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

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Before the nineteenth century, a Chinese woman’s life was wrapped around three men: father, husband, and son. When missionaries brought the gospel to China, the destiny of Chinese women began to change.

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The NT household codes’ treatment of women is one of the key elements conveying the love and grace of the gospel, contrasting with the patriarchal hierarchy dominating the first-century Greco-Roman world. As Christian women bore witness in their daily lives, transformation began throughout the social structure.

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The newly formed Advisory Council on Violence Against Women, co-chaired by Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, is seeking to maximize the impact of the Violence Against Women Act by recruiting the collaboration of national leaders from law enforcement, the media, colleges and universities, sports, health care, primary and secondary education, the corporate workplace and also from religion. On October 11, 1996, leaders from many faiths and religious groups gathered in Washington DC at an interfaith breakfast, with President Clinton as honorary chairperson of the event. The Attorney General gave the key-note address, and leaders of various faith communities were asked to respond briefly. Speaking for evangelicals, Catherine Kroeger made the following remarks:

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Too often the patriarchy of Bible culture has been confused with the moral teachings of Scripture. This workshop will explore how Christians working to end slavery challenged power, dominance, and self-interest in interpreting Scripture so that the church might become more effective agents of reconciliation in the world. What might egalitarians today learn from the interpretative methods of the abolitionists in their work as agents of gender justice?

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As I examine the interrelatedness of religion, prejudice and abuse, I am aware that abuse—whether physical, sexual or psychological—is a profoundly gendered concept. The majority of abusers are male and the majority of victims are women and children. And prejudice—the unjustifiably negative attitude toward a group and its members, with supporting beliefs, emotions and behavioral predispositions—has both cross-cultural and gender implications.

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Lecture from 2016 international conference "Truth Be Told" in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Twelve million women in the United States—a staggering 25 percent of all American women—will be abused by an intimate partner in their lifetimes, according to a recent article in the Hawaii Medical Journal. An estimated two million women in this country are assaulted by an intimate partner every year. The actual numbers are probably much higher because the victims (whom I also refer to as “survivors”) often remain silent, fearing both the stigma associated with abuse and the threat of further violence from the perpetrators. 

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The hundred people in attendance at the church auditorium on that Saturday was all part of the congregation’s leadership team: choir members, deacons, educators, senior and associate pastors. The focus of this particular day-long conference was on the unique challenges churches face when situations of domestic violence occur amongst couples worshipping within the congregation.

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A Christian pastor and national trainer on strategies to prevent and end situations of domestic violence within faith communities reflects on the most frequently asked question he receives from male clergy and congregation members. He also challenges the commonly held notion that males have been granted special divine privileges to assume headship over females.

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