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The author has asked that we publish this article anonymously for the sake of her work in an interdenominational ministry. Working in an interdenominational ministry setting is a saving grace when I am frustrated by the church’s politics, favoritism, and doctrinal stubbornness. I love working in ministries where churches unite, putting differences aside, to serve a community. It is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s vision for service and unity in the body. These settings are also usually a safe place for me to serve as a female egalitarian. In this setting, I can be reasonably confident that I will not receive a hurtful lecture on complementarian doctrine, because those serving with me are aware they are in an interdenominational setting. We all take care to stay on c... Read more
When my brother and his wife announced their unexpected pregnancy, my family was shocked. My brother and his now wife have been together for fourteen years, got engaged in January, and married in June. A whole two months later, the couple announced that they were expecting a baby. Timing is a strange thing in their world, and given that they are both almost forty years old, we were rightly shocked. But after the shock wore off, excitement settled in. I immediately felt a strong protectiveness over this new life. I began to think about the sex of the baby and how that might affect the baby's life and experiences. A month later, I received a phone call from my parents, brother, and sister-in-law, all screaming into the telephone, "it's a girl!" I was convinced that... Read more
Recently, Pastor Peter Jones wrote the following tweet: “Conservative mothers whether biological or ‘mothers’ in the church are often a great hindrance to the cultivation of true masculinity.” He then decided to clarify the tweet with this blog post, which I find incredibly insulting to both men and women. His argument should signal a red flag to anyone who follows church leaders who hold these opinions.  In it, he claims that conservative women, while appearing to do everything “right,” are primarily responsible for the stunted masculinity of their sons. In his view, the submission of wives and their seeming respect for their husbands is simply a show for outsiders. Their husbands go along with this charade, knowing they are being manipulated by... Read more
Our character as human beings is determined by what we do when no one is watching. When no one is watching, many in the church are watching porn. Pornography has been declared a “public health crisis” by political officials. At least a third of US men self-identify as being addicted to it.[1] In April, Time magazine featured a front-page article exposing the harmful impact of porn on society. Despite this, two-thirds of practicing Christians feel no guilt about their porn use.[2] What does this extreme level of consumption (and lack of guilt about it) say about the condition of the church as a whole? For readers unfamiliar with the state of modern porn—it looks less like sex and more like sexual assault. Unlike yesterday’s softcore porn industry, mainstream... Read more
“For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility" (Ephesians 2:14).  It was the week of my final interview for ordination. I had turned in my paper on pastoral theology, passed one round of interviews at the conference level, and was headed into my interviews on the national level. I was taking a class that same week with fellow ministers, male and female, in various stages of the ordination process. It just so happened that those of us in the final stage in the class were women.  I’ll never forget the moment the entire class surrounded us, laid hands on us, and prayed for our interviews. One prayer has never left my head or my heart. A brother thanked God for breaking down the wall of hostility that once... Read more
One of the biggest flaws in complementarian theology is that it relies on men rather than God to designate leaders and assign gifts. Complementarians forbid women to equally lead in marriage because they are convinced that male headship is God’s clear design for humanity. Some also believe women can't preach because God didn't design women to lead. On the other hand, some complementarians believe that women can preach and lead, as long as they are under the covering of a men—as if the covering of Jesus Christ isn't enough! But gender should have no part in determining who gets to lead and/or preach. Scripture says multiple times that the Spirit guides our words. Luke 12:12 says, "...because at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you w... Read more
Recently, there has been a lot of conversation on the relationship between complementarianism and abuse. The conversation was reignited when Ruth Tucker released her book, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife. Since then, many complementarians have critiqued Tucker’s argument that male headship theology allows for and sustains abuse. In response, more moderate complementarians and egalitarians have lent support to Tucker’s thesis with testimony and analysis of their own. I want to be very clear. I believe that male headship theology makes abuse both more possible and more likely. I believe that power differences between functional equals are emotionally, physically, sexually, and spiritually destructive. However, I do not believe that all complementarian men are abu... Read more
I remember how embarrassed I was the day I walked into work with a black eye. I dreaded the questions, knowing I would have to reveal my lost battle with lawn equipment, and worrying that someone might wrongly suspect my husband of abuse. I turned on the office lights, sat down at my desk, and interacted with people all day. No one said anything about my black eye. No one, until my boss privately asked about my injury. I told him the whole story of my wrestling match with a weed eater.  I was relieved that the day’s conversations did not revolve around my black eye, but by evening, it really had me thinking. What if I had been beaten? What would it be like live in fear, to be one of the 5.4 million women in the U.S. who are battered each year?[1] I have recently begu... Read more
I overheard an amazing conversation on my way back from lunch at a conference I recently attended. A university student casually mentioned the history of strong women leaders in the early church, using Priscilla as an example, to his friend. He then passionately contended for women as equal partners in church leadership. I quickly realized that I knew the student who was advocating for female pastors and teachers. Two years ago, I was invited to teach a session about women in ministry to a group of bright, young students. One young man was quiet and seemed unresponsive to my words. During the class, he mentioned his conservative upbringing, which excluded women from ministry. I left not knowing his response to my session. At the time, I wondered how, or if, those few hours of teachin... Read more
Since my first week at Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), I’ve heard stories from women who have struggled with their faith in God because they were abused by men. These women were emotionally, physically, sexually, and spiritually abused by husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, pastors, or other men close to them. Their abusers believed that Scripture (and therefore God) gave men authority to monitor, manage, and discipline women. Longing to please God, these women submitted to abusive men, regardless of the cost to themselves. Some nearly lost their lives, others went into hiding. All are deeply wounded. To protect these women, CBE developed a comprehensive privacy policy that predates standards now used by the medical industry. CBE’s first president, Cathie Kroeger, e... Read more