Archaeologists Dig Up Authentic Biblical Artifacts at Ancient City of Shiloh

by Chris Mitchell/CBS News – JERUSALEM, Israel – Archaeology doesn’t set out to prove or disprove the Bible. What we want to do is to illuminate the biblical text, the background of the text, so to set it in a real world culture to what we call verisimilitude, Dr. Scott Stripling

Driving along the route known as the Way of the Patriarchs in Samaria, the heart of biblical Israel, you’ll come to ancient Shiloh.

The Bible says this is the place where Joshua parceled out the Promised Land to the 12 tribes of Israel. It’s also where the Tabernacle of the Lord stood for more than 300 years.

Excavation Director Dr. Scott Stripling, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Excavation Director Dr. Scott Stripling, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Dr. Scott Stripling directs the excavations at Shiloh. Along with dozens of volunteers, he and his crew are digging into history.

“Welcome to ancient Shiloh,” Stripling greeted us. “This is the first capital of ancient Israel and it’s a sacred spot because the Mishkan was here, the Tabernacle, where people came to connect with God.”

“We’re dealing with real people, real places, real events,” he continued. “This is not mythology. The coins that we excavated today – we’re talking about coins of Herod the Great, Pontius Pilate, Thestos, Felix, Agrippa the First, Agrippa the Second. The Bible talks about these people. We’ve got the image right here.”

Aerial view of ancient Shiloh, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Aerial view of ancient Shiloh, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

That ‘image’ includes a fortified wall built by the Canaanites. The team finds a treasure trove of artifacts there, which includes ancient coins and some 2,000 pieces of pottery a day.

“Now, this one was from yesterday,” he said. “It’s been washed already so you see the same form right out of the ground in yesterday and those are those handles from the stone vessels. Remember, Jesus’ first miracle in Cana? There were stone jars full of water. That’s that ritual purity culture of the first century.”

Unearthing ancient pottery, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Unearthing ancient pottery, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

An archaeologist like Dr. Stripling looks at these shards as a fine time piece.

“Just like your great grandmother’s pottery is different from your pottery that you’re using today…once we learn the pottery, then we can use it as our primary means of dating.”

Stripling says literally digging into the Bible can change your life.”

“You can read the Bible, you can walk the Bible, but the ultimate is to dig the Bible,” he said. “You know, when we actually get into the swill, like these students from Lea University. They’re literally – it’s under their fingernails and in their nose and in their mouth and their ears and they’re exposing this ancient culture. It becomes one with you. It’s sort of like we came out of the soil and as we dig into the soil, we connect with God and with each other, I think, in a very important way,” he said.

Abigail Leavitt, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Abigail Leavitt, Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Abigail Leavitt, a student at the University of Pikesville, serves as object registrar.
“I love getting my hands dirty. I love digging in the dirt. It’s my favorite thing,” she told CBN News.

While people of all age volunteer at the dig, the main drivers are students like Abigail.

“It’s tiring and exhausting, but it’s really rewarding,” she said. “It’s exciting to find ancient things – things that have been just waiting for us for thousands of years.”

Leavitt says the Bible comes alive in the dirt.

“I read the Bible totally differently than I did before I came here, and I can see when I read the Bible I know the places, I know what’s going on. I understand it more deeply, especially where previous archaeologists have claimed the archaeology disproves the Bible. But when we dig here, we find that everything matches. You read it in the Bible. You dig in the dirt and there it is,” she said.

Stripling said, “Archaeology doesn’t set out to prove or disprove the Bible. What we want to do is to illuminate the biblical text, the background of the text, so to set it in a real world culture to what we call verisimilitude,” he explained.

Cross-section of the Archaeological dig - Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

Cross-section of the Archaeological dig – Photo, CBN News, Jonathan Goff

“So, we get an ancient literary description. Now, we have a material culture that matches that,” he continued. “Chris, you’re sitting where Samuel and Eli and Hannah and these people that we have read about, they came just like us, needing answers, needing to connect with God, needing forgiveness.”

Stripling says they dig into the past and find lessons for the present.

One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay

One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay

“One of the faith lessons for us is that God is the potter and we are the clay. And even if our lives are broken like these vessels are, God told Jeremiah after He had told him to go to Shiloh and see what He had done, He told him to go to the potter’s house and look at a flawed vessel and see how the potter puts it back on the wheel and works out the imperfections. So my faith lesson is this: Yes we’re imperfect, but if we will allow God, He wants to put us [on] His potter’s wheel and make us a vessel of honor.”

Stripling often cites Psalm 102.

O Zion, your servants take delight in its stones and favor its dust.” (Ps. 102:14)

“For me this is sacred soil. This is where the Mishkan was that answers the most basic of all human questions: ‘How do I connect with God?’ And I think that’s their most basic question,” he said.

“I know I messed up. I know that God is holy. How do I bridge that gap when I sin against other people, when I sin against God. Ultimately, Chris, if the Bible is true, then the God of the Bible has a moral claim on our lives. And as we establish the veracity of the biblical text, I hope that everyone watching would just think about that – that God loves us and He has a moral claim on our lives.”

Please check out the original article on the CBN News website. Please don’t forget to support their work on their website.

Chris Mitchell covers CBN News and events in Israel and the Middle East. He brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world. Chris first began reporting on the Middle East in the mid-1990s. He repeatedly traveled there to report on the religious and political issues facing Israel and the surrounding Arab states. One of his more significant reports focused on the emigration of persecuted Christians from the Middle East.

In addition to his reports for The 700 Club, Chris is also a regular contributor to Christian World News, a weekly 30-minute newscast that airs nationally in multiple markets. After almost a decade with CBN News, Chris’s goal is to provide in his stories the Biblical “understanding of the times” described in I Chronicles 12:32. Connect with Chris via @JlemDateline and .



The New Testament of the Bible

by Jesus Christ Savior | The Latin Vulgate Bible published by St. Jerome served as the standard Bible for Western Christian civilization for over 1000 years (image: Jerome 345-420. Doctor of the Church- Feast Day, September 30).

There were three stages in the formation of the Gospels: the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the oral tradition of the Apostles, and the written word. There were eight named writers of the New Testament: Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude.

The Canon of the New Testament was formed within the early Christian community, the Church. The Tradition of the Fathers of the Church was important to early Christianity, for they were the ones who chose those inspired books which best reflected the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in the formation of the canon of the New Testament, and were also involved in the interpretation of Scripture. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, first proposed a canon of the New Testament in 180 AD. Three Fathers of the Church – Athanasius of Alexandria in his Letter of 367, Jerome in Bethlehem with the completion of his Latin New Testament in 384, and Augustine at the Council of Hippo in 393 – agreed that 27 Books were the inspired Word of God. The Canon of the New Testament of the Bible was confirmed at the Third Council of Carthage in 397 AD.

Our New Testament of the Bible in the West was written in Greek. There are indications in the writings of the Fathers of the Church (Papias of Hierapolis, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, and St. Jerome) that “Matthew put together the sayings of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could” (Papias, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III, 39, 16). The oldest manuscripts available to us are the Curetonian and Sinaiticus texts of the Old Syriac Gospels, the Greek Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai, Egypt, and the Codex Vaticanus in Greek from the fourth century AD.

St. Jerome (345-420) was commissioned by Pope Damasus in 382 to produce a new Latin translation of the Bible. Jerome completed the translation of the New Testament Gospels into Latin in 384, and finished his translation from both Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament by 405. In view of his work, St. Jerome was named the Father of Biblical Scholars. The Latin Vulgate Bible published by St. Jerome served as the standard Bible for Western Christian civilization for over 1000 years. 1-3, 9, 17-22

Our anonymous author is a physician and a Masters graduate in Theology and Christian Ministry from Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. He teaches Sunday Bible Class at St. James Catholic Church and serves both Pastoral Care and the Medical Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital.



Passing the Torch: Mentorship in Ministry

by William N. Downie III | If intentional effort to pass the torch of ministry by training up those to follow is not taken by Christians, then in one generation the Church will be ill-equipped to survive at best, and dead at worst (Liberty University Senior Honors Thesis, https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/honors/335/).

Mentorship is a key function of the Church. If intentional effort to pass the torch of ministry through mentorship is not taken, then in one generation the Church will be dead or crippled. Though much has been written on mentorship, most have approached the topic by matching their methods with biblical teaching rather than starting in the Bible and developing their methods from it. A search for examples of mentorship that exist in the Old and New Testament will synthesize to form methods and principles which biblical characters used. These methods and principles are evaluated and then contextualized for the modern Christian to form a foundation which can be used as a strong basis for the creation of any mentorship program.

The Need

Raising up leaders in the next generation is crucial to the survival of any group, and especially to the Church. If intentional effort to pass the torch of ministry by training up those to follow is not taken by Christians, then in one generation the Church will be ill-equipped to survive at best, and dead at worst. Because of the enormous weight that rests on the matter of mentoring the next generation of Christians, the topic should be seriously considered. Christians have published thousands of books and articles wrestling with the matter of mentorship; however, few are products of exegesis (drawing out a message first from Scripture),1 but rather eisegesis (reading one’s own desired meaning into Scripture).2 Fewer yet are products of a survey of the entirety of Scripture’s teaching on mentorship, but rather a case study of one particular instance. As such, there is a need to add such a collection of research to the field of biblical mentorship.

The Solution

Because of a lack of coverage elsewhere, there is a need to research how to train the next generation of Christians to follow in ministry. Looking for biblical principles from a purely biblical evaluation of various portions of both the Old and New Testaments is the best way to make up this deficit in research. After this, it will be easier to synthesize timeless methods and principles for mentorship and examine how the principles can be used in both a positive and negative sense. If followed, these biblical methods and principles will be able to inform Christians in ministry how to effectively pass the torch of ministry to the next generation of Christian leaders.

Framing the Issue

For almost 2000 years the church of Jesus Christ has existed as a beacon in a dark world leading people to Christ. However, church buildings are not what have made a difference in the world for centuries. People have made the difference; it has been the Church Universal, or all who genuinely have saving faith in Christ. This importance placed on people is consistent with Jesus’ initial commands to the original Church to be salt and light to the world (Matt. 5:13-16 HCSB)3 and to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). While this command is clearly made to the entire Church for all time, the question over how to do this best does not have a clear answer.

Throughout church history, Christians have employed different methods to mentor other believers. Out of a desire to serve God in the most efficient way possible, the question of how to do this best has arisen countless times. As a divinely inspired manual for life, the Bible has of course been consulted for direction in this dispute. Unfortunately, there is no place in the Bible which makes a definitive claim regarding how to train up the next generation of Christians. However, there are examples given of mentors in the Bible from whose success we can learn positive lessons. In addition, there are people who did not do well in mentoring others, from whom we can learn negative lessons.

Clarification

The Bible contains many examples of what people today would consider mentorship. However, the concept of mentorship is a modern American idea. Thus, there is no truly biblical definition of mentorship because that word is not in the ancient Hebrew or Greek vernacular. To make the matter more difficult, when there are instances of people in the Bible who seem to be effective mentors, their mentorship is rarely a primary (or even secondary) focus of the overall biblical narrative. Thus, biblical examples which speak directly to mentorship are almost non-existent, if not entirely so. Because of this, people involved in church ministries often develop a method of mentorship which works for them and then look to the Bible for proof-texts. That eisegetical approach will not be used here. Rather, the purpose is to find examples in Scripture which fit a modern definition of mentorship and then uncover what principles, positive and negative, contribute to the matter of mentorship.

One definition for mentorship is that mentorship is “a relational experience through which one person empowers another by sharing their wisdom and resources.4 A more encompassing definition of mentorship is that mentorship is “an intentional and appropriately reciprocal relationship between two individuals, a younger … and an older, wiser figure who assists the younger person in learning the ways of life.”5 Parks is reserved in who she attributes the title of mentor to, but recognizes that mentors are people who show recognition, support, challenge, inspiration, and accountability to their mentee.6 Thus, different types of relationships can become mentor relationships if properly conducted. This means that subcategories of mentorship exist such as teacher-student relationships, parent-child relationships, friend-friend relationships, coach-athlete relationships, discipleship relationships, etc. To avoid becoming exclusive, the primary focus of this thesis will be mentorship in general, with brief mention of specific areas of mentorship only briefly being mentioned when they arise in the text. However, a more sizable section will be devoted to discussing discipleship in the Gospels because of the ease in ascertaining significant application of discipleship principles for all areas of Christian mentorship. Also, as God incarnate, Jesus is the most worthy mentor from whom we can learn effective techniques.

1Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 55.

2Ibid.

3Unless otherwise noted, all biblical quotations will come from the HCSB translation.

4Tim Elmore, Lifegiving Mentors: A Guide for Investing Your Life in Others (Duluth, GA: Growing Leaders, Inc., 2009), 2.

5Sharon Daloz Parks, Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Emerging Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011), 165.

6Parks, Big Questions, 167.



Why Jesus’ Parables are Not Just Nice Stories

by Veronica Neffinger | By using parables, Jesus is establishing Himself as a prophet and proclaiming that He is fulfilling the mission of God preached by all previous prophets.

As Christians, we are likely familiar with Jesus’ parables. We hear about them in Sunday school, in sermon illustrations, and we read them in the Bible. These stories reveal important truths about the Kingdom of God, but their purpose is often misunderstood.

Often, Christians seem inclined to view Jesus’ parables as simply nice stories–the same way we might view stories a pastor may use to illustrate a point of his sermon. The parables recorded in the Bible, however, have a much deeper meaning and significance.

In his article for The Gospel Coalition titled “Jesus’s Parables Are Not Heartwarming Sermon Illustrations,” Greg Lanier digs into the purpose of the parables and why it is inaccurate to view them as nice stories.

Lanier points out that after one of the most noteworthy of Jesus’ parables–that of the Sower and the Seed, Jesus makes this baffling statement: “When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Mark 4:10-12).

We may ask, Why would Jesus intentionally be vague or less than straightforward in teaching about something so foundationally important?

Lanier directs us to Isaiah 6:9-10 in which God tells the prophet Isaiah, “Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Like all Old Testament prophets of God, Isaiah pointed to the great Prophet that was to come: Jesus. Like Isaiah, Jesus preached God’s Word to a people many of whose hearts were hardened to His Words.

“Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord and is charged to preach to the nation. His life is spent proclaiming impending judgment for many and restoration for a remnant. God tells him at the outset, however, his preaching will sometimes produce the opposite of what Isaiah may desire: it will make some more dull and unresponsive, not less,” writes Lanier.

Jesus’ statement in the Parable of the Sower, then, is a pronouncement of the state of peoples’ hearts. Those who weren’t receptive to His Words were those who had already been hardening their hearts to the things of God and His Kingdom.

“Almost shockingly, the Lord tells Isaiah his prophetic ministry is designed, in God’s mysterious plan, to produce division in the nation between the repentant and unrepentant. When Jesus, then, takes Isaiah’s commission on his own lips, he’s revealing that his ministry will produce the same result,” writes Lanier.

God’s Words are hard to hear. Writing to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul gets at this same thing: “Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).

Throughout the Bible, says Lanier, “Prophets use parables of all sorts to veil and unveil truth, to bring hearers to the point of recognizing their own self-judgment, and to produce a response to God.”

By using parables, Jesus is establishing Himself as a prophet and proclaiming that He is fulfilling the mission of God preached by all previous prophets. Parables are not heartwarming stories, but instead lessons that communicate deep truths about God and His Kingdom.

Lanier concludes, “The seed of the gospel is freely and lovingly scattered to any and everyone. But the soil is what matters, and God alone can prepare it to receive the seed and yield the manifold crop of repentance and forgiveness. This frees the preacher to sow the seed faithfully, and then watch God work to change sinful hearts according to his sovereign will.”



What Does The Bible Say About Prayer?

by Duke Taber | The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere

Prayer is an important part of the life of any Christian. These Bible verses about prayer hopefully will encourage you to draw closer to God and learn how to better communicate with Him.

It seems at times that prayer is becoming a forgotten art.

One of the great men of prayer in history was a man named Edward McKendree Bounds. He lived over 100 years ago.He gives us this definition of prayer which is so different than much of what is taught today..

The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil everywhere.

Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventive. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. Prayer is no fitful, short-lived thing. It is no voice crying unheard and unheeded in the silence. It is a voice which goes into God’s ear, and it lives as long as God’s ear is open to holy pleas, as long as God’s heart is alive to holy things.

God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that uttered them may be closed to death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; they outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.

That man is the most immortal who has done the most and the best praying. They are God heroes, God’s saints, God’s servants, God’s vicegerents.

A man can pray better because of the prayers of the past; a man can live holier because of the prayers of the past; the man of many and acceptable prayers has done the truest and greatest service to the incoming generation.

The prayers of God’s saints strengthen the unborn generation against the desolating waves of sin and evil.

– Edward McKendree (E. M.) Bounds

Different Types Of Prayer In The Bible
The Lord’s Prayer
MATTHEW 6:5-15

5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

You can really get into praying the Lord’s prayer if you use our 7 prayer point model of praying the Lord’s prayer found here.

Worship Prayers

Psalm 95:6-7

6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!

1 Timothy 2:8

In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.

Prayers Of Confession In The Bible

Proverbs 28:13

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

JOB 42:1-6

Job’s Confession and Repentance

1 Then Job replied to the Lord :

2 “I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!
I have some questions for you,
and you must answer them.’
5 I had only heard about you before,
but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6 I take back everything I said,
and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

Psalm 66:18

If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

1 John 1:9

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Prayers Of Thanksgiving In The Scriptures

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Philippians 1:3

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.

Colossians 1:3

3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 2:1

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

Ephesians 5:20

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 107:1

Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

God Answering Prayer Verses

1 Kings 8:54

When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the Lord , he stood up in front of the altar of the Lord , where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven.

1 Kings 9:3

The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy – this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

Philippians 1:4

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,

1 John 5:15

And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

Philippians 4:6

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Intercessory Prayer Scriptures

1 Timothy 2:1

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

Romans 8:26-27

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers 12 in harmony with God’s own will.

Luke 22:31-32

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.

Bible Verses About Praying And Waiting

Hab 2:1

1 I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how he 1 will answer my complaint.

Isaiah 40:31

31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Psalms 27:14

Wait patiently for the Lord .
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord .

A Prayer For The Nation From The Bible
2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.

Final Instructions On Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.

I hope that this list of Bible verses about prayer has been a blessing to you. As you can see there are a variety of prayer types and as we progress in learning each of them, we will be able to develop a deep communion with God.

Please feel free to leave your favorite Bible verses about prayer in the comment section below and share these verses with your friends and family on Twitter and Facebook.

Duke Taber
Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.
 


Leaving Patriarchy in the Past

Book Title: Our Rating: 4 Stars – Excellent
Book Title: Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism
Author: by John G. Stackhouse Jr. 
Publisher: IVP Academic
Release Date: November 2, 2015
Pages: 208
Price: $16.61
Buy Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism from Amazon
 
What are the proper, God-ordained roles for men and women—within the church, the family, the workplace, and broader society? In answering these questions, conservative evangelicals often identify as “complementarians” (men and women have distinct, complementary roles), while their counterparts call themselves “egalitarians” (men and women collaborate in fulfilling responsibilities given equally to both).

John G. Stackhouse Jr., the Canadian evangelical scholar and commentator, cuts across these familiar alignments in his new book. As a self-styled “conservative egalitarian,” he parts company with liberal feminists who reject Scripture for promoting a timeless patriarchy. But he also finds fault with evangelical egalitarians who reinterpret numerous passages to say something other than what the church has historically believed them to say.

In Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism (IVP Academic), Stackhouse acknowledges that various New Testament passages advance a sweepingly complementarian viewpoint. He maintains, however, that once a culture has left its patriarchal origins behind, these passages are no longer meant to be obeyed.

The book identifies a double tradition in Scripture regarding slavery and the status of women. In each case, there are passages that appear to bless the status quo, while other words and themes gesture in liberating directions. Stackhouse resolves the tension by viewing affirmations of the status quo as temporary—meant to be superseded, in time, by the larger message of liberty.

Stackhouse recognizes that most egalitarians will find his position too conservative. In mainstream Muslim cultures, for instance, he discourages Christians from trumpeting women’s rights too loudly, for the sake of preserving evangelistic opportunities. Nor will “soft complementarians” find Stackhouse a reliable ally, since he insists that “problem passages” from Paul and Peter mean what the vast majority of Christians in history understood them to mean: significant restrictions on women’s leadership roles inside and outside the church, and submission to male headship in marriage.

Stackhouse also dismisses the standard approach of biblical feminists, who point to historical, cultural, and linguistic reasons for not taking these passages as patriarchal in their original settings. Why, he asks, would God allow the church to misunderstand them so completely for so long?

Today, at least in the West, Stackhouse would have us jettison complementarian approaches because of the likelihood that they will impede the spread of the gospel. Women who are appropriately gifted and trained must step up to the plate and lead. Stackhouse has an excellent catalog of reasons why women often fail to lead, even when men want them to. Men, he concedes, are often at fault, because they insist that women conform to male leadership styles.

Stackhouse’s analysis always repays careful consideration. But disagreements are sure to arise. Strong complementarians will no doubt object that Stackhouse fails to demonstrate that the key New Testament passages should be set aside as societies embrace new gender norms. Egalitarians will probably point to times when Christians led the way in emancipation efforts. They’ll caution that if believers wait for societies to progress beyond patriarchy before supporting women’s rights, the wait will be intolerably long.

With few exceptions (he occasionally labels opposing views as “ludicrous”), Stackhouse writes with a self-effacing, respectful spirit. He does not pretend to have the final word on gender roles and male–female relationships. Partners in Christ encourages believers to adopt the position with the fewest practical problems, rather than the one that ties up all loose ends. As important as it is to analyze (and debate) the Bible’s take on gender roles, our disagreements shouldn’t prevent us from coming together to love, serve, and advance the kingdom of God.

Craig L. Blomberg teaches New Testament at Denver Seminary.