Welcome to CBE’s Library

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

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I once wholly believed in a patriarchal view—not only believed it, but lived it. I didn’t care if it didn’t feel good, I cared about obeying God.

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Complementarianism framed our world, even before we knew what it was called. Yet the practice of complementarianism troubled us. It troubled us so much that we finally decided to challenge it. The Making of Biblical Womanhood tells this story.

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What the example of Deborah reveals about gender authority: As women have gained increased influence in society, and as Bible scholars offer a consistent egalitarian interpretation of Scripture, gender traditionalists have had to work harder and more creatively to justify the subordination of women within the church and family—even to themselves.

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I’d like to correct some of the most common false assumptions about egalitarian theology. I hear these a lot, but they’re simply not true.

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Critics have done a brilliant job of establishing all that complementarianism isn’t. I am grateful for their groundwork. But today, I want to explore what egalitarianism is. I want to move beyond a justified critique of complementarianism toward a strong egalitarian theology against abuse.

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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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Marriage and friendship aren’t in competition. They aren’t two separate concepts on opposite sides of space, racing against each other to cross the finish line. They’re interconnected and intertwined, constantly intersecting to reveal a breathtaking paradigm of mutuality. 

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When people share their stories of harmful church teachings about gender roles, we’re accustomed to real horror stories of abuse. We also know that the problem is far more widespread, and it’s not always so overt.

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Clearly, it is easy for us to lose sight of God’s ways and resort to our own default way of doing things. The popular concept of “headship”—the idea that the man is the leader of his wife and family and that he exercises authority over his wife as her spiritual covering and priest—is one such example of this. “Headship” is a word you won’t find in Scripture and, I believe, is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and Paul on the kingdom of God. Consider three of these foundational teachings.

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