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Priscilla Papers

What price do women pay in following God’s call to ordained ministry? For Lou­ise Woosley in 1889, her ordination in Nolin Presbytery cost her the support of her father, her colleagues, and many in the larger Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee, of which the presby­tery was a part. Read more
Considered the most influential woman affiliated with the Welsh Revivals (1904–05) and earlier the Keswick Conventions (1875–1910), Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861–1927) distinguished herself as a writer, speaker, and advocate of women’s public ministry. A cru­cicentrist of the highest order, Penn-Lewis’s egalitarian theol­ogy grew out of her understanding of Christ’s completed work on Calvary. For Penn-Lewis, the cross provides not only forgive­ness for sin (redemption), but also victory over sin and preju­dice (sanctification). Crucicentrists like Penn-Lewis celebrated the social consequences of Calvary that included unity and rec­onciliation, not only between men and women, but also among individuals once hostile to one another. Thus, Penn-Lewis’s sote­riology (what she understood about the work of Christ) shaped her egalitarian ecclesiology (what she understood about the work of the church). She promoted this view through her writings and leadership initially within the early Keswick Conventions and ul­timately within evangelical circles around the world. Read more
O, blessed fountain of love! Fill my heart more with [Thy] Divine principle. Sink me lower in the depths of humility, and let me sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn of Him. Enlarge my soul, that I may better contemplate Thy glory. And may I prove myself Thy child, by bearing a resemblance to Thee, my heavenly Father! Read more
Women played an important and often overlooked role in the de­velopment of the Adventist movement in the nineteenth century United States. As a reform movement that set aside established traditions and looked afresh at Scripture, early Adventism found and espoused biblical support for women in ministry. Eventually, debates about women preachers ensued, foreshadowing contem­porary arguments about gender. This article will summarize the development of Adventism and the role of women within the na­scent movement. It will then look at the lives and ministries of three of Adventism’s most influential women: Harriet Hastings, Ellen White, and Anna Smith. These women were contempo­raries, each active in ministry while married and each living into her eighties, but with notable differences. Read more
The recently released book of the same title (Scarecrow Press, 2007) is essentially the first biographical study of the extraordi­nary yet largely unheralded life of Mabel Lossing Jones, wife of the famed evangelist E. Stanley Jones. Mabel was an American pi­oneer in mission, education, and evangelism in the early to mid- 1900s, primarily in India. Here, she emerges out of the shadow of her celebrated husband as a multifaceted woman leader of the world Christian movement. Read more
The American holiness movement of the mid-nineteenth cen­tury provided a fertile seedbed for women preachers responding to the Spirit’s prompting. One such woman became the mother of a whole army of daughters, following their heroine into battle for the Lord. It was Catherine Mumford Booth (1829–1890), co­founder with her husband of The Salvation Army, who argued the innate equality of women and promoted them to clerical par­ity with men. Read more
he Salvation Army began rather inconspicuously in the East End of London in 1865. William Booth, an itinerant Methodist minister, had moved to London with his wife, Catherine, and their family so that Catherine would be enabled to conduct a preaching mission there. While preferring the provinces rather than London for his ministry, William nevertheless accepted an invitation to minister in London’s East End, and there he began a ministry eventually known as The Christian Mission. As the numbers of converts grew, William and Catherine Booth or­ganized that mission into an Army—a Salvation Army, taking advantage of the military imagery so common in nineteenth-century England with all the pageantry that such imagery afford­ed. The Army grew rapidly in Great Britain, and its ministers (of­ficers) and laypersons (soldiers) became common sights on the streets of cities and towns. By the early 1880s, the Army began to expand as a missionary organization to such places as Canada, America, France, and India. Read more
Catherine Booth was a formative influence in the founding of The Salvation Army. The movement, in fact, was co-founded by William and Catherine Booth. True, William Booth has been most often referred to as the Founder and Catherine as the Army Mother, but her influence was pervasive. She was his closest confidant and most candid critic. “Thou art to be my guardian watcher!” he once wrote to her during their courtship. And so she became. Before he knew her better, William made bold to express the popular understanding of the time that women were less endowed intellectually and spiritually than men. Catherine lost no time in disabusing him of any such notion, insisting that he come to “settled views” on the issue of women’s equality or they had little prospect of a future together. He did. Read more
Throughout the last quarter of the twentieth century, women be­gan to enter the seminaries of the United States in record num­bers. Upon graduation, many sought ordination and have served well in various ministry positions for many years. These same women now find themselves sitting on empty nests, entrenched in the “good old boys” network that makes up much of the patri­archal church structure, encountering a variety of “stained-glass ceilings,” and wondering if this is where they belong. Read more
Though the freedom of women to be leaders in the church has increased in recent years, patriarchy continues to exercise considerable influence within contemporary evangelicalism. Evangelical patriarchy maintains that certain ministry positions in the church are inappropriate for women and should be restricted to men. In particular, women should not operate in positions of authority over men (representatives differ over which offices they deem authoritative). This view does not assert that women are of lesser value or dignity than men, but that God designed women to be subordinate to men in role or function. Hence, its advocates usually prefer the term “complementarianism” over patriarchy, since it emphasizes the affirmative aspects of their position (i.e., that men and women complement each other). In contrast to such a view, the argument of my article is that women should be welcomed and encouraged to serve in positions of church leadership and authority, and that giftedness and not gender should determine a person’s qualification to serve. This is because Spirit gifting is the primary criterion of suitability for Christian ministry. The sovereign call of the Holy Spirit trumps all other criteria that are based on church structure and tradition or the innate qualities of individual persons (including gender). A preference for Spirit gifting is a common starting point for egalitarians, but it frequently lacks a thorough theological grounding and is criticized for being excessively experiential. This article demonstrates that the prioritization of Spirit gifting is not simply an appeal to experience or to mystery, but derives from the logic of the dynamics of Trinitarian grace. The sources for this Trinitarian foundation include Augustine’s mutual love model and J. B. Torrance’s discussion of the mediation of Christ. While the latter draws relevant implications from the sole priesthood of Christ, the former demonstrates why Christ’s work is inseparable from the Spirit’s work. Read more

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Book Review: Aída Besançon Spencer, William David Spencer, and Mimi Haddad's Global Voices on Biblical Equality

Global Voices on Biblical Equality opens with a poem To Prisca and Aquila, which ends, "Gemstones of God, buried in stony, multicultural mines." This book is about "gemstones of God," women ministering together with men in the church worldwide.

Book Review: David Bailey's Speaking the Truth in Love

"Roger and Annette Nicole . . . form a partnership to which anyone might point to illustrate the egalitarianism of men and women together that Roger so implacably defends" (ix), writes J. I. Packer in his introduction to Dr. David Bailey's delightful biography of CBE cofounder and evangelical statesperson Roger Nicole. In his preface, Roger explains that he allowed the author, who is a pastor, professor, and director of the Orlando Center of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, to write his biography in order "to emphasize the footsteps of God Himself in the path of my life" (xv).

Book Review: Nicola Hoggard Creegan and Christine D. Pohl's Living on the Boundaries

In 2006, some senior women faculty at Calvin College were inspired by the film Calendar Girls, a lightly fictionalized account of an improbable fundraising device by a group of middle-aged Britons in a rural Women's Institute. The Englishwomen decided to pose in discreetly suggestive ways (featuring food, flowers, and fancy hats) for a calendar, which ended up selling so widely and so well that it raised almost $1 million for the cancer ward of a local hospital.

Book Review: Glen Scorgie's The Journey Back to Eden

One scholar stated, "You can't learn something you think you already know." In light of this proposal, Dr. Glen G. Scorgie's book on relational harmony between men and women will enlighten only those who do not think they already have the right answer. The book is for those who hold Scripture in highest regard while also admitting that many issues, including gender issues, are not presented in clear black-and-white answers.

Book Review: Carrie A. Miles's The Redemption of Love

Carrie Miles' well-written book should be read by all who cherish the institution of marriage and wish to understand (and stem) its decline. Miles, who has a PhD from the University of Chicago, is associate director of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture. Using the tools of socioeconomic analysis, her book explores two large questions: (1) What biblical norms should anchor marriage and family in every time and place? and (2) What material forces either support or undermine people's ability to live up to those norms?

Book Review: Royce Gruenler's The Trinity in the Gospel of John

The 2005 appearance of Bruce Ware's Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance marks a bold attempt to put subordinationist claims before the Evangelical Church in a popular and accessible form. Professor Ware writes:

Book Review: The Trinity and Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate

Have you heard the claim that relationships between men and women should image the "eternal subordination" in the Trinity? If so, read this book. With a profound, concise course in Trinitarian theology and hermeneutics, using two case studies to exemplify points, The Trinity & Subordinationism is highly recommended.

Book Reviews: Cultural of Analysis: Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals

William J. Webb's Slaves, Women and Homosexuals is a hermeneutical tour de force. Webb severs ties with traditional hermeneutical textbooks by offering intra-scriptural and extra­scriptural criteria and a case study approach (akin to W. M. Swartley's Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women) rather than a step-by-step methodology.

Book Review: Women as Risk-Takers for God

The author of Women as Risk-Takers for God, Lorry Lutz, is currently the international coordinator of the Women's Track of AD2000 and Beyond. Her purpose for accepting this position was to be an advocate for women among Christian leaders so that women would be released to use their gifts for evangelism and discipleship.

Book Review: Shattering Our Assumptions

Shattering Our Assumptions began as a research project carried out by Miriam Neff, who surveyed 1,200 Christian women in diverse churches across the country. The questionnaire was designed to find out what Christian women think about the role of women in the home, church, and society. The book also draws on research conducted by Christianity Today, Inc., surveying readers of Today's Christian Woman.

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