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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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Many contemporary evangelical Bible scholars and theologians, not to mention ordinary lay men and women, are convinced that attempts to use the Bible so as to exclude women from positions of leadership for which their Creator has made them and to which their Lord as called them – whether in society, home or church – is flawed.

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My father was an evangelist and my mother, sister and I were going to join him in his full-time ministry. It wasn’t long before we were on the road. For me that road stretched over four years of time; I lost track of the number of miles and faces.

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Equality and mutual submission between men and women is God’s ideal for humanity. But, some ask, do these work in a world ruled by power-hungry leaders, inequality and hierarchy? Do we not need strong leadership for a nation to prosper?

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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.

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Confronted with the breakdown of the traditional family, we as Christians wonder how to minister to people in non-traditional family structures, and we also wonder what standards we should uphold in our own families.

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With due respect to Packer’s erudition and contribution to evangelical thought, we do not see women’s ordination as merely a by-product of modernity. We firmly believe that Scripture has consistently affirmed the ministry of women and placed equality at the core of God’s redemptive purposes since the very beginning.

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Promise Keepers, I beg of you: Seriously, biblically, prayerfully, consider the unprecedented impact your organization could have in tearing down this remaining wall: gender inequality.

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Promise Keepers has so far embraced a rhetoric of both servanthood and soft patriarchy, a position ambiguous enough to make Christian feminists of both sexes push them for greater clarity. “Promise Keepers will have to walk a narrow line,” writes seminary professor Howard Snyder, “calling for male leadership without putting down the leadership of women.”

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