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In late January, Dr. John Piper argued that if the Bible doesn't permit women to be pastors, then they also shouldn’t be seminary professors. As an Assemblies of God minister, I’m shaking my head and asking: are we still having this conversation?  The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal fellowship of churches. Pentecostals believe that God poured out his spirit on both men and women at Pentecost, inspiring both sons and daughters to prophesy (cf. Acts 2:16-8; Joel 2:28-29). We believe Scripture indicates women’s inclusion in the ministries of the new covenant age. Not only do we not have a theological problem with women in ministry in my denomination, but we fully embrace them. But do we really embrace women in ministry? Do we hi... Read more
Most of us—no matter our stance on gender roles or faith background—are stunned by the vast number of people demeaned by sexual abuse and harassment. Tragically, girls and women are abused at essentially the same rates inside and outside the church. It’s clear that complementarians and egalitarians alike must press toward humility, self-reflection, and an honest assessment of Christian complicity in gender-based violence (GBV). Like many other Christians in the age of #ChurchToo, John Piper is searching for the root cause of GBV. He believes he has found it: egalitarianism. In a recent Desiring God podcast entitled “Sex-Abuse Allegations and the Egalitarian Myth,” Piper argues that egalitarians are to blame for abuse of girls and women because we neglect God... Read more
During Women’s History Month, and especially on International Women’s Day, we have a unique opportunity to correct the marginalization of women’s accomplishments and influence. Those blindspots exist in the church too, especially when it comes to women pastors. Women pastors are not a new phenomenon, but many Christians aren't aware that there is a long tradition of women pastors in the church.  Women in history were faithful to their pastoral callings—against all odds. Many pursued ministry against the cultural tide of patriarchy in the church. These tenacious women are a vital part of our Christian legacy. But also, when we celebrate women pastors in history, we open doors wide for women in ministry today. With that in mind, here are ten awesom... Read more
Last week, theologian John Piper made headlines for saying that women shouldn't be seminary professors, because seminaries train men to become pastors, and since women shouldn't preach, they have no place training men for those positions.  I'm not a seminary professor, so I'm not writing this because I'm vying for a job.  I'm not a theologian, so I'm not going to break down the Greek words and the context to show you why he's wrong (though plenty of other theologians have done so.) I'm just a small woman with a big voice in my soul that doesn't come from me. When I read Piper's comments, I was a little angry and a lot sad.  I was sad for sisters like me with big voices in their soul they know they're meant to share, who ge... Read more
In mid-December, an article was published on the Desiring God website titled “Husbands, Get Her Ready for Jesus.” Written by a Philadelphia pastor named Bryan Stoudt, this piece argues that husbands have a responsibility to challenge and correct their wives in order to keep them on course through the path of sanctification. For Stoudt, husbands have a unique responsibility for their wives’ sanctification, a responsibility that wives do not share for their husbands. He describes this responsibility as “the staggering privilege of getting our wives ready for Jesus, their true husband.” This is indeed a staggering responsibility to lay on the shoulders of husbands. Indeed, we might call it a staggering burden, much like the ones Jesus accuses the Pharisees of l... Read more
I once worked as a young adult director in a church. This church was and continues to be a great church, filled with people who love God, one another, and the world with genuine affection and generosity. During the time I worked as a director, they gave me freedom to lead and preach and dream with great liberty. But because they did not license women as pastors, I was called a director. While my male friends got licensed, sought ordination, and received recognition for being ministers of the gospel, I did not. I advocated for women in leadership and pressed the church to consider the ordination of woman. Some listened, but not enough to do much about it. In hindsight, the rejection I felt, and the intense confusion I dealt with—why the men, and not the women—took a toll on my... Read more
A few years ago, when my middle daughter was three, we were discussing her favorite preschool job: leading the lunchtime prayer. I said that maybe she could be a pastor, like our own pastor Todd, when she grew up. Her eyes lit up and she proclaimed: “Yes! I will be pastor Todd! And I will live in his house! And I will be Olivia’s daddy!” I got a good chuckle out of that, as did pastor Todd when he heard the story. But the truth is, as the reality sets in that she can’t actually be pastor Todd, my daughter isn’t likely to see many women as pastors—women who can serve as her role models. While numbers are hard to pin down, probably only 10% of senior pastors are women — which means that even denominations that ordain women don’t see anything... Read more
Becky Castle Miller
Abuse is an abstract concept for many people, and it’s a word heavy with cultural misconceptions. When talking about abuse, I’ve learned to bridge the communication gap by defining and describing it: abuse is a pattern of coercive control based in an abuser's feeling of entitlement to power over another person. An abuser gains and maintains control through various tactics that can be physical, emotional, verbal, financial, sexual, or spiritual. Abusers actually target churches to find victims and to move into positions of power, so church leaders must be prepared to prevent abuse, to deal with it in their congregations, and to provide healing for abuse survivors. The first step in addressing abuse is to grasp how prevalent it is. Half of... Read more
When I critique oppressive systems and ideologies, I generally ask two simple questions: Does the system or ideology give one group unearned power over other groups, and especially over others who already have less social power? If the answer is “yes,” then I ask a question I already know the answer to: Is the system safe for the less powerful? Naturally, social hierarchies are safe for those at the top. They’re designed to preserve the existing social structure, which already prioritizes the needs and perspectives of the group with power. Social hierarchies don’t make less powerful people and groups safer. Rather, they exacerbate any vulnerabilities and pose danger and harm to marginalized people. If a system relies on the powerful group behaving rightly and n... Read more
Many girls and women find models of subversive, change-making women not in the Bible or the pulpit, but in popular media and secular culture. Lack of representation in the church matters, and it has wide ripples in the body of Christ. Have you heard of the Black Madonna? Black Madonna statues and paintings—images of Mary with dark, brown, or black skin—can be found all over the world from Asia to South America to Africa. But in the West, Mary is often erroneously depicted as a white, European woman. We co-opt Mary—erasing her dark skin, masking her non-European features, claiming her as a symbol of our story and experience. For many Christians of color, accurate images of Mary as a woman of color are restorative and liberating. These portraits confirm that people of co... Read more

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