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In the article, “Sharing in the Divine Nature: Transformation, Koinonia and the Doctrine of God,” LeRon Shults notes three important late-modern developments in the doctrine of God: the retrieval of divine Infinity, the revival of Trinitarian doctrine, and a renewed conceptualization of God as primal Futurity. These developments were facilitated in part by a shift in ontology from a substance metaphysic to a metaphysic of relationality. Implied in Shults’ embrace of these developments is a holistic approach that recognizes fundamental human longing for the divine within the categories of truth, goodness, and beauty. Shults emphasizes the biblical decree that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of God—but not a knowledge that objectifies God but rather a participation in the mutual knowing and being known within the Trinitarian Godhead. Our means of participation in this knowing is the Incarnation of the Word of God—Jesus Christ who lived in the power of the Spirit in order to reveal the Father. As a result, grace and God’s role in our salvation and sanctification are emphasized. Finally, Shults’ methodology is integrative and interdisciplinary, seeking to weave together the witness of Scripture, reason, experience, and tradition, and with simultaneous regard for conceptual, ethical, and liturgical implications affecting our ability to achieve transformational relationships. Read more
An unfortunate history of misinterpretation and abuse has surrounded 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. It has been taken out of context and used to suppress women’s involvement in the ministry of the church. The egalitarian interpretation, however, finally perceives this verse, not as a tool of oppression, but as one with a helpful cross-cultural message. At the outset of my paper I will disclose the three most prominent complementarian objections to an egalitarian interpretation: (1) the hierarchy Paul describes in v. 3 lays out a subordinating chain of command, (2) the word “authority” in verse 10 takes a passive meaning and thereby refers to the husband’s authority over the wife, and (3) that while women do not have to wear head coverings today they still need to pray and prophesy in a manner that is submissive to male leadership in the church. Read more
Vibrant, faithful women have helped to establish and build the Chinese church. Their robust faith and their engagement with the Scriptures empowered them to evangelize, preach, nurture and teach generations of Chinese Christians. In keeping with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), Chinese women committed themselves to bringing the gospel to people both near and far. In obedience to God’s creation mandate (Gen. 1:28), many dedicated themselves to the reform of China and the social uplift of Chinese in the Diaspora. In 1944 the Anglican Communion ordained a Chinese woman named Florence Li Tim-oi. Yet, at the dawn of the second millennium in the United States, women only constitute a fraction of the clergy in evangelical Chinese American churches (CACs). Read more
The recurrent dream takes me back to my grandmother’s house in one of the central islands in the Philippines. There is feasting and much laughter. I am surrounded by my extended family—cousins and aunts and uncles. In the midst of this gathering, I suddenly realize that I have to leave for America. Then I am at the airport, anxious about having to say goodbye. Next to me are unsorted pieces of luggage and packages, scattered at my feet. I am perturbed by the absence of order and by the cacophony of my surroundings. Then my mother, gently touching my shoulder and pointing to the pile of mismatched luggage, says: “Priscilla, these are gifts for you.” Read more
Some years ago my lovely niece Shoshanna had her Bat Mitzvah along with a dozen or so of her friends. These bright-eyed, beautiful and intelligent twelve-year-olds with their lives in front of them each spoke about their favorite heroine, the woman they most wanted to emulate. Some picked the big women in the Bible—Sarah, who leaves security and home behind to found a nation, Deborah, who leads a nation, Esther, who saves a nation, Ruth, who introduces the Gentile nation into King David’s family tree. Others preferred the little heroines with the cameo parts—the clever women who save the day: the woman of Thebez in the Book of Judges who drops a millstone on Abimelech and saves her city, Jael, who kills General Sisera with a tentpeg, Abigail, who outwits her twit of a husband and takes food to David and saves her household. Ah, such women! Intelligent enough to understand that, in extremis, brain is better than brawn every time. A few of the girls chose contemporary women, holocaust survivors, dissidents and wives of dissidents, leaders and martyrs. Read more
I have agreed to tell my story for two fundamental reasons. 1) I want to give tribute to the person who opened my eyes to a new paradigm through which to view Scripture and who did not allow me to be satisfied with the easy answers. These were answers that had been drilled into my head as a youth and were assumed throughout my college and seminary training. 2) Arguments alone often do not convince. This is especially so with theological and exegetical arguments on this subject that for many has so much emotional baggage associated with it. So, when people come to me asking questions and searching for answers on the “women’s issue,” I often just tell them my story—where I have come from, where I have landed, and how and why I got there. Read more
When Constantine became Emperor at the start of the fourth century, the entire course of Christian history changed. Under the leadership of prior Emperors Decius and Diocletian in the third century, Christians endured great persecution and thousands were martyred for their faith. However, following Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in ad 312, the Church and State became completely enmeshed. Because persecution ended, the ardent faith manifested by the martyrs waned, and, accordingly, the number of nominal Christians drastically increased. One ramification was that, in the fourth century, monasticism and its associated asceticism flourished, as Christian believers attempted to distinguish themselves in devoted service to Christ. Read more
In the fifth chapter of John’s gospel, the Jewish leaders accuse Jesus of “making himself equal to God.” Today, a woman who assumes a position of ordained leadership in the Church may be accused of “making herself equal to men.” Although most Christians agree that men and women are spiritually equal before God, some nevertheless insist that women are subordinate to men in function in the home and in the Church. In order to codify the functional subordination of women biblically, some scholars who support hierarchy in male/female relationships use what they claim to be the subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity as a divinely inspired model of male-female relationships. Read more
There is a serious problem with the institution of marriage in the United States. Statistically, about half of all those who currently marry can be predicted to divorce within seven years. Many marriages, and particularly Christian marriages, do not seem to last. They fall short of God’s ideal that marriage should be permanent as long as the two partners live. A 2001 national study conducted by Barna Research Group highlights this reality. The enclosed chart summarizes divorce rates among various Christian church denominations. Read more
The complementarian conviction, that women are under male authority and therefore must be excluded from (some) positions of leadership, rests in no small measure on their interpretation of God’s eternal, created order as established in Genesis 1-2. However, when the complementarian exegesis of creation is given close scrutiny, substantial—indeed fatal—problems are revealed at the very foundation of their framework. Read more

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