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In 1771, John Wesley received a remarkable letter from devout Methodist convert Mary Bosanquet (1739–1815). With her friends Sarah Crosby (1729–1804) and Sarah Ryan (1724–1768), Bosanquet had been running an orphanage and leading the small-group Methodist gatherings for spiritual growth that Wesley termed “class meetings.” Crosby had in fact been speaking to groups sometimes numbering in the hundreds — though Wesley would not let her call her spiritual testimony “preaching.” Bosanquet too had been leading class meetings, and been criticized for doing it. Read more
As women ministers, evangelists, and preachers began flooding urban, rural, and global mission fields in the 19th century, Christians started to question assumptions about the inferiority of both women and slaves. They did so from a thorough examination of Scripture. These early evangelicals — many of whom were founders of Bible institutes — insisted that gospel values must triumph over cultural values, especially regarding the gifts God has given all people for Kingdom work.  Read more
The Trail of Tears (1838–1839) culminated in the relocation of over 20,000 Cherokee Indians from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina to northeastern Oklahoma. Estimates are that 4,000 Cherokee men, women, and children died during this journey.  Read more
Is it difficult to take Priscilla Papers to the beach? Not exactly light summer reading? Maybe not, but this issue introduces you to an interesting collection of individuals, any of whose stories would make some novels pale in comparison. Each in her or his own way, some intentionally, and some not, has made a lasting contribution to the egalitarian thought of our authors as they lived lives so remarkable that they have, in their own sphere, become significant figures of history and, in some cases, of legend. Read more
A popular question has been posed for a while now in contemporary American society: “What would Jesus do?” The theology behind the question suggests that, perhaps, in the absence of explicit teaching, or as further explanation thereof, if one were to discern how Jesus reacts or handles a situation, because of the utter consistency of Jesus’s character and mission, one might find instruction for how to do likewise in one’s own life. It is based on the simple call and invitation that Jesus gives to his disciples: “Follow me” (e.g., Matt 4:19; Mark 2:14; Luke 9:59; John 1:43). Jesus proclaims good news: the kingdom of God is at hand. And, with that, a new world order is established. Those who follow him are called to demonstrate and embody the values, tenets, and principles of the kingdom. His followers often represent those who, transformed by the healing and restorative ministry of Jesus, then choose to commit their own lives to faithful service of Jesus Christ. These followers are also known as disciples. They not only learn the teachings of Jesus, but also fully embrace his teachings by applying them in their daily walk. Read more
Louisa Woosley was the first Presbyterian woman to be ordained. Woosley’s life coincided with a time of increasing participation by female leadership in the Cumberland Presbyterian (CP) Church, the denomination to which she belonged.1 During the late 1800s, women in CP churches were serving as teachers and officers in the Sunday schools and contributed greatly to missions efforts and to church schools and colleges. In 1877, the appointment of women serving as trustees and deacons in churches was approved by the Pennsylvania Presbytery. This decision was rather low key and noncontroversial, unlike the issue of women as elders or ministers. Read more
M. Madeline Southard (1877–1967) is known among Methodists today for her pioneering work for ecclesiastical rights for women, particularly for the pivotal role she played in the 1920s in opening up ordination to women in the Methodist Church.1 Among religious historians, she is known for founding the International Association of Women Ministers (IAWM) in 1919, an interdenominational organization that, by the 1920s, included around 10 percent of female ministers in America, and which continues to this day.2 Southard also achieved a certain notoriety in her younger years, when she accompanied the infamous Carry Nation on one of her saloon-smashing crusades, and later when she traveled the country preaching and speaking on women’s rights, suffrage, and sexuality from a biblical perspective.3   Read more
Forefoot, arch, then ball are held steamy in the moist cloth,  held with both hands by a woman in Oregon caring for a homeless man,  now shaved and fed. Read more
Instead of giving yet another argument, let us consider the matter of strategy. I am both a jazz lover and evangelical egalitarian. As I was preparing a talk to the Denver chapter of Christians for Biblical Equality, it came to me that the approach to race taken by composer, big-band leader, and pianist Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899–1974) has much to teach egalitarians on how to shape a rhetoric that fits our difficult and often vexing cause. The man who was arguably America’s greatest composer and unarguably its superlative band leader may also be a model for many of us weary of the effort to show that women are, after all, fully human—with all the gifts, responsibilities, and woes that involves. Duke Ellington, the musical hero, may be, in addition, a rhetorical hero worthy of emulation by emissaries of egalitarianism.3 The argument is one of analogy. Although Duke Ellington did not directly take up the case of women’s rights, his approach to race exhibited virtues, values, and strategies that are felicitous for contemporary egalitarians.    Read more
She holds His shoes in her hands. They are worn shoes, but the only clothes not stolen by Romans and priests and elders and everyone else who always wanted a piece of Him. But they cannot have Read more

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