Christians for Biblical Equality

Riding the third wave: Biblical Equality in the 21st Century

Presented at The CBE International Conference: Better Together June 11-14, 2010 Melbourne, Australia

As the final speaker for this conference I am taking a somewhat different approach to the issue of biblical equality. My interests lie in both theology and sociology and I am aware that we have had a plethora of excellent biblical and theological teaching over the past three days. My topic lends itself to spending some time in the sociological world and then offering some reflections as to how this might impact our theological exposition into the future.

My topic is "Riding the Third Wave: biblical equality in the 21st century". What better metaphor than surfing could I use in this land of beaches, big waves and surfies? I invite you join me on an exploration of this new wave that has emerged relatively recently. Join me on the shore as we watch the wave, surfboard in hand – assessing its size, its direction and its rideability. Who knows – by the end we may be ready to venture out and take a ride ourselves.

Let me begin by addressing the link between culture and hermeneutics.

Text of Powerpoint slides from the workshop presentation:

How would we know


MDG # 3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

  • Target 3a - Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and to all levels of education no later than 2015

MDG # 5 - Improve Maternal Health

A paper presented by Mimi Haddad to a meeting of Anglican Curates, Melbourne, Australia June 2010

Plato said ideas rule the world. All action begins as an idea. Paul said, “Take every thought captive to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).” Why? Because ideas have consequences.

Here is an important example:

The most prominent indicator of whether a girl will be sold to a brothel, killed as a fetus, abused in her marriage or family, or denied a place of decision making in her country, community or church is determined not by her gender, but on the ideas by which we assess gender; that is the value we ascribe to females. Nonprofit organizations refer to this phenomenon as the “Girl Effect.”[1] What do they mean? In study after study, the research suggests when a culture values females as equally as males, those culture are more likely to observe equal numbers of girls and boys surviving through adulthood. The single indicator for gender-justice in a community begins with an idea—what theologians call ontology—that is the value we ascribed to groups of individuals.

Notes for Workshop discussion (From Powerpoint Presentation)


Slide 1

Why we believe what we believe?

...how our mind (thoughts, feelings, personality) affects our religious beliefs and practice



Slide 2


  • ...the study of the interpretation of texts
  • The writer —context and experience
  • Genre
  • Original hearers — what was the meaning for them
  • Present hearers (us) — our context, pre-understanding

Are women more prone to (sin) error? Gender and ethical decision-making

Until the second half of the twentieth century, theologians were agreed that women are more prone to sin, error and deception than men, and this was considered a reason to bar them from teaching and leadership in the world as well as the church and the home. This was how the passage in 1 Timothy 2: 14 was interpreted, “And Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” which of course follows on from Paul saying “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man”

eg Chrysostom (347-407 “the sex is weak and fickle, collectively”.

Augustine (354-430): “Satan first tried his assault upon the woman, making his assault upon the weaker part of that human alliance, that he might gradually gain the whole,, and not supposing that the man would readily give ear to him, or be deceived”