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The Stilwells’ Dodge Ram van weighed five tons. Donna Stilwell weighed 115 pounds. Her husband, Richard, was hardly thinking about the comparison when he slid underneath the van to fix the transmission. But, as he worked on it, suddenly it slipped out of park and the vehicle crushed down on him. He could not move. He screamed for Donna, who dashed out of the house, and leaped into the van, trying to drive it “gently” off him, but “the pain was unbearable.” So, Donna Stilwell, all five feet two inches and 115 pounds, jumped back out, grasped the van over the front left wheel, and lifted the van off her husband. “She has wrist problems and has a hard time moving a coffee table,” Richard reflected afterwards, as he recovered from “internal bruising” and a “broken arm.” “The end result could have been a lot worse if not for the super human strength of his wife,” observed reporter Christina Wallace of the Boston Metro. But, another remarkable aspect Wallace records is that “Donna has reported no back, wrist or arm pains since performing her feat of strength.”1 Read more
Shepherd, Instructor, Director. “Father, lead in righteousness. Read, teach, command. We have gone astray. Father, take the hand of the people. Read more
An honest conversation with a young Christian woman in the United States would reveal the prevalent hurt and fear in her experience as well as her search for meaning and identity. Media and society encourage her to find empowerment in a “Girls Gone Wild” or “Spring Break” rite of passage experience and to allow her peers and the opposite sex to form her meaning and identity. The Christian church negates these ideas, but offers discipleship that is often one-dimensional teaching about following God’s commands. She needs more than that. Read more
When I speak on the topic of biblical equality, I look out at the audience and wonder why each person has chosen to come. Some may be women who feel restricted in their church circles and not given opportunity to use their gifts, who hope to find help. Some may be men who want to understand more clearly the biblical basis for God’s view on gender and who need help in being able to give an answer to the many who hold a gender bias. Others may be women seeking guidance on how to juggle home, family, and marriage responsibilities more effectively with their church or business leadership positions. Read more
Every Christian knows that Jesus Christ’s “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:19 has been the motivation for his people launching out across the world and discipling all who respond to the good news of salvation since our Lord began the church. What many Christians do not know, however, is that an entire theology of God is present in this great epic statement. And a summary of our way of life and our hopes of glory are all here too. Read more
I am made differently from you. I have something inside of me you do not have, and can never have unless you hold me. Because of that tiny cradle of muscle and blood, I can sing to a baby before a baby is born and the baby will hear me. I am made differently from you. There is always a place in me waiting for new life to take root and grow. Eternity shines through the belly of mortality, the placenta of light shines, the cord of life thickens, and the baby begins water-dancing. I am made differently from you. The echo of life sings against your heart— memory in a bony rib. Read more
By the time he wrote the letter we call 1 Corinthians, Paul was obviously becoming exasperated with the saints at Corinth. After his ever cordial and didactic greetings—reminding them that their calling and sanctification in the Lord is not unique to them, but it is a privilege that they share with other Christians everywhere (1 Cor 1:2)—he starts right in on what he sees is wrong with them. But, before he does that, he shares some words of encouragement, nourishing his students with a kind of pedagogical sandwich, as every good teacher will, mentioning something positive, then the negative that needs correction, then ending with a positive, encouraging appeal, urging the students to do better in the future. Read more
When we say, “We are persuaded from Scripture that masculinity and femininity are rooted in who we are by nature,”1 what do we mean by “nature”? How do we relate our view of nature to our understanding of the role of women? In this article, I will examine how John Calvin, to whom contemporary Reformed churches owe so much for their confessions and practices, used the argument from nature to understand the role of women as different from that of men. Read more
As unwitting children of the Enlightenment, we seem to have a Tower of Babel–like craving for absolute certainty. And so both sides in the debate recruit biologists and social scientists as latter-day natural theologians who are supposed to help close the theological gaps by telling us, from a “scientific” perspective, what gender complementarity “really is.” Thus, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (RBMW)1 has chapters on biology, psychology, and sociology, and Discovering Biblical Equality (DBE)2 has chapters written or cowritten by therapists, a sociologist, and an academic psychologist.3 But as an academic psychologist and gender studies scholar who did not contribute to either volume, I am now going to try to explain (not for the first time)4 why this is a misguided exercise. My basic points are these: Read more
Pardon this mother, sir, but I’m not leaving. Most people seem to think He came to the world looking like that: a grown thirty-three-year-old man with a mission to accomplish. Well, it wasn’t like that. 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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