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Personal Stories

The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Allison Quient, a member of the chapter and a former CBE intern. Upon entering Biola as a freshman Bible major I was clueless about the gender issue. At home I had never been informed my interests were considered masculine or that I was “functionally” limited by gender. At church, the possibility of a woman being a pastor was not argued for, but scripturally assumed. When I had theological questions my dad would encourage me to lo... Read more
The CBE Scroll presents “Learning to Thrive”, a five-part series that will feature stories from members of CBE’s “Thrive” Chapter at Biola University in Southern California. We hope this will serve as an encouragement to all of you and deepen your understanding of the true meaning of the Gospel! Today we will hear from Nicholas Ahern. Dancing With Deborah: My Exodus from Patriarchy to the Liberation of Women. I was born to the father of one wife in the late 8Os, in a Calvary Chapel denomination that prided itself on being as non-denominational as possible. By and large what my loving father dubbed “benevolent patriarchy” governed my household. At the time, I didn’t know much of this and I wasn’t involved in any discussion on... Read more
I must admit that if someone told me about Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) when I first came to know Christ, I would not have understood the need for such an organization. Being raised in the military, my world was already racially and ethnically integrated and diverse. The church where I came to know Christ as a teenager consisted mostly of military families and was gender-inclusive. Over the next two decades, I assumed if someone had a problem with me it was because of my personality, rather than my gender. In my second year of graduate school, I completed a practicum at a Christian college counseling center. One of my young female clients made this statement: "Patty, if I could see God as less male, I could believe he cares about me." She had been raised to believe t... Read more
Tim Krueger
 I recently heard a sermon delivered by Dr. Peter T. Vogt, a professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in Saint Paul, MN. In it, he shared some insights about the story of Naomi and Ruth (Listen to the sermon here—it starts around the 40-minute mark). With his permission, I have summarized some of them here. One of the first things we learn about Israel, God’s covenant people, is that God didn’t choose them because they were particularly special; he chose them to be his instruments to bless the world. The second thing we learn about Israel is that it repeatedly failed to be a blessing. Instead, it adopted the practices of its neighbors, always wandering away from Yahweh. Naomi, however, stands in contrast to Israel’s failure to influence its neighbo... Read more
Though it’s been over 20 years, I remember with clarity a college professor’s powerful illustration about the nature of Christian ministry. This professor, also a long-time minister and volunteer hospital chaplain, had been called upon to be a pastoral presence in two contrasting yet related situations: first, as a new mother promptly parted with her newborn daughter, and then minutes later when the infant was presented to her adoptive parents. The point of the illustration was that a minister is sometimes involved in the full spectrum of emotions; in this case the pain and sadness of one mother stood in stark contrast with the joy of another. As a young ministerial student, I got the point well enough. Years later, I get it even better. But here’s what I didn’t... Read more
I don’t know about you, but I have evangelical friends with all kinds of different views on gender. Come to think of it, I have evangelical friends with all kinds of different views on a whole host of topics: child baptism or believers’ baptism, “just war” theory or pacifism, Arminianism or Calvinism, and, yes, even egalitarianism or some form of gender hierarchism (often called, somewhat misleadingly, “complementarianism”). Since evangelicalism has no official magisterium, such diversity is inevitable. And, while I’m as committed to the egalitarian cause as the next person, I’ve come to view this diversity as a good thing. It means that instead of relying on the coercion of some official leaders or evangelical “gatekeepers,... Read more
One of the biggest obstacles in declaring myself an “egalitarian” has not been defending the views that I hold or explaining what I believe, but knowing that this is an issue I cannot take a middle road on. As someone who strives to live out of compromise and harmony, knowing that the church often polarizes segments of its congregants because of this issue troubles me. Yet I have come to a new understanding on this concern because of my internship at CBE. Frequently surrounded by Christian communities with varying denominational backgrounds, I am aware that sometimes these relationships rely on a careful balance of humility and honesty. While I have complementarian friends that I love and appreciate, I quickly learned I cannot hide the fact that I am egalitarian simply to ma... Read more
A weird thing happened to me a few weeks ago. I was at our twins’ basketball game, sitting by myself, when a vivid memory swooped in out of the blue from seven years ago. At the time, I was still on big-church-staff, and we hosted a special event where several of us shared dreams for our different ministries. Right afterward, an elder came up to me and said, “Wow, you’re a pretty good speaker for a woman.” “You’re a pretty good speaker for a woman.” At that point I had been getting stronger as a leader and came back with at least a halfway decent response (although I’d have a way better one now!). I asked, “Um, is that a backhanded compliment?” He just chuckled, and there was an awkward silence before we both went our separa... Read more
Is motherhood a big enough vocation? Seriously? Is this question a joke? Motherhood is a huge vocation, so perhaps a better question might be, “Has motherhood become an all-consuming vocation?” What is vocation? The central idea of vocation is that each person has been created by God with gifts and abilities that are to be used for the sake of God’s kingdom. The Latin root of the word vocation is “calling” and the implication is that our gifts and abilities are not just for our own purpose, but are to be invested in furthering God’s kingdom. Vocation includes a particular individual application for each of us and a general call on all followers of Jesus. Individually, we honor and glorify God by fully living out the abilities he has given us, fo... Read more
I will never forget the first time I voted. I was 18, and nervously walked into that polling booth with my parents. I was in awe that “my vote” might actually make a difference in choosing the leader of our country. It was an honor and privilege I have never taken lightly. I lived in South Africa during the beginning of the fall of apartheid. Some months after my family had left that beautiful country, I sat weeping as I watched the news and saw an aerial photograph of thousands of black South Africans, who had never before been given the opportunity to vote, lined up for miles, eager to let the world know their opinion! Then I watched “Iron Jawed Angels,” the story of how the ‘right of women to vote’ came to be in this country. “Aghast... Read more

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