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Priscilla Papers

The Bible teaches that God created man and woman subordinate to God, spiritually and socially equal to each other, and entrusted to care for creation. However, man and woman were not content with this God-ordained order; they wanted power over God. In an act of deliberate disobedience, they replaced God with self, a choice that separated them from God and from each other. God’s redemptive plan is to restore human beings to a new relationship with God and with each other, referred to in this essay as right relationships. What are right relationships? How should Christians living under God’s reign endeavor to treat others all day every day? Read more
One source of tension between egalitarians and complementarians is the frequent complementarian claim that egalitarians are the theological descendents of radical feminists such as Betty Friedan, Mary Daly, and Daphne Hampson. This is inaccurate. Egalitarians in fact see mentors in people like Catherine Booth, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Frances Willard, A. J. Gordon, Katharine Bushnell, William Baxter Godbey, Amanda Smith, Fredrik Franson, Sojourner Truth, B. T. Roberts, and Pandita Ramabai. Our theological moorings, as egalitarians, are directly linked to the first wave of feminists—people whose passion for Scripture, evangelism, and justice shaped the golden era of missions in the 1800s. These people not only advanced the biblical basis for the gospel service of women and people of color, but many of them also labored for the abolition of slavery and for voting rights for women. Read more
First, some preliminary remarks about this sort of debate. I have read through some of CBE’s literature with great interest, but also with a sense that the way particular questions are posed and addressed reflects some particular American subcultures. I know a little about those subcultures—for instance, the battles over new Bible translations, some using inclusive language and others not. In my own church, the main resistance against equality in ministry comes, not so much from within the Evangelical right (though there is of course a significant element there), but from within the traditional Anglo-Catholic movement for whom Scripture has never been the central point of the argument, and indeed is often ignored altogether. Read more
Since the middle of the twentieth century there has been an ongoing, sometimes acrimonious debate over the meaning of “head” (Greek, kephalē) in Paul’s letters, especially 1 Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 5:23. The literature is extensive. The debate continues, but few have taken the time to read all the significant discussions or have access to the actual articles, much less the resources to critique such. This article is an attempt to review the most significant scholarly literature that has emerged in the debate and to summarize each without critique. The focus is narrow and should not be taken as a meta-study of the whole debate on male and female relations in the church, home, and world. Read more
I still wonder how it could have happened. During the twenty years that Priscilla Papers has been publishing, opponents of biblical equality have become so enamored with the idea of subordination that they want to make it part of God. I would not have believed it until I encountered the work of Kevin Giles, an Australian Anglican priest who is the most articulate critic of this strange development. In his new book, Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan, 2006), Giles shows how a whole generation of conservative evangelicals has embraced a new-fangled version of the ancient Trinitarian heresy of subordinationism. They do not hide their motives. They are determined to see in God what they wish to see in humanity: a subordination of role or function that does not compromise (they insist) an essential equality of being. Therefore, they teach that just as woman is created equal to man but has a subordinate role at home and in church, so the Son of God is coequal with the Father in being or essence but has a subordinate role in the work of salvation and in all eternity. They even think—quite mistakenly, as Giles shows—that this is what the Bible and Christian orthodoxy have always taught. Read more
Learning like a woman drawing from a well full of words finally drawn by the Word the difference between white-washed sepulchers and an empty tomb— Read more
For nearly two thousand years, an elegant country villa lay buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79. Located some three miles from Pompeii, the Villa Oplontis escaped the attention of archaeologists until the beginning of excavations in the last part of the twentieth century. Read more
B: What is the niddah? M: The niddah ritual separation is historical in Jewish, Muslim, and some other religions. The niddah veil is their warning signal. They believe, if a woman is menstruating, she is unclean. So, for example, for Muslims, when a male goes to a mosque and he prays, he should be clean. He cannot touch a menstruating woman. So, you know, when they go for prayer, they wash their hands; they wash their feet; and they go to the toilet; they clean themselves, because, before they go to pray, they should be clean. But they are not supposed to touch anything unclean, because, if they touch anything unclean, they cannot go and pray. So, they consider a woman who is menstruating, she’s unclean. So, that is why they cannot touch a woman. That is why they say sometime even to a stranger or anybody, they do not touch, because they do not know whether she is menstruating or not. If they touch, they are defiled. They become unclean and cannot pray. So, it is mainly for prayer accountability, for guarding the prayers of men. They go to mosque; women don’t go to mosque. Read more
C. F. D. Moule wrote that the problems raised by 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 “still await a really convincing explanation.” G. B. Caird added, “It can hardly be said that the passage has yet surrendered its secret.” W. Meeks regarded it as “one of the most obscure passages in the Pauline letters.” Read more
I The gate, recalcitrant, begins to yield As I push away the rusted chain And the brambles that sting my skin. I know this place. I, a woman, shut out from this garden, Now reclaim this piece of ground, These pieces of memory in need of new tending. No more the interloper Or intruder, I give this space, Vine-entangled, yet shielding fallow earth, A new name. Read more

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Book Review: Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color, by Mihee Kim-Kort

The recently published book, Streams Run Uphill: Conversations with Young Clergywomen of Color, poignantly opens up a whole new world for those of us who still see through the eyes of the dominant culture. The title’s Clergywomen of Color gives a small taste of the experiences these women have faced and continue to face.

Book Review: Philip F. Esler's Sex, Wives and Warriors: Reading Biblical Narrative with Its Ancient Audience

Esler is emeritus professor of biblical interpretation at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London, and was principal of St. Mary’s when this book was published. His several books have tended to apply social-scientific approaches to NT studies. The present volume does the same for a handful of OT narrative texts.

Book Review: What Women Want: Pentecostal Women Ministers Speak for Themselves

The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) is one of the major Pentecostal bodies in the United States. This book contains the results of a study conducted in that denomination regarding women and ministry. Some books that deal with this subject focus on biblical texts to either support or limit women’s place in ministry. This book, however, asks women ministers what they want. Not surprisingly, what they want is equality in ministry. The Church of God has 3,088 licensed women ministers in the United States; 726 of them participated in this survey (29).

Book Review: Latina Evangélicas

In Latina Evangélicas, three Latina theologians provide new insight into the often marginalized voices of Protestant Latinas. This book speaks primarily to scholars, but has valuable content for a wider audience of students and pastors as well.

Book Review: Caroline Simon's Bringing Sex into Focus: The Quest for Sexual Integrity

Is it possible to see clearly in the midst of sexual confusion today? Caroline Simon believes it is, provided we take the trouble to submit ourselves for regular vision tests along the way. A valuable addition to any undergraduate course on human sexuality or sexual ethics, Bringing Sex into Focus offers tools and skills for evaluating the conflicting messages about sexuality proffered by contemporary culture, media, academia, and even conflicting Christian traditions.

Book Review: Leslie Ann McKinney's Accepted in the Beloved

Pastor Leslie Ann McKinney passionately believes that God loves and accepts his daughters and has created Accepted in the Beloved: A Devotional Bible Study for Women on Finding Healing and Wholeness in God's Love to help women know and experience this love for themselves. The book is suitable for individual and group studies, but it is also a helpful resource for spiritual directors and other mentors who work with women who have been wounded in their relationships or in their faith communities.

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