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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
The debate over biblical teaching on gender roles has focused primarily on the exegetical intricacies of a handful of controversial texts, with neither side able to answer completely every objection or difficulty with their position. After more than two decades, it seems clear that this approach is not exactly moving the discussion toward resolution. Perhaps there are other perspectives from which this disagreement may be assessed more productively. Read more
In the summer of 1998, when the Reverend Kay Ward was elected as the first female bishop in the very conservative Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America, she stated: We never know what will happen when men, clearly led by God’s inclusive Spirit, choose to break open tightly bound fists of power and authority. And so I understand that [my election to bishop] takes place in a much wider context, a much longer journey. Read more
In the early 1800s, Texas was frontier territory. As one historian noted, settlers believed “Indians were to be killed, African Americans were to be enslaved, and Hispanics were to be avoided.” In the 1830s these “Texicans” built a Baptist church at Independence that had two doors: one for white males and the other for “women and other creatures.” Read more
As a translator of the Old Testament and member of several NIV teams, I’ve had many opportunities to protest against the use of sexist language wherever ‘adam or ben- ‘adam is generic and clearly refers to both men and women. For example, in the Creation account, “He created man (‘adam) in his own image… male and female, he created them” (1:26-27), ‘adam should read either “the human race” or “people.” The same is probably true for Genesis 2:5, 3:21, 5:1 and 6:3. Certainly the ‘adam in Psalm 8:4 deserves to be rendered “human beings” or “men and women.” Read more
“This is not a gender matter, it’s a language matter.” Professor Jimmy Duke speaks for many in his comments on translations (Saint Paul Pioneer, June, 1997:4D). I beg to disagree. As a professor of New Testament who has served on several translation committees, and as a woman, I propose that the May 27 “Guidelines for Translation” released from Focus on the Family’s headquarters in Colorado Springs are solely “a gender matter.” Read more
Perhaps some of you have heard or read of Luther’s theology on the Christian in the world and his idea of the dual kingdoms of church and state. I’ve come to believe that a Christian woman in academe is embedded in more than a duality of kingdoms, but a plurality. In this article, I would like to define these worlds or kingdoms as follows: 1) The Kingdom of the Evangelical Church, 2) The Kingdom of our Patriarchal Society, 3) The Kingdom of Feminist Culture and Theory: Those who “Get it”, and 4) The Kingdom of Academe. Read more
Many people are aware that women's wider opportunities to use their leadership gifts in both society and the church are due primarily to the efforts of women's movement—a feminist movement that began in this country in the mid-eighteen hundreds and was closely allied with the abolitionist movement. Yet as Christian women confront the complex (and often negative) baggage carried by the word "feminist" today, these women can often feel ill-equipped to sort out the many social and theological issues regarding women's roles. Read more
One of the major discoveries in the field of community development during the last 10 years is the critical importance of women to the development process. The feminization of poverty is in arguable. Women and girl-children repeatedly pay the highest price for being poor. They get less food, less health care, and less education. Yet they do most of the agricultural work, maintain the family, and rear the children. Read more
The scandal of the evangelical mind, Mark Noll tells us, “is that there is not much of an evangelical mind” (p.3). The reasons he lists for this are many, and include evangelical over-emphasis on the emotionally-charged experience of conversion, an overly-populist approach to evangelism, a preoccupation with personal sanctification to the exclusion of concern for creation, for society, and for the institutions represented therein, and a fortress mentality left over from the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early twentieth century. The minimal intellectual life that has survived in fundamentalism — affecting evangelicalism by association — has relied on an uncritical retention of nineteenth century “common sense” epistemology, with its reliance on intuition, its naive confidence in the existence of indisputable facts, and its appeal to Baconian inductivism as the route to sure truth in science and theology alike. Read more

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