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Those of us who defend women in ministry are used to making careful biblical and theological cases, wrestling with the difficult texts as well as the occasional difficult person. We are used to listening earnestly to people who argue against women in ministry with furrowed brows and trembling chins. We aspire to be thoughtful, reasoned, and respectful because, Lord knows, we don’t want to make things any harder for women in ministry. Secretly most of us, I suspect, are sick of this circumspection and caution. For even with all our care we are frequently accused of “cramming women in ministry down our throats.” Read more
Before the nineteenth century, a Chinese woman’s life was wrapped around three men: father, husband, and son. The famous “Three Submissions” taught that a woman should follow and obey her father while still young, her husband after marriage, and her eldest son when widowed. “A woman married is like a horse bought; you can ride it or flog it as you like,” says a Chinese proverb. Widows with no sons could not inherit property; sons alone could continue the family lineage and fulfill the duties of ancestral worship. Sons stayed within the family and worked for the honor and prosperity of the family. In contrast, daughters were money-losing goods. In desperate times they were the ones to be sold, abandoned, or even drowned—but never the sons. Read more
Forbes now is in secular academia, teaching rhetoric in writing, and she's turned her research attention to selected women who have unwittingly wielded a great deal of influence if not power, particularly in the twentieth century: devotional writers or compilers, principally a woman known for decades as Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman and the earlier Mary Wilder Tileston, compiler of the 1884 book of 365 dated readings, Daily Strength for Daily Needs (still in print). Read more
This is a question frequently asked by some Christians who belong to some branches of Pentecostalism. The teaching about “male covering” for women is rarely found outside of these groups and has never been accepted by the vast majority of evangelical Christians. Read more
We are most aware of inner peace—its presence or its lack—in the midst of trial. I expect that was true for Frances Ridley Havergal. A prolific British hymn writer, Havergal created poetic texts for the glory of God, but she also saw writing as her profession and livelihood. With great hopes of reaching a new market, she had signed a contract with an American publisher, but in January 1874 she received devastating news. Read more
The Christian egalitarian woman is in a difficult position. If she truly believes God calls women to engage in the same types of ministries and offices of the church in which men engage, and if she is also committed to living a life that reflects God’s character, she is faced with a quandary. Read more
Only by the grace of God, say Russ and Amy Jacks Dean, has their dream come true. It’s the same for Mark and Mary Driskill, for Bill and Mary Dell Sigler and for Steve and Carla Street as they pioneer a new model of ministry for many churches: married couples serving together as pastors. Read more
It’s not what most pastor search committees are looking for when they begin: a husband and wife who want to be joint, equal pastors of the same congregation. Yet, it is proving to be a successful model — both for the churches who take the risk and for the couples willing to work to make it happen. Read more
The ship was making her way back home from the various and exotic ports of call as the chaplain reclined comfortably on the sunny deck, absorbing the warmth from the gulf breezes that gently blew across the bow. It was a wonderful time of reflection as the chaplain recalled the blessings of the week. Read more
History—at least official history—is always written by the winners. For some time, the advocates of an institutional, hierarchical, orderly, and preeminently masculine vision of the church have undoubtedly been the winners, and they have been permitted to frame the discussion. Read more

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