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Priscilla Papers

Like Mary waiting on Easter morningregretting a dream she thought was deadin a world whence God had seemingly fledleaving her weeping, perplexed, forlorn,but daring to ask “Where is the Lord?”and hearing at last the holy word, Read more
Behold a child is softly crying who will save a world lost and dying, the wooden trough where he is lain precursor to a cross of pain.     Read more
As night gives birth to a billion stars when day is gone darkness is ever destined to be the herald of dawn; out of a place where hope is not must hope be born. Read more
The doctrine of the Trinity is one of those core Christian beliefs that—on the basis of scriptural revelation, orthodox religious tradition, and common Christian spiritual experience—was carefully pondered, debated, and then formulated in the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed. These “ecumenical creeds” are recognized and subscribed to by most Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant churches as the true definition of who and what the Lord God Almighty, the One True God we worship and serve, truly is. Read more
Is God more like a totem pole or a circle? That is to ask, is God a being in tandem, a hierarchical Godhead with degrees of rank, glory, and even divinity: the Father at the top, the Son in the middle, and the Holy Spirit on the bottom? Or, is the Trinity an equal community—a permanent triunity of one great God, in three completely coeternal, completely coequal persons (or personalities, or faces)? Read more
When editors Ronald Pierce and Rebecca Groothuis’s Discovering Biblical Equality came out in 2005, many were surprised to read its subtitle: “Complementarity without Hierarchy.” “Wasn’t that term ‘complement’ already taken? Didn’t it already mean ‘hierarchical’ by its inherent nature? Was this a case of co-opting a word and attempting to redefine it away from its original meaning?” were the questions to ask. Those who took the time to check it out in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary may have been surprised to read: “1. something that completes or makes perfect . . . 2. The quantity or amount that completes anything . . . 3. Either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterpart.”1 Read more
A superficial glance at the New Testament in translation, combined with an expectation of a subordinate role for women, results in generalizations that Paul commands women not to teach or have authority (1 Tim 2:11–15), except in the case of older women teaching younger women how to be housewives (Titus 2:3–5), and women are not to teach in official, public, formal positions in the church, but they can teach in informal, private, one-on-one situations in the home. Read more
A perennial and difficult question for conservative evangelicals to answer is the relationship between the Bible and the creeds and confessions of the church. We evangelicals say that we believe in the ultimate authority and sufficiency of Scripture. We thus often hear evangelical teachers saying, “What we believe and teach comes directly from the Bible.” I frequently heard these words as a young theological student, and they rang in my mind for twenty years until one day, when writing an article on “the how” of doing evangelical theology, I came to see they were inherently untrue. We evangelicals draw on a rich theological tradition that impacts heavily on how we interpret Scripture on doctrinal matters. Scripture is our ultimate authority in matters of faith and conduct, but we always come to Scripture with the theology or doctrine we have inherited from our teachers and mentors in our minds. This theology does not spring directly from the pages of Scripture. It is the product of a long process of reflection and debate over many centuries as to what is the primary emphasis, the fundamental insight, given the diverse teaching of Scripture on specific doctrinal issues.  Read more
Is it difficult to take Priscilla Papers to the beach? Not exactly light summer reading? Maybe not, but this issue introduces you to an interesting collection of individuals, any of whose stories would make some novels pale in comparison. Each in her or his own way, some intentionally, and some not, has made a lasting contribution to the egalitarian thought of our authors as they lived lives so remarkable that they have, in their own sphere, become significant figures of history and, in some cases, of legend. Read more
A popular question has been posed for a while now in contemporary American society: “What would Jesus do?” The theology behind the question suggests that, perhaps, in the absence of explicit teaching, or as further explanation thereof, if one were to discern how Jesus reacts or handles a situation, because of the utter consistency of Jesus’s character and mission, one might find instruction for how to do likewise in one’s own life. It is based on the simple call and invitation that Jesus gives to his disciples: “Follow me” (e.g., Matt 4:19; Mark 2:14; Luke 9:59; John 1:43). Jesus proclaims good news: the kingdom of God is at hand. And, with that, a new world order is established. Those who follow him are called to demonstrate and embody the values, tenets, and principles of the kingdom. His followers often represent those who, transformed by the healing and restorative ministry of Jesus, then choose to commit their own lives to faithful service of Jesus Christ. These followers are also known as disciples. They not only learn the teachings of Jesus, but also fully embrace his teachings by applying them in their daily walk. 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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