Biblical Equality 101 | CBE International

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Biblical Equality 101

Did you know that there are twice as many women academics in the secular academy as in the Christian academy? Worse, women comprise only about six percent of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). And despite a recent study exposing the shaming experiences of ETS women, some members of ETS passed a resolution that identified gender as the basis of personal identity for Christians. Without actually defining "manhood" or "womanhood," the resolution asserts that the essential or fundamental characteristics of gender are more formative and definitive for Christian identity than our spiritual renewal in Christ. It is not our newness of life in Christ, our journey as Christian disciples, or our corporate service that form Christian identity but the "dist... Read more
This is the second in a series of posts on the concept of headship in the Christian church and community. The articles will offer a clear outline and critique of the headship practice and system and will further explore the consequences of headship on men, women, relationships, the church, and the broader world. Catch up with Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of the Headship Madness series. “Headship” in large sectors of American evangelicalism functions as a theo-political tool. It is the means by which competition in relationships—at home, work, school, and church—is quickly and effectively eliminated. It is also a flexible tool, conveniently subjective according to the one who wields it. Headship therefore takes on a number of faces, manifestat... Read more
This is the first in a series of posts on the concept of headship in the Christian church and community. The articles will offer a clear outline and critique of the headship practice and system and will further explore the consequences of headship on men, women, relationships, the church, and the broader world. Catch up with Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.  “Headship” in American evangelical Christianity is probably most popularly known as an amalgam of ideas and attitudes related to male authority, control, and power, especially in the context of marriage. Although there are various paradigms surrounding the concept, the “complementarian” or “traditional” model(s) might very well stand out as the most influential and common—though this... Read more
As I noted in my previous post, the resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the inauguration of the New Covenant. Depending on which theologian you read, one might say this “inauguration” period reached its peak with Pentecost, the day when the promised Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2). Whatever the case, Christians today—generally since the time of Christ—are living in the age of the “New Covenant.” Being “new,” the New Covenant is different from the “Old Covenant,” which (again, depending on theology or context) may refer to the Mosaic covenant, or all of the covenantal administrations prior to Christ (e.g., Abrahamic, Davidic, etc.). For simplicity and convenience, most Christians typically refer to the “Old Co... Read more
Every Easter, we celebrate a definitive victory. We experience the Easter effect—a boundless global freedom for a once enslaved and broken humanity. Easter represents personal newness, freedom from sin's condemnation, guilt, shame, and inadequacy. Easter also grants collective freedom from the plight of humanity, to sin and die separated from God. Yet, the consequences of Easter extend beyond the triumph of salvation. In light of Jesus' example, Christians are grafted into a mission—to give voice to the silenced. In honor of his sacrifice on Easter Sunday, we are called to mobilize as one, moving beyond our individual redemption to a collective condemnation of oppression, domination, and injustice. The ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ offered a searing... Read more
It was the summer of 2012 and President Obama had just announced "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act. I was the executive director of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network at the time. We convened a meeting of all the various agencies who worked with and supported immigrants--from schools to law practices.  After the meeting of community leaders, people were talking in small groups and debriefing. An attorney, a woman, from an international organization came up to me and out of earshot of the other participants shared, "I really appreciate how you chair a meeting. I feel like everyone gets an equal opportunity to talk and that you especially make sure women are being heard." I must have looked shocked and sligh... Read more
Margaret Mowczko
In Genesis 2:16-17, God commanded the first human not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Along with the command was a warning of death for the transgressor. This command and warning was given to the first man before the first woman was made. Some Christians believe that the first man was given the responsibility of telling the woman about God's command and warning. This assumption, however, has no biblical basis. The Bible simply does not state or imply that the man was given the responsibility of passing on God's command once the woman was on the scene. Implicit in this incorrect notion of the man's responsibility is the idea that God must not have spoken directly to the woman, but only spoke to her indirectly, through her husband. Genesis... Read more
We homeschoolers have been rattled by the sex scandals of Doug Phillips and Bill Gothard, two of the homeschooling movement's most notable advocates of the past twenty-five years. I consider myself a proponent of home education, too. I own and operate a publishing business for homeschool debate curriculum, so naturally I support homeschooling's healthy expansion. The number-one tenet in the mind of a patriarchal believer is that God is male in nature. The idea that fathers have a God-given authority in every facet of life, especially the family, stems from the first of Phillips' seven tenets, and probably the most important in his mind. I propose that this is a point of theological error that should not be part of a framework of a Christian worldview. To me, the gender... Read more
As we think about the goal of gender equality for all, it's easy to get caught up in competitive terminology. We may think that we are engaged in a "battle" (yep, there's a competitive term) and we have to tip the balance of power (oops, more battlefield thinking) so that egalitarians win (dang! there it is again) over complementarians. Unfortunately, "war" terminology, which is dominant in our culture, also permeates our Christian culture. But perhaps using metaphors related to war, power, battle, and competition is antithetical to the cause of gender equality, subverting our very goals. Consider why these terms hurt, rather than help. Somebody has to lose. In a "competitive" arena, there's a winner and a loser. And while it may... Read more
Anthony Bankes photo
Don't tell me to man up. You can tell me to step up, or buck up, or cheer up, but don't you dare tell me to man up. And here's why. 1. "Man up" is often used in correlation with masculinity in society or the church. "Just man up and ask her out" or "man up and get your hands dirty" or "man up and take charge!" It reinforces the typical stereotypes that all men must be sports-loving, aggressive, action-oriented, visual, Bob-the-Builder-type handymen that go at it and constantly assume authority. Not that men can't love sports or fix things or be action-oriented. But by pairing those qualities with the phrase "man up," the implication is that such traits are actual requirements of being a man and attaining true manhood.... Read more