Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Keynote speakers Andrew Bartlett, Steve Holmes, and Lucy Peppiatt consider the spiritual and social consequences of theological patriarchy.

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Critics have done a brilliant job of establishing all that complementarianism isn’t. I am grateful for their groundwork. But today, I want to explore what egalitarianism is. I want to move beyond a justified critique of complementarianism toward a strong egalitarian theology against abuse.

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Many complementarians want to respect women’s needs and stories and benefit more concretely from their insights, but are not sure how to begin moving in that direction. I used to leave church in frustration every week because of the implicit marginalization on display in services. A childhood, or lifetime, of watching women pushed further to the edges of leadership and visibility has an immense impact on a woman’s self-worth.

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I’d like to correct some of the most common false assumptions about egalitarian theology. I hear these a lot, but they’re simply not true.

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For a class project, I once spent a semester studying people I disagree with. Initially, I planned to report on atheists because their beliefs differ dramatically from my Christian faith.

I approached my professor with the idea, and he shook his head. “No, you need to choose people who frustrate you. Who don’t you get along with? Who is hard to like?”

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I overheard an amazing conversation on my way back from lunch at a conference I recently attended. A university student casually mentioned the history of strong women leaders in the early church, using Priscilla as an example, to his friend. He then passionately contended for women as equal partners in church leadership. I quickly realized that I knew the student who was advocating for female pastors and teachers.

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The introduction of the word “submission” into a Christian conversation about adult human relations immediately strikes different responses. For some Christians, submission is a happy word describing the proper biblical relation of a wife to her husband or of a woman, whether married or single, to the males in the church congregation.

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This simple discovery—that the “biblical” phrase “man is the head of the household” wasn’t biblical at all—was enough to cause me to question most everything I had assumed I knew about the Bible.

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In this 2-part series, I will address and support the necessary qualitative distinction between the eternal inner life of the Trinity and the temporal inter-relationships of women and men in church and marriage.

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Recently, Pastor Peter Jones wrote the following tweet: “Conservative mothers whether biological or ‘mothers’ in the church are often a great hindrance to the cultivation of true masculinity.” He then decided to clarify the tweet with this blog post, which I find incredibly insulting to both men and women. His argument should signal a red flag to anyone who follows church leaders who hold these opinions. 

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