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Opinion | Sexuality

The Gender Debates Come to Her.meneutics

In the first of a two-part series, we hear from egalitarian theologian William Webb on Michele Bachmann, slavery, and his 'redemptive-movement' reading of Scripture.

Submissive wife and president of the United States—an oxymoron, if you ask many journalists analyzing the faith of 2012 hopeful Michele Bachmann. In a recent GOP debate, responding to the question of whether she as president would submit to her husband, Bachmann said, "I'm in love with [Marcus]. I'm so proud of him. What submission means to us, it means respect. I respect my husband. He's a wonderful godly man and great father." Journalists have spent days analyzing her response, seemingly baffled that a modern woman could take the words of an ancient text so seriously.

Yet evangelicals have taken the Bible's words about men and women very seriously—enough to write tomes on what Paul meant when he told wives to submit to their husbands, when he said he did not allow women to assume authority over a man in church, and when he said women would be saved through childbearing. Inter-evangelical debates have traditionally centered on whether Paul's injunctions forbid women from leadership in ministry, and whether male-female complementarity describes a work-home delegation of "roles" between husband and wife. Today and tomorrow on Her.meneutics, we'll hear from two prominent theologians who have carefully thought through these and other passages. The first, William J. Webb, is an egalitarian New Testament scholar noted for his "redemptive-movement" approach to the Bible. The second, Russell D. Moore, is dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, ...

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