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In the fifth chapter of John’s gospel, the Jewish leaders accuse Jesus of “making himself equal to God.” Today, a woman who assumes a position of ordained leadership in the Church may be accused of “making herself equal to men.” Although most Christians agree that men and women are spiritually equal before God, some nevertheless insist that women are subordinate to men in function in the home and in the Church. In order to codify the functional subordination of women biblically, some scholars who support hierarchy in male/female relationships use what they claim to be the subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity as a divinely inspired model of male-female relationships. Read more
In 1930, a young woman named Gladys Aylward left the suburbs of London and set out for China, convicted that she was meant to preach the gospel to the people of this remote land. Rejected by the China Inland Mission because her “advanced age” of 28 made her too old to learn Chinese, she headed for the mission field entirely without support. Her resources were a meager two pounds nine pence, far short of the ship fare of the time, so her journey encompassed train, boat, bus, and mule before she finally arrived in the city of Yangchen in a mountainous region just south of present-day Beijing. Read more
October 14, 2003, marked the 30th anniversary of my ordination as a minister or teaching elder in the Presbyterian church. Before I was ordained, I researched 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and eventually had my revised research published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (Fall, 1974) and as a chapter in Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry (1985). Since that time, scholarly research has progressed to the point that today complementarians agree that to learn in silence is a positive virtue for all Christians (1 Tim. 2:11), women as well as men can pray and prophesy publicly, men and women are made equally in God’s image, women are not submissive to all men, in Ephesus women were in some way promulgating the heresy, Adam was with Eve during the temptation, and Paul used an analogy between Eve and the women at Ephesus. Read more
By the time Jesus came into Galilee preaching and healing, the Israelites had been in exile over six hundred years. Jeremiah had promised that it would only be seventy years. Seventy years away from the land. Seventy years without the temple. Seventy years to contemplate their sins and bemoan their losses. Seventy years to reconnect with their God. And they had gotten back to the land. They had rebuilt the temple. They made sacrifices. They celebrated holidays once again. But it wasn’t what they expected. The glorious prophecies of Isaiah concerning the return from exile seemed to mock their present reality. It seemed to many people in Israel that the exile had been extended from seventy to nearly seven hundred years. Some Jews had begun to wonder if it would ever end! Read more
Two hundred years before Martin Luther’s reformation, a woman now known as St. Bridget of Sweden (1302-1373) challenged wayward kings, priests, and popes, calling them to repentance. As a young woman married to a nobleman, she dedicated herself to prayer and service to the poor and sick, even as she mothered eight children and served as a lady-in-waiting to the queen. (The royals remained fond of Bridget even as they ignored her pleas for moral and legal reform.) Read more
In the late 1880s, large amounts of papyri were discovered in separate finds. These affected New Testament scholarship to such a degree that scholars labeled the finds “sensational” and “dramatic.” The papyri were written at the time of the New Testament, and touched upon all aspects of life, comprising everyday private letters from ordinary people, contracts of marriage and divorce, tax papers, official decrees, birth and death notices, and business documents. Prior to this discovery, the meanings of numerous New Testament words had remained unknown, and the translators had simply made educated guesses. Read more
In Creation, God made man and woman equal in dignity and status, giving authority and dominion over creation to both (Gen. 1:27-28). They are male and female, differentiated by divine act, yet equal in essence/nature/being and in authority. Read more
This study on the prophetess Huldah as found in 2 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 34 will include a background study of prophets and prophecy of the Old Testament. This study will include a general definition and role of a prophet as nabi and prophetess as nebiah. Other prophetic roles such as roeh and hozeh (seer) will not be included. Also, there is a short study on the message of the prophet and how a true or false prophet is discerned. Read more
Both sides in the current debate over the role of women in the church appeal to the Bible to support their positions. Those who feel that there should be no restrictions on women’s ministries appeal to examples found throughout the Scriptures of women serving faithfully and effectively as prophets, judges, apostles, teachers, and in countless other roles of leadership and service. Those who believe that some roles must be reserved for men typically appeal, on the other hand, to three passages found in Paul’s writings: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, and 1 Timothy 2:8-15. Even if one agrees with a restrictive reading of these passages, one must, however, also acknowledge that each presents numerous textual, translational, and interpretive problems. All who turn to the Bible for ethical guidance should therefore be concerned with the solution of these problems so that the Bible’s teaching might be more clearly understood and the entire church benefit. Read more
Following is the response of Japanese Baptist women to recent actions of the Southern Baptist Convention concerning the role of women in that denomination. It was made available to Priscilla Papers by Joe E. Trull, who, as a former trustee of the sbc mission board, understands their dilemma well. He says he has seen evidences of the problem first-hand in a visit to the Baptist seminary in Buenos Aires. Read more

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