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Priscilla Papers

Writing a commentary on one book of the Bible is a serious responsibility—not to mention three books. So, when Aída, my wife, was given that opportunity, we shook out our savings from under every mattress, so as to say, and the whole family went to the island of Crete where Paul sent Titus so long ago to nurture the fledgling church. Our son Steve, who is in media productions, took 1,400 pictures and did the driving. I edited what Aída had written so far on her manuscript (which was considerable) while she took copious notes on what she needed in each spot to enlighten more obscure parts of the texts of the pastorals. We had our team. Read more
Jewels come in unexpected settings. Take Corinth in ancient Greece: more rock than mineral. Rocks piled into rude temples to designer gods. Rocks hewn out with curved grooves where heads were laid so necks could be severed. Rocks scattered down, a Roman highway to bring in refugees from across the world. Rocks propped up for businesses—and in one of these three diamonds glowed. These were not the jewels of vain display, but industrial diamonds, hard tools for work­­—three gems brought in from two other settings, shining with the pastel hue of otherworldly mystic Judaism and bright with the golden brocade of this-worldly Imperial Rome. Read more
A woman must quietly receive instruction with all submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was first deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Tim 2:11–14 NASB)  Among theological conservatives, the 1 Timothy 2 passage is pivotal in determining the role of women in the church. For today’s “traditionalists,” this passage mandates the subordination of women to men in the church because the headship/submission principle is grounded in the created order, an order that Christianity redeems, but does not alter. Today’s traditionalists/male hierarchists also claim to be upholding the historic interpretation of this passage. New research on early Protestant beliefs concerning natural law and the spiritual and civil kingdoms, however, brings their claim into serious question.  Read more
Even if the New Testament identified by name many men and no women as local church officers—in particular, elders, overseers, or pastors—this would not logically exclude women from local church leadership. After all, the New Testament does not name any Gentile men with those titles either. Does this exclude them from those leadership positions? Read more
“Skip a meal, if you must, but buy this book!” That was the professorial exhortation eager students would take to heart when I was in seminary. In those days before personal computers and the various BibleWorks-type programs, the most precious of such must-buy books were the reference books. Read more
The tears of those who love us gently water the cheeks of the earth. Another beautiful bloom turns into a wrinkled seed, they lament. Ah, a premature death, A premature life, Why must it be so? Read more
Within evangelical circles, much discussion is centered on the role of God as Father. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God is depicted frequently with this paternal metaphor.1 Yet, one should not overlook that God is also depicted with maternal metaphors. Within the Old Testament (OT), these metaphors of God as mother or God as one giving birth are often juxtaposed with traditionally male metaphors such as God as father and God as husband.2 Within the New Testament (NT), childbearing and mothering metaphors serve an important role in redescribing the spiritual rebirth (Gal 4:29; John 3:3–8), describing the experience of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the disciples (Matt 24:8; Mark 13:8; John 16:21); describing Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:3, 23; 1 John 2:20; James 1:18), and Paul describing his relationship to the Thessalonian church (1 Thess 2:7). Read more
A closer discernment of biblical influence on spousal relationships can help humanity model pervasively the image of God. In his divine image, God created “man” both male and female (Gen 1:27). A new fleshing out of the bare bones of marital oneness can foster health within Christian marriages by exploring biblical matrimonial ideals. Based on the example of the Trinity, the egalitarian stance of reciprocal mutual submission displayed through marital oneness more fully reflects the imago Dei. Read more
JUNIA – Apostle Junia, the female companion of Andronicus, has the unique distinction (for one of her sex) of being referred to by St. Paul as an apostle (Romans 16:7). Although she was one of Paul’s relatives, coming to faith ahead of her more famous kinsman, we know but little about her ministry. We do know that, whatever the nature of her activities, they were enough to land her in a Roman prison. Some church historians (from the fourteenth century onwards) have had the gall to think that she must really have been a man. John Chrysostom, however, spoke in glowing terms about her, knowing her to have been a woman. Considering some of the things that he had to say about women, that seems a fairly convincing proof of her gender. Read more
In the first installment of this series, we noted and illustrated the importance of the presence or absence of the article (the) in Greek grammar. Presence of the article usually indicates identity and absence of the article generally stresses quality or character. We showed how this grammatical difference (not usually present in English) affects our interpretation of verses 1 through 7 in I Timothy 2. Read more

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Book Review: Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World

I am in a unique position. I am a woman who leads a men’s group. After years of leading an identity formation group for women, I was asked to create a similar process for men. While developing the curriculum, I was hard-pressed to find material that was not complementarian, or that did not rely heavily on archetypal models to frame a man’s identity. Because I wanted the curriculum to be rooted in the biblical story and the imago Dei, I searched for resources that provided a biblical framework for a male identity. I never quite found what I was looking for—until Malestrom.

Book Review: The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence Against Women and Girls

The media has in recent years given increasing attention to global violence toward women and girls. In 2012, the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) went to Saving Face, which focuses upon survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan. In October 2014, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager, became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her activism on behalf of young people (especially girls) denied access to education. Another past Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former US President Jimmy Carter, has also committed himself to activism on behalf of subjugated women.

An Extended Review of One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life

Wayne Grudem says that for twenty-five years he has believed that how the Trinity is understood “may well turn out to be the most decisive factor in finally deciding” the bitter debate between evangelicals about the status and ministry of women.1 This is encouraging to hear, because Grudem and many of his fellow complementarians have got the doctrine of the Trinity completely wrong.

Book Review: Man Enough: How Jesus Redefines Manhood

Nate Pyle is a pastor in Fishers, Indiana. His recent book, Man Enough, tackles the question of biblical gender roles from a fresh perspective. His offering is the latest in the recent influx of gender studies in the “spiritual memoir” genre. While authors like Rachel Held Evans (A Year of Biblical Womanhood, 2012) or Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist, 2013) have provided important insights on the ongoing complementarian versus egalitarian debate, they have commented largely on how this debate has affected women.

Finding Their Voices: Sermons by Women in the Churches of Christ

D’Esta Love is no stranger to writing and editing; as co-editor of the Pepperdine University based ministry journal, Leaven, she has often encouraged the ministry of other women.1 She is also no stranger to “finding her voice.” In the introduction to Finding Their Voices, Love reflects on the number of years she waited for the opportunity to preach in her own heritage, in a Church of Christ (she was seventy years old).

Wild at Heart: Essential Reading or “Junk Food of the Soul”?

It seems a discussion of masculinity can scarcely commence at Gordon College without mention of John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, a book enthusiastically endorsed by Christians nationwide. Many would agree with writer Charles Swindoll, who calls Wild at Heart “the best, most insightful book I have read in at least the last five years” (Eldredge, i). Eldredge’s immense popularity, however, must not be allowed to disguise the fact that his suggestions are often incongruent with the teachings of Jesus.

Book Review: Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women

I have read nothing quite like Elaine Storkey’s book, Scars Across Humanity. It tells the story of violence against women in today’s world. The book is very well researched and accessible; moreover, it is spine-chilling. As I sat with the book in hand after reading it I felt both pleased that someone had so powerfully told this awful story and depressed by what I had read.

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