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Lecture from 2016 CBE International Conference "Truth Be Told" in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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It matters that Mary and Jesus are often inaccurately imaged with light skin in the West. It matters that pastors preach on Jacob, David, and Peter but not Rahab, Tamar, and Priscilla. And it matters that, Sunday after Sunday, women don’t see preachers who look like us in the pulpit.

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One of the key issues faced by women in the church is the lack of provision for ongoing leadership development. Even in churches that espouse gender equality, women woefully lack leadership opportunities, especially on the platform.

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2015 "Becoming New" CBE International Conference

Explores the most prominent biblical, historical, and cultural arguments presented by both sides in the discussion around the ordination of women as pastors in Egypt.

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This session considers a whole Bible approach concerning women and leadership. Topics will include creation, redemption and service for women and men created in God’s image and recreated in the image of Christ. 

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Recently, Perry Noble, pastor of megachurch New Spring, wrote an article defending the idea that women should preach. To that, theologian Tom Schreiner wrote a response for The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

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I’m not sure if I ever totally believed that the Bible mandated inequality between the sexes, but that’s just the way it was. I grew up in a church that didn’t necessarily preach such inequalities, but practiced them none the less. By their example I understood that there was a “man’s place” and a “woman’s place.” The men held positions of leadership and the women were in charge of the nursery and potluck dinners.

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Do we really embrace women in ministry? Do we hire them for teaching and executive leadership positions or do we throw up roadblocks and excuses for not passing the pastoral mantle to women?

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As the one shepherding my congregation through worship, I want to make sure the songs we sing express the fullness of the Christian experience, including the female Christian experience. Who is writing the contemporary songs we sing? What backgrounds do they come from and, specifically, how many women are penning the church’s anthems? Not many. 

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Throughout history, charismatic men and women of God have risen up, almost out of nowhere, to lead spiritual movements and shape theological discourse. These leaders often build churches and large followings before the institutional church pulls them in for a chat. The air is tense, awkward. At some point in the conversation someone asks a deceptively simple question: “Who gives you the authority to do the work you are doing?”

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