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In this article, I will first examine the Maa (the Maasai language) word pair olkitok and enkitok. Olkitok refers to a “master” whereas enkitok is the usual word for “woman.” I will then discuss the problems in gender relationships which the Maasai experience. These problems are often rooted in sinful attitudes held by men and women against each other. Today among the Maasai, for example, women are not seen as “great” (the root meaning of –kitok) but as “only children.” For this reason, the dignity Jesus offers women appeals to Maasai women. The Scriptures offer an uncompromising vision of gendered relationships, which is counter-culturally liberating for women. The gospel has been less appealing to Maasai men, leading one western scholar to refer to the Maasai churches as “a church of Women.” I will then explain that, while there are certainly areas where Maasai culture can benefit from Christian transformation, a recovery of traditional Maasai cultural values through a theologically robust process of inculturation can strengthen the Maasai churches as well. Maasai believers need a Maasai Christianity within which they “feel at home.” In addition, Maasai cultural hermeneutics has much to offer the global church. “Cultural hermeneutics” refers to communities viewing the Scriptures through the lens of their own culture. It “enables women to view the Bible through African eyes and to distinguish and extract from it what is liberating.” Read more
Hannah was unseen, she was unknown, she was taunted, and I believe, even depressed. She lived under the societal pressure to fit into this role of motherhood, something she had little or no control over. As we walk with Hannah, we are going to see how she encounters and discovers who God says she is. This is a message not just for moms or women, but for all of us. Every single day of our lives, we are asked to fit into a certain shape, but we don’t always fit the mold. If we listen closely, we will be able to identify with Hannah in her struggle to figure out who she is. Read more
The research resulting in this article focuses on evangelical churches in New Zealand, examining both the practice and content of their pre-marriage counselling sessions. Two competing visions of marriage relations—egalitarianism and complementarianism—representing different interpretations of the Bible are embedded within Christian pre-marriage counselling discourse. Here, sociological research and theology intersect. This article examines how differing interpretations of Scripture shape marriage advice given to engaged couples. The study’s interview participants, whose pseudonyms are John, Stephen, William, Sharon, and married couple Ron and Shivani, are leaders who facilitate pre-marriage counselling within their evangelical churches. Read more
While imperfect and even contradictory at times, the church of the first five centuries helped define women’s sense of self, integrating their understanding of sexuality and marriage with the redemptive work of Christ in their own lives and communities, thus encouraging them to contribute to the work of the church. Read more
Jamin Hübner offers a detailed analysis of the "Nashville Statement" in hopes of shining a brighter light on the controversial document which addressed human identity, transgenderism, homosexuality, and other related topics. Hübner frames the debate, systematically examines the Statement itself, and concludes with final reflections. Read more
This article reports on a study of the ideologies and decision-making of Christian married couples. We specifically explored the beliefs these couples held regarding decision-making at the beginning of their marriages, those they currently hold, and what prompted any changes in those beliefs across time. Read more
Many modern Western marriage rituals—from engagement, to the wedding ceremony, to post-union practices such as female surname change—are clearly patriarchal. Various customs, including engagement rings that act as modern dowries, separate wedding vows where the woman “loves, honors,  and obeys” and the man “loves, honors, and cherishes,” and unequal childrearing, create a system that oppresses women and subordinates them both within and outside of the home. The Christian ritual of marriage, however, redeems patriarchal marriage through emphasis on sacrament in the Roman Catholic Church1 and on covenant in Protestant denominations.2 Read more
This article is a philosophical reflection on dowry and how it bears on burial disputes among the Luo people of East Africa. Part one offers preliminary remarks to convey my position on dowry. Part two describes the implications of dowry on the burial dispute of a Luo woman named Veronica, as a way of illustrating the far-reaching effects of the dowry system. I have utilized Bernard Lonergan’s Transcendental Method in my thought process about dowry. This method is derived from Lonergan’s cognitional theory—experiencing, understanding my experience, judging the understanding of my experience, willingness to act informed by the judgment of the understanding of my experience, and finally leading to intellectual, moral, and religious conversion. In our efforts to raise consciousness about dowry, we can transpose the method into an invitation to engage in the following five imperatives: be attentive, be intelligent, be reasonable, be willing, and be loving in our discourse on dowry and its long term implications. Read more
The perception in evangelical church culture persists that one of our primary goals as a church is to create good, healthy, safe, Christian families. Sure, we might have singles’ ministries in our churches, but even those are usually designed to help singles meet each other! It is no small secret that the ultimate goal of some singles’ ministries leaders is to work themselves out of a job. Consider this note that I received from a friend after discussing this topic with him: Read more
Dowry, or bride-wealth payment, is a widespread practice in many African societies. In traditional African societies bride-wealth had some positive aspects but mostly negative consequences, for it stands at the foundation of patriarchy. In traditional African societies, bride-wealth was related to goods and services that a bridegroom and his kinsmen transferred to the family of the bride. Traditionally, this transfer involved the delivery of livestock by a suitor to the father or family of his prospective bride Read more

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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.

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