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A critical analysis of complementarian interpretations of Scripture and the Trinity, as well as its impact and connection to the #MeToo movement.

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In every corner of the world, religious teachings on gender and power have an enormous impact on human lives, especially those of girls and women. For this reason, Christians have a responsibility to accurately critique biblical teachings on gender. 

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We Lutherans all want to argue on the basis of God's revealed truth in the authoritative Scripture. Yet all of us come to this debate with our own personal history and agenda. My own history includes aversion to women in the public ministry as a result of experiences, first as a teenager, then as a student in Germany. More recently, I have developed a growing understanding of the just claims of Christian women who have been disempowered and marginalized in the church and a horror for what has been perpetrated in the name of male headship. A re-examination of the texts and another (this time happy) experience of having a woman as my pastor in the United States about a decade ago led me to abandon my previously held view that the ordination of women is not the Lord's will for his church today. I am now convinced to the contrary, although I do not like using the broad term feminist. My own personal pain is not only that close friends and relatives hold an opposing view, but that I fully understand that view as one who once held it (this is not said in any spirit of superiority).

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This paper seeks to begin to correct the equation of biblical egalitarianism with liberal feminism by considering them on a foundational level—looking at where each locates its authority and how each understands the Bible’s authority.

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La Bible a-t-elle une double lecture des genres ? Bien des auteurs évangéliques reconnus croient voir dans la Bible, une tension entre l’affirmation de l’égalité des genres  et la distribution des rôles entre l’homme et la femme. Peut-on dégager une position biblique raisonnable sans faire violence au texte ? Doit-on sacrifier une bonne exégèse sur l’autel de la théologie systématique ? A l’évidence, une bonne exégèse va de pair avec une théologie systématique. Pendant 41 ans, je me suis débattu, dans la prière, avec les apparentes contradictions relatives aux genres, et je peux dire que les textes bibliques eux-mêmes m’ont amené à les comprendre différemment. Dès la création, et jusqu’à la nouvelle création, le message biblique sur les genres, dans l’église et dans le couple ne varie pas : il affirme le statut égal de l’homme et de la femme.

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Mary Magdalene appears in all four gospels as a witness of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Luke 8:2 explains that this particular Mary was called Magdalene, and all four evangelists consistently identify her by the name “Mary Magdalene.” (Matt 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1; Luke 24:10; John 19:25; 20:1, 18). 

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Someone once said, “Life is what happens after someone makes plans for their life.” Proverbs says it more succinctly, “In their hearts, human beings plan their course, but the Lord determines their steps.” (Prov. 16:9, TNIV) Interestingly, what individual Christians plan and how the Lord directs them are not necessarily the same.

 

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Many evangelicals do not know how to read the very texts they claim establish their distinctive identity. Far from viewing the biblical texts too reverently typical evangelical approaches fail to respect the text enough.

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