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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 24

I came upon the delightful account of the Wise Women of Waban as I was researching my chapter on “Equality and Native Americans in North America” in the recent book I had the delight to edit with our CBE president, Dr. Mimi Haddad, and my wife, the Rev. Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer, Global Voices on Biblical Equality: Women and Men Serving Together in the Church. Read more
I stand at the gate. I look back at what was. I look forward at what should be. My name is woman, and so I wait. I stand here with my Bible And read the signs that form the gates’ barrier. It is made of Scripture fragments. 1 Timothy 2 is the whittled stake that holds it up. Slivers of Ephesians 5 block my view. And splinters of 1 Corinthians bar my way. God, what did you mean them all to say? What answer can I give? I wonder why? I hold the whole of Scripture in my hand. I don’t understand Why these few shavings of passages block my way.   Read more
Not long after I was confirmed as an Anglican, my then rector uttered words that have proven, and may yet prove, to be prophetic. He said, “The Anglican Communion is going to split: first, over the issue of homosexuality and, second, over the issue of women in ministry.” While the first of his predictions has clearly come true, my sincere hope is that the second will not become a wedge that separates otherwise orthodox, Nicaea- and Chalcedon-affirming Anglicans from living and ministering in unbroken fellowship. So it is in a spirit of hope tempered by fear that I offer the following reflections. And though they apply most directly to the Anglican context, they may also bear important implications for the larger evangelical debate over this issue. Read more
Cautious though one must be in thinking that one can entirely understand someone in terms of their circumstances, C. S. Lewis (CSL) virtually invites us to pay attention to his by the publication of his Surprised by Joy (1955). This text, which we can now read as a classic of “textual male intimacy” in religion,1 is one of those resources particularly important when we try to grasp what CSL meant and could not mean by “masculinity,” as will become clear in the last part of this article. In addition, we need to attend to a whole range of his publications when we attempt to assess his understanding of “femininity” and its relation to “masculinity.” One can hardly be understood without the other: “Gender” is not simply a matter of problematizing what it may be to be female/feminine. In addition, quite apart from what CSL reveals about himself in his publications, it is helpful to juxtapose with his self-presentation perspectives on his context in a way not possible in his own times, alert though he himself was to political, social, and economic change. Read more
In my earlier article1 on 1 Timothy 2:12 and the ordination of women, I argued that Paul’s contextual and church-specific reading and application of the creation texts indicates that the limitations on women’s teaching roles in the church are circumstantial rather than universal prohibitions. Now, I wish to address arguments in a specifically Anglican2 context that were not addressed in the first article, namely, arguments based on the incarnation and the Father/Son relationship within the Trinity that are thought to bar the ordination of women as priests and bishops. For the purposes of this study, I will focus on two documents as sources for the main arguments to be considered in this Anglican context: the essay “Priestesses in the Church?” by C. S. Lewis,3 and “A Report of the Study Concerning the Ordination of Women Undertaken by the Anglican Mission in America,” Rev. John H. Rodgers, chairman.4 Read more
When I was a child, my mother taught me the chant with the accompanying finger play, “Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.” Deeply embedded in this rhyme is a cultural image of the church: a special building with lots of people sitting in rows looking toward the ordained minister out in front. Most of us bring this understanding to the text of Scripture. When we find Luke or Paul writing about “the church,” we imagine he is speaking of a gathering of fifty to several hundred people meeting in a specially constructed building, taking part in a liturgical service led by one or two people out in front, with one ordained and paid pastor/minister/priest who does most of the preaching and teaching and, in most denominations, usually presides at Holy Communion.  Read more
The church has not only the right, but the duty, to be the church of Jesus Christ. . . . The job of the priest isn’t to give you the answers to all of your questions for all of your life. But the priest is there to help you frame the questions and to point you toward the one with the answers. The goal of the priest is that you might enter into a mature relationship with God. We believe in the priesthood of all believers. Have you taken to heart the implications of your own priesthood? Read more
Today, I am a rebel. I forget about the laundry and dishes. I turn all my phones to silent And write. Yesterday, I cared what others thought. I primped and prepped to please. I scrubbed in detail on my knees For what? Read more
Human beings begin to develop gender identities very early in life as they pick up on cues and clues given off from the sociocultural contexts in which they find themselves. As people and institutions demonstrate socially appropriate ways of being male or female, children become apprentices and learn what it means to be a boy or girl in their culture. Read more
Many adolescent girls face psychological struggles. For example, eating disorders disproportionately affect adolescent girls compared to the rest of the population. Approximately 40 percent of anorexia nervosa cases occur in females ages fifteen to nineteen.1 The prevalence of this disorder is of special concern given that the mortality rate for anorexia nervosa is more than twelve times greater than the annual death rate due to all causes of death for girls ages fifteen to twenty-four years in the general population.2 Read more

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