The timeless to the timely: Applying Scriptural Truths to Today
2/17/12 at 09:53 AM 5 Comments

My Week with the Bishops

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I was born in the Dominican Republic (D.R.), but even though I have been a professor of New Testament for 40 years and I have traveled regularly back to the D. R., I had never taught the Bible there until last month when I had the opportunity to teach a class in Spanish on the biblical basis for women in ministry. For many years I had wanted to enter more into the Protestant (evangelical) world of this beautiful Spanish country and was able to appreciate not only its historical colonial setting, its lovely beaches, its familial setting, but also its thirst for theological engagement. The bishops themselves were with the Church of God of Prophecy and hailed from ten different Caribbean and Central American countries, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Belize, Panama, Guatemala, and also from Spain.

Welcome to our new blog: this is our first post. We hope to reflect an evangelical egalitarian view of scholarship wedded with action on topics of interest to CP readers.

Being protestant in a predominately Roman Catholic country means you have chosen your faith stance. The bishops proved to be prayerful, irenic, godly people who were trying not to cause trouble in politically volatile countries but really wanted to learn so that they could bring that learning back to their people. In poorer countries you often have to bring your teaching materials with you. I had spent the previous semester having my book which demonstrates the biblical basis of women in ministry (Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry) (Baker) translated into Spanish and published by Wipf and Stock (Mas alla de la maldicion: mujeres llamadas al ministerio). We brought 50 copies down in our suitcases to the class. My husband, the Rev. Dr. William David Spencer, also accompanied me to the class and lectured on the last day. (It was an intensive one week class sponsored by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Office of Hispanic Ministries, which serves the Church of God of Prophecy's Leader of Leader classes.) We had such a delightful time! The bishops were intensely interested in getting doctrine right, so we asked them for a translation of An Evangelical Statement on the Trinity ( that my husband and I and many others have worked on together. Here are the two versions:

We believe that the sole living God who created and rules over all and who is described in the Bible is One Triune God in three co-eternal, co-equal Persons, each Person being presented as distinct yet equal, not as three separate gods, but one Godhead, sharing equally in honor, glory, worship, power, authority, rule and rank, such that no Person has eternal primacy over the others.

In Spanish,

Creemos que el único Dios vivo quien creó y reina sobre todo y que es descrito en la Biblia, es un Dios trino en tres Personas co-eternales y co-iguales, cada Persona siendo presentada como distinta pero igual; no como tres dioses separados, sino un Dios compartiendo igualmente honor, gloria, adoración, poder, autoridad, regla y rango para que ninguna Persona tenga primacía eterna sobre los otros.

Why do I think this statement is important? Since 1974 I have been writing articles and doing talks showing why God supports orthodox women in positions of leadership in the church. However, it was not until the 1980s that anyone argued that women should be subordinate to men because Jesus was subordinate to God the Father. (Centuries earlier some had argued in this way, but not recently.) The danger with seeing an eternal subordination between the Persons of the Trinity (as opposed to a temporary submission while Jesus was on earth) is that, then, Jesus, as our Savior is limited. Jesus and the Spirit, moreover, do not receive the glory that they deserve. Also, people tend to be seen in many areas of life only in hierarchical terms. Do you agree? If you would like further information, check out


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