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Priscilla Papers

People sometimes write us to ask where they can find evidence that actual women held official positions of church officership. Professor Greg Horsley of Macquarie University, Australia, has kindly supplied us with the following partial list of references to  women in church leadership. Although we do not usually follow this practice, in this instance we are supplying the bibliographic citations so that our readers may check the material for themselves if they so desire. Read more
One of the earliest women to be ordained in America was Anna Howard Shaw. Even before her ordination, she served as pastor of a Methodist Church (now the East Dennis Community Church)  on Cape Cod. The following is excerpted from her description of her resignation. Read more
There are many great blacks who have influenced our spiritual heritage. We find them both in and out of the Bible. We should like to tell you the story of the priest’s family who took in Moses in his hour of desperation. We know that there are some problems, some different names given in the texts, but our purpose is to nourish our souls rather than to look for difficulties. Let us rather see the story with the eyes of faith. First Corinthians 10:1-11 tells us that the adventures of the children of Israel in the wilderness happened as spiritual examples for us. Certainly the family about which we are talking had much for all of us to emulate. Read more
A superficial glance at the New Testament in translation, combined with an expectation of a subordinate role for women, results in generalizations that Paul commands women not to teach or have authority (1 Tim 2:11–15), except in the case of older women teaching younger women how to be housewives (Titus 2:3–5), and women are not to teach in official, public, formal positions in the church, but they can teach in informal, private, one-on-one situations in the home. Read more

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Book Review: God's Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission

God's Daughters is an ethnographic analysis of Women's Aglow Fellowship, a 30-year-old women's organization that originally developed out of the Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International. Women's Aglow is the largest interdenominational women's mission organization in the world. Dr. Griffith's book, based on her 1995 Harvard Ph.D. thesis, is built on her observer-participant findings. The analysis is warm and respectful and is built on a genuine liking the author developed for these praying women.

Book Review: Dismantling the Dualisms for American Pentecostal Women in Ministry: A Feminist-Pneumatological Approach

Lisa Stephenson relates the purpose of her book in her concluding chapter rather than in her introduction. Her purpose is to address the theological tenets "that have sustained and justified the subjugation of women in ministry within Pentecostalism ..." (191). She writes as a Pentecostal (Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee) to Pentecostals and relies heavily upon Pentecostal scholars such as Gordon Fee, Cecil M. Robeck Jr., Roger Stronstad, Veli-Matti Karkkainnen, and Edith Blumhofer. Wisely, she goes beyond them to rely on Linda L. Belville, Bernhard W.

Book Review: Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues, by N.T. Wright

N. T. (Tom) Wright is an esteemed scholar and prolific author whose work is no stranger to readers of Priscilla Papers. His article, “The Biblical Basis for Women’s Service in the Church,”1 was one of the first I read on the topic and served as a launching point for my subsequent research and writing. Consequently, I am pleased to provide a review of his recent book, Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues.

Book Review: Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color, by Mihee Kim-Kort

The recently published book, Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color, poignantly opens up a whole new world for those of us who still see through the eyes of the dominant culture. The title’s Clergywomen of Color gives a small taste of the experiences these women have faced and continue to face.

Book Review: Philip F. Esler's Sex, Wives and Warriors: Reading Biblical Narrative with Its Ancient Audience

Esler is emeritus professor of biblical interpretation at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London, and was principal of St. Mary’s when this book was published. His several books have tended to apply social-scientific approaches to NT studies. The present volume does the same for a handful of OT narrative texts.

Book Review: What Women Want: Pentecostal Women Ministers Speak for Themselves

The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) is one of the major Pentecostal bodies in the United States. This book contains the results of a study conducted in that denomination regarding women and ministry. Some books that deal with this subject focus on biblical texts to either support or limit women’s place in ministry. This book, however, asks women ministers what they want. Not surprisingly, what they want is equality in ministry. The Church of God has 3,088 licensed women ministers in the United States; 726 of them participated in this survey (29).

Book Review: Latina Evangélicas

In Latina Evangélicas, three Latina theologians provide new insight into the often marginalized voices of Protestant Latinas. This book speaks primarily to scholars, but has valuable content for a wider audience of students and pastors as well.

Book Review: Caroline Simon's Bringing Sex into Focus: The Quest for Sexual Integrity

Is it possible to see clearly in the midst of sexual confusion today? Caroline Simon believes it is, provided we take the trouble to submit ourselves for regular vision tests along the way. A valuable addition to any undergraduate course on human sexuality or sexual ethics, Bringing Sex into Focus offers tools and skills for evaluating the conflicting messages about sexuality proffered by contemporary culture, media, academia, and even conflicting Christian traditions.

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