Christians for Biblical Equality
By Dwayna Litz
Posted August 12, 2006
"...words create reality. We speak and sing things into existence.... The image of Christ-Sophia in many of my hymns invites signers to bring back to life a biblical feminine divine image that has long been buried, thus symbolizing the restoration of all creation. For example, 'Rise Up, O Christ-Sophia' sings of hope that this resurrection will 'empower us to labor.... our wars to cease.'" Front matters, page 15-16
"O Mother Rock who bore us.... We've praised our Father fully, but scorned your image fair..."Inclusive Hymns, no. 102, page 105
"I applaud the good work of CBE and its commitment to a biblical equality under God for all men and women." Dr. Richard Foster, Founder of RENOVARÉ
"Christians for Biblical Equality unabashedly proclaims the scriptural truth." Rev. Dr. Stanley J. Grenz Professor of Baptist Heritage, Theology and Ethics at Carey Theological College and Regent College in Vancouver, BC.
CATEGORY . A Paucity of Sound Teaching in America Today : Published April 1st, 2007 by Dwayna I have documented the latest in the saga today on my blog. It was my worst experience yet here in a church parlor where “Christian” books are supposedly sold, and this came from a church with a reputation for being the most “sound” church in Manhattan, a very large reformed PCA Presbyterian Church. I don’t know what grieves me the most as I write about this today–the fact that I found such error there on the book table this morning after the service or the fact that I was not even surprised. They were selling a biography of Julian of Norwich. And who was Julian of Norwich? She was a pantheist and revered goddess-worshiping ”mystic” by the feminists. To give you a taste of her beliefs here is a quote from her: “Jesus Christ, who does well against evil, is our very mother.” I can thank the feminists over at Christians for Biblical Equality for that quote, which they feature with praise from Caroline W. Bynum’s book Jesus as Mother, Studies in the Spirituality of the Middle Ages, p. 131. Ruth Tucker, a leading teacher over at CBE used this quote to try to convince us that it is biblical to call God “mother.” (See my fact sheet posted on the articles page of the Lighting The Way web site for more information, subtitled the “Jesus of CBE” in the article “CBE’s Mother god”). See ARTICLE
CATEGORY . TITLE : My concerns about CBE lie within an apparent agenda which seems to be the undercurrent of this organization. Mr. Trott insists that Mimi Haddad and the core members of CBE never endorse Father/Mother God worship. However, all one has to do is browse through your bookstore and sermons to find that indeed, it is taught. A couple of examples are Paul R. Smith and Jann Aldredge-Clanton (mind you there are others, but I have chosen to discuss these two because any professing evangelical Christian could not possibly justify their work and ideologies throughout their organization). Paul R. Smith is the pastor of Broadway “Baptist” Church. He is also a professing homosexual. CBE is selling his book “Is It O.K. to Call God Mother?.” Mr. Smith goes on to say that not only is it o.k., but he encourages it. I now would like to point out some interesting claims found on Broadway Baptist Church’s doctrinal statement on the web. Obviously, these should be flawed to the reader, so I do not feel the need to refute every single one. However, if you would like for me to do so, I would gladly comply. Some of the blatant errors found are: 1. Communion is celebrated every other Sunday and is open to everyone regardless to faith or practice.- This is a direct contradiction of I Cor. 10:14-23. 2. Jesus experienced God communicating directly with him, we also experience this. Jesus the mystic, lived in the awareness of God and the nonphysical world of spirit. We too seek that.- This reeks of Gnosticism. 3. Jesus never criticized other religions and neither do we. 4. Jesus embraced, ignored, and rejected various parts of his Bible. We do that too…- and you seem to be proud of doing that. 5. We teach that Jesus did not see himself as a sacrifice for our sins to appease an angry God. Instead, Jesus spoke out against the oppressive powers of his day and they crucified him. God forgives us without need of a sacrifice of any kind, just as Jesus taught us that we are to forgive one another.- I could do an entire blog on this point alone without any reference whatsoever to the gender issue. I probably should have, and I probably will, so let’s keep number five in mind. 6. Jesus taught that every person would eventually be drawn into the fullness of God’s salvation. You are ultimately destined for heaven. No one will be left behind.- Since we are keeping number five in mind let’s also keep number six handy for future reference. ....My second CBE author and contributor I find dangerous is Jann Aldredge-Clanton. In her book (found in your bookstore), “God, a Word For Boys and Girls,” she tells her readers that children cannot fully comprehend God, so we should avoid using masculine words for God and instead replace them with feminine. This, Aldredge-Clanton says, will keep pride away from boys and keep girls away from devaluing themselves. Also, I must mention that Aldredge-Clanton is a worshipper of “Christ-Sophia” in her book, “Praying With Christ-Sophia: Services For Healing and Renewal,” she goes so far as displaying a list of hymns that can be sung to Christ-Sophia. ...Finally, my concerns go far beyond women teaching in the church. We are talking about the Inerrancy of Scripture. So thank you, Dwayna, keep up your research, because defending the faith is what we believers are called to do.
Front matters : page 15. "Many traditional hymns glorify suffering and death. Though the intent may be to express gratitude for the Passion, they often inadvertently sanction suffering. Hymns on the crucifixion, if given too much prominence in worship, keep the focus of faith on death. For example, the most recent Baptist hymnal includes 97 hymns under the headings "Jesus Christ--Blood" and "Jesus Christ--Cross," and only 31 under the heading "JESUS Christ--RESURRECTION>"
.... words create reality. We speak and sing things into existence. If we magnify resurrection in our hymns, we take part in the conquering of death by life. The image of Christ-Sophia in many of my hymns invites signers to bring back to life a biblical /15-16/ feminine divine image that has long been buried, thus symbolizing the restoration of all creation. For example, "Rise Up, O Christi-Sophia" sings of hope that this resurrection will "empower us to labor.... our wars to cease." The last stanza .... proclaims the power of resurrection: "Christ-Sophia rises gloriously, Alleluia!"....
The new creation did not stop with Christ. The new creation continues with us. Through speaking and singing new words in our sacred worship, we become a new creation and contribute to new creation in our world.....
16 An inclusive worship community called "New Wineskins" has given me enthusiastic support in the creation of these hymns. The mission of New Wineskins is to explore new ways of seeing divinity and interpreting Scripture so that the spiritual /gifts of everyone are equally values and nurtured. The name "New Wineskins," coming from the metaphor in Matthew 9:17, describes our search for new language and symbols to proclaim the Gospel of liberation and shalom. ....
We welcome people from various faith backgrounds and encourage the discovery and exercise of everyone's gifts.. The hymns "Welcome New Wineskins" celebrates the part this community plays in the new creation by "giving the world new visions divine." 16-17 .....
17: The divine images in the hymns signify partnership: "Christ-Sophia," Sister-Brother," "Father=Mother," "She-He." These balanced images form the theological foundation for partnership in all relationships...."17.... The hymns also promote partnership with non-human life in saving the earth....
Inclusive Hymns for Librating Christians : Jann Aldredge-Clanton (Eakin Press, 2006) Division of Sunbelt Mesia (decries crucifixion as "given too much prominence in worship, keep the focus of faith on death."
Christians for Biblical Equality: Endorsements
Catherine Allen, Treasurer of Global Women; former president of the Women's Department of the Baptist World Alliance. "The principles of CBE are globally valid and applicable, because those principles are Biblical. The worldwide Christian mission will be strengthened as believers demonstrate these principles in their lifestyle...."
Dr. Linda Belleville, Professor of New Testament at Bethel College and Graduate School, Mishawaka, Indiana.
"Despite strong opposition in recent years, CBE has been a faithful advocate for the core biblical truths of the partnership of men and women, mutual submission, and the equal gifting and ministry of every believer.... CBE is a beacon of light in a world desperately in need of the Good News that relational health and wholeness lay in gender mutuality and partnership with Christ as Lord."
Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian Th. D., Co-founder of Willow Creek Church, Wheaton, IL; Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College, IL
"Most world religions have been exploited to subject women into subordination. Despite its high claims to divine revelation, Christianity suffered a similar fate at the hands of clerics who restricted to men only the privilege of ministry. While exploding abusive structures of hierarchy, the Reformation reopened access to the truth of Scripture, including the great affirmations of the priesthood of all believers and of oneness in Christian community. Unfortunately, reactionary impulses die hard and many Christian leaders continue to consign women to a status of inferiority in church and family. Christians are firmly forbidden by Scripture to practice discrimination. If they are not on the side of biblical equality, what do they stand for? Unbiblical inequality? Inevitably, the day will come when they will get it right and when all Christians will become Christians for Biblical Equality."
Dr. Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Eastern University; Founder of Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE)
"Christians for Biblical Equality is evangelical and progressive. It is a scripturally based movement that understands that in Christ women have full rights for using their God given gifts for service to the Church and to the world. I'm grateful that this organization exists. Its work is needed."
Dr. Paul W. Chilcote, Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Duke Divinity, Durham, NC
"CBE provides an amazing witness in the life of our world today with regard to what the Christian faith is all about. It promotes true liberation for all of God's children through a bold proclamation of the good news about God's love in Jesus Christ and embodies a holistic vision for all people. It seeks to empower God's children and build them up in their faith so that they will be ambassadors of love in our broken world. In its mission and vision, CBE is both thoroughly grounded in the biblical witness and sensitive to the contextual dynamics of our world. In CBE you will encounter genuine Christianity; rooted in Christ, loving in spirit, prophetic in vision."
Rev. Canon Dr. David Claydon, Lausanne Senior Advisor; Former International Chair of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. “It is amazing how half of the Christian church is prevented from ministry because there has been a reductionist theology which limits a woman’s role in the light of one or two texts of Scripture rather than taking cognition of the whole of Scripture.....”
Dr. Gordon D. Fee, Professor of New Testament Studies at Regent College in Vancouver, BC; Ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. “CBE is an organization that, without strident voice, is pursuing a path toward equality among men and women in the Christian church, where the Spirit’s giftedness for ministry is understood to precede matters of gender....”
Dr. Richard Foster, Founder of RENOVARÉ and author of six books including Celebration of Discipline
"I applaud the good work of CBE and its commitment to a biblical equality under God for all men and women."
J. Lee Grady, Author and well-known charismatic writer; Editorial Director of Charisma magazine
"...Their message is in step with the Holy Spirit's agenda, even though their efforts to bring reformation to the church are sometimes ignored or opposed....."
Rev. Dr. Stanley J. Grenz, Pioneer McDonald Professor of Baptist Heritage, Theology and Ethics at Carey Theological College and Regent College in Vancouver, BC. "Christians for Biblical Equality unabashedly proclaims the scriptural truth: God calls us all-both men and women-to practice mutuality in all our relationships, whether in the church, in society, or in marriage. [CBE] has assisted countless people in becoming the mutually supportive disciples Christ wants us all to be."
Dr. Stan N. Gundry, Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief of Zondervan Publishing Group, President of the Evangelical Theological Society, 1978. "My journey toward biblical egalitarianism was lonely. Only gradually did Pat and I become aware of other individuals addressing the same questions we were. When I finally arrived at settled convictions in 1975, it was still lonely because there was no organization that faithfully represented the views I held and in which I felt comfortable. Most of my academic colleagues seemed puzzled by what they considered an unimportant tangent too risky to explore. When Christians for Biblical Equality was formed in 1988, I knew I had found a home, a home where the very name says it all--a commitment to true gender equality based on the authority of the Bible."
David Joel Hamilton, International Associate Provost for University of the Nations, Youth With a Mission (YWAM). "If the body of Christ is going to complete the Great Commission in our generation it will only be possible when both men and women use their God-given gifts to serve the needy and minister His grace. I commend CBE's ministry, championing women and men to be and do all that God has designed for them. Together, by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, we can see God's forever dream made a reality."
Rev. Dr. Roberta Hestenes, International Minister, World Vision, Visiting faculty member at Fuller and Denver theological seminaries
"I am very enthusiastic about the growing and dynamic ministry of CBE both in this country and internationally. Through its publications, networking and conferences, CBE meets a very real need to encourage and equip both women and men with solid biblical and theological foundations for Christian ministry and life....."
Alan F. Johnson, Emeritus Professor of New Testament and Christian Ethics, Wheaton College and Graduate School; ThD (Dallas Theological Seminary); Past President of the Evangelical Theological Society
"I heartily commend the organization, leadership and work that CBE does. Confessionally, they are orthodox, hold to the absolute authority and total truthfulness of the Bible, practice sincere Christian love in legitimate differences between Christians and have brought Scriptural hope and affirmation to countless women who have been burdened by an unnecessarily restrictive view of women’s ministries in the church. ... Their leadership and members are effectively involved in orthodox evangelical scholarship at the highest levels and sponsor both publications and conferences that are of exceptional quality."
Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Old Testament Scholar and Professor, past president of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and past president of the Evangelical Theological Society. “...Please join me in encouraging groups such as Christians for Biblical Equality to remain steadfast in their work to faithfully articulate the message God has given men and women in the Scriptures—that of biblical equality. May God's hand of blessing be on CBE for his honor and glory and for helping all of us to continue to grow into the fullness of Christ."
John Kohlenberger III, Award winning free-lance author and lecturer; author or co-author of more than three- dozen Bible reference books. "Christians for Biblical Equality has helped greatly to fill gaps in my education. The egalitarian perspective was not represented at all in the exegesis, theology or history classes I took in college and seminary. Now I see biblical equality not simply as an exegetical option, but as a biblical imperative."
Brian McLaren, Pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, author and speaker. "Increasing numbers of us feel a call to model reconciliation in Christ across old boundaries of discrimination. We believe that the Bible sets us on this journey, and that quoting select verses to maintain those boundaries is a well-intentioned mistake. CBE has been an encouragement to us all, and I am grateful for their important, needed work."
Sally Morgenthaler, author, speaker, and founder, Conversations: Open-Dialogue Retreats for Women of Substance. "The time for women to lead is now. Not five years from now, not ten, but now. Women "get" new millennial culture because they're wired for it. They're wired for the chaotic, the connective, and the collaborative. It's what they do, and what they have done for centuries. When the old ways of organizing and influencing aren't working anymore, it is nothing less than kingdom sabotage to keep women on the bench.
Squandering women's gifts is also counter-Scriptural. The reality is, God wired women with such amazing abilities because they were meant to be used. That is Bible 101. Now, thanks to the women and men at Christians for Biblical Equality, we can finally peel back centuries of misinterpretation and see it. CBE's loving and arduous work - opening the full counsel of Scripture regarding women within the informed context of faith and history - has built a new foundation of hope and possibility for the Church."
Dr. Roger E. Olson, Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University. "As someone who has experienced the wonderful pastoral leadership of two women in two successive evangelical churches I know experientially what I have always found in Scripture-that women and men are equally called and gifted by God for Christian ministry. I heartily appreciate and endorse the ministry of Christians for Biblical Equality and hope that its ministry will help to free both women and men from the bondage of cultural accommodation to hierarchical male domination in churches and families."
Alan G. Padgett, D. Phil., Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary. Editor, Journal of Christian Theological Research. "Grounded in the word of God, Christians for Biblical Equality is spreading the good news about equality in Christ for all believers, and stands tall for our liberty in the gospel. Sexism and racism in the church dishonors our Lord, and hinders the spread of his Kingdom. CBE exists to fight these evils in our very midst, and bring light and truth to this ongoing struggle. They deserve the prayerful support of every Christian."
Paul A. & Kay F. Rader, Former International Leaders of the Salvation Army, Paul is President of Asbury College. "CBE is an invaluable resource to both women and men in gaining a clear understanding of the biblical basis for equality in relationships and opportunity in church as well as in the home."
Dr. David M. Scholer, Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies, School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary. "I am proud to be a long-time member of Christians for Biblical Equality. This wonderful organization has my full support, and I encourage individuals and churches to join with CBE to promote a holistic and powerful biblical commitment to equality for women and men in Christ Jesus, relevant to life in the home, in society and in the Church. Such a witness is needed in our broken world and within the Church where there are still strongholds which argue against biblical equality. CBE provides a faithful and winsome biblical witness and needs the support of Christians who share this aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ." [See The Cross-- all equally as sinner in need to cross. All equally forgiven through the cross. Yet God never promised that all would serve in the same roles. ]
Dr. Ron Sider, Professor of Theology and Culture at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; President and founder of Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA); Publisher, PRISM; Contributing Editor, Sojourners; Corresponding Editor, Christianity Today . "CBE is solidly biblical and urgently needed. One of the major failures of evangelicalism is the widespread neglect or opposition to full dignity and equality for women. CBE offers a thoroughly evangelical, desperately needed corrective. My wife Arbutus and I have been members of CBE for years because we believe that Jesus was an 'evangelical feminist' and everybody should follow in his footsteps. CBE is doing a great job articulating a solidly biblical understanding of the full dignity and equality of women."
Dr. Samuel Y. C. Tang, Senior Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. "...Any serious student who studies the creation account could hardly be mistaken of gender theology. God created man and woman in his own image, and their nobility and equality is so explicitly signified that we should never disregard [them]. Paul the apostle makes clear explanations not only in Galatians 3:28 but also in I Corinthians 12 that the divine sovereignty in distribution of spiritual gifts [is] without distinction of gender, race and culture. Some conservative Christians are still very slow to accept; therefore CBE has a great ministry to help."
Jon Trott, Editor-in-chief for Cornerstone magazine; member of the Jesus People USA community (JPUSA); freelance writer and author. "Let's Put Women In Their Place.... RIGHT BESIDE MEN!"
"CBE offers this white western male both conviction and healing..... I firmly believe CBE's biblical and revolutionary message can only become more central in this twenty-first century."
Jeanette Yep, Vice President of InterVarsity and Director of Multiethnic Ministries for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA . "CBE has a unique, strategic role to play in the evangelical church community today. By providing resources for careful theological reflection as well as offering networks for friendship and fellowship, men and women discover their gifts and place in the body of Christ."
© 2006 Dwayna Litz
www.ltwinternational.org or www.lightingtheway.blogspot.com
After months of sitting under the teaching of Pastor John MacArthur, Dwayna Litz founded Lighting The Way Ministry. This ministry works with churches in Southern CA in evangelizing the area through prayer walking, feeding the neighborhood weekly, donating clothing to the homeless, bringing Bible studies to them, writing tracts for the New Age environment, taking people to church and to church events, and providing Biblical answers to their objections to Christianity in love and gentleness.
See also EMNR: Keeping the Cults Comfortable
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Come, Father-Mother, Friend and Guide: Come, Father-Mother, Friend and Guide, Giver of Life, with us abide. Open our minds to all you proclaim, O Holy One of many names.... Come, Father-Mother, Friend and Guide No. 31 (Words: Jann Aldredge-Clanton
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