Ruth in Carolyn’s Voice (by John Frye)

Jesus Creed | 6/17/2019 | Staff
joseph76 (Posted by) Level 3
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I wasn’t aware of the gift of Carolyn Custis James to the church until I heard her speak at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, April 16, 2019, at the Talking Points seminar “Women in the Kingdom.” The session that riveted my attention and set my heart ablaze was Carolyn’s flyover of the Book of Ruth; a talk titled “The Gospel of Ruth.” I learned she had a book with the same title as her talk. Determined, I thought, “I’ve got to get that book!” After the talk a Zondervan representative was at the resources table. Seeing one copy of The Gospel of Ruth, I said, “I want to buy that book.” I was told it was not for sale because it was a display copy. I whined, “But the seminar is over. What are you going to do with it?” To my happy surprise the kind Zondervan rep gave it to me. Book lovers know the power of whining.

That day at GRTS caused me to remember my Doctor of Ministry work at Fuller Theological Seminary in the late 1990s. For three years I took classes with gifted sisters and brothers of varying denominations and distinct theological streams. While I was studying the history and practice of Christian Formation at Fuller, the topic of “the role of women in the church” was hot and high on the evangelical agenda. Most of my theological training was in the patriarchal, hierarchical, complementarian view. By reading a boatload of books, I was heavy into the contentious debate, with hairsplitting, nail-biting, very biased-exegeting views about women’s “roles.” I was near the bottom of the funnel, realizing that in all the dust and fury of the debate, only one text was crux interpretum. To put a fine point on it,...
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