“The Bible teaches the full equality of men and women in Creation and Redemption.” So begins the document “Men, Women and Biblical Equality,” a summary statement of the beliefs of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE).

The two-page statement was presented at CBE’s first biennial conference, held last month on the campus of Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. CBE was formed two years ago mostly from women who broke away from the Evangelical Women’s Caucus (EWC) after EWC voted to endorse various radical causes, most notably lesbianism.

The CBE statement endorses Scripture as “the authoritative Word of God.” It lists 12 “Biblical Truths” covering creation, redemption, community, and the family. Regarding the freedom of women to serve in the church, the document states that both men and women are “divinely gifted and empowered to minister.” According to the statement, the Bible teaches that “women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly and royal functions” of the church.

The document concludes with five statements of application, which lay out how biblical egalitarianism is to be lived out in the church and home. According to the document, “husband and wife are to defer to each other in seeking to fulfill each other’s preferences, desires and aspirations.”

CBE board member Gretchen Gaebelein Hull said the statement had been planned since the group’s founding, though the process was expedited by the release last year of the Danvers Statement by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Danvers Statement advocates a hierarchical relationship between the sexes, with women submitting to men.

Besides Hull, the CBE document is signed by CBE president Catherine Clark Kroeger; New Testament scholars Gilbert Bilezikian and W. Ward Gasque; theologian and publisher Stanley N. Gundry; Asbury Theological Seminary professor Jo Anne Lyon; and theologian Roger Nicole.

Nicole, former professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the conference’s keynote speaker, declared that Christians can no longer be silent on the issue of women’s roles. Nicole said that “it is time to affirm and speak” for the full equality of women in the church.

The organization also presented its first biennial Priscilla and Aquila Award to David Clowney. The award was created for those who have “risked their necks” (see Rom. 16:3) for the sake of biblical feminism. Clowney said he had to leave his position as assistant professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary after coming out in support of women’s ordination.

By Michael G. Maudlin in St. Paul.

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