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Priscilla Papers

Book Review: Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire

Few evangelical Christians have not heard of pastor Mark Driscoll, and few are therefore unaware of his scandalous history at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. After building up one of the fastest growing church networks in America (see www.acts29.com) from the late 1990s to 2014, Driscoll was let go by the very fellowship of churches he helped build, on various charges of unethical behavior.

Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction

The terms “feminism” and “feminist” are thrown around quite a bit these days. But the referent is rarely obvious. For some, feminists are men and women who want generic equality between the sexes. For others, feminists are extreme political, female leftists who angrily propose laws to penalize a whole range of social inequalities—whether in public or private spheres. For still others, feminism is an academic ideology that is currently trendy, especially at universities, which may overlap with pro-LGBTQ and/or Neo-Marxist projects. The list could go on.

Patterns of Ministry among the First Christians

In this second edition of Patterns of Ministry among the First Christians, Kevin Giles states that his primary goal is to provide a detailed study of the historical development and characteristics of Christian leadership that is accessible to a wide range of readers (viii). Accordingly, Giles avoids technical language that might hinder non-specialists. Additions to the 1991 edition include multiple digressions which will be of interest to readers of Priscilla Papers, as well as a closing chapter devoted to ordination.

Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Complementarian Doctrine of the Trinity

The terms “page turner” and “doctrine of the Trinity” would not often be found in the same sentence, but they are appropriate in the case of Kevin Giles’s most recent book on the issue. I found this five-chapter account of a recent theological dispute absolutely riveting, even though I already knew how it would end! It is an extraordinary story, told by a major player in the drama.

Book Review: My Daughter a Preacher!?!

Leslie Flynn has made many valuable contributions to the church during his long and distinguished career. He served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Nanuet, NY for forty years. He has written thirty-eight books including this 1996 title. I have never seen a long book by Pastor Flynn. His books are brief, not because he writes on unimportant topics but because he has the gift of concise statement and brevity.

Book Review: The Private War of Mrs. Packard

Every time discouragement sets in because of the slow progress of egalitarian ideas, we ought to be able to reach over our shoulders and pull from the shelf a book such as Sapinsley's. The story of Mrs. Packard (1816-1897), set in the American midwest, should remind all of us how much has been accomplished by our forebears.

Book Review: No Time for Silence

Chosen as one of ETERNITY magazine's best books of the year in 1987, this book encourages women to use their gifts fully in proclaiming the Gospel. Dr. Hassey presents the significant contributions made by American women engaged in public ministry in past years, and who were enthusiastically supported by such institutions as Moody Bible Institute. She writes, 'The earliest Bible conferences welcomed women preachers and Bible teachers . . .

Book Review: Building Your Family to Last

The secret of building families to last is found in Kari's emphasis on parents modelling the Christian life before their children. If the mother and father— who are responsible before God for what happens in the home—are not walking with God, and not walking in harmony with each other before God, how can they become models to their children? Hence this modelling has to start with choosing a life partner with the same foundation in life and faith and loving obedience to Jesus Christ.

Book Review: Is God the Only Reliable Father?

This small, highly provocative book by a staff associate for the General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has surprising premises and conclusions, worthy of the careful attention of pastors and serious students of the Bible. Tennis pleads with readers not to abandon the imagery and language of God the Father. Her conclusion is not surprising—but some of her reasons are.

Volume 22 Issue 4

The Book of Genesis opens with the words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (my trans.). Since God is eternal, what “beginning” can the text be discussing? Certainly not God’s. God is always existing, which is a concept absolutely inconceivable to us finite creatures who know only beginnings and endings, breakings down and startings up, all of which are limited by time. Obviously, then, the “beginning” Genesis describes is ours—the book commences with the creation of our world. Its opening tells us nothing about pre-creation other than to affirm the fact that God was already there. If it did tell us more, it would have begun in an entirely different way, say, “Long ago, before anything was created, the Great Triune God forever lived in perfect love, peace, and unity in an eternal day without morning or evening, constantly communicating that perfect love among the persons of the Godhead. Verily, this is what the Trinity was like before there was creation and incarnation . . .” and then a lot of details. Read more
Does the doctrine of the Trinity shed any light on why God created us as human beings with gender? Any consideration of the relationship of men and women must fall, first, under the more universal constraints of all Christian discipleship. The ethic of love must undergird any and every other ethical obligation of men and women together. Second, we are biblically obligated to recognize that God’s own love revealed in Christ provides the norm for our loving of one another even as men and women. Third, we are biblically warranted to compare the relationship of men and women analogically to God’s relationship to us in Christ, and that relationship may be analogically compared to the relationship of the triune persons. In theological terms, Scripture encourages us to discern an analogy of relations, but not an analogy of being, between God and humanity. Read more
Though the freedom of women to be leaders in the church has increased in recent years, patriarchy continues to exercise considerable influence within contemporary evangelicalism. Evangelical patriarchy maintains that certain ministry positions in the church are inappropriate for women and should be restricted to men. In particular, women should not operate in positions of authority over men (representatives differ over which offices they deem authoritative). This view does not assert that women are of lesser value or dignity than men, but that God designed women to be subordinate to men in role or function. Hence, its advocates usually prefer the term “complementarianism” over patriarchy, since it emphasizes the affirmative aspects of their position (i.e., that men and women complement each other). In contrast to such a view, the argument of my article is that women should be welcomed and encouraged to serve in positions of church leadership and authority, and that giftedness and not gender should determine a person’s qualification to serve. This is because Spirit gifting is the primary criterion of suitability for Christian ministry. The sovereign call of the Holy Spirit trumps all other criteria that are based on church structure and tradition or the innate qualities of individual persons (including gender). A preference for Spirit gifting is a common starting point for egalitarians, but it frequently lacks a thorough theological grounding and is criticized for being excessively experiential. This article demonstrates that the prioritization of Spirit gifting is not simply an appeal to experience or to mystery, but derives from the logic of the dynamics of Trinitarian grace. The sources for this Trinitarian foundation include Augustine’s mutual love model and J. B. Torrance’s discussion of the mediation of Christ. While the latter draws relevant implications from the sole priesthood of Christ, the former demonstrates why Christ’s work is inseparable from the Spirit’s work. Read more
The entire Bible refers to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and to the triune nature of the God we worship; however, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit’s influence moves from being for particular people at particular times, as in the Old Testament, to a pouring out on all flesh. The opening events of the Book of Acts lead us to the day of Pentecost and Peter’s interpretation of extraordinary happenings involving a room full of fervently praying, Christ-following men and women who become powerfully enabled by God. Read more
On an Internet discussion in which I participated, one hierarchist stated essentially that women should not be encouraged to preach because, by doing so, they would “dishonor God.” Indeed, this conclusion is entailed by the patriarchal position: according to God’s creational ordinance, a woman is forbidden the “role” whereby she might speak publicly and authoritatively, particularly to men, about the gospel of Christ and the truths set forth in God’s word. This article will question the validity of this view and will argue for the conclusion that “complementarity without hierarchy” is the proper biblical interpretation. Read more
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