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“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my Spirit” (Joel 2:28, 29).

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At the evangelical colloquium on women and the Bible, I introduced the section on biblical hermeneutics (the art of interpreting Scripture) by saying that the most crucial issues for evangelicals in the modern world of biblical studies were not in the arena of the so-called "Battle for the Bible" (inerrancy and authority). Important as these considerations may be, the hermeneutical issues are still more critical.

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The two divergent approaches to the question of the role of women which are common among contemporary Evangelical Christians we might call the Traditional View (the majority opinion) and the Egalitarian View (the minority opinion).

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The God presented by the biblical authors and worshipped in the Church today cannot be regarded as having gender, any more than God can be regarded as having race or color. In recognizing this truth, we will be more free to use inclusive metaphors for God.

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There seems to be a game – that you must play, if you would rise. | There seems to be a game – and with it lots of compromise | You live to impress others, and you're as slick as you can be. | But, where – oh, where – are perfect hearts, and deep sincerity? 

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We are equal, this we know, For the Bible tells us so.
Jew and Greek to God belong; Racial barriers are all wrong.

 

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The Bible sets forth an ideal and calls the ideal woman an eshet-chayil, which is the Hebrew for a “virtuous woman” (KJV) or a “wife of noble character” (NIV). This Hebrew expression occurs only three times in the Old Testament, but a study of these three passages is likely to reveal what the Bible supports as an ideal of Christian womanhood.

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I believe that we need to come to the Bible with just such a faith when we deal with the hard issues – not only those of doctrine but also those of Christian behavior. If we can develop a hermeneutic of faith which will apply to a better understanding of gender roles in the economy of God, perhaps the same methodology can serve us in circumstances which the church of Jesus Christ cannot now fully envision.

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Here, my brother, come take my hand | As we travel together through a pilgrim’s land | To discover our talents, our faith, our fears | And realize our calling through laughter and tears.

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Some lay persons have been surprised when they look in their concordances under "ordain" or "ordination" to find nothing helpful in their search for a biblical basis for the ordination of ministers. A biblical basis for the ordination of ministers involves the interpreter with a lot of inferences and assumptions. 

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