History, Recent and Past
I have just returned from CBE’s great Biennial International Conference—the seventh in CBE’s history. Words are simply inadequate to describe the blessing of those days in Dallas. The large group of men and women (and a few children) in attendance included people of all ages and many ethnicities. What a thrill it was to fellowship with one another. The plenary sessions were particularly notable as we listened to Julie Pennington-Russell, Richard Foster, Gordon Fee, and Robin Smith. Fee’s excellent exegesis of Ephesians 5 was especially memorable. Workshop sessions were many and varied, covering a wide range of topics of interest to those of us concerned with equality in the church. Worship, led by Robert Winn, joined our voices together in praise, and we were moved by the several presentations of special music and dance.
Were you there? If not, perhaps you’ll allow me to welcome you to Central Florida in 2003 when we head for Orlando for our eighth such conference. Mark the dates of September 26-28 on your calendar and plan now to attend.
Do you enjoy history? If so, you will have a particular interest in this issue. We’ve delved into the church’s relatively near past with the look Peter Vogt has given us of Count Zinzendorf and the communities he established in Saxony in the eighteenth century. Perhaps you will be as surprised as I was to discover how he interpreted Paul’s words concerning women in the church and how much authority he gave to the women in his communities. A second historical article goes back much further, to the early centuries of the church, in fact. Darrell Pursiful’s careful look at the leadership of women in the years we think of as led by the “Church Fathers” may surprise you. He details the history of female deacons, elders, bishops, and presbyters. I found this fascinating and trust you will too.
Then, the third in Del Birkey’s three-part series on complementarians and New Testament authority rounds out the articles in this issue. If you missed either of the preceding articles, you may order them from CBE’s Book Service.
Finally, don’t miss Rebecca Groothuis’s review of Christel Manning’s recent ethnographic study, God Gave Us the Right.
I do hope you are as delighted with the “new look” of Priscilla Papers as I am. We are indebted to a friend of Christians for Biblical Equality who created the wonderful new design. He has given our cover a distinctively new look, and you’ll be proud when you hand on your copy to someone else to read and enjoy.