Godless Land, or Revival City?

This is an excerpt from an article that was published as part of a series from Missio Alliance on women in ministry, and the patriarchal church planting movement in Boston, MA. Read the entire article here and be sure to check out the whole series from Missio Alliance on women in ministry. 


Despite Boston’s rich religious history, there is a narrative among American evangelicals around the city, and much of the northeast, that paints it as a godless, unchurched region. A Barna study from 2015 ranks Boston among the “least churched” cities in the United States. The Pew Research center lists four New England states, including Massachusetts, among the least religious states in the country.

The Southern Baptist Convention paints a bleak picture of the Christian landscape in Boston, stating on the website of their North American Mission Board that there is a tremendous lack of churches in Boston, and that there is a great need for gospel-centered churches. They back up their assertions with the fact that there are only 115 SBC churches in Boston, with a population of 5.9 million. They also claim on their website that 98% of the people who live in Boston are unchurched.

Read the entire article here

Take Heart, It’s Getting Better

It’s easy to get lost in hopelessness given many of the events of recent days.

The United States has been left in shock following the mass murder in Orlando that targeted the LGBTQ community, the killing of unarmed black men by police, and the killing of five police officers by a sniper at a peaceful protest. On the heels of these events, the world witnessed an attack on a crowd of spectators at a celebration in Nice, France, which killed at least 84 people. And we don’t have to go far back into our memories to recall the attack in Paris which killed 130 people. This month Baghdad also experienced its deadliest bombing in years, which killed 140 people. And every single day, refugees are losing their lives, trying to escape war and destruction.

It’s easy to fall face fist into lament. How long, Oh Lord?

We weren’t created to die. Death wormed into the world when we tore away from communion with God. It’s not supposed to be here. It tears apart, destroys, wreaks havoc, brings grief. It brings cries of despair and loneliness and mourning. The Bible is loaded with lament. “My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within, my heart is poured out on the ground…” (Lamentations 2:11)

And we lament because this is not the way it’s supposed to be.  We cry out for mercy, and justice, and peace.

But our God is not a God of darkness. Our God is not a God of hopelessness.

Continue reading Take Heart, It’s Getting Better

The Stanford Rapist and Why Our Churches Must do Better

Many evangelical churches continue to argue that male headship theology is gospel centered, Biblical theology.

Meanwhile, at Stanford University, a member of the swim team raped an unconscious person and was sentenced to six months in prison. Six months.

Crimes are committed against women all over the world, every minute of every day. This just happens to be an incident that made the news here in the U.S..

Sexual assault on college campuses is a serious problem, and this case represents countless others. The rapist, Brock Turner, could have received a sentence of up to 14 years for his crime. But he received 6 months.

Continue reading The Stanford Rapist and Why Our Churches Must do Better

Kirk Cameron, Marriage, and the Bible

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post here.

Actor Kirk Cameron made statements regarding marriage this week, and it caused some buzz in Christian circles.

Cameron is part of a national tour called, “Love Worth Fighting For.” His goal is to encourage strong marriages, and to encourage people to fight for their marriages.

I will give Cameron credit for this, I believe he truly values strong marriages, and that’s not a bad thing. Strong marriages are good, and I’m in support of them. However, I have an issue with the way Cameron defines strong marriages, and more importantly with his interpretation of scripture.

Continue reading Kirk Cameron, Marriage, and the Bible

Pursue Biblical Womanhood

I heard that good Christian women should focus on pursuing Biblical womanhood. So I turned to the Bible to see what a Biblical woman looks like.

I saw:

Tamar, a woman who was bold enough to pursue justice for herself after being mistreated and rejected at the hands of men, and who boldly called out the one who had wronged her.

Shiphrah & Puah, the Hebrew midwives who defied the King of Egypt and spared the lives of countless baby boys.

Miriam, the bold sister of one of those baby boys, who arranged for his own mother to nurse him, after his life was saved by the daughter of the king. That baby then grew up to lead the captive Israelites to freedom, along with Miriam, a prophetess, playing music and praising God.

Zipporah, a woman who powerfully stepped up and protected her husband, Moses, interceding on his behalf before God, and saving his life in her wisdom and boldness

Rahab, a woman who was wise enough to see where God was working, and to protect God’s people, saving not only the Israelite spies, but herself and her entire family as well.

Deborah, a judge and military ruler, who saved Israel from destruction through her wisdom and military skill, also the only judge in the Bible who does not have one negative word written about her.

Jael, a woman who ultimately killed the enemy of Israel by driving a tent peg through his temple.

Ruth, a woman who was so dedicated to God, and to God’s law that she gave up everything to pursue both. She put herself at risk, and called out a respected man in the community to step up to his responsibility. She stepped out in faith, even going so far as to propose marriage to fulfill God’s promise of redemption.

Hannah, a woman who was unable to conceive, who boldly cried out to God, who made a vow, and made decisions regarding her family and child. And whose very words of prayer are given the authority of scripture.

Abigail, a woman who took matters into her own hands, boldly intervened on behalf of her foolish husband, and directed God’s anointed king away from needless bloodshed, saving all the men of her household.

Huldah, a woman who was a prophetess of God, sought out by the King of Israel when he wanted to learn how to worship God!

Esther, a woman so bold that she broke the law and dared to use her power and position to appear before the king uninvited. She used her wisdom and influence to save the entire nation of Israel.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, who accepted the most daunting calling of God that a young woman could have received, without hesitation, and without permission from any of the men in her life. She boldly conceived, bore, and raised the Messiah.

Mary Magdalene, a woman who was a faithful disciple of Jesus, following his ministry, and who was the very first person to see Jesus alive after the resurrection, and also the very first person commissioned by Jesus himself to tell the apostles and the world about his resurrection! She was the first preacher and evangelist ever in the church.

Mary of Bethany, a disciple of Jesus, who boldly claimed her place learning at his feet.

Martha, Mary’s sister, who boldly approached Jesus upon the death of her brother Lazarus, and made a profound statement of faith in his identity as Lord!

Priscilla, a woman who, along with her husband, ministered with the apostle Paul, risked their lives for him, and also taught theology to Apollos.

Lydia, a wealthy and successful business woman who led her household to be baptized, and who hosted Paul and Silas in her home church.

Tabitha, a disciple of Jesus who was so respected and revered for doing good and helping the poor, that when she died, the believers sent for Peter to raise her from the dead!

Phoebe, a deacon of the church, and a benefactor of many people, including the apostle Paul.

These are just some of the examples of Biblical womanhood. Among many others, these women stand out as bold, strong, wise, discerning, anointed, courageous, and faithful. They disobeyed kings, defied rulers, led armies, overcame enemies, spoke prophecies, accepted callings, and led nations, and churches in the name of God.

This is what Biblical womanhood looks like. It is a call to action, to strength, and to purpose. It is a road traveled by prophets, warriors, disciples, and leaders who have gone before us, women who have not let anyone but God define who they are and to what they are called! So pursue Biblical womanhood. Real Biblical womanhood, full of the grit, and strength, and the calling God has given you.

Were There Women Disciples and Apostles?

There is some question about whether or not there were women disciples or apostles in the New Testament, and what the difference is between the two.

Although the words disciple and apostle are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to some of Jesus’ followers, they have two different meanings in Greek.

The word apostle ἀπόστολος (apostolos) means, “one who is sent.”
The word disciple μαθητὴς (mathetes) means, “one who learns.”

Continue reading Were There Women Disciples and Apostles?

7 Ways To Practice Gender Equality In Your Church (via The Junia Project)

If you’re not following The Junia Project, you should check it out!

It’s a great resource for encouraging the leadership and equality of women in the church and home.

My most recent blog post is up at The Junia Project blog:
7 Ways To Practice Gender Equality In Your Church

Here’s a sneak peek.

At times I have been frustrated by the number of churches that claim egalitarian theology, but are not actually practicing it. I’ve been overwhelmed by example after example, and feeling like the church as a whole would never get anywhere. Then a pastor encouraged me to focus on churches that are doing it well instead, and to use those examples as encouragement to others. These churches are out there, and they are doing amazing things!

One example is a three year old church in Massachusetts. Highrock North Shore (part of the Evangelical Covenant Church*) which values all types of diversity, and aims to represent, encourage, and embrace people of diverse ages, ethnicities, and genders.  According to Associate Pastor Brynn Harrington, “We believe that who and what we put on stage communicates who and what we value.”

So I offer Highrock North Shore as an encouragement to those of us striving to preach, teach, and live biblical gender equality in our churches. The associate pastor has given me a lot of insight into the ways a church can be faithfully egalitarian, and do it well!

Here are 7 ways this church makes a visible and active effort to support the leadership of women:

Click here to read the rest!

 

 

 

Pursue Jesus, Not Complementarity: A Response to Owen Strachan and TGC

Owen Strachan wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition titled, Pursue Complementarity, Not Compatibility. He opens by claiming that the concept of “compatibility” has been the greatest hindrance to the development of love. He states that the real issue is that none of us is compatible because we are all sinners. And therefore we need something sturdier to ground our marriages.

I agree with Strachan, we need something sturdier than romance, attraction, or money to ground our marriages.

We need Jesus. Not complementarity.

Continue reading Pursue Jesus, Not Complementarity: A Response to Owen Strachan and TGC

Praying for Brussels

Note: This post was originally posted on my webpage here after the San Bernardino shooting in California. I felt it was worth updating and reposting in light of the Brussels terror attacks. May God bless those who are suffering and grieving in Brussels, and may God grant us hope, and remind us of his eternal promises in all things.

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake. -Revelation 8:1-5

After the shooting in San Bernardino, CA in December 2015, the New York Daily News ran a provocative headline, quoting politicians who said that their thoughts and prayers are with the victims. The Daily News proclaimed in bold letters, “God Isn’t Fixing This.”

Continue reading Praying for Brussels

Male Headship Theology Enables Abusers

Most complementarians (supporters of patriarchal male headship) argue that domestic abuse has nothing to do with their theology.

On the surface, this may seem true. Most complementarians appeal to the servant leadership of the man and the loving submission of the woman. The idea is that a man is to lead his home by serving his wife and family, and this should never involve abuse. The problem is, while many complementarians may truly be outraged by domestic abuse, their theology enables it. Any time there is a power imbalance, one party becomes vulnerable, and the door is opened to abuse.

Continue reading Male Headship Theology Enables Abusers