Jesus Christ wants his body to become one—every church, every person. He wants his body to experience the unity with him and with each other that he experiences with his Father. But this unity is hindered by barriers of many kinds.
When we look at this Man [Christ Jesus] we see the negation of all distinctions. I quote from Paul in the Galatian letter for the sake of conciseness and brevity: “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male or female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 is quite clear. There is little doubt about the point Paul is making: In Christ we are all the same — we are equal with one another. Yet for all its clarity, this verse is the source of great debate. Controversy centers on how far the principle of believer equality is to be applied. In other words, in what way are we the same? This question is particularly acute when men and women are under discussion.
Simeon’s statement to Mary at Jesus’ circumcision, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34), is a lens through which we can view Jesus’ encounters with people. Jesus humbled the proud, the rich, and the powerful.
"Although the people living in the Greco-Roman world might not have been able to imagine a world in which slavery does not exist, Paul’s churches leave the hierarchy of slavery behind as part of the world that is passing away, along with ethnic division and gender hierarchy. Paul removes the power differential from Philemon and Onesimus’s relationship (in their church), and he replaces that differential with koinōnia by asking Philemon to receive Onesimus as if he were Paul."
Christians can assume egalitarian interpretations of Paul are a modern phenomenon, but evidence suggests that is incorrect. Meet one Christian group who ordained women for 200 years after Paul because of Gal. 3:28.
Both egalitarians and complementarians wish to retain the distinction of male and female, but for egalitarians, gender differences are not accompanied by rank, rule, authority, or power. It is not the male and female “distinctiveness but their inequalities of religious role that is abolished in Christ.”
CBE is dedicated to helping others locate their true identity and potential for ministry in Scripture’s teaching that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female (Gal. 3:28).
Women advanced the gospel by ministering beside Paul, building the church as teachers, evangelists, prophets and as an apostle—Junia. Paul offers the theological foundations for the shared authority of women with all of its spiritual and social implications, throughout his epistles.
To read Priscilla’s story through a lens of male-only leadership diminished her calling and also Paul’s. It also obstructs, demeans, and even abuses God’s welcome to women leaders and their male allies then and now!