Welcome to CBE’s Library

Tip: to find an exact phrase or title, enclose it in quotation marks.

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Friends, if we had a coin for every time an opponent of egalitarian ministry claimed that women’s leadership was: a) derived from secular feminism; b) Euro-American in origin; c) invented in the 1960s, we would probably be able to give away all memberships to CBE free.

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Readers who love music know that a revolution has taken place in the world of A Cappella. Years ago, in the United States, A Cappella meant Barbershop four part harmonizing, and those of us who were children in the early years of the twentieth century remember the Barbershop groups that used to delight us all with old standards in those wonderful blends. Occasionally a group would transition to the pop charts, as did the female Barbershop quartet, The Chordettes, which was founded in 1947 by the daughter of the then president of The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. This rare group of women shouldered its way through the male-dominated movement, winning a spot on the Arthur Godfrey show (the Jay Leno of his day) while still competing in quartet conventions, and ended up partnering with the legendary bandleader Archie Bleyer to record such classic chestnuts as “Mr. Sandman.”

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Reporting a conversation he had with Martin Luther between April 7 and May 1, 1532, John Schlaginhaufen quoted the great reformer as contending:

Christ was an adulterer for the first time with the woman at the well, for it was said, “Nobody knows what he’s doing with her” (John 4:27). Again with Magdalene, and still again with the adulterous woman in John 8, whom he let off so easily.

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In a USA Today article entitled “Year In, Year Out, Women Have Game” (5.24.05, 9C, col. 2-5), journalist Douglas Robson noted that Andre Agassi’s achievement of becoming the man who has played in the most major tennis events, at 58 in number, still has not overtaken Martina Navratilova’s record of 67 or Amy Francis at 65 or Conchita Martinez at 61.

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Inside the back cover of every issue of Priscilla Papers, we publish Christians for Biblical Equality’s “Statement of Faith.”

We do that so that everyone, including potential authors, will know what we affirm and, therefore, what topics and treatments of topics will be acceptable within our doctrinal borders.

The very first entry one encounters in our statement is this: “We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, is reliable, and is the final authority for faith and practice.”

What exactly do we mean by that?

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Several years ago, a Russian Christian who had just immigrated to the United States and spoke no English began to attend occasionally at our small city church. He would stand by the coat rack and smile and sway with the music, but all attempts to communicate beyond responding smiles and signs of the cross and the “one way” were futile.

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B: What is the niddah?

M: The niddah ritual separation is historical in Jewish, Muslim, and some other religions. The niddah veil is their warning signal. They believe, if a woman is menstruating, she is unclean. So, for example, for Muslims, when a male goes to a mosque and he prays, he should be clean. He cannot touch a menstruating woman. So, you know, when they go for prayer, they wash their hands; they wash their feet; and they go to the toilet; they clean themselves, because, before they go to pray, they should be clean. But they are not supposed to touch anything unclean, because, if they touch anything unclean, they cannot go and pray. So, they consider a woman who is menstruating, she’s unclean. So, that is why they cannot touch a woman. That is why they say sometime even to a stranger or anybody, they do not touch, because they do not know whether she is menstruating or not. If they touch, they are defiled. They become unclean and cannot pray. So, it is mainly for prayer accountability, for guarding the prayers of men. They go to mosque; women don’t go to mosque.

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Like many churches, ours on Boston’s North Shore is invested in a mission in a developing country. In our case, we support a school in Haiti. The vision belonged to one of my students in the first class I taught for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (its Boston Campus) some fifteen years ago. Joseph is himself a Haitian with a burden for a poor village outside of Port-au-Prince. It had an infant mortality rate of more than 80 percent, since the people had to depend on a river for everything— drinking, washing, etc.

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When Aída and I were living and ministering in the center of Newark, New Jersey, first as interns in the summer of 1970 and then as missioners in the years between 1974 and 1978, we slowly came to realize that the complex set of social, racial, and economic problems in which our city was enmeshed originated not in itself, but extended as a legacy of oppression from the conquest of the New World itself. More than a decade later, I dissected those problems in the chapter I wrote for our book, The Global God. The deeper we involved ourselves in the imprisoned lives in our neighborhood, the deeper we realized the issues ran with spiritual, practical, and historical attitudes and behaviors that were inexorably intertwined. You can lead someone to water, but they may no longer have the heart to drink it.

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Community is one of the most valued gifts that God has bestowed on humanity. Every church I have ever encountered has wanted to be a healthy, supportive, Christian community. The term, after all, is built from the New Testament word koinonia, which means “close association involving mutual interest and sharing, association . . . fellowship, close relationship”—a description every church claims for its identity. Koinonia was brought over into the Latin as communio, transferred to late Middle English as the cognate commuyone, and finally adjusted into modern English. In Spanish it became communidad, in French communauté, describing a group of people living together.

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