The Role Of Women In The Church

1767 words - 7 pages

With the advent of the feminist movement, the role of women inall parts of society has come under increasing scrutiny. One area ofrecent controversy is the role of women in the Christian Church. Somechurches whose traditions and practices are less rigidly tied toBiblical doctrines have begun placing women in leadership positionssuch as pastor or teacher. Other churches which interpret the Biblemore literally have been slow to adopt such changes. Much of theconfusion is based on attempts to interpret scriptures pertaining towomen. In this essay, we will use the Bible to understand the role ofwomen in the church of the first century and apply that understandingto the church of the twentieth century.Many people would dispute the Bible's relevance to contemporarythought in general, and in particular to the role of women in worship.If the Bible were not written under divine inspiration, a person orpractice is not bound by its teachings. He or she can therefor pickand choose whatever corresponds to his/her point of view. However, ifthe Bible is of divine inspiration, then a cautious consideration ofpassages relevant to a particular issue must be undertaken. Traditionsand customs that have arisen after the Bible was written may thus becarefully scrutinized. Such practices may or may not prove sound aftercomparison with scripture.Before we discuss specific issues concerning women in worship,we should consider principles derived from the relationship of Adamand Eve as described in Genesis chapter one. The Apostle Paulfrequently uses this passage as a guideline when discussing women andwomen's issues. Genesis 1 verse 27 states: "So God created man in hisown image, in the image of God he created him; male and female hecreated them." Most Commentators agree that man and woman are bothequally a reflection of God's image; the word "man" here is used as asynonym for humanity. Adam and Eve were also given joint dominion overcreation. But the fact that Adam was created before Eve hassignificance to Paul and other Old Testament scholars; it signifiesrole distinction between the two sexes. The role of the man isleadership, while the role of woman is as a source of strength andsupport. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul states: "For the husbandis the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. . ."(Eph. 5:23) This is an important analogy. If a person wants tounderstand the Christian authority of a man over his wife, he mustconsider how Christ demonstrated his leadership as head over theChurch. Primarily, he gave his life for his church, not using force orcoercion for her submission. When considering mens and woman'sministry in the church, it is important to keep in mind this roledistinction.Lets examine the public ministry of women in the Church. Twomajor passages give specific instructions regarding women duringworship in the letters of the Apostle Paul. These two passages areused frequently when denying women a public role in church life. Thefirst is...

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