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Priscilla Papers

Book Review: I Suffer Not a Woman

Until now, this reviewer had to acknowledge he simply did not understand Paul's statement: "I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man" (1Tim 2:12).

No explanation rang scripturally true: e.g. "rabbinical male bias" or "a local cultural problem." Exceptions for women teaching or preaching ("only occasionally" or "under male authority" or "if there aren't male missionaries") sounded like semantics.

Book Review: Beyond the Curse

Subtitled "Women Called to Ministry," Dr. Spencer's book presents a new look at Scripture's description of women's roles. She writes, "Whole dimensions of God, ministry, education and theology are being obscured and ignored if women are not properly trained, then invited, even more so welcomed, to participate as significant and affirmed once they do lead." Dr. Spencer reminds the reader that "God has often surprised the church by the workers He sent out."

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

Alan Johnson, emeritus professor of New Testament and Christian ethics at Wheaton College (Illinois), has put together autobiographical accounts of twenty-seven evangelical leaders, both men and women, from many denominations. These stories recount journeys from belief in a restrictive role for women to a realization of freedom for women to use all their gifts and callings for God’s kingdom. In many of these accounts, the implications for Christian marriage are brought out: a side-by-side partnership of mutual love and submission, where no one is “boss” and no one needs to dominate.

Book Review: Christian Standard Bible

The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) is a revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). The CSB was published in March 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
 

Book Review: Does God Make the Man? Media, Religion, and the Crisis of Masculinity

Does God Make the Man? is a fascinating look at how evangelical and ecumenical men process the messages they hear about masculinity from religion and media. The authors organized focus groups and recorded hundreds of hours of conversations to see if religion is vital to developing masculine identity. They conclude that, although evangelical men may claim to learn gender roles from the Bible, the actual sources of this knowledge are media and culture.

Book Review: Women's Socioeconomic Status and Religious Leadership in Asia Minor in the First Two Centuries C.E.

This book is a PhD dissertation, published in Fortress Press’s selective “Emerging Scholars” series. Indeed, it reads like a dissertation, and only specialists will resist the urge to skim through the survey of scholarship and explanation of method in the introduction and first chapter. (That is not to say these sections are of no value.)

Book Review: Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle's Vison for Men and Women in Christ

In the often-heated evangelical debate concerning the ordination of women, one struggles to find a coherent and exhaustive work that covers more than the relevant Pauline texts. For example, the respected works by Philip Payne and Craig Keener provide concentrated exegesis on the significant Pauline texts.1 Cynthia Long Westfall’s recent book offers a larger interpretive framework for the evangelical gender debate, a framework that is lucid, compelling, and profoundly refreshing, and one which does not miss the theological forest for the exegetical trees.

Book Review: What's Right With Feminism

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 in the nineteen nineties.

Book Review: Call Me Blessed: The Emerging Christian Woman

Faith Martin begins her book by stating: ''In the eyes of the church, a woman's humanity is overshadowed by her being perceived as a sex. Woman is the spiritual equal of man, but the church teaches that a woman's sex prevents a practical working out of that equality...All of this contrasts with the Holy Scriptures. When reading the Bible I am not conscious of my sex but conscious of my humanity. And so felt the women who flocked to Jesus. No man before or since has treated women as so completely human."

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Volume 15

We are most aware of inner peace—its presence or its lack—in the midst of trial. I expect that was true for Frances Ridley Havergal. A prolific British hymn writer, Havergal created poetic texts for the glory of God, but she also saw writing as her profession and livelihood. With great hopes of reaching a new market, she had signed a contract with an American publisher, but in January 1874 she received devastating news. Read more
In 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention made headlines around the nation with the addition of the words “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband” to the Baptist Faith and Message (B F&M). It seemed that everyone, from talk-show hosts to the person on the street, had some commentary to offer on the statement. Many were tempted to dismiss it as an archaic example of a denomination safe and secure in the eighteenth century. Others affirmed the words as a return to “family values.” All were, at the very least, curious as to why such a statement came from such a body of believers at such a time as this. Read more
Last night I waited at Starbucks until it was time to pick up two of our teenage daughters after a home Bible study under the auspices of our conservative evangelical church. While nursing my Coffee of the Day, I could not help overhearing a young adult woman, with Bible open at an adjacent table, discipling four other university-age females. Their informal conversation ranged over a number of topics, and on each one the leader had a forceful and confident opinion. I winced especially when I heard her advise them that the Bible was very clear that a woman should remain silent and never teach a man. As far as I could tell, the group simply nodded assent to this insight and scribbled it down in their journals. As I drove through a darkened suburban neighborhood to pick up my own daughters a few minutes later, I could not help wondering whether the teaching my kids were receiving was any different. Read more
The Christian egalitarian woman is in a difficult position. If she truly believes God calls women to engage in the same types of ministries and offices of the church in which men engage, and if she is also committed to living a life that reflects God’s character, she is faced with a quandary. Read more
I have a confession to make. I used to hate being a woman. And I hated God for making me one. But it wasn’t always that way. My parents brought up my siblings (a brother and two sisters) and me equitably, with absolutely no sense of privilege based on gender. “Aim for the stars, and you’re sure to hit one,” was Dad’s constantly quoted axiom. So throughout my school years I competed favorably with my peers, male and female, and felt inferior to no one. My girlhood fantasies alternated wildly between becoming President of Nigeria and performing adorably before millions of fans—movie star, sports champion, politician, whatever—I just knew that I could and would be great. Nothing was beyond my reach. Read more
Have you ever gotten really angry with God for making you who and what you are? If you are female, it’s entirely possible you’ve gotten as mad at God as one of the writers in this issue. Funmi Josephine Para-Mallam fell head-over-heels in love with Jesus Christ as a college student and thought the injustices she experienced as a young woman had become a thing of the past. But she abruptly came face to face with reality in the church as many of us have come to know it. Read her journey of faith, beginning on page 12. You will be inspired to walk alongside Funmi into a new experience of victory and peace. Read more
Once again we shake our heads, laugh, and roll our eyes at the Southern Baptist Convention. The boys who run that outfit never seem to tire of doing silly things. This time, when a few thousand of them [met] in Orlando in June [2000], they [made] all 15.9 million Southern Baptists reject female preachers. Read more
There are many others more qualified than I to represent a theological and philosophical apologetic for an “egalitarian” or “mutuality” point of view regarding women in the church. As someone who a decade ago experienced my first wife leave me, leading to divorce, I realize my personal life could also be seen as a less than-convincing egalitarian argument. If anyone talked with Carol, my wife, who loves me despite my blindness and insensitiveness, I would be further exposed as a very imperfect example of an egalitarian husband. Read more
History—at least official history—is always written by the winners. For some time, the advocates of an institutional, hierarchical, orderly, and preeminently masculine vision of the church have undoubtedly been the winners, and they have been permitted to frame the discussion. Read more
The Baptist men’s group in the little West Texas church had wanted me to speak on the traditional topic “The Woman Behind the Man.” (Priscilla Papers, Spring 2001, p. 22). But the more I studied the Scriptures in order to prepare my message, the more the assigned theme changed. As I made my partial survey of the Bible, I had to do it under the revised heading that I have given to these modest columns: The Woman Beside the Man. Read more

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