This recording examines the pivotal and strategic role of women in the ministries of Jesus and Paul respectively. In addition, it will consider theological and missiological reasons for women’s full and free participation in the church’s mission at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
This recording examines how early church leaders viewed women. It begins with Jesus Christ, moves to Paul, and highlights how various early church leaders’ insights into Paul’s teachings are helpful in guiding us to understand those statements as Paul intended them, namely as affirmations of women and their leadership roles in the church. Some church leaders did this in spite of reflecting elsewhere the demeaning attitudes toward women common in their culture. This illustrates a gradual shift away from the New Testament’s affirmations of the equal standing of men and women in Christ.
The ordination of women has been a contentious issue in the history of the church. For almost nineteen centuries, churches have debated whether women should hold leadership positions within the body of Christ. Despite what women have done in the history of the church, some churches have found it difficult to ordain women to the Ministry of the Word and Sacrament based on cultural tradition. In fact, the question of ordination is still unanswered in many churches today.
The Bible presents a three-part story of human relationship with God and with each other. This story reveals that both man and woman were created equally in the image of God to fulfill an ideal—a “one flesh,” “naked and not ashamed” relationship. That was the crowning act of creation. The second part of the story recounts our fall from grace and the loss of the fearless love for which God created us. The final chapter of the story finds us redeemed, restored to wholeness with God and with each other, a new man and new woman, restored to new life in Christ.
As a change agent in the community, the body of Christ must come to an understanding of the biblical concept of the image of God. An understanding of humanity as the bearer of that image—regardless of any classification society or culture might impose—is intrinsic to the church’s engagement in seeking justice.