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So what does a good marriage look like anyway? How are a husband and wife supposed to relate to each other? Is it a command and control relationship with the husband being like the general to the wife’s sergeant? Or does it have a softer look, more like a generous boss to a competent secretary? There’s always the model of the valiant knight to the damsel in perpetual distress, of course. And then there are variations on the idea of marriage as a team. But what kind of a team are we talking about? Is it more like a tug-of-war team with both husband and wife using their muscles to pull on the same end of the rope? Or like a baseball team with one partner polishing pitching skills while the other perfects catching? Read more
Does Jesus ask us to become fishers of “men” or of  “people”?  And does it even matter?  This question has become a heated one, as the International Bible Society and Zondervan recently announced the release of Today’s New International Version Bible (TNIV).  Based on the New International Version (NIV), this Bible offers clearer language, including gender-accurate language for people.  Read more
I believe in male headship unabashedly and unreservedly. I cannot evade the issue or rationalize my way around it. The headship of husbands is clearly and unassailably taught in the New Testament. Moreover, the Bible clearly declares that the response of wives to their husbands' headship is submission in everything. Indeed, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. As the church is subject to Christ, so wives must be subject in everything to their husbands (Eph. 5:23-24). This precept is not given in Scripture as a recommendation, a suggestion or a piece of advice that may be optionally followed. It is an absolute mandate that requires the same level of adherence as any of its commandments. Read more
Throughout history, many women have been denied teaching and leadership positions based primarily on the teachings of the Apostle Paul. Some have rejected Christianity because they thought Paul viewed women as second-class citizens. That idea is based primarily on two passages -- I Timothy 2:11,12 and I Corinthians 14:34. Most people who believe in restricted roles for women do not realize that Paul named several women among his “co-workers in the gospel” along with such people as Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Apollos. Paul praised women like Priscilla and Lydia who were leaders in the early church. Paul's evangelistic ministry was one of partnership with women. Yet Paul said in I Cor. 14 that women were to keep silent in the church, and in I Timothy 2:12, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man.” Was Paul a hypocrite -- not practicing what he preached, was he confused, or are there other explanations?   Read more
When I was asked to write an article on the importance of teaching students about gender equality, I scarcely paused before replying, “Yes, of course!” As you might guess, I am a survivor of the “junior high experience.” You may remember this time with fondness, but more than likely you will recall moments of pain, as self-discovery resulted in isolation and insecurity. Junior high was this way for me in many respects. I changed, but my baby face couldn’t quite catch up to me. I wanted to be an adult, but also still wanted to remain a kid. And then there was high school—more time of exploration and discovery as I tried to find my voice and figure out what my life meant in the midst of a large world. From junior high all the way through college, I heard voices telling me who I should be. Read more
10. Invite a female pastor from your community to share her story and lead a Bible study at your youth group. Often, seeing biblical equality in action is the best way to prompt people to explore the biblical support behind it. 9. Plan a youth group (or friend group) field trip to a women’s shelter or safe house sponsored by a church/Christian organization in your area (contact the center first). Most shelters offer educational programs about issues related to why women are there (homelessness, abuse, neglect) and opportunities to serve the women and children who call the shelter home.. Read more
In my twelve years of teaching youth ministry, I have sometimes been discouraged as I see female students that I believe have great potential to serve God as youth pastors and teachers give in to the anxieties and doubts and either walk away from youth ministry altogether or fail to fully develop their potential. In the last few years, I have become more encouraged. There is a greater network of women who work in youth ministry that are willing to mentor and guide young female students. I am looking forward to a new semester and the chance to help the Kendras at Bethel catch a vision for their future as leaders of youth. Read more
Someone once said, “Life is what happens after someone makes plans for their life.” Proverbs says it more succinctly, “In their hearts, human beings plan their course, but the Lord determines their steps.” (Prov. 16:9, TNIV) Interestingly, what individual Christians plan and how the Lord directs them are not necessarily the same. Read more
Imagine a medium-sized room filled with high school boys and girls. You sit with your friends laughing and joking, discussing the week while the band sets up their equipment. Welcome to high school youth group. Tonight’s message: modesty. The boys are escorted off to another room for this conversation—modesty is an issue for women. This captive audience of young women listens as their youth pastor outlines why and how a girl should be modest. Read more
Anna and I met when we were students at Beeson Divinity School. From almost our first meeting I was drawn to her sharp mind, her sensitivity, her sense of humor, and, I might add, her striking beauty. Both of us were, at that time, considering careers in the academy. Anna had served two churches, one mainline and one evangelical, as a lay youth minister before seminary. She had altered her vocational path, however, largely owing to the influence of the conservative Presbyterian denomination of which we were a part. She now had set her sights on a doctorate and the academy—a place she rightly identified as more congenial to women. We were both evangelical, both soft patriarchs, and both interested in the life of the mind. It was a match made in heaven. Read more

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