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Priscilla Papers

In his book, Evangelicals at an Impasse: Biblical Authority in Practice (John Knox Press, 1979), Robert K. Johnston, dean of North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, puts his finger on an embarrassing situation.  While Evangelicals are all committed to a high view of Scripture, to the absolute authority of Scripture, they disagree on almost everything else. Read more
Currently, the debate surrounding women’s role in church and home in conservative circles focuses on the issue of headship. The Evangelical Thelogical Society in 1986 devoted its plenary sessions to a discussion of this topic. Because each side debated the meaning of kephale, the Greek work for head, by quoting their favorite lexicons in an attempt to bolster their position, Aida Besancon Spencer referred to this meeting as “the battle of the lexicons.” Read more
This passage in I Timothy has caused much confusion about what women can or cannot do in church services or in teaching. In the oft-heated discussions, a verse or two, or even a single phrase is sometimes selected and the rest of the passage ignored. Read more
It is apparent that the Christian church is grappling with the issue of women’s roles in ministry. Many churches rely on conclusions not founded in Scripture as the basis for their policies. This article seeks to illustrate such inconsistencies and challenge each church to carefully examine the scriptures as the basis for their attitudes and policies regarding the contribution of women to the ministry of the local church. Read more
People sometimes write us to ask where they can find evidence that actual women held official positions of church officership. Professor Greg Horsley of Macquarie University, Australia, has kindly supplied us with the following partial list of references to  women in church leadership. Although we do not usually follow this practice, in this instance we are supplying the bibliographic citations so that our readers may check the material for themselves if they so desire. Read more
On August 28, 1987, Men, Women and God: Christians for Biblical Equality became a reality. The new organization affirms the equality of women and men in church, home, and society and encourages the full development of the gifts and talents of all Christians for God’s service. Read more
Many of our readers write to ask for new insights, information, and resources about biblical feminism. The Chinese say that one peep is worth ten thousand words. Cindy McKeen kindly supplied us with the accompanying illustration; and for those anxious for new material, it may well be worth its weight in gold. The statuette which the drawing depicts does not strike one as a first-class piece of art. To be quite truthful, it seems somewhat clumsy; and the concept of one woman standing upon the head of another is downright grotesque. Nevertheless, this piece and the forty-odd similar executions of this same motif have much to tell us. Usually two which were almost identical were found together, but there are differences in form and decoration between those found in different grave-sites. Always the woman stood within the crown upon the lower female head. Read more
One of the earliest women to be ordained in America was Anna Howard Shaw. Even before her ordination, she served as pastor of a Methodist Church (now the East Dennis Community Church)  on Cape Cod. The following is excerpted from her description of her resignation. Read more
“The problem of patriarchy in the church is the problem of male as norm,” charged British author Elaine Storkey at a recent meeting of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Read more
At the evangelical colloquium on women and the Bible October 9-11, 1984 in Oakbrook, Illinois (see the papers in Women, Authority, and the Bible, ed. A. Mickelsen, Inter Varsity Press, 1986), I introduced the section on biblical hermeneutics (the art of interpreting Scripture) by saying that the most crucial issues for evangelicals in the modern world of biblical studies were not in the arena of the so-called "Battle for the Bible" (inerrancy and authority). Important as these considerations may be, the hermeneutical issues are still more critical. Read more

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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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