Biblical and Theological Studies | CBE International

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Biblical and Theological Studies

In a recent pre-Christmas sermon on Mary, it was suggested that fathers should take their sons to see the movie, The Nativity Story. By seeing this movie, it was said, young men will see how they can be loving husbands, like Joseph, and protect their wives in difficult circumstances like these—“these” circumstances referring to their long trip to Bethlehem. I don’t know exactly what the preacher meant, but in the context, it made me laugh. I don’t anticipate making that kind of journey with a pregnant, God-Man bearing wife riding on a donkey anytime soon. Those circumstances belonged to someone else. It also reminded me of something else, that is, the many times I’ve heard someone appeal to the biblical narrative (or any biblical passage) witho... Read more
In that classic Bible passage on marriage (Eph. 5:21-33) so often used, or alluded to in the marriage ceremony, the narrative closes with the admonition, "this is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the Church are one." (vs. 32 NLB) The mystery would appear to be, from the preceding verse, that two married people could somehow become one, in thought, purpose and action. Obviously it is a picture of the complete unity within the Godhead which translates into the unique relationship of Christ and the Church. Further, from what we read here, it is equally the ideal that God intends for marriage. Is it conceivable that two, previously individual persons, especially as products of our pluralistic culture, should, or could, become essentially one? The... Read more
The Bible records that humans were made in God's image and however we try to describe what that "looks" like, there can only be one image. God is not fragmented or divided into two "equal but different" parts. God is one God and we have been created to be like God. This surely is a clear statement which shows that all humans are intrinsically the same. There is no mention of a female image and a male image - a female sinfulness and male sinfulness or a female salvation and male salvation. It seems then to be ludicrous to suggest that some human beings were not created in God's image in quite the same way that others were made. Such a speculation makes way for all kinds of prejudice and discrimination which transgresses God's second commandment which is... Read more
I was working on my thesis in seminary. Tired of being asked if I was going to seminary to be a pastor's wife, I had decided to write a biblical theology of single women in ministry that would show God's calling for a woman was not dependent on her marital state. I was talking with my thesis advisor, Dr. Joseph Coleson, the professor of Old Testament Studies. He had looked at my outline and thesis proposal and told me that I needed to add a chapter addressing the Creation Story in Genesis 1:1—2:25, particularly the second creation account found in Gen. 2:5-25, where woman is created to be an ezer cenegdo to the man. If the Hebrew phrase simply meant "helper", then could a woman hold a leadership position in the church, let alone a single woman? But if th... Read more
A few weeks back I was teaching a class on Anabaptist history. I gave my usual spiel about the nature of history and the problems with reductionism. Anabaptist concerns were both theological and economical (among other things); cases of injustice, after all, traverse all aspects of life. Abuses by the church and its oppression of ideas were paralleled by abuses by the state and its oppression of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (in this case, something as simple as the right to fish). To take the Anabaptist cause and bring it down to one simple idea (e.g., baptism), is to ignore the complexity of the situation and the people involved. Despite my caveats, there were still a few students who didn’t yet catch on. “But what was the reason they separat... Read more
I've been reading the recent issue of Priscilla Papers (Summer 2006). I have been struck by both Catherine Clark Kroeger and Philip B. Bayne's use of history in their respective articles on 1 Corinthians 11. In Kroeger's article she is looking at what kephalē, "head," means in 1 Corinthians 11:3: "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ" (NASB). She uses a plethora of secular, Jewish, and early Christian historical sources to show that the conventional meaning of kephalē means "source" or "beginning," not a hierarchal understanding of a boss or somone who has authority over other people. Bayne does the same thing in his... Read more
Today, August 21st, the Associated Press released a tragic story from Watertown, New York (view full story). For Mary Lambert, the decision from her young pastor ended 54 years of service as a Sunday school teacher. The decision was reached after adopting a “literal interpretation” of Scripture. That passage, as you may have guessed, is 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man…” The pastor, however, thinks that women outside of the church are not limited by the biblical command. Rev. LaBouf wrote this on Saturday: "'I believe that a woman can perform any job and fulfill any responsibility that she desires to’ outside of the church.” So if he truly believes that women can “perform any j... Read more
Often the gender debate focuses narrowly on leadership and marriage, at the expense of many. But leadership and marriage are two of the highest ideals in Christian culture, right? Why would this debate be at anyone’s expense? As we live as Christians, what is the normative metaphor for relationships between men and women? Growing up in the church and then attending a Christian college taught me that marriage is a Christian “virtue.” The vast majority of my peers desired to be married and would date according to the various trends for Christian dating. In order to ensure that this virtue be at the center of their futures, my friends “courted,” they “kissed dating goodbye,” they practiced “righteous dating,” they dated with “ag... Read more
The Evangelical Christian Publishing Association (ECPA) has announced this year’s finalists for their Christian Book Awards. Normally, I do not pay attention to these types of awards, because I like to judge a book for myself rather than take somebody else’s word for it whether the book is good or not. However, a couple of entries under the category of “Best Bible” disturb me. They are The Holman CSB Minister's Bible and The ESV Reformation Study Bible. Let me explain why it bothers me that either of these would be considered the best Bible that Christians can study. To begin with, both the CSB and the ESV were created as a protest to the TNIV. How do we know this? Well, let’s take a look at the CSB first. It is published by Broadm... Read more
When the messiah comes, says the Old Testament, he will “proclaim freedom for the captives.” (Is. 61:1 TNIV) Jesus the Messiah came, but he brought something better than the expected freedom from foreign domination: instead, he was interested in making people’s spirits free. Jesus himself said, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:34-36 TNIV) Of all the authors of the Old and New Testaments, Paul speaks most often about freedom. Christ, he says, brings freedom from sin (Rom. 6:18-22; 7:14), freedom from death (Rom. 7:24-25; 8:2, 10-11) and especially freedom from the bondage of the [Jewish... Read more

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