Julia Kavanaugh, an Irish Roman Catholic, was a Victorian novelist and biographer. Her book "Women of Christianity" offers the earliest survey of women’s lives in the Christian tradition. This text refutes the frequent charge of trendiness of egalitarianism, as it was written 150 years ago. It confronts male-dominated history (“great events, dazzling actions”) as pagan and transcends the “wearisome similarity” often depicted in saints’ lives. Finally, her book invites connections with contemporary feminist texts.
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.
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.
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.