. . . The twelfth verse (italicized above) contains a rare Greek verb, found only here in the entire Bible. This word, authentein, is ordinarily translated “to bear rule” or “to usurp authority”; yet a study of other Greek literary sources reveals that it did not ordinarily have this meaning until the third or fourth century, well after the time of the New Testament. Essentially the word means “to thrust oneself.” Its earliest meanings are noteworthy, since they might provide a quite different understanding of a difficult text.
Biblical feminists, as opposed to other feminists outside and within the church, accept the full authority of all Scripture for all the people of God. But they recognize, with all modern people, that we do not absorb Scripture in its pure form into our understanding. Like anything else we read, reading Scripture is an interpretive process.
In the search for a more inclusive understanding of God, the feminine “Sophia” has for many persons become a bridge between traditional Christianity and feminist concerns. So we ask: Who is Sophia, and where did she come from? Is she the long-awaited answer to this search?
At CBE we call marriage “ground zero” for the debate about women’s places in the church and the home. We’ve found that understanding God’s design for a woman and a man in that relationship is essential for understanding how women and men can work together to further the gospel. If the two can’t stand on the same plane in a one-on-one relationship, how will they be able to treat each other as equals in a ministry environment?
A historical case can be made that Christianity has, all things considered, been good for women. It has not been the mighty agent of gender oppression that it is sometimes made out to be. Still, contemporary Christians can hardly feel smug about the track record of our religious tradition. We live with the uncomfortable awareness that our faith has not been as affirming as it should have been, or as empowering for women as it certainly needs to be from now on.
Who gets to be a human being in our day and age? This may seem like a silly question because the answer is so obvious—everyone! But we don’t have to go back too far in history to see that perfectly rational people have considered others less than fully human on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, or social status.
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).
In the case of our understanding of “head,” an enormous emotional and spiritual significance is attached, as the Bible declares God to be the head of Christ and man to be the head of woman. To declare the Father as “boss, chief, or authority over” is to deny the status of the eternally begotten Son, equal to Father and Holy Spirit in goodness, power, and love.