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Priscilla Papers

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
Minneapolis was the site of CBE’s first-ever marriage conference last October 27-29. What a wonderful time! We came, we listened, we drank in the testimonies of God’s grace and victory in lives, and we rejoiced at the message shared and carried away. If you missed it, we have a treat for you: Virgil Olson’s devotional message on Saturday morning, which began a day of inspiration and challenge, is reproduced here for the benefit of Priscilla Papers readers. If you couldn’t attend the conference, don’t miss this study of two extraordinary New Testament couples, beginning on page 12. Read more
Some months ago I was struck by some statistics I happened upon while checking out some information on the Internet (see p. 17). These data make the point that as women are enjoying the growing opportunities to succeed in business and the professional world, they are becoming an increasingly dominant force. While I was impressed by the large numbers and percentages of women involved in business and in decision-making on the home front, I couldn’t help wishing the same were true across the church spectrum. I wondered what the percentages would be had those who compiled the numbers done a survey of how many women were actively involved in church leadership. Surely many of these same women who represent the growing percentages of leadership in business attend churches in which they are denied the opportunity to use their gifts and their obvious abilities to lead. Read more

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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.

Book Review: The Eternal Generation of The Son

This book addresses a topic within the Godhead that cuts across the lines of gender conviction and unites egalitarians and hierarchists on both sides of the debate. In this case, the topic is not whether a one-way eternal subordination of the Son to the Father exists in the Trinity, but whether the Son is begotten by the Father solely in the incarnation or throughout all eternity, always proceeding from the Father.

KeumJu Jewel Hyun and Cynthia Davis Lathrop's Some Men Are Our Heroes

As we journey through life, many of us will be able to recount key individuals who noticed our God-given gifts and potential. Those same individuals not only showed an interest from the sidelines, but they also took proactive measures to mentor us and abet us in pursuing God's dreams for our lives.

Tim and Anne Evan's Real Life Marriage

Real-Life Marriage: It's Not About Me is coauthored by Tim and Anne Evans, a longtime married couple involved in Christian marriage counseling for many years. The Colorado authors open and close their book with an appealing image: "Marriage is a lot like climbing a mountain" (345). This image not only sets the tone of the book, but implies its purpose and invites a diverse audience.

Book Review: John Zen's No Will of My Own

This small book (75 pages) elucidates a great present-day adversary to biblical justice and equality: patriarchy. The book is written for the Body of Christ. It is the wish of the author to bring consciousness of the subject to church membership and leadership alike. The view here presented is that patriarchy is not merely uncomfortable for some women, but toxic and dangerous to all men and women in the faith.

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