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Late in 1981 I dug up one of Ellul’s early articles from the Protestant weekly Réforme: ‘La Femmes et les esprits’ (Women and the spirits)1 and found what we expect when we know Ellul: a maddening mixture of apparently reactionary views and revolutionary ideas. He maintained that, although a woman’s spiritual destiny resembles a man’s, her spiritual nature and her spiritual adventure differ from his. Although, as we shall see, many feminists would find the role that Ellul suggests for women in his current view utterly sexist, he maintains their superiority. Indeed, as he said to me in 1981, he believes that women and women’s values hold out the only hope for our world. Read more
Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life;” and from this biblical concept feminists must look at life and its fulfillment. The Holy Spirit was poured out for ministry; Jesus began after the endument on Him (Luke 4:1). Jesus broke the last barrier of separation that had been imposed on women by tradition. The Holy Spirit baptized women like men and for the exact same purpose as men: they were baptized for service and ministry. Read more
Come and go with me to a Navajo camp about 20 miles away. It can easily take one and a half hours. We will go in a truck because deep irregular ruts and wide deep mud holes or ponds will require a good engine. Our driver is a woman – a missionary who has made this daring trip dozens of times. Shortly after leaving the mission compound, we encounter a “wash.” Winding down the steep sandy road, we wonder if the wash will be running. If so we will ford the “river” if its depth permits. Of course, if the water depth is more than two feet, the flow will be too swift and we will turn back. More than one life has been lost to the violent waters of a treacherous wash. Read more
Ephesians 5:15-6:9 is a Haustafel (a table of household duties) and is the central passage for Pauline teaching on Christian marriage. The passage, along with its reduced parallel in Colossians, is well known by persons of all persuasions on the issue of the relationship between wives and husbands. Often used in wedding ceremonies, these verses are home to the traditionalists and to biblical feminists as well. (Unfortunately, secular writers such as Bullough 1 see only subordination in this passage.) Hazards exist for us any time we approach a familiar, well-worn passage of Scripture. The mind and heart can wander down familiar ruts and miss the beauty of sauntering down different parts of the pathway. It is the thesis of this paper that we need a fresh look at these verses. While volumes could be written on the deep truths found here, we will limit ourselves to looking freshly at issues of the text, issues of the context, the need for new terminology, and ramifications of the passage. Read more
To our great surprise, our first president, beloved leader, and founder of Christians for Biblical Equality, Dr. Catherine Clark Kroeger, contracted pneumonia and died suddenly on Monday, February 14, 2011. If you are like me, you may find this news entirely out of character with Cathie. For so many of us, Cathie was the embodiment of unsinkable human vitality. Read more
In his classic study The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, the great archaeologist William M. Ramsay noted that “women-prophets were a feature of the Christianity of Anatolia”—the ancient name for what is generally Turkey today, but which, in New Testament times, included so many of the churches we read about, including the seven churches of Revelation. In fact, so prominent were women with this gift that the name “Prophetilla” was found on an inscription from this region and may actually be a unique Christian term created to designate a female prophet. Since “there is nothing to mark this inscription as later than 200,” one wonders what happened to this flourishing and noted “feature” of early Christianity. Ramsay’s next observation explains that prophesying women were “in the Catholic church before the latter part of the second century, and in the Montanist Church even after that time.”1 Read more
Each drop of blood on the road to Golgotha was matched with a thousand tears of mine. I, who held Christmas in my body, saw Him carry the tree and decorate it dank with blood, dark with death. Oh, the carols he sighed. “Father Forgive Them.” “I Thirst.” “Son, Behold Your Mother.” What Father would forgive? What gall could quench that Voice? What Son could give his mother away on that God forsaken hill? And then, Hallelujah Chorus: “It Is Finished!” I gave up the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present with one vast, vacant, virulent voice wailing, “No! Oh God on earth, no!” I stood like a tree in a forest fire, my limbs flaming, my bones charred and breaking, my words robbed of oxygen by the presence of Hell ripped open, exposed by nailed Hands; by lifeless hands devoid of Yet-To-Come. Read more
In Saint Paul, Minnesota, during the 1970s, the first shelter in the nation opened “for battered women,” a phrase I had never heard before. This was not all that was happening in the city. Read more
Like many who knew her, I was shocked to hear the news of Cathie Kroeger’s death. She had an indomitable spirit and as much energy for life as anyone I have ever met. She was one of those rare people who possessed a contagious enthusiasm and passion for teaching, combined with an admirable ability to focus and produce substantial amounts of scholarship. And all this was done in the midst of a dizzying array of commitments, both academic and personal. It never occurred to me that Cathie would one day be gone, at least not without the intervention of an Elijah-like chariot of fire. There are many things that could be said about Cathie, but here I will focus my comments on my experience of her as a teacher and scholar of early Christianity. Read more
I met Catherine Clark Kroeger over a ball of yarn, so to speak. The year was 1996. We had both been invited to a think tank on abuse. At the opening event, the twenty or so women present introduced themselves with a sentence or two and threw a ball of yarn to another woman who would then take her turn. As personal introductions were made by one woman after another, a web began to form in the midst of our circle. We were knitted together—the twenty of us present—by our interest in helping the Christian church wake up to the reality of abuse in our midst. I introduced myself as an evangelical by persuasion and a social scientist by vocation; I think I said something about teaching at a secular university and researching issues of abuse in families of faith. At the first break that followed our web-making, Cathie marched over to me, smiled broadly, and said in words I will never forget, “We need to work together!” And her words came to pass. Read more

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