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Priscilla Papers

Historically, Baptists have pretty well reflected culture on this issue as they did on the race issue. Baptist women, as in most denominations, are vital to the church. Nevertheless, they have been pretty much relegated to a secondary role, To some degree, the movements of the late 1800s and 1900s gave more freedom to Baptist women, though—being mainly in the South—the Abolishionist movement affected Baptists less than the rest of the culture. Read more
Priscilla Papers thought it would be helpful in this discussion of the Southern Baptist Convention and women to ask for her perspective on issues that are related to the recent changes to SBC faith statements. Read more
Biblical scholars are aware that “Cush” sometimes refers to all of Africa, sometimes to all of Africa except Egypt, and sometimes to ancient Nubia, stretching from modern Aswan in the north to Khartoum in the south. Today most of this area lies in the Sudan. But how is the general reader to understand that Cush and Cushite (used 57 times in the Hebrew Bible) are in fact a designation for an African nation and people? Some versions of the Bible translate “Cush” as “Ethiopia,” but this does not ordinarily designate the modern country of that name. David Adamo has suggested that the best translation is simply “Africa.” Read more
I’m really not against the family—honest. Just ask my wonderful wife of 18 years and my three (great) kids. I’m really not against the Bible—really. I spent 13 years working toward a doctorate so that I could teach the Bible as a Southern Baptist seminary professor. What I am against is the disgusting and deceptive way that some use the Bible to oppress and manipulate faithful, honest church folks. Read more
Perhaps the most influential woman associated with the Welsh and Keswick revivals in Great Britain at the turn of the Twentieth Century, Jessie Penn-Lewis overcame a shy disposition, a victory she credited to the power of the crucified Christ. Preaching throughout Great Britain, Scandinavia, India, Russia, and North America, Penn-Lewis taught the Bible’s affirmation of women in public ministry Penn-Lewis believed the movement of the Holy Spirit, poured out on women and men throughout history, is always in harmony with Scripture. A prolific writer, Penn-Lewis wrote more than thirty books; many were translated into over one-hundred languages and dialects. Her journal, The Overcomer, remains in print today. Acknowledging the power of Christ to abolish the ‘old Adam’ and the hierarchy of men over women, Penn-Lewis wrote The Magna Charta of Women, a defense of women’s public ministry. Read more
In the early 1800s, Texas was frontier territory. As one historian noted, settlers believed “Indians were to be killed, African Americans were to be enslaved, and Hispanics were to be avoided.” In the 1830s these “Texicans” built a Baptist church at Independence that had two doors: one for white males and the other for “women and other creatures.” Read more
From ancient times and in almost every culture the role of women has been questioned, debated, and regulated. At present in the evangelical Christian church, much of the debate centers on theology as it defines the role of women in ministry. Actually, different biblical passages and different interpretations of the same passages give rise to quite different theologies. On the one hand, when the focus is on a few selected verses in the Bible that seem to restrict the ministry of women, a restrictive theology of ministry is the result. On the other hand, when the seemingly restrictive verses are put in their cultural and historical context and when the whole of Scripture is taken into account, a theology is revealed that supports women’s mutuality with men in all forms of Christian ministry according to the gifts of the Spirit. Read more
After languishing in obscurity for many years, the work of Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) has been rediscovered by church historians and scholars. Although virtually unknown today, Palmer was a widely-recognized religious figure in her day—a woman whose concern for the holy life enabled her to transcend the limitations of both gender and denominational affiliation. As a premier proponent of “the holiness way,” Palmer functioned as teacher, writer, social activist, theologian and evangelist for the cause of Christ. She desired nothing less than full consecration to God, and her passionate devotion compelled her into the pulpit and onto the printed page. Consumed by the divine fire of God’s call, Phoebe became a dominant force in the nineteenth-century Holiness Movement, “a woman to whom thousands of people looked for leadership, and by whom thousands were instructed, in a time when women were not generally accorded positions of leadership or authority in American culture.” The brief biography that follows is intended as an introduction to this amazing woman. It is also offered as encouragement for all who, like Phoebe Palmer, desire nothing less than to be used fully of God. Read more
Hearing ambulance sirens was nothing out of the ordinary when I worked as a nurse in the emergency department in Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital. But, although I didn’t know it at the time, the sirens blaring one day were signaling a major change in my life. Through the emergency doors came a woman and her 12-year-old daughter. The mother—a single mom— had killed her son, wounded her daughter, and stabbed herself with a knife. Read more
Ruth Hess felt a call from God. She had attended her monthly meeting of fellow quilters and at the end of their business agenda, one woman suggested that someone could go and teach quiltmaking to the women in the Kingston, Ontario, Prison for Women. God spoke to Ruth in that moment. Read more

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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."

Book Review: Gender and Grace: Love, Work & Parenting In a Changing World

Gender and Grace is simultaneously one of the most challenging and most reassuring examinations of male-female relationships written from a Christian perspective. A professor of interdisciplinary studies at Calvin College, Van Leeuwen brilliantly integrates insights from faith and science, maintaining that the Bible provides the basic framework on which all our more detailed solutions to human problems must be founded.

Book Review: Veiled and Silenced: The Cultural Shape of Sexist Theology

This highly readable book introduces much interesting evidence to demonstrate that subordination of women perpetuates an institutionalized cultural myth rather than a scriptural truth.

Book Review: A Voice of Her Own by Nancy M. Tischler

Why, over the years, haven't women produced more in the arts—specifically in literature? At the turn of the century, Virginia Woolf began the answer to that important question by saying a woman could and would write given a "room of her own." This is the leisure, privacy, and financial support needed to encourage creativity that has traditionally been withheld from women either intentionally or because of the demands of other roles.

Book Review: Global Evangelicalism

Global Evangelicalism is an important contribution to historical and theological studies because of its scope and accessibility. The book is made up of an introduction, ten essays which are divided into three sections, and a glossary and index. The first section deals with basic theoretical issues, such as defining evangelicalism, describing its theological impulses, and its relationship to globalization. The second section is the heart of the book and is composed of five regional case studies of evangelicalism.

Book Review: Becky Wooley's Non-Prophet Murders

In her biography Fighting Angel, one of the most famous and disaffected missionary children of them all, the Nobel Prize-winning Pearl Buck, tells the sad tale of her longsuffering grandmother. After years of cooking, cleaning, serving for an unappreciative husband and set of sons, one day, she simply sat down on the porch. She had had enough. No amount of demanding, threatening, pleading, or cajoling could ever cause her to lift a finger to serve again.

Book Review: The New Evangelical Subordinationism?

This new book on the Trinity is not to be missed. It may well prove to be the definitive contemporary reader on the debate over whether the Trinity is stratified according to rank or not—God being equal in substance and equal in rank, authority, and glory or eternally differentiated in these aspects, a difference that may or may not reflect in human relations.

Book Review: Dennis R. Hollinger's The Meaning of Sex

Is there any inherent meaning in sexuality, or does sex simply mean whatever we intend it to mean in the moment? Dennis Hollinger, president of Gordan-Conwell Theological Seminary, insists that there is meaning in sexuality—several meanings, in fact, which guide Christian thought and practice.

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