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Priscilla Papers

Biblical narratives are constructed word after word and line after line without the aid of tables, mechanical layouts, or images that show patterns to the reader. Even though the medium is linear by necessity, the resulting narratives have contours. Even though the narratives have progression in thought, the pathway is not always straight. Narrative writers provide textual, literary clues to the structure of their works through the employment of embedded patterns such as repetition, lead words, summary statements, the arrangement of units, intercalations, and the editing of known material. Read more
FROM THE CONCEPTION OF MANKIND IN THE     GARDEN OF EDEN UNTIL THIS PRESENT HOUR,   I WAS IN HIS PLAN. Read more
"Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?' They came out of the town and made their way toward him... Many of the Samaritans from the town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, 'He told me everything I ever did'." (John 4:28-30, 39, NIV) There are many models of ministry. Women are as diverse as men in the patterns of ministry they follow. But let's look at the response of this one woman to Jesus to learn more about the place of women in ministry. Read more
[W]omen in general have the sense of the person much more than men have. This means that they have a special mission, which is to reintroduce love, to give back its humanity to a world which remains so glacial when men alone have built it. —Paul Tournier1 Read more
The Bible sets forth an ideal and calls the ideal woman an eshet-chayil, which is the Hebrew for a “virtuous woman” (KJV) or a “wife of noble character” (NIV). This Hebrew expression occurs only three times in the Old Testament, but a study of these three passages is likely to reveal what the Bible supports as an ideal of Christian womanhood. Read more
Amid many texts in the gospels that provide more lengthy interactions of women with Jesus, there are four brief stories, often overlooked, that express Jesus’ concern for women. Jesus provides healing or life, particularly for those in an unclean status, expressed through the language of the taboo. In the first three contexts, the person is in an unclean status either due to the loss of blood, having an unclean spirit, or being in the sphere of death. The last story notes the male objection of the synagogue official with respect to the time of the woman’s healing; she lives in the sphere of the unclean (“having an unclean spirit,” Luke 13:11) and is exorcised/healed “on the Sabbath.” In each situation, Jesus is unresponsive to the objections concerning religious and social taboos; he abrogates such distinctions and critiques. Read more
Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21–28 can be perplexing to contemporary Christians. Why does Jesus seem to put off, in an apparently callous manner, a woman whose desperate plea for her daughter’s healing touches the heart of any loving parent? Why does he appear to demean her by calling her a “dog”? This article will look at the interaction between the Canaanite woman and Jesus, examining the social and scriptural underpinnings of their encounter. Read more
I love teaching undergraduates. In spite of days when glazed eyes dampen my enthusiasm, there are those special moments, epiphany-like occasions, when out of the mouths of college students come questions and observations that make me pause and silently exclaim, “And I get paid for this!” Read more
As illustrated by Lydia and the other women at Philippi, many ancient women became devout believers in the new Way (Acts 16:13–15, 17:12; Luke 23:27). God gave these women different spiritual gifts in order to equip them for leadership in the church as ministers of the word and ministers of service. Read more
Whereas I see no need to defend, only to lament, the sexism of Christendom, I do think feminine Christians should think again about what Jesus himself taught. Jesus was a man. How did his maleness affect how he related to, and what he taught about, women? Read more

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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.

Book Review: Women Caught in Conflict

This book deals in depth with the rocky relationship between evangelicalism and feminism. The author believes it is no less than part of the "culture war" that replicates on a smaller scale what is going on in secular society.

Book Review: A Cord of Three Strands

This book, written by a woman on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, makes a distinct contribution to the current literature on biblical teachings about men and women in the marriage relationship and as co-workers in the service of Christ. The title is taken from Ecclesiastes 4:12: "A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." The three strands, in Wright's book, refers to man, woman and God.

The book is divided into two sections: the first discusses the marriage relationship; the second concerns how men and women can and should work together in Christian service.

Book Review: John Stackhouse Jr.'s Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender

Finally Feminist is designed to speak to both sides of the gender debate within the evangelical church. Stackhouse attempts to affirm both sides with "a single, coherent paradigm that amounts finally to a Christian feminism" (10). The book grew out of a series of lectures given while the author was a visiting scholar at Taylor University (Indiana) and Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia. Only 144 pages, the book's discussion of gender is limited to the status and roles of women and men in church and family.

Book Review: Del Birkey's The Fall of Patriarchy

Del Birkey, an independent scholar and author of The House Church: A Model for Renewing the Church (Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1988), has written a passionate, wide-ranging, and interesting book on the harmful power of patriarchy and its critique by Jesus and the apostles, representing the biblical truth of gender equality. Birkey published an article on patriarchy in the Spring 2000 issue of Priscilla Papers, which he says was the beginning of his work on this topic.

Book Review: Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation

Biblical feminists will be interested in a chapter co-authored by Helen V. Stehlin which appears in James Davison Hunter's new book (1987) Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation (University of Chicago Press). The chapter is entitled "Family: Toward Androgyny." Hunter's sociological study of evangelical college and seminary students surveys current attitudes regarding world, morality, self, theology, politics, and the family.

Book Review: Kari Torjesen Malcom's Building Your Family to Last

In July 2006, I welcomed the reprinting of this marriage classic. Kari Torjesen Malcolm is an expert on the subject of marriage and family. Born of a Norwegian missionary couple in China, Malcolm later served as a missionary to the Philippines for fifteen years with her husband and two children. Building Your Family to Last was written to help individuals build lasting families by putting Christ first in their lives (9). Christian married couples and single readers alike will find her message relevant, precise, provocative, and biblical.

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