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Priscilla Papers

Consider the Women: A Provocative Guide to Three Matriarchs of the Bible

Making my way into this book, I increasingly felt I could not write a review without knowing at least a bit about its author. Debbie Blue is co-founding minister of House of Mercy, a Christian congregation in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her earlier books affirm the Incarnation (Sensual Orthodoxy, 2004), decry bibliolatry (From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again, 2008), and explore the symbolism of birds in the Bible (Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible, 2013). Her bio at houseofmercy.org says she “approaches scripture . . .

Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible

“We must revisit what the Scriptures say about some Bible women we have sexualized, vilified and/or marginalized. Because, above all, we must tell the truth about what the text says” (16). So writes editor Sandra Glahn in the preface to this volume. Glahn teaches media arts and worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. She holds a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is author or co-author of more than twenty books, including several volumes in The Coffee Cup Bible Study Series.

Book Review: What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women

The Rev. Dr. Kevin Giles is a longstanding supporter of women in leadership. Over the course of more than forty years, he has written at least nine books on the topics of women, ministry, and the Trinity. Many of his books on women have been published in Australia (e.g., Women and Their Ministry [Dove Communications 1977], Created Woman [Acorn Press 1985], and Better Together [Acorn Press 2010]). Now he has written What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women with a North American publisher (Cascade Books).

Book Review: Phoebe: A Story

In this work of historical fiction, Paula Gooder presents an imaginative telling of the life and ministry of Phoebe. While Gooder does not offer an introduction to the book, she does provide helpful comments in the endnotes. She states that her purpose in writing this story is not simply to provide an entertaining novel, but also to inform readers of the reality behind the NT text (225). Gooder sparks the imagination of her audience by disclosing scholarly information concerning the Greco-Roman world through the medium of narrative.

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.

Volume 6

Did it ever strike you as being odd, our infernal craving to catalog everything? There is a valid use for cataloging, of course. Telephone books, dictionaries, and those ingenious red wheeled cabinets from Sears and Roebuck, the ones with hundreds of tiny drawers for nuts and bolts: These are all quite functional — although I privately wonder whether that many kinds of nuts and bolts actually exist, or if all those drawers are for the illusion of competence. Read more
In history as recorded in the Bible, God often gave His revelation specifically to women, and often instructed women to pass on that revelation to others, including men. In the New Testament, at all of the most significant points of Christian revelation and proclamation, women played a role as significant as, or even more significant than, the roles played by men. Read more
We find other metaphors throughout the Bible, in places of great and small importance. "Upon this rock I will build my church," "the body of Christ," "sharper than any two-edged sword," "this is my body," "the Lord is my light," "my Rock," "the Bridegroom," and so on. In some cases, we are so accustomed to hearing the metaphor that we forget it is one. The problem with this is that when we forget we're using a figure of speech, we also forget that the figure gives us only a partial picture, and a highly selective one at that. This is especially true when it comes to the nature of God, which is so vast, abstract, and multidimensional that no single expression could hope to capture it. For example, when we focus on "the Lord is my shepherd" in David's psalm, we forget all about "the Lord is a man-of-war" in Miriam's song. These two images of God are hard to reconcile, except when we remember that each gives only a partial picture of an infinite being. God can be both shepherd and warrior, but only metaphorically speaking. And it's our job to remember that both are only figures of speech. Read more
For some years now, Christians have struggled with the nature of our language about humanity. Are the nouns man and mankind or the pronouns he and him inclusive of women or not? Acknowledgement that they are not inclusive has often been difficult, and the actual switch to gender-inclusive terms has always been awkward, particularly in the beginning. Nonetheless, more and more Christians are finding inclusive language an almost automatic part of their vocabularies when speaking of human beings. But what about God? If emotions have run high over language about human begins, they have virtually exploded in the debate over language about God. Those who argue that the church must retain its predominantly masculine imagery for God and those who want to introduce into the church's vocabulary female imagery for God are in agreement at only one point: both are convinced that the integrity of Christian faith is at stake. In many circles, liberal as well as conservative, the test of orthodoxy has become the nouns and pronouns one uses in speaking of God. Read more
As we begin each new day, not knowing what we'll experience, we trust in God's great love. Whether the day be good or ill, whether it be happy or heart-breaking, God's love will surround and sustain our lives. That's the promise in the new Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (USA): "Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still" (lines 49-51). Read more
People say that black is beautiful, and I believe it. I think the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen on a human being was that of a young Ethiopian woman. She had been imprisoned eleven times for her participation in evangelistic and church activities, and every time she got out, she just went right on proclaiming Christ. When she would tell how the young people were marched off to jail, with their hands uplifted, singing and praising God, her face would shine. I saw there a beauty I have never seen anywhere else. The Bible says very clearly that black is beautiful (Song of Solomon 1:5). But as I studied the black persons mentioned in Scripture more carefully, I found another message—the Bible implies that black is blessed. Not that being black automatically makes you blessed, but these people had an unusual way of reaching out to God—finding Him as their own, embracing Him and His ways, committing themselves to the truth of the Gospel. And God blessed them. Read more
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