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As we study Scripture and hear its exposition, it becomes clear that not only are there sins of commission, there are also sins of omission. The Christian community has long recognized this truth; as the Book of Common Prayer says in its General Confession, “... forgive us for what we have done and what we have left undone.” Even secular law courts recognized this danger by requiring witnesses to swear that they will “tell the whole truth...” Read more
Chapters 17 through 21 of the Book of Judges record the depths of social depravity in possibly Scripture’s clearest depiction of the flaws of a patriarchal society. These chapters truly show the ultimate in degradation: idolatry, pride, selfishness, moral perversion, and insensitivity to human life. Chapters 19-21 also reveal the most awful violations of the human rights of a nameless woman. This frank reporting removes any vestige of courtesy or civility from patriarchy, revealing male dominance at its very worst. Read more
Although the circles of young people where I minister rarely have a problem with women’s ministry, many young men and women are looking for more models of what it means to be a “real” man. Although some hold traditional and others hold egalitarian ideals of marriage, many of the young women who would like to someday marry lament the fact that there are not enough respectful Christian young men to go around in society as a whole. Read more
Galatians 3:28 is quite clear. There is little doubt about the point Paul is making: In Christ we are all the same — we are equal with one another. Yet for all its clarity, this verse is the source of great debate. Controversy centers on how far the principle of believer equality is to be applied. In other words, in what way are we the same? This question is particularly acute when men and women are under discussion. Read more
A friend of mine attends a church that longs for renewal. The pastors acknowledge a sense of spiritual ineffectiveness among their members, and they have sought the power of the Holy Spirit to quicken, empower, and revive personal and corporate ministry. In prayer this congregation asks for an out pouring of the Holy Spirit, but with an unspoken proviso, that God honor their gender bias: God may pour out His Spirit, but men alone may exhibit the Spirit’s empowering. Yet nothing seems further from the tenor of revival and the passage in Acts where the Holy Spirit was poured out not only on Gentiles, but also on women. Read more
The quest to find feminine attributes in the Godhead is ongoing, as many women yearn for an understanding of God that they can relate to and identify with. For them, the Church’s traditional view of the “patriarchal God” is not only too limited but too limiting. This view is too limited in light of the richness of the full range of biblical language for God. It is too limited in that it can exclude believing Christian women from full participation in the Body of Christ, although they too are creatures made in the image of God and now equal children of God along with their Christian brothers. Read more
All Scripture is by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Let us therefore seek the positive message in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 which God has for the believer — a message which both traditionalists and egalitarians have too long ignored. Read more
Most of us recoil at some Jewish sages’ estimation of women, as reported in works such as Sirach (25:19, 24; 42:12-14) and perhaps even Ecclesiastes (7:27-28). As the son of Sirach puts it, “Like the moth emerges from clothes, so wickedness emerges from women; a man’s evil is better than a woman’s goodness...” (Sir. 42:13-14). But does the negative view of women found in later Jewish sages also reflect the perspective on women found in the Book of Proverbs, as some have argued? Does the Jewish and Christian canon actually confer inspired status on chauvinistic claims? While some proverbs might sound like this is the case, an examination of their context among other proverbs indicates that the statements are not against women in general. Read more
Most discussions of human relationships center on questions about marriage and the family, but to be inclusive we must examine another area: the needs of singles. It in no way undermines the God-ordained institution of the family for Christians to recognize that we are in danger of developing an almost cultic emphasis on family that discriminates against singles. Many singles today get the message that their concerns will always come last on the church’s agenda. Pious affirmation of “welcome to our fellowship” has a hollow ring to singles. Read more
Jesus and the New Testament authors everywhere assume that women are made in the divine image. By affirming the inherent worth of women, Jesus and the early church departed from the cultural norms of their day. This attitude engendered a sense of confidence and freedom in women that encouraged them to participate fully in Christian worship and ministry. Just as earlier God called Eve to inhabit and rule the Garden with Adam, now, through Christ, God gives women and men an opportunity to respond to the two highest callings imaginable as co-heirs of salvation (1 Pet 3:7) and co-laborers with Christ. Who are some of the women in the New Testament on whom the Lord particularly confers this honor? Read more

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