When lecturing on women and Bible translation, I often see people Google facts they’ve never heard before. Few know Paula (347–404) led one of the great translation efforts—the Latin Vulgate. Nearly invisible in its history, Paula purchased the ancient manuscripts, guided the translator teams, and made linguistic edits. Jerome—her colleague on this project—acknowledged her leadership and so should we.
When I was eight years old, one of my teachers was named Mrs. Moorehouse. After school one day, I was talking to my mum and accidentally referred to her as Mrs. “Hoorehouse.” While I was merely surprised at the slip, my mum was shocked. But then, she thought I’d said “whorehouse.”
For many people who live their whole lives in the same region, my life must seem strange. Due to my father’s job for an international church, my family had already lived in Sweden and England in addition to my native Finland by the time I was eleven. As a child, learning new languages came naturally to me. School introduced me to French, German, and Latin. I have lived in French-speaking Africa as well as making my home in Germany for most of my adult life. Different languages have played a big part in my life’s journey.
The title of this article begins with a question: are Christians called to mature manhood? The answer is no, not all Christians are called to mature manhood. Complementarians would be quick to affirm that women should strive for mature womanhood, not manhood. Why, then, would Paul confidently refer to a time when “we all attain . . . to mature manhood” (ESV)? Is Paul addressing only men here in Ephesians 4:13? If so, why doesn’t he make that clear?
One of my favorite movies of recent years is Hidden Figures. In this 2016 film, the setting is the early 1960s and the exciting Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The movie traces the stories of three African American women—Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan—each of whom makes brilliant contributions to the eventual NASA launch of John Glenn into earth’s orbit. Because of their gender and race, all three face severe obstacles to having their contributions recognized.
I was a new, young missionary in the middle of my field orientation course. We had hiked out to a remote Papua New Guinean village where we would be spending the night, and we were enjoying the warm hospitality of the people who lived there. It had been raining for quite a while, and the absence of electricity or indoor plumbing meant that, sooner or later, we would need to venture out with our headlamps to find the outhouse.
I have spent most of my life in a complementarian Lutheran denomination, which means I’ve been taught that using male language to universally refer to all people (brothers, mankind, men) is biblical and should not be challenged. I’ve been taught that trying to correct gender-inaccurate language in Bible translations means I do not take the word of God seriously. I’ve been told that biblical references to men and brothers and mankind include me—except when they don’t.
Over 220 participants from more than ten countries joined CBE’s first virtual conference, “Men, Women, and God: Theology and Its Impact.” Registrations continue to climb for those eager to hear online sessions, and speakers are giving thought to presenting their lectures in cities around the world.
Why are we so committed to CBE’s conference theme?
Rob and Julie1 were quite certain they had the formula for a successful marriage. God had brought them through a rough season early in their marriage, and now they had a testimony. Their secret? Be sure the wife submits every decision, large or small, to the husband. Serve him around the clock and show him deference in every way. Julie followed this formula wholeheartedly—and Rob divorced her shortly after their twentieth anniversary.
We had been in a discipleship relationship for about a year. We’d meet in a local coffee shop to talk about books, Scripture, and a bit of life. He was the supervising pastor; I was preparing for ordained ministry as an elder. We were friends. Our spouses, friends, and church members knew and approved. God was blessing the friendship and the ministry. Then suddenly, one afternoon, he called to end the discipleship. The only explanation he gave was that an older male pastor had commented, “Men should not engage in serious and deep discipleship with women—ever.”