Welcome to CBE’s Library

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If you long for a better world, then you’re in good historic company. In the 1800s, abolitionists promoted a world that had never existed—one without slavery. They faced unparalleled challenges: building industries without slave labor; uniting families, churches, and a country divided; and exposing flawed scholarship that supported slavery. Some of their greatest opponents were Christians who believed that the Bible condoned slavery. Many were convinced that abolitionists were driven not by the gospel but by secular Enlightenment ideals. Egalitarians face similar accusations.

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Egalitarians believe the Bible promotes two senses of equality: equality of nature and equality of opportunity. Neither requires or even hints that women and men are or should be identical. Egalitarians don’t deny difference, we deny that difference is destiny.

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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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Christian egalitarians love biblical submission because it is part of God’s perfect will. It reflects the love of Christ. It uplifts and honors the gifts and calling of others.

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For egalitarians, the book of Judges clearly demonstrates God’s approval of women leaders. Yet many who view women’s leadership as unbiblical dismiss the pattern of God-affirmed female authority in Judges.

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1 Peter 3 is a tricky passage. It’s often been twisted to pressure abused women to stay with their husbands as a sign of submission. But this passage is not meant to subject women to fear or violence; it is supposed to encourage primary loyalty to Christ, not to husbands.

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Colossians 3:7-17 is often misinterpreted and weaponized to keep women in submission and bolster sexist teachings in the modern church. Rather than viewing this text as a reframing of unjust social structures like patriarchy and slavery—as Paul intended—many interpret it as endorsing those oppressive systems. 

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Some people believe that 1 Corinthians 7 means that husbands are entitled to sex and wives have an obligation to supply it. But the text, properly interpreted, doesn't support that argument. In fact, it opposes it.

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Many Christians believe that strict gender roles—men lead and women submit—are God-ordained. They attempt to find support for this claim in Genesis, pointing to “creation order.” 

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Some say gender hierarchy is God’s perfect design—a pristine plan for women and men’s good and flourishing. They point to Genesis, arguing that God clearly intended patriarchy from the start. But the text tells a different story.

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