Welcome to CBE’s Library

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The well-known words in Ecclesiastes —“a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccles. 4:12b) — are often used to create a visual icon in our minds of the marriage bond.

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William Witt argues that not only those in favor of, but also those opposed to, women’s ordination embrace new theological positions in response to cultural changes of the modern era.

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Two years ago, I made friends with a woman in another state via social media. We communicated through Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes on Twitter. She was thoughtful, caring, and generous. She wrote about her children, her family, and the ways God was working in her life. She has several kids, and always seemed to be laughing about the ups and downs of raising a big family. I admired her, was maybe even a little jealous of her overflowing life.

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If abuse is a power problem, then what does the debate about gender roles have to do with it? Put simply, our views on gender and authority grow out of and reinforce our philosophies on power.

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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. 

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Being made in the image of God, both male and female, has very little to do with modern notions of appropriate men’s and women’s roles.

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Embracing a fully egalitarian perspective was a long twelve-year process. When all was said and done, there was one final hurdle to overcome. By the time I began pastoring in 2008, I already understood that God gifted both women and men with “speech” gifts such as prophecy. I also believed women were allowed to teach and preach, even with men present.

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Most evangelicals are accustomed to the Mary of icons with an emotionless face, the Mary of statues draped in a powder blue robe, and the Mary of piety who quietly and submissively obeys orders. And, if you are like me, you have been nurtured in a faith that, intentionally or not, ignores Mary.

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Join me, for a moment, in a thought experiment: does it seem to you that women are equally, or nearly equally, represented in the ministries of your church? Think especially about activities with high visibility, such as preaching, reading, serving communion, leading worship, teaching Sunday school classes, and participating on boards or leadership teams.

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The story of Jesus’ birth might be the most misquoted and misunderstood story in the gospels. Luke’s gospel account of both the annunciation and the nativity are strikingly unique.

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