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This is the third and final article of a series on human trafficking. Click for Part One and Part Two. The New Testament has many examples regarding the restoration of women to a place of honor. The narrative of the life of Jesus in Matthew poignantly begins with underlining the lives of five women: Tamar (Gen. 38); Rahab (Josh. 2); Ruth, wife of Uriah (2 Sam. 11, 12); and Mary. Four of these women were sexually abused and trafficked by men in positions of power and authority. In spite of the horrible life faced by these women, the Bible elevates them to the highest status; they become the bearers of the Messiah seed. In doing so, paradigmatically, the Bible is elevating the status and name of all women who are abused and trafficked as a result of systemic evil in human h... Read more
Part Two is a continuation of last week's Arise column on human trafficking. The Bible carries the idea of a strong woman throughout the canonical text. The highpoint is found in the closing section of the Hebrew Bible, which is called "The Hebrew Writings." This section consists of the following books, in this order: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. The book of Psalms describes worship in very emotive language and through music. It is rather unfortunate that we have lost the music of the Psalms in modern English Bibles. The next book, Proverbs, talks about a life of wisdom. Wisdom is described as a woman. In fact, the Hebrew word for Wisdom is a feminine noun. It is Lady Wisdom. The reader is repeatedly encourag... Read more
What does the Bible teach regarding the prevention of human trafficking? The answer to this question will depend on our answer to the next question. Is human trafficking just a recent phenomenon, or has it been a problem throughout human history? If we answer that yes—it has been a problem throughout human history, then we would agree that the Bible would have a lot to say about how to prevent human trafficking. In fact, a good reading of the Bible makes it very clear that the biblical answers to prevent human trafficking are not thin, temporary, band-aid remedies. They are, rather, thick, lasting remedies. The people groups in the Bible—the Sumerians, Akkadians, Egyptians, Canaanites, etc.—saw no problems in the trafficking of girls. In fact, it was the duty of the mi... Read more
One out of every three persons sitting in the pews or chairs in your church on Sunday morning is or has been a victim of domestic violence or knows someone who is currently facing violence. But despite this, domestic violence is one of the greatest sins we never talk about in church. Those who are being abused or have been abused hear a great deal about forgiveness and the redemptive suffering of Christ. They also hear Scriptures that are presumed to teach male authority and female submission. They return home, full of the false hope that by being faithful and submissive, they can turn the hearts of their abusers. And then, many of them die—at the hands of their husbands, boyfriends, ex's, or partners. According to Bureau of Justice data, on average, more than three women and one... Read more
Crack the book that  Re-rewrites history  And grow new eyes to  Legal injustice As a girl I watched  Color decide  The lines between human and not  Hit me  Like the whip he used on your back  Your blood flowed and your screams  Choked my sense  Of humanity  Like a millstone  Around my neck  Growing heavier  With each black face  Pushed to the dirt They said you weren’t Allowed to know  What letters meant  On a page But when sleep  Took every head and  Their rules to bed  In the flicker of candlelight  Guarded I taught you  Worlds to be discovered Without warning your  Breath left Your tiny body  And became a flame inside me ... Read more
In patriarchy, not only is the misuse and abuse of power justified, it is also institutionalized. But the misuse and abuse of power is abominable to God. The prophet Isaiah wrote: "I have more than enough of burnt offerings...Stop bringing meaningless offerings...Take your evil deeds out of my sight!" (Isa. 1:11-16). Then he solemnly declared in 1:17, "Seek justice, rebuke the oppressors, defend the fatherless and plead for the widows." In the New Testament when Jesus stood up in the synagogue and read from the Book of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-21), he was announcing a social revolution, the coming of the kingdom of God. In that kingdom, the oppressed will be released, the debts of the poor will be canceled, the land will be healed, and social justice will be restored. Ma... Read more
"Home-schooled girls do not need 'further' education; they should just prepare for being a wife and mother." "A daughter should stay at home and serve her father until he chooses a husband for her." "The daughter is a 'helpmeet' for her father." "Parents should never let their daughter be out of their sight." "Women should never work outside the home." These and many similar sentiments are being dogmatically expressed by leaders of the Christian Patriarchy Movement. The home-schooling movement in America has been growing for the past forty years. The momentum of this movement spawned hundreds of national and regional home-schooling conventions and events. Among the featured speakers are some who espouse a patriarchal view... Read more
We conclude our celebration of Women's History Month with a sober realization that the abuse of females is inseparable from the study of women's history, and also the history of Christians for Biblical Equality. Incorporated as a nonprofit in 1988, to advance the biblical basis for the shared leadership of males and females, within months we began hearing from abused women. From the very beginning CBE has endeavored to understand why so many Christian women have encountered abuse, and how the church might become agents of healing and reconciliation. Catherine Clark Kroeger, CBE founder and president emerita, vigorously addressed the challenge of abuse which she encountered early on. As president of CBE, Cathie directed a significant portion of CBE's energies to this challeng... Read more
In my previous column (based on my recently published book, Abusing Scripture), I argued that the “abuse of words” often does violence to the meaning and message of Scripture. I illustrated this by showing that the designation of the woman as man’s “helper” (Gen. 2:20) does not show her as a subordinate person, but rather as a person of strength and vitality, whose creation rescues man from his aloneness. In this column, I want to place this insight into the larger literary and theological context of Genesis 1-3. For it is the abuse of this context in Scripture that continues to undergird a patriarchal understanding of the male-female order. In Genesis 1:26-27, human beings, in male-female polarity, are created in the image of God. In that ma... Read more
To abuse Scripture is to do violence to its message and meaning so that its redemptive truth regarding God’s intention for the absolute equality of men and women in all areas of human life is twisted and distorted. One such abuse is “the abuse of selectivity.” This abuse does not consist of an outright distortion of the meaning of given texts, but entails ignoring or rejecting other parts or passages of Scripture that support a different teaching, present an alternate perspective, or advocate an opposing view. Thus, supporters of gender inequality claim the authority of biblical passages such as 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 or 1 Timothy 2:11-14, where the voice of women is restricted, but close their minds and hearts to the clear teaching or implication of biblical texts tha... Read more