catch one off guard—noting it’s a study particularly written for the Advent season—it actually highlights the exact thrust of the book. This new work from Fuerst is an Advent study of how God used five unexpected women—underdogs and outsiders, to be exact—to accomplish his redemptive purposes. In particular, these five women are found in Matthew’s genealogy—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and, of course, Mary. To introduce the work, Fuerst writes: “This Advent study focuses on just a few of the broken branches: the unlikely heroines... Read more
This paper was given by Kevin Giles at the Evangelical Theological Society annual conference on November 15, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. The other speakers on the plenary Trinity forum were Dr. Bruce Ware, Dr. Millard Erickson, and Dr. Wayne Grudem. Dr. Storms presided. Thank you, Dr. Storms, for your welcome. It is a huge honor to be invited to give the introductory address at this ETS plenary forum on the Trinity. In putting my case this afternoon, I am going to speak very forthrightly and unambiguously, as from past experience I am sure Dr. Grudem and Dr. Ware will do.1 Dr. Erickson who stands with me in opposing Dr. Grudem and Dr. Ware’s teaching on the Trinity I am sure will be the clearest in what he says and the most gracious. I speak bluntly because the issues we are disc... Read more
For most of my life, I didn’t understand the significance of Advent. It paled next to Christmas. And I felt the same indifference for Advent that I had for every other church season. As a young girl in a strict Lutheran elementary school, the arrival of Advent meant that I was required to attend yet another school chapel service. It meant two extra hours of acute religious boredom, and it triggered the same hyper-awareness of my femaleness that I always experienced in church. The students sat in straight-back wooden pews, some of us so young that our feet barely touched the floor. A male pastor with a booming voice encouraged us to reflect on our innate depravity. Jesus’ impending birth was celebrated chiefly as the remedy to our shame. The pastor wore a spotless white... Read more
In the past few years, numerous people have asked me why I make such a big deal about gender equality. Have I experienced such extreme inequality? What traumatic experience drives my activism? Why am I so passionate and outspoken about this issue? People often assume that a tragic event in my personal life led to this behavior. I am not sure what they have in mind, but I have seen: Women discouraged from and not chosen for church leadership Men and women shamed for not fitting culturally-defined gender roles Exclusion born from semantics and titles Sexual harassment such as groping, leering, and unwanted comments Women shrinking themselves to be more socially acceptable, both inside and outside the church I have witnessed all of the above examples of gender inequality... Read more
Recent revelations in the news and social media have once again highlighted the discriminatory and sometimes dangerous environments that women must navigate, both in the world and the church. Women expect to face discrimination and mistreatment in the world, but we hope to find comfort, shelter, and respect in the church. Too often, this is not the case. Too often, women are devalued in their church communities. They are told that their role is "equal but separate,” and they should only use their gifts under the authority of men. Too often, women are relegated to strictly supportive roles in the body of Christ rather than fairly considered for preaching, teaching, and leadership positions. Too often, women are pushed to the sidelines despite their clear gifts and cal... Read more
"There were several women who had never heard that the Bible says they can be leaders. It brings me to tears every time... more women have been freed by the truth to join God's mission! Praise God!" We rejoice in this hopeful observation from a long-time CBE member, donor, and volunteer. Her words represent the heartfelt wish of the CBE community—to see women freed to join God's mission as empowered leaders. CBE labors toward that beautiful vision of biblical gender equality every single day. 30 years ago, CBE had no staff, no furniture, and no bank account. In fact, we didn't even have an office! Since that time, God has taken our resources and multiplied them beyond anything we could have imagined. Today, we have much to be thankful for... Read more
[Editor’s Note] This is the final installment in a two-part of a series by Dr. Bob Rakestraw on the relationship between complementarian theology and subordination in the Trinity. See Part 1. How is male-female authority involved in the controversy over subordination in the Trinity? As alluded to in Part 1, there are two main groups within evangelicalism debating the issues of subordination (lesser authority) among the members of the Trinity and subordination among male-female relationships. Complementarians believe, among other things, that women should be under the authority of male leaders in their churches, and wives should be under the authority of male leaders (their husbands) in their marriages. Their main organization is the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CB... Read more