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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
Remember praying to Howard as a child? Yes, that’s right: “Our Father, whose art’s in heaven, Howard be thy name.” I still think God’s art really is in heaven (or at least some of it), but the name of God I know now is a more glorious one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Most children think of God as a kind of old grandpa in the sky. One hopes, however, that with age has come a greater wisdom about the nature of our living, infinite, loving Creator. Read more
John Stuart Mill was a Victorian political and social philosopher. He received a unique and rigorous education starting at the age of three when he learned Greek and went on to be lauded as the first great interdisciplinary mind of the modern world. His most famous works are his Autobiography, Utilitarianism, and On Liberty. Utilitarianism is Mill’s statement of Utilitarian ethics, the principle of which is that the right action is that action which will tend to increase happiness and decrease un-happiness. By happiness Mill means pleasure, both physical and mental, and by unhappiness, pain. Mill’s goal was a collectivist one, the improvement of society. Read more
Dear Pastor Smith: The debate within the body of Christ on the topic of women’s identity and role has often been cast as a battle between traditionalists ardently defending biblical truth and their critics who would, either by design or by ignorance, loosen the church from its biblical moorings in order to promote a foreign agenda. In truth, for many of us, our unease with the traditional position has nothing to do with being swayed by modern liberation movements; rather, our unease is a response to the weaknesses within the traditional position itself. Read more
Snow covered the ground of the still sleeping German town as I trudged toward the chapel. Stepping swiftly, more from fear than from cold, I arrived safely at my destination: a beautiful, gray stone church built nearly 200 years ago. It was the United States Army’s Community Chapel in Aschaffenburg, Germany. Read more
Those of us who defend women in ministry are used to making careful biblical and theological cases, wrestling with the difficult texts as well as the occasional difficult person. We are used to listening earnestly to people who argue against women in ministry with furrowed brows and trembling chins. We aspire to be thoughtful, reasoned, and respectful because, Lord knows, we don’t want to make things any harder for women in ministry. Secretly most of us, I suspect, are sick of this circumspection and caution. For even with all our care we are frequently accused of “cramming women in ministry down our throats.” Read more
This is a question frequently asked by some Christians who belong to some branches of Pentecostalism. The teaching about “male covering” for women is rarely found outside of these groups and has never been accepted by the vast majority of evangelical Christians. Read more
The Christian egalitarian woman is in a difficult position. If she truly believes God calls women to engage in the same types of ministries and offices of the church in which men engage, and if she is also committed to living a life that reflects God’s character, she is faced with a quandary. Read more
Only by the grace of God, say Russ and Amy Jacks Dean, has their dream come true. It’s the same for Mark and Mary Driskill, for Bill and Mary Dell Sigler and for Steve and Carla Street as they pioneer a new model of ministry for many churches: married couples serving together as pastors. Read more

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