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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
One of the things that led me to my subject was a promise I made to a pastor from Florida whom I met while at Oxford. His church struggles with a biblical basis for women in leadership roles. The church has female deacons and women in other positions of leadership in the church, but as often happens, he was being challenged with some regularity to give a biblical justification for this. We had several lengthy conversations on the subject, and he later asked me to write up for him the essence of our conversations. I readily agreed to do so once I got back to my office and personal library and had some time to give the matter serious thought. Read more
If I had to list five things for which I am most thankful, I would fill in one of the blanks with the word family. It’s hard for me to imagine what life is like for my friend Carla, who has no children, husband, or siblings, and whose parents are dead. In contrast to her, I’m blessed with a large extended family, yet like her, I’m not married and I’m not part of a nuclear family. Read more
People familiar with the debates about gender issues know how universally the patriarchalist position defines and applies the Greek word kephale as “authority” and “leader.” The word kephale is literally the anatomical component of the head, but commonly used metaphorically throughout literature and language. Read more
The phone rings just as I sit down to dinner. The voice asks, “Is this the head of the house?” Should my answer be brave or honest? I reply, “It depends on what you mean by head.” Read more
It is twenty-five years since my first book, Love, Honor and Be Free, was published by Moody Press. Subtitled “A Christian Woman’s Response to Today’s Call to Liberation,” it offered a thoughtful, if very conservative, place to stand in the midst of the swirl of antifamily—and often anti-Christian—rhetoric that accompanied the second wave of feminism. The book takes its place quite legitimately in a long literary tradition of women taking up the Scriptures in an attempt to find their “place,” but it failed to examine the system of interpretation on which its exegesis was based. Read more
When we tell a woman that the Lord hates divorce, why do we fail to add that the same verse declares God’s hatred of violence? “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering his wife with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty. “So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” (Mal 2:16, NIV) Read more
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against his wife” (Mk 10:11). While I leave aside for the moment other matters of interpretation in this passage, I want to draw attention to the phrase, “against his wife.” In Jesus’ day some Pharisees allowed husbands to divorce their wives for almost any reason, but the law did not permit wives to divorce their husbands (though under extreme circumstances courts would force the husband to grant his wife a divorce). The wife had no legal recourse to prevent the divorce. In a society where only men received fair pay for their work, divorce put women at a severe economic disadvantage. Read more
I’m a number cruncher and concept designer, an engineer by training. By up-bringing, I’m an Evangelical Christian, having leaned toward fundamentalism throughout my early life in my search for all truth in the literal words and expressions of the Bible. Read more
I’m really not against the family—honest. Just ask my wonderful wife of 18 years and my three (great) kids. I’m really not against the Bible—really. I spent 13 years working toward a doctorate so that I could teach the Bible as a Southern Baptist seminary professor. What I am against is the disgusting and deceptive way that some use the Bible to oppress and manipulate faithful, honest church folks. Read more

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