This lecture examines the twelve pillars most often adduced as biblical support for male hierarchy in the church and in the home. It shows that statements in the Bible adduced for this do not, in fact, support male hierarchy. To the contrary, they rather provide evidence for the equal standing and authority of man and woman. It surveys the exegetical, theological, and practical foundations for the equal standing of men and women in the church and in marriage.
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.