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Pay attention to the sin of passivity, especially in church leaders dealing with abused women.In a lot of undergraduate psychology programs, a legendary crime case comes up. Kitty Genovese was raped, robbed, and repeatedly stabbed outside her Queens, New York, apartment building in 1964.Although the killing was horrific, the case isn’t studied for its gruesomeness. Professors don’t generally focus on Genovese or her murderer but rather on the bystanders and neighbors who, according to reports, heard her screams for help but didn’t act to save her life.Their supposed indifference is explained by a social theory known as the “bystander effect,” which says a bystander is less likely to assist someone if they’re in a group rather than alone.In short, the response to one woman’s murder reveals the common evil of people “standing by” out of self-protection and passivity.Something similar happens in Judges chapter 19. An unnamed victim is identified by her connection to a Levite. This man, commanded to follow God’s Law, should have been her safeguard. But shockingly, he throws her into the hands of her abusers.The Old Testament is packed with narratives of seemingly obscure women like the Levite’s concubine. Some of these stories are rarely taught and largely unknown. And yet, they are part of the canon of Scripture—divinely inspired words that unfold the grand story of redemption. So what do we miss from the larger portrait when we overlook its dimmer corners?And how might these dark stories—in this case, the account of a molested woman and her indifferent priest—diagnose our own hearts amid the church abuse crisis of our day?In the Book of Judges, we find a Levite man bending God’s law by marrying a nameless ...Continue reading...
There is work to do and some of those God has called to do it are female, Pentecostal leaders say.The Assemblies of God (AG) has ordained, on average, more than 5 women per week every week for the last 14 years, bringing the total number of ordained women in the Pentecostal denomination up to 10,383. Currently, a record 27.6 percent of Assemblies ministers are women, according to a denominational report.“The image of God is best reflected when the church of Jesus Christ is healthy,” said Crystal Martin, national director of the denomination’s Network of Women Ministers, “and women are empowered to fulfill their call at every level of church leadership.”Women have been preaching and teaching in the AG since it was founded in 1914. The church embraced women’s leadership based on its understanding of New Testament models of ministry and Scripture’s testimony to the equal outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit. But 30 years ago, only about 300 women were leading AG churches.The trend toward more women in ministry started in the late 1990s. Many received support from the Network for Women Ministers, which was founded in 1999 as the Task Force for Women in Ministry. In 2010, the AG reiterated its support for women in ministry with a position paper laying out the biblical argument from a Pentecostal perspective.Some young women still find it hard to believe that they could be called to lead a church, though.“I sat down with one young woman, and she shared her whole life vision,” Martin told CT. “And I said, ‘It sounds like God’s calling you to be a youth pastor.’ And when I said that she felt uncomfortable—she had just never seen a female pastor.”According to Pentecostal scholar Joy Qualls, support for women in ministry waned in the late ...Continue reading...
Paul, whom I believe wrote the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews, advised us Christians … “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
The Lesson’s Title came to me earlier today as I was reading the little Book of 1st John, the largest Epistle John (the Disciple) wrote. He also scribed two shorter Epistles, little letters. And in addition to them he penned the Books of John (our fourth Gospel) and Revelation, the New Testament’s Volume about “things […]
In the later days of the New Testament (Paul and John and Peter particularly, their Epistles) a false belief had risen that is called (today) gnosticism. Part of this system of heresy was the thought that Jesus did not have a literal body. That He was merely spirit, nothing physically substantial about Him! But friends, […]
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