Christians for Biblical Equality
(CBE) is non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...
of churches and individual members who believe that the Bible, properly interpreted, teaches the fundamental equality of believers of both sexes, all racial and ethnic groups and all economic classes. Its charter, Statement of Faith, and raison d'être
are based on its interpretation of overarching principles of the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...
–that men and women are equally created
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...
in God's image; equally responsible for sin; equally redeemed by Christ, and equally gifted by God's Spirit for service; and equally held responsible for using their God-given gifts. CBE's international home office is in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...
According to Christianity Today
, most of those attending a CBE conference it visited were evangelicals with high regard for the Scriptures. The magazine reported a kinship between some CBE members and well-known "functional egalitarians" such as biblical deaconess Phoebe, Priscilla who taught Apollos "the way of God," Corrie Ten Boom
Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom was a Dutch Christian, who with her father and other family members helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. Her family was arrested due to an informant in 1944, and her father died 10 days later at Scheveningen prison where they were first held...
and Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....
cofounder Catherine Booth
Catherine Booth was the wife of the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth. Because of her influence in the formation of The Salvation Army she was known as the 'Army Mother'....
, admired for doing "God's work."
CBE exists to broadly communicate "the biblical truth that all believers—without regard to gender, ethnicity or class—must exercise their God-given gifts with equal authority and equal responsibility in church, home and world." CBE has grown to include members from over 100 denominations and 65 countries.
The organization is an educational ministry that publishes three award-winning journals, hosts a Web site and a blog, and a weekly e-newsletter. It provides an online bookstore devoted to reviewing and promoting resources on gender and the Bible from an egalitarian perspective. It supports grassroots chapters around the world. CBE's scholarly journal, Priscilla Papers,
and ministry magazine, Mutuality,
have received various publishing awards.
CBE's Christian ethics
CBE holds that any interpretation of scripture that prohibits women from using their spiritual gifts and abilities in ministry constitutes injustice. CBE defines injustice as an abuse of power
Abuse of Power is a novel written by radio talk show host Michael Savage.- Plot :Jack Hatfield is a hardened former war correspondent who rose to national prominence for his insightful, provocative commentary...
, taking from others freedom, dignity, resources, and even life itself. CBE considers gender discrimination within the church to be an injustice that harms the Christian church at large and Christian ministry in the world. The organization sees as its call to be part of God's mission in opposing injustice as required in Scriptures such as Galatians 3:28:
It has four core beliefs (values):
- The Bible teaches the equality of women and men.
- God has given each person gifts to be used for the good of Christ's kingdom.
- Christians are to develop and exercise their God-given gifts in home, church, and society.
- The Bible teaches that Christians are to oppose injustice.
CBE was founded out of concerns over the inability of many women to use their gifts in ministry, several evangelical leaders assembled in 1987 to publish their biblical perspective in a new scholarly journal, Priscilla Papers
. Included in the group were Gilbert Bilezikian, W. Ward Gasque, Stanley Gundry, Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Catherine Clark Kroeger, Jo Anne Lyon, and Roger Nicole. The group determined that a national organization was needed to provide education, support, and leadership about biblical equality. They constructed a statement, "Men, Women, and Biblical Equality," that is an overview of the biblical teachings that support women’s full participation in all levels of ministry, as well as mutuality in marriage. The statement was widely published in 1990 in such national forums as Christianity Today
This statement has been translated and disseminated into 15 languages. Opposition arose to this evangelical egalitarian organization—the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) was formed to support a traditional hierarchical view.
Christians for Biblical Equality was established on January 2, 1988. Catherine Clark Kroeger served as the first president of the organization. Since 2001, Mimi Haddad has served as CBE’s second president.
Beginning in 1989, CBE has presented international conferences—three-day events consisting of plenary sessions and workshops in such U.S. cities such as St. Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city...
, Winter Park, Colorado
Winter Park is a Home Rule Municipality in Grand County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 662 at the 2000 census, although tourists and seasonal workers significantly increase the population....
, Wheaton, Illinois
Wheaton is an affluent community located in DuPage County, Illinois, approximately west of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Wheaton is the county seat of DuPage County...
, San Diego, California, Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...
, Dallas, Texas Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...
and Denver, Colorado, Toronto, Canada
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...
, and St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...
International off-shore conferences were held in 2004 in Durham, England
Durham is a city in north east England. It is within the County Durham local government district, and is the county town of the larger ceremonial county...
and Bangalore, India
Bengaluru , formerly called Bengaluru is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is nicknamed the Garden City and was once called a pensioner's paradise. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and...
, in 2007.
The organization's Web site provides a list of CBE's Board of Reference Members and numerous endorsers, an interdenominational and international group of ministry leaders, theologians and authors prominent in evangelical circles who affirm the mission of CBE.
- Christian Egalitarianism
Christian Egalitarianism , also known as biblical equality, is a Christian form of the moral doctrine of Egalitarianism. It holds that all human persons are created equally in God's sight—equal in fundamental worth and moral status...
—an article that distinguishes between philosophical egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...
and uniquely Christian Egalitarianism
- Complementarianism—an alternative Christian view. Complementarians interpret Scripture to teach that women and men are created equal though men are to hold authority over women in the home and/or the church. This authority is not 'ultimate', but derived from God's ultimate authority over the church and home. The use of the term complementarian is disputed, as many members of CBE consider themselves to be complementarians, but without hierarchy; that is, they believe that the sexes complement each other, but they do not believe in the necessity of male spiritual authority.
- Christian views of women—a developing article that includes a section on "Jesus and woman"
- Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus
- Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is an evangelical Christian organization promoting a complementarian view of gender issues. CBMW's current president is Dr...
—argues on behalf of a fully complementarian position
- Men, Women and God
Men, Women and God was founded in the United Kingdom in 1984 in order to study and promote gender equality from a Christian perspective....
- the original UK organisation linked with The Institute for Contemporary Christianity, London