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Gender Justice Concerns

Why I Can No Longer Defend the Ministry of Women in the Church Steve Holmes is a Baptist minister, currently teaching theology at St Mary’s College, St Andrews, Scotland. He blogs about theology and culture from an Evangelical perspective at Shored Fragments. The following column is posted with permission from his blog. I have defended the ministry of women in the church in public for a while now, including on my blog. I don’t think I can do it any longer. Not because of any lack of calling or gifting in their ministry, but because of a lack in mine. Take Phoebe Palmer. She began to be involved in leading a Bible study in New York around 1830. She soon received invitations to preach across the USA and in the UK. Something like 25,000 people wer... Read more
Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear. —Jeremiah 5:21 Twenty-three years ago an economist from India, Amartya Sen, reported the largest human holocaust in all of history. His research showed that over 100 million females were missing! Though Sen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, few were mobilized by the horror he had uncovered. Even the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Kristoff and WuDunn said that “when a prominent dissident was arrested in China, we would write a front-page article; when 100,000 girls were routinely kidnapped and trafficked into brothels, we didn’t even consider it news” (Kristoff and WuDunn, Half the Sky, xiv). How could the world be so disinterested in th... Read more
This photo is of an apple…….no question about that. Now it’s cut we can see inside but before then we had no idea what was inside. So it is with people…..we can assume things without knowing ‘what’s inside’. There’s an old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and yet it happens all the time. We see someone and make assumptions. Hopefully it remains in our mind and we control ourselves from making statements without really knowing the person. However….what is in our mind affects how we act and react in so many situations. Just thinking of one small way to see things from a more biblical perspective is to check ourselves in what we think and then it will help us to act and speak in more healing/life-changing... Read more
There are a number of ways that godly faith in the God who is GOD, the REAL Messiah and the ONLY HOLY Spirit can get skewed is when humans step in to contain and control. I believe that what I’m going to say needs to be said and spread. I’d like to see it defined concisely and plainly. But for now I’d like us to just define it well. At this time in my church, I’m teaching a series on essential beliefs of the Christian faith. They are actually a little more than the basics because I am including the things we need to know and understand something of in order to grow and mature into the full person of God we each are meant to become. So, the basics are centered around who the Trinity is; who Christ the Messiah is and what He did for us; who the Holy Spirit is and w... Read more
A wealthy couple brought “Cathy” from China to the United States to be their nanny and housekeeper. She was paid next to nothing and was worked unmercifully day and night, as well as being physically and sexually abused by both the husband and wife. However, the husband—a Christian man—regularly exerted his “authority” as the "head of the household" over his wife and daughters as well. Scripture, he believed, supported his hierarchal beliefs and defended his actions. With this power behind him, he acted as the dictator in a household whose lowest subject was a female slave. Human trafficking takes anti-egalitarian beliefs to their dangerous extreme. All people deserve equal rights and opportunities, but in human trafficking, some are slaves... Read more
Ancient Roman and Asian societies were honor and shame societies. Their lives revolved around who was honored and who wasn’t. There were two main sources of honor: ascribed and achieved. Ascribed honor was your roots, where you came from, your family, your family achievements (wealth, reputation, etc.). Achieved honor had to do with your personal successes and achievements. Aristotle, a student of Socrates (and considered a genius), developed the social construction of a society whose citizens were the wealthy and noble born men. It is interesting that Aristotle ignored Plato’s more liberal ideas of women (the Greeks liked Plato’s ideas) and chose to view them as completely inferior. A man could become noble by his achievements as well. If one was not male, noble born... Read more
Margaret Mowczko
One of the basic tenets of Complementarianism is that men and women have equal value and worth as human beings made in the image of God.  Complementarians also state that men and women have different roles in the home and in the church.  Some even say that men and women have different roles in broader society.  When Complementarians use the word “role” what they really mean is “rank”. Dictionary.com gives a definition of “rank” as ”a number of persons forming a separate class in a social hierarchy or in any graded body.”  Complementarians have effectively graded and divided the church into two main classes: men #1 and women #2. Complementarians (such as John Piper) claim that men were created by God to be t... Read more
Recently I was in need of a certain book. I don’t own the book, and after a brief unfruitful search I gave up. Later that day, I walked by an office ten feet from mine and saw the book on a shelf just inside the office’s open door. I borrowed it and quickly found what I needed. Why is this a fascinating story? Because I’ve walked by that office thousands of times over the last fourteen years and never noticed that book before. I didn’t see it until I was looking for it. We’ve all repeatedly experienced such phenomena: You buy a Honda Civic, and you suddenly notice there are Civics everywhere. You hear a new word that you consider obscure, yet you hear it again a day later. We see what we’re looking for; we hear what we’re prepared to hear. Don... Read more
I recently came across the following anecdote:    An English professor asked his students to punctuate the following sentence:        “A woman without her man is nothing.”      All of the males in the class wrote:       “A woman, without her man, is nothing.”      All of the females in the class wrote:      “A woman:  without her, man is nothing.”      The punchline:  Punctuation is powerful. Beyond the punchline, it’s a rather thought-provoking sentence.  It summons up deep feelings from the age-old battle of the sexes, causing you to champion your own gender.  Men wa... 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 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 patriarch... Read more

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