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Mutuality

As a girl growing up in an evangelical church, I was taught to see Christ’s likeness in male heroes like Moses, David, and Paul. The imagery of redemption was male, too. There were farmers, owners of vineyards, a prodigal son, a Good Samaritan. All of them men. Read more
Their stories are strikingly similar. I was lying in bed one night reading Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters, which artfully weaves together the stories of several women caught in a patriarchal branch of Christianity known as the Quiverfull movement. Even though it was very late at night, I couldn’t put the book down. I ached for these women. Under their patriarchal system, they could never be selfless enough, they could never submit enough, they could never be good enough. Abuse, shame, devastating guilt, and suicidal thoughts marked many of their experiences, some on a daily basis.  Read more
While it sounds virtuous, and is appealing to those who would like to believe that involved fathering is the answer to all society’s ills, the idea that any human being, apart from Christ himself, can take spiritual responsibility for another has no place in historic, biblically-based Christian doctrine. Read more
Scot McKnight is a prolific author and speaker on the New Testament and is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University (Chicago, Illinois). He is the author of an award-winning blog, Jesus Creed (blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed), and is a highly respected figure in both academic and pastoral circles. He is also a quiet and consistent advocate for biblical mutuality, which he defines as giving women “the freedom to discern what God has called them to do — whatever it might be, including preaching, teaching, and leading in the church” (The Blue Parakeet, p. 161). Read more
Tradition helps us remember where we come from and who we are as a culture. We should uphold and honor tradition—as long as we don’t begin to mistake it for truth. Read more
In pondering humans’ relationship with God, the ancient monk St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) describes four “degrees” of love (which can apply to all other relationships as well): Level 1) I love me for my benefit. Here’s an infantile, self-involved person with a severe personality disorder—excessive self-love and the inability to recognize or acknowledge the distinct individuality of others. This is narcissism—pure ego—unaware of, or indifferent to, differing experiences, ideas, interests, concerns, etc. which are the reality of friends, neighbors, and family. This relationship proceeds from and results in the demoralization of all concerned—it is all about me; there is no you. Read more
Every time I visit a Christian bookstore, the section on teenage dating has grown. Many of these books advocate for alternate dating methods like courtship, others promote sexual purity and some denounce the dating process altogether. Each book has its own angle, but it’s apparent that a substantial number of books are tackling the issues associated with adolescent relationships.  Read more
As we celebrate the strong and faithful examples of many women in the Bible, we also recognize that their stories have too often been left untold.  Read more
“I don’t understand what you’re saying. God created women as helpers. Our most important purpose is to affirm the guys in our lives — to let them know that we respect them, and that we trust them as our leaders.” So went another conversation with a young Christian woman on gender. While in general we are observing great forward leaps on behalf of biblical equality among college students, in this conversation I (Megan) hit a wall. Where had I heard that “women are created to help men” reaction before? I wondered, and then my eyes wandered to my shelf of books written to Christian teenagers. A rush of compassion for my young friend hit me: she might well have been quoting directly from one of those books. I thought back to my high school days, remembering similar books that I had eagerly devoured. Was it any surprise that I went to college opposed to full equality between women and men?  Read more
A black man taught me what it means to be civilized. He said that the meaning of civilization could be communicated in one word: Welcome. The world places conditions on who may be welcomed, and even citizens of the most “civilized” nations welcome some and struggle to tolerate others. But the church is called to welcome all, not because of any system of classification or merit, but “because God has welcomed them” (Rom. 14:1ff; 15:7).  Read more

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Book Review: Women in Scripture: A Dictionary

When 70 Jewish and Christian scholars collaborate on a one-volume catalog reference work such as this, the result is sure to be of unprecedented proportions. This is what the editors of Women in Scripture had hoped when they started this project, and they were not disappointed.

Women in Scripture combines over 800 articles about every woman in the Bible in a comprehensive, easy-to-read format. Set up in three sections (Named Women, Unnamed Women, and Female Deities and Personifications), it is encyclopedic in its accessibility, yet textual in its readability.

Book Review: Two Views on Women in Ministry

“God is not an equal opportunity employer.” “God is an equal opportunity employer.”

These antithetical statements come from the two authors representing the complementarian view in Two Views on Women in Ministry, a new book in Stanley N. Gundry’s “Counterpoints” series.

Book Review: Why Not Women?

Authors Loren Cunningham and David J. Hamilton combine biblical truth and cultural awareness in their book, Why Not Women? A Biblical Study of Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership.

Loren Cunningham is the founder of Youth With A Mission, one of the world’s largest mission societies. Over 40 years, he has broken through generational, gender and ethnic barriers, releasing hundreds of thousands into ministry. He’s ministered in every country, giving him a unique perspective of the potential of the church to complete the great commission.

Book Review: Men are from Israel, Women are from Moab

Unlike any other book I’ve read, the authors of this book seek the common ground between men and women instead of proclaiming their differences. How are we alike? What guiding principles does the Bible suggest for relationships between men and women?

Men are from Israel, Women are from Moab: Insights about the Sexes from the Book of Ruth, written by Dr. Norm Wakefield and Jody Brolsma, takes a quick look at our gender stereotypes and discards them. Instead, they focus on how we can build one another up and nurture healthy relationships.

Book Review: Women Leaders and the Church

This new book is one of the best I have read in a long time, due to its easy-to-read style and thorough treatment of women and the Bible. The author is professor of biblical literature at North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago.

Book Review: Is it Okay to Call God Mother?

When I first saw the title, Is It Okay to Call God Mother, my mind raced ahead. Is this book promoting heresy? Is it theologically liberal, radically feminist, or new age? Yet, I was intrigued and decided to read the book. And, what a book it is! It is a must read for evangelicals! Is It Okay to Call God Mother provides rich biblical material on the feminine attributes of God which has been largely overlooked by the evangelical community.

Book Review: The TNIV Bible

The new TNIV Bibles for women and men promise to help Christians gain an identity and maturity in Christ: the women’s Bible, entitled True Identity: The Bible for Women, includes the cover description, “becoming who you are in Christ,” and the men’s Bible, entitled Strive: The Bible for Men, says, “becoming the man Christ wants you to be.”

Book Review: How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership

Alan F. Johnson's compilation of narratives entitled How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals is a particularly fresh, honest, and persuasive resource in the growing collection of books on gender equality and women in leadership. The recognizable evangelicals in this book speak humbly and clearly about how their theological convictions and understanding of Scripture, with reference to women in leadership, were transformed through personal experience.

Book Review: Eve's Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body

It’s what’s inside that counts.” After years of working to believe this, I’ve found a book that confirms my suspicions—this hollow phrase is only half-true.

Book Review: The Christian Family in Changing Times

In the last three decades, Christians have endured intensive teaching about the family— marriage and parenting seminars, books and tapes, even radio broadcasts and Web sites. Yet the more resources thrown at families, the more the family has eroded.

“Perhaps it’s time to rethink the evangelical sound byte we call the Christian family,” says Robert M. Hicks in The Christian Family in Changing Times.

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