Who We Are . . . Really
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Carolyn Custis James is passionate about women. This powerhouse leader and speaker is known for her biblical and affirming message for women. Author of numerous books including Lost Women of the Bible and The Gospel of Ruth (both published by Zondervan), Carolyn has devoted her life to helping women discover their uniqueness, purpose, and significance in the body of Christ.
Her claim to fame as the first woman to register at Dallas Theological Seminary, and in the first class of female graduates, led her to found Synergy, a national network of women in seminary and in vocational ministries. She is also president of WhitbyForum, a ministry dedicated to helping women go deeper in their relationship with God and serve him alongside their Christian brothers.
Today's Christian Woman spoke with her at the fifth annual Synergy conference about what drives and fulfills her. Her passion was immediately evident as her eyes filled with tears. "As an image bearer of God, you can't know who you are or what your purpose is if you don't know the One you're supposed to be becoming like," she says. "There's a studied passivity that we get into when we believe that God has called only men to leadership. I don't think you can be an image-bearer and not be called to leadership. That may take a lot of different forms, but oh my goodness, what a big deal that is."
KYRIA: It seems as though whenever I hear you refer to women, you use the word ezer. What does that mean and what is its significance?
When God said, "It's not good for the man to be alone," he added, "I will make a helper." That word is actually the Hebrew word ezer. Historically, we've narrowed the word ezer to mean wife and mother, to indicate that a woman's role is to take on supportive duties for the husband. But when God declared that, they were in Eden. The man didn't have a house, laundry, or meals that needed to be prepared. So what is she helping him with?
There are 21 occurrences of the word ezer in the Old Testament. It's used twice for the woman. But it's used 3 times for nations Israel turned to for military assistance, and 16 times to describe God as Israel's helper.
That definitely changes the discussion.
Exactly. There's a pattern of military imagery: Israel looking for military aid; God as ezer, a shield and defense, better than chariots and horses, standing sentry watch over his people.
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