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Priscilla Papers

I will examine the different views regarding this issue and give a brief summary of the New Testament account of women in leadership. I will give particular attention to those passages of Scripture that have been the primary cause of disagreement over this issue. And I also will relate this subject to the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (ICFG), the denomination of which I am a part. Read more
Have you noticed how much competition is part of modern life? It is all around us, influencing us in ways in which we are not even aware. There is competition between academic and athletic teams of various high schools and colleges. There is competition between politicians, political parties, political philosophies, and sometimes between the various branches of government. There is competition between businesses, and between labor and management. Read more
In the summer of 1998, when the Reverend Kay Ward was elected as the first female bishop in the very conservative Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America, she stated: We never know what will happen when men, clearly led by God’s inclusive Spirit, choose to break open tightly bound fists of power and authority. And so I understand that [my election to bishop] takes place in a much wider context, a much longer journey. Read more
Denominations struggle with the role of women in the church. Is it appropriate for women to serve as ministers in God’s church? Are women worthy even to receive ordination as local elders? In some of our churches these questions have never arisen. In others they have long since ceased to be an issue at all. In still others, they are centers of hot debate. Antagonists on both sides continue to marshal arguments in hopes of convincing the church of “the truth.” Some observers of the strength of conviction on both sides fear that this issue could split the Christian community. 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
Faith, feminism and family are three of the highest priorities in my life, but no one has ever before invited me to write on all three topics at once. If I am to do so, I must begin at the beginning: with the book of Genesis. In an incredibly poetic story, we are told of a wise God who made all things and saw that they were good-that is, until it came to the creation of man. Then God saw that it was “not good” that man should be alone. Humanity, made in God’s image, must be relational as God is relational, sharing mutual love and joy and wholeness. Read more
An Israelite woman doing the work of a man is found infrequently in the Scriptures, but Anna is one of the exceptions. Luke 2:36-38 pictures Anna in the Temple court busy with the office, and in the traditional role, of a Hebrew prophet. Her example should be an encouragement to every gifted woman who has been called to lead and to serve by the power of the Holy Spirit in one of the Christian churches or mission fields around the world today. Read more
Throughout the nineteenth century, women struggled with oppressive interpretations of the Bible that deprived them of their power and dignity. But while Elizabeth Cady Stanton repudiated those portions of Sacred Writ which she found repressive, other women took another tack The most prominent voice declaring the Bible as liberating of women was raised by Katherine Bushnell, a crusader against the forced prostitution of women, and also world evangelist for the WCTU’s Department of Social Purity. Insisting that the Bible fully upheld the rights and integrity of women, Bushnell stated that she and her followers would not yield “one jot or tittle” of the inspired text. Convinced that the Bible’s message about women was one of empowerment and freedom, she developed a hermeneutic designed to challenge the complacency with which supposedly Bible-believing folk countenanced abuses against women. She further composed over one hundred and one studies for women—studies which became the precursor of much feminist thought that was unique in springing from a conservative theology. Read more
Margaret Fell, known to many as the “Mother of Quakerism,” is arguably one of the most fascinating figures in Western religious history. Though frequently overlooked by historians, Margaret Fell played a germinal role in the development of the Friends (Quaker) movement, and her life presents a compelling picture of the power of faith and the cost of discipleship. From her position as an educated woman of power and social standing in Cromwell’s England, Fell was able to defend and nurture Quaker founder George Fox and his followers, many of whom endured persecution or death as the movement grew. In addition to bringing organization and stability to the early Friends movement, she was also an able biblical exegete who authored sixteen books on Quaker distinctives such as pacifism, the role of women in the Church, and eschatology. Fearless in defense of her beloved fellow Quakers, Margaret Fell endured dungeons, met with Kings, and ultimately sacrificed all that she owned for her faith. Read more
At first glance, being empowered to serve appears to be an obvious and familiar concept to many people. The thinking is: Of course we Christians are called to serve God first and then to serve our fellow human beings, and obviously if God calls us to do something God will give us the power to do it. Read more

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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.

Book Review: Gayle Haggard's Why I Stayed

Gayle Haggard's Why I Stayed is a spellbinding book. My reflections, as I read it, revolved around three separate but related themes—marriage, mutuality, and "healing through meeting." We all see the stories others tell about their lives through the prism of our own. I am no exception. I have been married for fifty years this summer to Ron Sider. Since the late 1970s, we have used, as a guide in our marriage, a Christ-centered hermeneutic of biblical equality.

Book Review: Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen's A Sword Between the Sexes? C.S. Lewis and the Gender Debates

It is interesting that we feel as if we know an author because we have read and appreciated many of his or her books. In my case, I have read and enjoyed numerous writings by British author C. S. Lewis, yet I have never fully understood many of his views. Certainly, over years of reading his fantasy fiction and his classic works of Christian apologetics, I noticed his distinct (and puzzling) attitude toward women, but I never really gave his attitudes deep consideration. I was less familiar with his life story, his education, his youth, his marriage, or his worldview.

Book Review: Millard Erickson's Who's Tampering with the Trinity

I am very happy to have this opportunity to recommend strongly Millard Erickson's Who's Tampering with the Trinity? An Assessment of the Subordination Debate to the readers of Priscilla Papers and to the wider evangelical community in generaL Erickson's book addresses two areas of vital importance to the church: the doctrine of the Trinity and the role of women in the church and family.

Book Review: Curtiss Paul DeYoung's Coming Together in the Twenty-First Century

In Coming Together in the Twenty-First Century: The Bible's Message in an Age of Diversity, Curtiss Paul DeYoung writes a foundational work about the necessity of diversity in developing a holistic Christian theology of community. This book reengages questions introduced in the first publication of Coming Together more than a decade ago. DeYoung uses the Scriptures as a tool of liberation while highlighting historic ways they have been used oppressively as tools of Western thought and colonialism.

Book Review: Women, Ministry, and the Gospel: Exploring New Paradigms

This fine collection of essays draws upon papers presented at a Wheaton College Theology Conference in April 2005. While they all merit reading and pondering, four struck me as particularly noteworthy: those by I. Howard Marshall, Fredrick J. Long, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, and Timothy Larsen. At the same time, with one or two exceptions, the articles break less new ground than the phrase New Paradigms in the subtitle suggests.

Book Review: The TNIV Study Bible

I am so thankful Zondervan has decided to publish the TNIV Study Bible. When the Today's New International Version first was published in the United States, I asked one Zondervan editor if they would ever print the NIV Study Bible with the TNIV text. The answer was, "Maybe. Let's wait and see."

Book Review: Women and Ministry: What the Bible Teaches by Dr. Dan Doriani

Dr. Dan Doriani, Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Covenant Seminary and Senior Pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Mo., has written Women and Ministry: What the Bible Teaches in order to provide a biblical defense for traditional churches that exclude women from official teaching and leadership offices within their congregations. However, his other objective in writing this book is to show that change is necessary. The tradition governing men's and women's ministries in the church can—indeed must—be stretched beyond its current boundaries.

Book Reviews: Women in the Church

Carroll Osburn's second edition of Women in the Church is a welcome contribution to the ongoing conversation on this topic, and he has reworked the book to take advantage of new developments and research. It feels like a textbook, but nonstudents will still glean valuable insights.

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