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When I speak on the topic of biblical equality, I look out at the audience and wonder why each person has chosen to come. Some may be women who feel restricted in their church circles and not given opportunity to use their gifts, who hope to find help. Some may be men who want to understand more clearly the biblical basis for God’s view on gender and who need help in being able to give an answer to the many who hold a gender bias. Others may be women seeking guidance on how to juggle home, family, and marriage responsibilities more effectively with their church or business leadership positions. Read more
Every Christian knows that Jesus Christ’s “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:19 has been the motivation for his people launching out across the world and discipling all who respond to the good news of salvation since our Lord began the church. What many Christians do not know, however, is that an entire theology of God is present in this great epic statement. And a summary of our way of life and our hopes of glory are all here too. Read more
I am made differently from you. I have something inside of me you do not have, and can never have unless you hold me. Because of that tiny cradle of muscle and blood, I can sing to a baby before a baby is born and the baby will hear me. I am made differently from you. There is always a place in me waiting for new life to take root and grow. Eternity shines through the belly of mortality, the placenta of light shines, the cord of life thickens, and the baby begins water-dancing. I am made differently from you. The echo of life sings against your heart— memory in a bony rib. Read more
By the time he wrote the letter we call 1 Corinthians, Paul was obviously becoming exasperated with the saints at Corinth. After his ever cordial and didactic greetings—reminding them that their calling and sanctification in the Lord is not unique to them, but it is a privilege that they share with other Christians everywhere (1 Cor 1:2)—he starts right in on what he sees is wrong with them. But, before he does that, he shares some words of encouragement, nourishing his students with a kind of pedagogical sandwich, as every good teacher will, mentioning something positive, then the negative that needs correction, then ending with a positive, encouraging appeal, urging the students to do better in the future. Read more
When we say, “We are persuaded from Scripture that masculinity and femininity are rooted in who we are by nature,”1 what do we mean by “nature”? How do we relate our view of nature to our understanding of the role of women? In this article, I will examine how John Calvin, to whom contemporary Reformed churches owe so much for their confessions and practices, used the argument from nature to understand the role of women as different from that of men. Read more
As unwitting children of the Enlightenment, we seem to have a Tower of Babel–like craving for absolute certainty. And so both sides in the debate recruit biologists and social scientists as latter-day natural theologians who are supposed to help close the theological gaps by telling us, from a “scientific” perspective, what gender complementarity “really is.” Thus, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (RBMW)1 has chapters on biology, psychology, and sociology, and Discovering Biblical Equality (DBE)2 has chapters written or cowritten by therapists, a sociologist, and an academic psychologist.3 But as an academic psychologist and gender studies scholar who did not contribute to either volume, I am now going to try to explain (not for the first time)4 why this is a misguided exercise. My basic points are these: Read more
Pardon this mother, sir, but I’m not leaving. Most people seem to think He came to the world looking like that: a grown thirty-three-year-old man with a mission to accomplish. Well, it wasn’t like that. Read more
No synoptic gospel mentions more about females than Luke. Alfred Plummer referred to Luke’s gospel as the “Gospel of Women.”1 Half of Luke’s gospel is found nowhere in Matthew and Mark, and this includes some accounts and insight about Jesus’s interactions with women. Read more
The woman taught once, and ruined all. – John Chrysostom1 First Timothy 2:9–15 is a difficult passage to interpret, and there are many opinions about appropriate meanings and applications. In the middle of the passage, however, is one verse that has been referenced throughout the history of the church as a clear mandate to restrict women from teaching, leading, or even speaking during worship gatherings: Read more
Several years ago, a book that I edited appeared in print under the title Jesus and Paul Reconnected: Fresh Pathways into an Old Debate.1 In that volume, six noted New Testament scholars (John M. G. Barclay, Markus Bockmuehl, Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Bruce Longenecker, Francis Watson, and Stephen Westerholm) compared various aspects of Jesus’s thought and practice to those of Paul. One comparison not explored there that I will address in this article pertains to the views of Jesus and Paul with respect to the role of women in ministry and mission. Read more

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