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Priscilla Papers

It is such an honor to work as acting editor of Priscilla Papers, and yet, I cannot remember all the times I have longed to pick up the phone and call Carol for help. The sound of her voice has been replaced with silence. Read more
Egalitarian scholarship is burgeoning at an incredible rate. What is even more remarkable is that this scholarship is coming from almost every corner of the church. Even critics of the egalitarian position note this phenomenon. Thomas R. Schreiner writes this in the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: “Sometimes I wonder if egalitarians hope to triumph in the debate on the role of women by publishing book after book on the subject. Each work propounds a new thesis that explains why the traditional interpretation is flawed. Complementarians could easily give in from sheer exhaustion, thinking that so many books written by such a diversity of authors could scarcely be wrong.” Read more
One dictionary definition of the word language is “the words . . . and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community.” To communicate, we need to be understood, and to understand the words others use. But language is always alive, always changing. We strain to grasp the sense of Shakespeare plays, shake our heads at the incomprehensibility of Middle English—and often struggle with new words that are daily added to our common vernacular. Read more
I begin this note with a tribute to a gracious Christian gentleman who passed into God’s presence on June 20. I refer to Kenneth S. Kantzer, longtime dean and professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL), former editor of Christianity Today magazine, and an unashamed egalitarian. It was Kantzer who introduced me to the apostle Junia and gave me an understanding of the New Testament teachings on equality. I have always regretted being unable to persuade him to find time to render his keynote address at the CBE conference in 1991 into publishable form. He will be missed by many of us in CBE as well as in the wider evangelical community. Read more
You may have noticed that beginning in the Summer 2001 issue of Priscilla Papers a new logo appeared on this page, that of the Evangelical Press Association indicating our membership. In some ways, deciding to join this professional association of Christian publications was a bold step for the CBE board, aligning ourselves with well over 300 periodicals, journals, and individuals who make up EPA. Read more
Do you have a copy of the new Today’s New International Version translation? If so, you are already enjoying a familiar translation in updated, “gender accurate” form. But if you’ve heard contradictory statements about the veracity and value of this new work related to the familiar New International Version (NIV), you will welcome this issue’s lead article by John Kohlenberger, a member of CBE’s board of directors. John has followed the development of the TNIV since the inclusive version of the NIV, published in Great Britain in 1995/95, was summarily rejected—under pressure—for publication in the U.S. several years ago. Read more
When Gordon Fee presented his plenary message at the CBE Biennial International Conference in June, all of us privileged to hear that address left with much new information. Dr. Fee’s exegesis of one of the most quoted passages about the relationships of husbands, wives, slaves, and masters in the house churches to whom the apostle Paul wrote gave us much food for thought and illuminating information about those house churches. We are pleased now to be able to share that message with all of you in printed form and believe that you, too, will find it especially helpful. In the same vein, we are also pleased to reprint an article by a now-retired professor of Jewish History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Shmuel Safrai, on the subject of the role of women in first-century synagogues. We are especially indebted to a CBE member in Israel, Lucy Lincoln, who called our attention to this article and was of enormous help in aiding us in getting the author’s permission to use it in this issue. Read more
Have you ever gotten really angry with God for making you who and what you are? If you are female, it’s entirely possible you’ve gotten as mad at God as one of the writers in this issue. Funmi Josephine Para-Mallam fell head-over-heels in love with Jesus Christ as a college student and thought the injustices she experienced as a young woman had become a thing of the past. But she abruptly came face to face with reality in the church as many of us have come to know it. Read her journey of faith, beginning on page 12. You will be inspired to walk alongside Funmi into a new experience of victory and peace. Read more
I have just returned from CBE’s great Biennial International Conference—the seventh in CBE’s history. Words are simply inadequate to describe the blessing of those days in Dallas. The large group of men and women (and a few children) in attendance included people of all ages and many ethnicities. What a thrill it was to fellowship with one another. The plenary sessions were particularly notable as we listened to Julie Pennington-Russell, Richard Foster, Gordon Fee, and Robin Smith. Fee’s excellent exegesis of Ephesians 5 was especially memorable. Workshop sessions were many and varied, covering a wide range of topics of interest to those of us concerned with equality in the church. Worship, led by Robert Winn, joined our voices together in praise, and we were moved by the several presentations of special music and dance. Read more
This issue begins a new tradition for Priscilla Papers. Dan Gentry Kent, whose writing in previous issues has been appreciated by readers, begins a series of regular columns. We anticipate publishing a column in each issue as Dan shares some of the things on his heart concerning matters of equality. His first column, “The Woman Beside the Man,” appears on page 22. Dan and his wife, Barbara, are the Texas coordinators for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Furthermore, Dan is the current chair of our CBE board of directors. He is the author of articles in the previous two issues of Priscilla Papers, and we look forward to hearing from Dan on a regular basis. 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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