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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
What a joy it was to be around Cathie! We met seldom, and it was always too short. She had so much information and so many new ideas and insights to share that there was never enough time to do all the discussing we wanted to do. And, underneath the intellectual excitement of learning more about our faith, Cathie always had a related concern for the wellbeing of others. Read more
If you were blessed enough to attend one of the many memorial services honoring the life and legacy of Catherine Clark Kroeger (1925–2011), you undoubtedly caught a glimpse of a Christian leader whose prodigious ministries touched the lives of thousands. Family members, foster children, friends, colleagues, and members of the community remembered how Cathie’s faith directed her copious talents and energy. Cathie gave of herself on behalf of others, not only through the ministries she inaugurated, including Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) and Peace and Safety in the Christian Home (PASCH), but also through her church, denomination, neighborhoods, and academic societies. At the service I attended in St. Paul, Minnesota, it was abundantly clear that we were commemorating a leader who stands as part of a unique evangelical tradition. Cathie embodied the evangelical belief that God speaks through Scripture, that the cross redeems all of life, and that we are called to live out vigorously our reconciliation with God and others in word and deed. Cathie’s utter devotion to these theological ideals places her beside evangelicals such as Pandita Ramabai, Frances Willard, and Katharine Bushnell. Read more
Christians for Biblical Equality’s founder, Catherine Clark Kroeger, was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She defined the words “can do.” Read more
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