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The conclusion of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome includes his most extensive catalog of coworkers. In addition to Paul himself, the chapter mentions thirty-seven specific individuals, ten of them women. At the head of this list stands Phoebe: Read more
One’s ontology of gender underlies both hermeneutic precedence and exegetical considerations. Is human nature divided into two kinds, male and female, or is it a single nature, shared by males and females? The answers to this question drive hierarchist and egalitarian hermeneutics and exegesis. Read more
As one might expect, much of the research in the area of wife abuse has been done by feminists, some of whom themselves have been victims of wife beating. They speak with an understandable bitterness and anger toward a society so insensitive that it only publicly acknowledged the plight of battered women decades after having established laws to prohibit the abuse of animals. And often they have given up on the hope that change will come through social institutions such as the church. Rather than seeing the church as part of the solution to the abuse of women, they almost unanimously perceive the church as a big part of the problem. Read more
Like many women in the church today, I wear several hats: wife, mother, and professional. And, even though I find support for those roles within my own church, I am discovering that my experience is rare and that what women and men should do about family, work, sex roles and raising children is a heated issue. There seem to be two camps vying for our allegiance today – the pro-family movement and feminism. And according to some, a Christian can’t be both pro-family and feminist. Read more
The issue of women in the ministry divides evangelicals. This article, however, looks at the issue in light of the Garden of Eden. There God made man and woman, and pressed them into his service. In Eden we glimpse the larger purposes of God for humankind. These glimpses offer the framework within which the debate about the specific roles for men and women in the Christian ministry must take place. Read more
In commemoration of the hundred and fortieth anniversary of the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, we offer a bill of rights for evangelical and conservative people who seek to live out the spirit of Galatians 3:28. Read more
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

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