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At its yearly convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America passed a statement opposing abortion, pornography, homosexuality — and female pastors. For Southern Baptist leaders, these issues hang together. They assume that on their side of the culture war, Christians must oppose these practices as a piece. 

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“Lord, help me to know where you have gifted and motivated me to serve, so that I might be more fully used by you.” This had become my heart’s cry, yet as I began to sense the direction of the Lord in my life like never before, the doors of the church seemed to close. The words were different each time but the message was always the same: “There’s no place for you ... woman.”

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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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“Delighted” would accurately describe my reaction to discovering Christians for Biblical Equality. I’m a man who knows something about marginalization and alienation — two themes central to CBE’s concerns.

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QUESTION: I have no problem with Galatians 3:28 or with equality concerning salvation and spiritual gifts. I do have a problem with headship. Can you please tell me where any of the writers of the New Testament gave women the OK to be in authority over men?

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As a male, I recently had an experience that involved gender stereotyping, from which I learned a lot. For one thing, I learned a bit about how my sisters have so often felt. There was a meeting in a major Southern city to plan for a large women’s conference. There were 62 women in the meeting, and I was the only male!

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This is a question frequently asked by some Christians who belong to some branches of Pentecostalism. The teaching about “male covering” for women is rarely found outside of these groups and has never been accepted by the vast majority of evangelical Christians.

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Question: In 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul says women are not to usurp the authority of men in spiritual matters. Doesn’t CBE’s view of women in ministry twist what the Bible says?

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I’ve been drawn to a powerful but obscure story nestled in the Hebrew Bible. I’ve come to see the story as a metaphor for the struggle we all face in seeking to incarnate God’s way of justice and peace in our unique situations. In 2 Kings 4:8–37, we find the tale of an unnamed woman identified only as “the Shunammite” who makes in her home a room for the prophet Elisha.

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Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) has come a long way in 15 years, according to Susan McCoubrie. As CBE’s first membership coordinator, she remembers when the organization’s membership information was organized in a recipe box on a TV tray.

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