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Priscilla Papers

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
As a translator of the Old Testament and member of several NIV teams, I’ve had many opportunities to protest against the use of sexist language wherever ‘adam or ben- ‘adam is generic and clearly refers to both men and women. For example, in the Creation account, “He created man (‘adam) in his own image… male and female, he created them” (1:26-27), ‘adam should read either “the human race” or “people.” The same is probably true for Genesis 2:5, 3:21, 5:1 and 6:3. Certainly the ‘adam in Psalm 8:4 deserves to be rendered “human beings” or “men and women.” Read more
“This is not a gender matter, it’s a language matter.” Professor Jimmy Duke speaks for many in his comments on translations (Saint Paul Pioneer, June, 1997:4D). I beg to disagree. As a professor of New Testament who has served on several translation committees, and as a woman, I propose that the May 27 “Guidelines for Translation” released from Focus on the Family’s headquarters in Colorado Springs are solely “a gender matter.” Read more
Perhaps some of you have heard or read of Luther’s theology on the Christian in the world and his idea of the dual kingdoms of church and state. I’ve come to believe that a Christian woman in academe is embedded in more than a duality of kingdoms, but a plurality. In this article, I would like to define these worlds or kingdoms as follows: 1) The Kingdom of the Evangelical Church, 2) The Kingdom of our Patriarchal Society, 3) The Kingdom of Feminist Culture and Theory: Those who “Get it”, and 4) The Kingdom of Academe. Read more
The scandal of the evangelical mind, Mark Noll tells us, “is that there is not much of an evangelical mind” (p.3). The reasons he lists for this are many, and include evangelical over-emphasis on the emotionally-charged experience of conversion, an overly-populist approach to evangelism, a preoccupation with personal sanctification to the exclusion of concern for creation, for society, and for the institutions represented therein, and a fortress mentality left over from the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early twentieth century. The minimal intellectual life that has survived in fundamentalism — affecting evangelicalism by association — has relied on an uncritical retention of nineteenth century “common sense” epistemology, with its reliance on intuition, its naive confidence in the existence of indisputable facts, and its appeal to Baconian inductivism as the route to sure truth in science and theology alike. Read more
One of the major discoveries in the field of community development during the last 10 years is the critical importance of women to the development process. The feminization of poverty is in arguable. Women and girl-children repeatedly pay the highest price for being poor. They get less food, less health care, and less education. Yet they do most of the agricultural work, maintain the family, and rear the children. Read more
When Desiree Washington charged that Mike Tyson had raped her, some Christians retorted that it was her fault for getting herself into the situation. To my horror, the Bible study group at our church was divided on the issue, and paradoxically most of the women support Mike Tyson (I later learned that one of the few women who remained silent was a rape victim herself). I was further horrified that some of the more vocal leaders in our denomination (the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.) reiterated the same views; although some of us spoke out on behalf of Ms. Washington, it was those who favored Mr. Tyson who garnered the publicity. Read more
A friend of mine attends a church that longs for renewal. The pastors acknowledge a sense of spiritual ineffectiveness among their members, and they have sought the power of the Holy Spirit to quicken, empower, and revive personal and corporate ministry. In prayer this congregation asks for an out pouring of the Holy Spirit, but with an unspoken proviso, that God honor their gender bias: God may pour out His Spirit, but men alone may exhibit the Spirit’s empowering. Yet nothing seems further from the tenor of revival and the passage in Acts where the Holy Spirit was poured out not only on Gentiles, but also on women. Read more
Some years ago I listened to a group of five-year-old children being interviewed on CBC radio. The interviewer was asking them what they appreciated about their mothers. Their answers were revealing. “I like my mother because she lets me have two cookies before breakfast.” “I like my mother because she serves me breakfast in bed.” All the answers were self-centered. They were all related to what the mother did to serve her child. None of the children expressed appreciation for mother as a person. Read more
As a woman preparing to seek ordination to the pastoral office in the Presbyterian Church (USA) I find myself encountering skepticism — a skepticism about my real identity. In light of my gender and career objective, some people immediately assume that I am a radical feminist. Others are not sure, so they conduct a stakeout, patiently waiting to see what I’ll say or do. It seems as if people are listening to every nuance of what I say, trying to uncover a feminist agenda. I feel scrutinized. 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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