Some areas of sexual violence have been perpetuated by cultural practices like wife inheritance (a male relative inheriting his kinsman’s wife after he dies). While on the surface the church seemed to challenge cultural practices, this has not been the case with practices that have been sexual and which largely affect women. Wife inheritance and gender prejudice is a major contributing factor to the spread of HIV and AIDS.
When rightly understood, Gen. 2:24-25 and Eph. 5: 21-33 provide an almost formula-like description for a pleasurable, loving, faithful marriage of oneness built on equality and mutuality. Modern science teaches what the writers of Genesis and Ephesians could not have known.
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.
Cultures of hierarchy maintain authority by claiming ontological distinction. The power and dominance inherent in hierarchy, which directly conflict with ontological equality, perpetuates abuse. This session will examine the abuse that results from hierarchical human relationships and the biblical response to dominance.
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.