Cornerstone exists because of Jesus. We are a people who have been transformed by the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has forgiven us and adopted us into his family. Now, we have a whole new life.
Through the gospel, God redeems us, forgives us, and adopts us into his family. The good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection makes each one of us a new creation and gives us a new identity: children of God. This is why we can never think of the church as an organization or a building. The church is actually a family—God’s family, filled with redeemed sinners that are now his children.
Through the gospel, God forgives us, adopts us into his family, and makes us his disciples. This means that the church is not just any family. We are a family formed by God—and sent out with a purpose.
The church is a family that ministers to one another, cares for one another, and builds one another up. Each member of the family is a child of God who is uniquely gifted to bless the family and to be a light in our city.
Just like a vine grows best with a good trellis, our church family grows best with good programs. Our programs and ministries are tailored to support the community and mission God has given us.
“As the secular world churns even today against the abuses of male power and the lack of opportunity many marginalized still face, the message of the Bible for women offers great hope.”
I thought a lot about the women of Cornerstone when I first read Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James. I thought about friends who set aside time to counsel other women, those who welcome foster children into their homes along with the schedule disruptions and paperwork and potential heartache, and women who study deeply the Word of God so that they may bring it to bear on our souls at conferences and events. My heart lifts with every text message from a woman who has taken time to pray faithfully about something I shared in our last conversation. I owe so much to those that teach my children in Sunday School. I am inspired by women who are nurses and engineers and artists, using their gifts in our community to honor God. Women make up half of Cornerstone, and I have been so encouraged to see the ways in which they give tirelessly of themselves to Kingdom work in West LA.
Half the Church is a great resource in the conversation about womanhood and what it means to engage women in the church, helpful for the complimentarian and egalitarian alike. James’ argument centers on the idea that both men and women—and therefore the church as a whole—thrive when women are challenged to live up to God’s calling in their lives. Rather than focusing the conversation on what women can or cannot do either professionally or in church structure, her book inspires women to serve and lead alongside their brothers, using their gifts as opportunities arise:
“The strongest voices speaking into women’s lives in the twenty-first century are Islam and feminism—systems that reside at opposite ends of the spectrum. Does the church’s message for women stake out a middle ground, or does the gospel lead the way to something much better? ...I am convinced we have a message for women that is ready to take on the challenges of the new millennium—a message that far out-strips these other voices and unlocks untapped potential of half the church. And what may surprise a lot of readers is that fact that this message is good news for our brothers, too.”
There is much to appreciate in Half the Church, but I will offer just four reasons why I think it is worth the read:
I’m inspired by this book as I think about the women of Cornerstone who are already engaged with our brothers in so many ways. I want to see it all the more! The Bible presents a powerful call that unites us together as one, whole church body. Let us not become distracted by rhetoric that divides us in half, but instead chase together after our new, God-given identity:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” —1 Peter 2:9-10
Any vision casting for womanhood will eventually circle around for me in the most personal terms, when I look into the bright eyes of my daughter, who is just starting to build a theological framework. I pray that someday she will make a decision to follow Jesus, and I can look at her with a twinkle in my eye and say, “God has kingdom work for you, little sister, right now.”
Meredith serves Cornerstone with the Women’s Ministry and as a Global Liaison.
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