Welcome to CBE’s Library

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I was raised in something of a theological echo chamber where my complementarian convictions went undisputed. All diligent Bible readers would obviously conclude that men were to lead, and even more obviously, that women were not to be pastors. What could be simpler?

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When it comes to leadership, the assumptions we make and the stereotypes we unwittingly fail to challenge can have much more far-reaching consequences.

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As I wrote this article, I was en route to a conference for Air Force Reserve chaplains. Only three hours before, I received a call from my baby's pre-school. They informed me that my daughter was running a fever and needed to go home. I rushed to pick her up, take her to the pediatrician, and drop her and her antibiotics prescription off with my husband so I could get to the airport in time to catch my flight. 

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The term “priest of the home” is an attempt to put more leadership, control, and responsibility on men, stripping women of the equal access Christ died for. This term, which never appears in Scripture, is an attempt to uphold patriarchy, a sad reality women have endured ever since the fall.

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Christ leads, and we both follow. When my darling says to me, “I think God may want us to…” I am all ears.

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There is no biblical basis for the kinds of claims Brunner and Schlafly made about manhood. Let’s take a closer look at some of the assumptions men deal with in our day and age.

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When is the right time to speak out on issues of biblical equality and justice? The Bible instructs us to be careful with our words, saying less rather than more.

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I once heard a pastor compare women to teacups. He explained that husbands need to treat their wives like fine china, gingerly, with the tentative hesitation as one approaches a foreign thing, separate from themselves.

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"For the husband is the head of the wife, is that not what the Bible says?" my friend asked in all earnestness.

"No," I replied, "that is not what the Bible says. Paul says that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. How is Christ the head of the church?"

"I guess," he responded, "he is the Holy Spirit."

On the way home from church, my preoccupation with our conversation puzzled me. Why is it, I thought, that someone like my friend had spent so much time serving as pastor and yet had not grasped this basic truth of which Paul spoke? A lifetime of sermons and I had rarely, if ever, heard about how Christ is the head of the church. The essential exposition is not the husband as head of the wife. The critical question is, "How is Christ the head of the church?"

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Women in the Church is a dangerous book which should not have been published because, while it appears to be scholarly, it actually teems with historical and theological errors and also emotional subjectivity. Alan G. Padgett has provided a critical rebuttal to Women in the Church in the Winter 1997 issue of Priscilla Papers. I refer readers to his technical refutation of the key themes of Women in the Church. I will highlight other problems with the book and critique its basic tone.

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