Women in Ministry | CBE International

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Women in Ministry

No matter how much I try to ignore it, minimize or overlook it, it manages to pop out of nowhere, sometimes when and where I least expect: the persistent reminder that I am, “just a woman.” How often have I heard that phrase from some man who felt I, or some other female, was getting too big for my boots! Take for instance the day I was driving to work in my new Toyota Sienna. On the corner of the road about 6 km (3.73 mi) to my office I stopped to give a colleague a lift; he was by far my junior in rank. It was shortly after the outbreak of violence in Jos, and there were security checkpoints everywhere. The soldier manning the first one we got to wouldn’t even look me in the eye or acknowledge my cheery, “Good morning.” Looking straight across at my passenge... Read more
We’ve just returned from the Cornerstone Fest—a three-day art, music and contemporary issues conference hosted by Jesus People USA. Each summer, thousands drive to the cornfields of Illinois to camp and enjoy some of the most cutting-edge artists and thinkers in the evangelical world. Since 2002, CBE has been part of this incredible adventure! This summer was no exception. From 9 am through 6 pm, CBE staff joined other prominent egalitarians to host eight sessions on many topics related to biblical equality and gender justice. Yet, this year was different. People came to the CBE lectures and forums to cheer us on rather than to debate whether the bible supports shared leadership between men and women. This is exactly the experience we encountered at Urbana this past December... Read more
Have you found yourself sharing the Bible’s support for women’s Gospel-service when someone asserts emphatically, “Can’t we just agree to disagree? This isn’t a salvation issue, after all!” And, being peace-loving Christians, we are at first inclined to agree. Until we remember someone like Lottie Moon. Considered one of the great missionaries of all time, Moon’s refusal to obey male authority led to the salvation of many. Lottie’s male supervisor opposed her desire to build a church in Northern China, where she not only made massive inroads for the Gospel, but where she also inspired the next generations of Christians missionaries—and all the generations since then! Today Lottie is celebrated as one of the greatest Southern Bapti... Read more
Throughout March, we have been introduced to women who were bold enough to follow God where he called them, regardless of the attitudes of the prevailing culture. We’ve found out that bold women of God have been proclaiming God’s message all along, their stories have just been covered up. As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we will take a look at a woman who courageously followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit in troubling times. Ludmila Javorova’s story takes place in the Moravian city of Brno, Czechoslovakia. She was born in 1932. Javorova always felt a call to the religious life. She had wondered why her brothers, and not she, were allowed to play priest in her younger years. God was working in her life in amazing ways since birth, but we are going to... Read more
Did you realize that evangelical Christians of the late 1800s were more vocal in their biblical support of women’s Christian service than many are today? If you’ve read Janette Hassey’s No Time for Silence, you will not be surprised by this. Hassey, herself a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, was astonished to discover that her own college had archived many examples of women’s leadership on the foreign mission field. I, too, have made similar discoveries. Whenever I am asked to speak at a Christian college, I often prepare by visiting their archives or by learning more about their founders to discover if they supported females on the missionary field. Most Bible institutes were developed to train men and women for missionary work! What’s mor... Read more
During the eighteenth century, the United States was not a particularly welcoming place for women looking to speak their minds—especially not African American women looking to speak their minds. But that did not stop God from blessing strong women to speak his words to people who needed to hear. Zilpha Elaw was one such woman. Born free in 1790 in Pennsylvania, Elaw’s life was marked by a deep assurance of God’s presence, which societal structures could not prevent. In Elaw, we see a woman daring enough to follow God’s call no matter where it took her. When Elaw’s parents died when she was twelve, she went to live with a Quaker family. It was during this time that Elaw attended her first revivalist camp meeting. While milking her cow one day, she had a v... Read more
When others ask me what I studied in college, I often squirm a bit. I anticipate some sort of impending judgment depending on where I fall on their “Success-O-Meter.” Well, I studied history and theology, so generally, I land pretty low on the “Success-O-Meter,” but I believe I rate fairly high on my “Fulfillment Meter.” So, why study history? Why study something so unlikely to bring a big paycheck and impressive title? Well, as Christians, I think it is our duty to appreciate history, because God is inherently historical. God created the world, and uses historical events to reveal himself. Most importantly,God became a part of our history through Jesus Christ. Indeed, all of history has been seen and touched by God, whether we are familiar with the hist... Read more
Women in Christianity by Hans Küng (Continuum, 2005) presents a panoramic view of women in the faith, from its inception in the time and ministry of Jesus to the modern era. The bright promise of the down-to-earth yet mystical faith of Jesus, with its radical inclusiveness, proved challenging to later generations of Christians. The central role of women in the community of the faithful was like a flame that was in danger of extinction as Christianity grew throughout time and transitioned from a rural setting to the great cities of the Roman empire. In the early church participation of women in teaching, proclamation, administration, and outreach, took root and flourished. This is well attested by Paul’s inclusive stance and cannot be denied or uprooted. In a... Read more
I’m feeling so discouraged and disheartened I want to give up. I want to go somewhere where I don’t have to fight. Where I’m not in the minority. Where my voice is valued, where my fears are heard. It didn’t take much for me to want to raise the white flag in surrender and give up on my church family. All it took was one weekend of meeting a pastoral candidate and watching our church bend its convictions away from egalitarian inclusiveness and toward a more exclusive leader. It took a few key people not showing up for church on Sunday to make me want to give up. It took a few elders not standing up and calling foul in front of the assembly. It took the patronizing hugs and reassuring comments that “It must be God’s will.” All it took w... Read more
Around 1975 I became interested in how women were being treated in the church and in the home. What I observed did not agree with how Jesus treated women. I began to study what the Bible says about women and to read books by Christian authors dealing with these issues. In 1983 I bought and read Kari Torjesen Malcolm’s Women at the Crossroads: A Path beyond Feminism and Traditionalism. Thirty years later I decided to read it again. I was excited about what I learned and decided to share it with you.  Kari was born in China, where her Norwegian parents were missionaries. As a teenager she spent three years in a Japanese concentration camp with her mother and her brothers. The Japanese army had killed her father and burned their home. In prison she underwent an identity crisis. Sh... Read more