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We have often heard sermons on the story of Peter’s three denials followed by Jesus’ three questions to him. Somewhere on a gravelly beach of Galilee, Jesus spoke with Peter: “Do you love Me? . . . Feed My sheep.” Nowhere does Scripture explain to us that the disciple’s three admissions, “Lord, You know that I love You,” allowed Peter to be fully restored to fellowship with Jesus. But the idea fits. We can read the message between the lines. We like it, and we use it as one proof text that God forgives and restores those who love him even after failing him. Read more
I was very pleasantly surprised and honored when Mimi Haddad asked me to serve as guest co-editor of the twentieth anniversary edition of Priscilla Papers. Though I have been writing on the emancipation of women in the life of the church and the home for thirty years. My unchanging goal has been to contribute to the development of a coherent, holistically biblical theology of the sexes that grants to men and women the same dignity and the same freedom to use God-given gifts of leadership. This biblical theology conceives of marriage as a partnership in self-giving agape love, yet never forgets that God has made us men and women to complement and enrich each other’s lives. Read more
Perhaps the best way to appreciate the significance of Beyond Sex Roles, now re-published  in a third edition, is to recall the historical context of the mid-1980s in which it was first written. The modern biblical equality movement was still in its infancy . . . Already back in the 1980s Bilezikian was drawing us into this hopeful and compelling vision. . .the book . . .  is infused with the conviction that Christ was, and by his Spirit still is, dismantling all the vertical structures of power and oppression in fallen human society, in order to make way for one new, liberating and inclusive community of God. For these and other reasons, this book has my vote for the CBE version of Cooperstown. Read more
First, some preliminary remarks about this sort of debate. I have read through some of CBE’s literature with great interest, but also with a sense that the way particular questions are posed and addressed reflects some particular American subcultures. I know a little about those subcultures—for instance, the battles over new Bible translations, some using inclusive language and others not. In my own church, the main resistance against equality in ministry comes, not so much from within the Evangelical right (though there is of course a significant element there), but from within the traditional Anglo-Catholic movement for whom Scripture has never been the central point of the argument, and indeed is often ignored altogether. Read more
The sixteenth chapter of Romans was treated as a detachable unit at least as early as the second century, showing that some considered it to be a tagalong compared with the rest of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The oldest surviving manuscript of Romans, Chester Beatty Papyrus II, also known as Π, dating from the early third century, places the benediction of 16:25-27 between 15:33 and chapter 16. This leads some textual critics to conclude that Π46 had an antecedent that ended at chapter 15, since the final benediction was shifted to the end of that chapter. T. W. Manson went so far as to suggest that Paul’s original letter ended at chapter 15, and that what we call chapter 16 was added to a copy of the Roman letter and sent to Ephesus. When textual critics compare Π with other early manuscripts of Romans, there is clear evidence that in the second century, if not before, a fourteen-chapter version of the letter once circulated, composed of 1:1-14:23 plus 16:25-27. In this version, the final two chapters, which were tied to the circumstances in Paul’s life and the specific addressees of the letter, as well as the destination phrases (“in Rome”) in 1:7, 15, were omitted in order to make the letter more relevant for the church at large. Read more
Since the middle of the twentieth century there has been an ongoing, sometimes acrimonious debate over the meaning of “head” (Greek, kephalē) in Paul’s letters, especially 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23. The literature is extensive. The debate continues, but few have taken the time to read all the significant discussions or have access to the actual articles, much less the resources to critique such. This article is an attempt to review the most significant scholarly literature that has emerged in the debate and to summarize each without critique. The focus is narrow and should not be taken as a meta-study of the whole debate on male and female relations in the church, home, and world. Read more
The Bible teaches that God created man and woman subordinate to God, spiritually and socially equal to each other, and entrusted to care for creation. However, man and woman were not content with this God-ordained order; they wanted power over God. In an act of deliberate disobedience, they replaced God with self, a choice that separated them from God and from each other. God’s redemptive plan is to restore human beings to a new relationship with God and with each other, referred to in this essay as right relationships. What are right relationships? How should Christians living under God’s reign endeavor to treat others all day every day? Read more
I still wonder how it could have happened. During the twenty years that Priscilla Papers has been publishing, opponents of biblical equality have become so enamored with the idea of subordination that they want to make it part of God. I would not have believed it until I encountered the work of Kevin Giles, an Australian Anglican priest who is the most articulate critic of this strange development. In his new book, Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan, 2006), Giles shows how a whole generation of conservative evangelicals has embraced a new-fangled version of the ancient Trinitarian heresy of subordinationism. They do not hide their motives. They are determined to see in God what they wish to see in humanity: a subordination of role or function that does not compromise (they insist) an essential equality of being. Therefore, they teach that just as woman is created equal to man but has a subordinate role at home and in church, so the Son of God is coequal with the Father in being or essence but has a subordinate role in the work of salvation and in all eternity. They even think—quite mistakenly, as Giles shows—that this is what the Bible and Christian orthodoxy have always taught. Read more
For nearly two thousand years, an elegant country villa lay buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79. Located some three miles from Pompeii, the Villa Oplontis escaped the attention of archaeologists until the beginning of excavations in the last part of the twentieth century. Read more
C. F. D. Moule wrote that the problems raised by 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 “still await a really convincing explanation.” G. B. Caird added, “It can hardly be said that the passage has yet surrendered its secret.” W. Meeks regarded it as “one of the most obscure passages in the Pauline letters.” Read more

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