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Christians for Biblical Equality

The Blue Parakeet: A Book Review

Scot McKnight's wife Kris refers to his latest book, The Blue Parakeet, as “one of his readable ones.” The book is, in fact, one of his most readable, which is most fortunate given the importance of the subject matter. Although Scot McKnight is something of an avid birder, the book's title is really only a metaphor, not a literal description of the subject at hand. For that, the books subtitle, “Rethinking How You Read the Bible” sums it up. And if you notice that the image of the book cover glows just a little, it's no accident - the book deserves a glowing review.

Half the Sky: A Must-Read Book (From Christianity today)

The fight for women's dignity worldwide, the 'cause of our time,' needs Christians now more than ever.

This past weekend, The New York Times Sunday Magazine devoted its entire issue to "Why Women's Rights Are the Cause of Our Time." Some very sober and powerful reading there — and not what you might think upon encountering a magazine with a title like that. In fact, these are real, global, and serious issues that should have the attention and ministry of Christians everywhere. More on that in a moment.

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The lead feature was an excerpt from the forthcoming book by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn,a former Times correspondent who now works in finance and philanthropy. Here's a summary of the book, titled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide — one that includes an honest fact about abortion that I was stunned to read in a mainstream publication. This is a good indicator of the journalistic veracity of this book's research:

 

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The great error of history

"So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them"(Genesis 1:27, TNIV).

A noted church historian once observed that the great error of history is presumption-presuming that one has grasped the necessary facts related to a person, a group or situation when in reality one is largely uninformed. Perhaps you can recall a time in your own life when presumption led you into deep waters. I certainly can.

Some of the deepest waters in American history are the result of acting on presumptions rather than facts. Consider the presumption that created and legitimized American slavery. Slavery in the US was based on the mistaken belief that Africans as an ethnic group were inferior. In his towering book, The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, historian Mark Noll said that “so seriously fixed in the minds of white Americans, including most abolitionists, was the certainty of black racial inferiority that it overwhelmed biblical testimony about race, even though most Protestant Americans claimed that Scripture was in fact their supreme authority in adjudicating such matters” (Noll p. 73).

The topic tonight is whether women should be permitted to teach men and the immediate corollary of this, whether they can be ordained to the ministry of word and sacrament. Both issues are related to the issue of women exercising leadership in the church. I will deal only tangentially with gender relationships within the family viz: submission of women to men. The key areas to be covered are the individual Scriptural texts, the example of Jesus and Paul and theological reflections. At the end of this paper it will be evident that the topic has raised deeper issues of whether women are fully human and whether our particular personal theological home is willing and capable of incorporating an alternative theological view even if it is derived from Scripture.
The aim tonight is not to give a highly detailed exposition of individual texts. There is simply not enough time. What I want to do is give a clear, concise and coherent overview of the main Biblical texts which are usually disputed.

By Gordon Fee &Mark Strauss

The meanings of words change over time, and translations must be periodically updated to keep up with these changes. One of the most significant changes in English over the last quarter century has been related to gender language. While it was once commonplace to refer to people as “men” and all fellow Christians as “brothers,” such usage has declined significantly in recent years. More inclusive terms like “people” and “brothers and sisters” are used more often today. Bible translators, seeking to stay current with contemporary English, have adapted to these changes. Over the past thirty years, almost every English Bible version either produced or revised has adopted this kind of “gender accurate” language (TNIV, NET, NLT, GW, CEV, NAB, NJB, NRSV, REB, NCV, GNT, NIrV). This is in line with the goal of translating words according to their meaning in context.

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