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Authority is a word bearing power and pointing to the most fundamental issue in ordered human life. Among the words associated with Christian relationships and leadership, authority (Gr: exousia) is the most problematic. Encumbered with social and cultural weight, the parameters of authority become blurred when introduced into New Testament ecclesiology. But the greatest peril lurks when gender is identified with authority and incorporated into hierarchical models for Christian relationships. Read more
When I was five, my grandfather gave me a fishing rod. I practiced casting my line for hours in our long, skinny back yard using a rubber practice sinker. When a friend offered to take me fishing, I caught my first fish: a round, orange and yellow sunfish called a pumpkinseed. I admired its beautiful colors, then carefully smoothed down the spiny dorsal fin and removed the hook. As the pumpkinseed swam away, I wondered if it knew a few moments earlier I’d held its life in my hands. Read more
As I walked out the church door that late summer Sunday morning, my heart was crushed and the tears flowed. This had been a special place where I had grown in my relationship to Christ, developed valued friendships and committed myself to serve. How did it come to this? Read more
Karen teaches adult education in her church. Her classes are exciting. Despite her denomination’s support of gift-based roles for men and women, she is frequently questioned and criticized by a few who challenge — not the fruits of her labor, but whether women should even be fruitful. The more she tries to persuade her critics, the more weighed down she feels. Read more
“Let them come after me,” said Tiger Woods about his competitors when interviewed as to his strategy on holding his 12-point lead at the U.S. Open last summer. “I don’t plan on going to them.” That’s how I feel as a woman: confident in the scriptural knowledge of who I am. Read more
“Delighted” would accurately describe my reaction to discovering Christians for Biblical Equality. I’m a man who knows something about marginalization and alienation — two themes central to CBE’s concerns. Read more
When I reflect on my childhood and young adulthood, it’s not difficult to see why I struggled to understand God’s intent for gender roles. I was surrounded by mixed gender messages from my denomination, my family and my Christian college. Read more
Priscilla Papers thought it would be helpful in this discussion of the Southern Baptist Convention and women to ask for her perspective on issues that are related to the recent changes to SBC faith statements. Read more
The only church life I have known has been Baptist. My early rearing was in an SBC-related church. Mine was a conservative church upbringing; I was given a Scofield Reference Bible when I was ordained. Read more
Historically, Baptists have pretty well reflected culture on this issue as they did on the race issue. Baptist women, as in most denominations, are vital to the church. Nevertheless, they have been pretty much relegated to a secondary role, To some degree, the movements of the late 1800s and 1900s gave more freedom to Baptist women, though—being mainly in the South—the Abolishionist movement affected Baptists less than the rest of the culture. Read more

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