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Church History

Early in his writings, Paul authored Galatians, a book primarily dedicated to explaining to Jewish Christians that their uncircumcised Gentile brothers were not second class members of the church. Paul directly refutes this concept of hierarchy in Christian community in Galatians 3:28: "there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  We can also observe this equality lived out in the structure of the early church leadership in Ephesus. Ephesus was a key city in the formation of the global church. Scripture gives us a great deal of information on the Ephesian church. It is highlighted in Acts 19 and 20, and three of the New Testament Epistles are written to encourage its growth (Ephesians,... Read more
It will be my privilege to offer a pre-conference workshop at CBE's LA Conference on Friday, July 24 titled, "Women in Church History." This introductory session will explore the names, lives, thoughts, and contexts of notable Christian women across the centuries as well as provide a select chronological bibliography spanning the past one hundred and fifty years.  As you offer support in prayer for the upcoming communion in Los Angeles, consider four reasons why I believe the study of women in church history is valuable. God's Word Scripture directs us to the value of history. Everything and everyone has a history. Preparation to better understand these realities, and engage them as resources, is a major asset in becoming a wise servant and culture creator.... Read more
This article is a part of the July blog series “Becoming New,” in light of CBE’s 2015 LA Conference, “Becoming New: Man and Woman Together In Christ.” Articles for this month will either introduce conference topics or feature stories of hope, faith, and personal transformation. We invite you to join us this month as we seek to become new together as a community. When I was a child, there were two things I always wanted to do—become an archaeologist and become an astronaut. I couldn’t decide which was more intriguing—the hidden secrets of the past or the things yet to be discovered in the future. I read medieval fantasy and science fiction voraciously, anything that would whisk me away to another world. And my favorite movies were... Read more
Macrina the Younger was a member of a celibate community of fourth century Christians who devoted much of her life to the theological education of other Christians. She was named a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church after her death, celebrated as a compelling testimony of Christian humility and discipline. Today, she is remembered primarily for her strict observance of the ascetic tradition, as well as for her work as a Christian leader and teacher who embraced discipline, equality, and love of knowledge. Her strength, initiative, and selfless heart have shaped the church thousands of years later to set aside the self to pursue the will of God. In the 3rd and 4th centuries, an ascetic culture of self-discipline and abstinence from worldly pleasures began to emerge among... Read more
During his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus promised that, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-14 ESV). This is the story of the Samaritan woman's conversion. It is also the story of her empowerment. She is transformed from a woman who sees merely a thirsty man before her to one who knows that man as Messiah of the world. It is the testimony of a Samaritan woman, a spectator on the outside looking in, that bears witness to an entire village. Because of her faith, the townspeople believe, making her one of the very first evangelists! In a culture... Read more
Lexi Friesen
[Editor's note: March is Women's History Month and CBE is celebrating by highlighting some admirable women from church history that you may or may not be familiar with. Each post this month will have short biographies on a few of these women who lived during a certain time period. We hope you find this month-long series enriching and enlightening.] Nino Nino was a great woman apostle in the fourth century, best known for her preaching and healing in the Iberian kingdom (present-day Georgia), although prior to that she helped her uncle spread the gospel around Rome. Nino healed Queen Nana of Iberia from a severe illness. This incident caused the queen to convert to Christianity and be baptized by Nino, despite the king’s intolerance for Christians. The king threatened... Read more
The next issue of Priscilla Papers, themed "Old Testament Women" is coming out in early November! Here are just some of the features you'll find in this upcoming edition: From “The Genesis of Equality, Part 1,” by Kevin Giles In addition to the command to subdue and rule the earth, man and woman are together commanded to “be fruitful and multiply.” No mention is made of any separation of roles in being “fruitful.” Ruling and procreating are roles or functions given to men and women alike in God’s good creation. Thus what we have in this primary and definitive scriptural comment on the sexes is the strongest imaginable affirmation of the equal status of man and woman (“in the image of God he created them”),... Read more
From earthly senses, dwells a brew Calling itself truth; It denies God’s Righteous burning And look! See the turning? Turning away from Him who’s Heart Is Yearning To walk the Garden of Spirit’s Light?   He sees His children walk in the night.   What started in the Spirit Has become the design of the flesh man’s plight   Divided now between the sexes The church is filled with divorced ex’s Hallelujah chorus not directed to the King But to the notion that sex is   What made you turn away from your first love? Remember the Spirit came, like a dove? You welcomed the world of Father, Spirit and Son, Then ascended your own pedestal and thought you won.   But you have lo... Read more
Often times examples from the Bible, especially the Law of Moses, are adduced to support the view that the Bible depicts God as a misogynist, and therefore it cannot be trusted. In other words, the apparent inequitable laws relating to women in the Mosaic Law are used to discredit the Bible as a whole. But are the Bible and gender equality so antithetical that one’s only hope to reconcile them is by stripping divine inspiration from the Bible, arguing that it is a book written by humans concerning their perspective of God over time? I believe affirming the divinity of the Bible will prove far more fruitful in incorporating the Mosaic Law within a Christian worldview that embraces equality between men and women. To illustrate this, consider the Mosaic Law in a historic rather than a m... Read more
Happy Friday! Another great week of posts speaking out against patriarchy and lifting up the biblical ideal of mutuality in marriage and leadership. Be encouraged, dear friends. Apostles, Deacons, and the Women of Romans 16, by Nicholas Quient One can only imagine the honor of hearing the stories of one of the most outstanding women God has given to the world, and what a debt we owe to her. Christian history, it seems, is built off the deeds of such women. 10 Ways Male Privilege Shows Up in the Church, by Gail Wallace (The Junia Project) I think many Christians are becoming more aware of racial and class privilege, but I don’t see the same level of awareness about male privilege in Christian circles. A Legacy for Women, by  Michelle Mosier Would... Read more