Seneca Falls Reconsidered | CBE International

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Seneca Falls Reconsidered

Revival fires burned bright in upstate New York in 1848; and with it came concerns for human justice. Conversion and a personal faith in Jesus Christ brought with it a transformation in attitudes toward others. Abolitionism, temperance, and prison reform were causes ardently espoused by those who had been born anew by God’s Spirit. With revivalism came an emphasis upon the value of women as human beings in their own right. Charles Finney encouraged women to pray and testify publicly in revival meetings. It was he who founded Oberlin college, for the express purpose of training both men and women for the ministry. This was the first American College to accept women as students. Women began to search the Scriptures for an affirmation of their ministry.

It was no accident that the first women’s rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York, in a Wesleyan Methodist Church. Today, only one wall of the old church still stands, now transformed into a laundromat; but the world has not forgotten that gathering, nor the validity of the claims which were expressed. The Women’s National Hall of Fame stands close to the old site. The National Park Service maintains the Women’s Rights National Park at Seneca Falls and has recently finished renovating the house of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

In commemoration of the hundred and fortieth anniversary of the Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, we offer a bill of rights for evangelical and conservative people who seek to live out the spirit of Galatians 3:28.

Some Fundamental Rights of Women

  1. A woman has a right to hear the Gospel proclaimed in such a way that she feels included in God’s love and plan of redemption.

  2. A woman has a right to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and to be sealed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

  3. A woman has a right to use all of her gifts and talents in the service of Christ.

  4. A woman has a right to study the Word of God as seriously and as intensively as she may aspire under God’s Providence.

  5. A woman has a right to follow the Holy Spirit and the dictates of her own conscience.

  6. A woman has a right to speak out the convictions and insights which the Lord gives her.

  7. A woman has a right to obey the call of God in her life with hindrance from God’s people.

  8. A woman has a right to be affirmed in the God-given tasks which are set before her: whether homemaking and mothering, serving in the church and community, or bearing the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

  9. A woman has a right to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever she is led by God’s will.

  10. A woman has a right to see the fruits of her ministry as God prospers her work.

  11. A woman has a right to educate her mind, train her body, develop her talents, and cultivate her spiritual gifts.

  12. A woman has a right to be safe from violence in her own home.

  13. A woman has a right to a childhood and adolescence free from sexual exploitation and abuse.

  14. A woman has a right to pursue her chosen calling without sexual harassment.

  15. A woman has a right to enjoy the respect of family and Christian community as she seeks to live out the Lord’s will in every aspect of her life.

  16. A woman has a right to equal pay for equal work.

 

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CBE advances the gospel by equipping Christians to use their God-given talents in leadership and service regardless of gender, ethnicity, or class. Together with supporters and ministry partners from 100 denominations and 65 countries, CBE works to inspire and mobilize women and men with the Bible’s call to lead and serve as equals.

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