In recent years I have been struck by how feminine communion is At the Last Supper Jesus says, “This is my body broken for you” & “This is my blood shed for you” and all of it is to bring about new life. How similar to what a mother can say to the baby she just […]
When I teach about the Trinity in my introductory theology class, the topic of God and gender often comes up. “Is God male?” Let’s think about that.
The Bible often refers to God with masculine personal pronouns. Following this, Christians usually say “He,” “Him, “His,” and “Himself,” when referring to God. Trinitarian language is predominately masculine (“Father” and “Son”) though “Holy Spirit” is more elusive. Many popular Christian books celebrate the more masculine qualities of God (especially books for men and books on ‘leadership’): God is a hero, a conqueror, a warrior, a triumphant king, and so forth.
Even so, I would be extremely hesitant about saying that God IS male; in fact, I would push further to argue that such a notion applied to God, absolutely and without qualification, is both false and misleading.
“No one is on the periphery of God’s story”. That’s how the pastor at the church I attended last Sunday started his very well delivered message. And what a great message it was! He went on to explain that no matter who you are, God wants to use you to spread the light of Jesus to […]
“I’m looking for book recommendations that are egalitarian friendly and address the subjects of manhood and masculinity. I can’t find anything and our men’s ministry leaders are asking me. Please help!! Thank you!!” B.
An interesting thing happened on the way to writing this post. Since I am not a man, I asked eight men for book suggestions and got back ZERO recommendations. Not because they don’t care about the topic, but because 1) they were not aware of any resources on this, or 2) because there has not been much interest in studying “biblical manhood” in their circles. ALL of them told me they were very interested in anything we could find! It is encouraging that manhood and masculinity are not “hot topics” in church circles that support the shared leadership of men and women in ministry and socials contexts. But there is still a need to provide resources for churches that push back against the harmful “authentic manhood” rhetoric that is popular in some Christian circles today. Here are three books that would work well for individual or group study and are written from an egalitarian perspective.
From the mailbox: “Just wanted to say thank you for your article on 1 Timothy 2. It was a great reference for me as my 13 yr old daughter asked me about it when she read it during her devotions. I was not sure how to respond to her until I found your article. Thank you!” God Bless, Brian. As long as 1 Timothy 2 continues to be used to restrict women from fulfilling their call to discipleship we will continue sharing good scholarship on this passage. Today’s “long form” post is by seminary professor Patrick Franklin. In it he identifies 3 general reasons and 6 specific problems with using the passage in this way. This is our most comprehensive post on 1 Timothy 2 to date – be sure to bookmark it for further reference.
In today’s post Patrick Franklin presents egalitarian theology in a nutshell. He writes, “In order to understand difficult passages of Scripture, including the parts of Scripture that seemingly place limitations on the full equality of women in the church and in the home, it’s helpful to consider the “big picture” message of the Bible with respect to the equality of men and women. The following 10 points offer a quick summary of what I understand to be the teaching of Scripture, interpreted in the light of tradition, reason, and experience of God.”
1. Genesis 1–2 teaches that men and women were created to be equal. Both men and women were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–28) and both were included in the vocational mandate to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over all that God has made…
We often get requests for curriculum that supports the egalitarian view of women as full and equal partners in marriage and ministry. So last year we published 6 Great Studies on Women of the Bible (2015), a post that has become one of our most visited resources. Bible studies on the list met four criteria: a focus on […]
Ephesians 5:21-33 is often cited as a proof text to endorse male leadership in the home.
In this text, wives are instructed to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Pretty clear, right?
Well, perhaps not. As with the other passages, we need to consider the broader context to discern what’s going on.
The most important thing to notice is that the relationship between husbands and wives is not the main theme that Paul is addressing.
It’s just one line from a single verse in the third chapter of Nehemiah, but it fascinates me:
Shallum, son of Hallohesh, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section with the help of his daughters (Nehemiah 3:12).
Shallum, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, rebuilt a section of the wall with the help of his daughters. His daughters. Really?
To understand the role of Shallum’s daughters in rebuilding the wall, we first have to understand why the wall was torn down. The Babylonians invaded Judah and captured Jerusalem in 587/586 B.C. The Jews were carried into exile. Seventy years later, the exile ended when King Cyrus began to allow the Jews to return home. But while the returning exiles began to rebuild the temple and restore their homes, the city’s broken wall left Jerusalem vulnerable and undefended. God eventually made a way for Nehemiah to travel to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall with the king’s full permission and support. Upon arrival, Nehemiah quickly got to work surveying the damage, rallying the people, and organizing the work. Nehemiah 3 lists the names of all those who rebuilt a section of the wall, and right there in the middle of his list Nehemiah included Shallum and his daughters.
From the mailbox: “I’m leading a discussion for our small group at church about the difference between the egalitarian and complementarian views of women in church leadership and looking for a video to show…Any help you can give is much appreciated!” After sending this reader some ideas we set out to find more options. Here are 20 free audio (A) and video (V) resources that present biblical gender equality (egalitarianism) in a clear, compelling way, have high production quality, and are available for free online. You’re welcome!
At times I have been frustrated by the number of churches that claim egalitarian theology, but are not actually practicing it. I’ve been overwhelmed by example after example, and feeling like the church as a whole would never get anywhere. Then a pastor encouraged me to focus on churches that are doing it well instead, and […]
Do Not Enter, Employees Only, Faculty Only, Keep Out, Staff Only Beyond This Point, No Entry: Ticket Holders Only, No Trespassing, Members Only. We’ve all encountered signs like these. Signs that exclude. Signs that denote privilege and entitlement. Signs that leave us longing for the right to access the treasures and opportunities which wait behind the doors. […]
I sat down across the table from her. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and I was excited to catch up. She was a youth pastor, one of those with an obvious call on her life for ministry. But as I looked into her eyes, I could see she was worn out. She […]
Kate Wallace at BIOLA Chapel Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking in BIOLA University’s student chapel. I was asked to come set the stage for their week of “Gender, Faith, and Culture”. It was such an honor to be there and share what God had put on my heart. It is hard […]
The creation accounts in Genesis are of utmost importance when discussing gender relations within the Church. “Creation order” is a foundational claim of complementarians, who root their beliefs in the idea that since man was created first, it means that men must lead women. But does Genesis truly reveal a God-ordained male headship through creation order? A close look into the creation account will provide us with a fuller understanding of God’s intentions for men and women.
Genesis 1:27 states that, “God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”. Verse 28 goes on to say that God blessed “them” and spoke to “them”. This is the first mention of mankind. It’s important to see that male and female are mentioned, and the blessing that was bestowed on “them”.
The Hebrew word used for mankind in verse 27 is “‘adam” which refers to humanity as a whole .
We don’t see the proper noun, Adam, used until Genesis 4:25, so this common noun refers to the whole human race. One thing that is important to note is that the Hebrew language does not contain a gender neutral pronoun, therefore the word mankind was used.
Many complementarians do not refer to Genesis 1 in the formation of their doctrine, unless it is to make the announcement that God created Adam first, not necessarily acknowledging the fact that the more accurate definition of ‘adam would be humankind. Egalitarians find Genesis 1 to be very telling of God’s heart for equality because these verses make it clear that both men and women were created in God’s image, after which he blessed them.