Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 9

As women began to realize that they were not given representation on mission’s boards, women began to take the initiative and form their own boards by the early 1860s. By the end of the nineteenth century, most denominations had debated whether or not to allow women preachers and the related role of ordination. Many denominations began to ordain a few women by 1900, and some theological seminaries began to admit women.

With the dawning of the 20th century, the number of women in medicine, law and teaching increased. Women began filling in the work place as men went off to fight in ‘The Great War;’ and in 1920, women were given the right to vote. It was at this time that Germanic influences on the study of cultural relevancies to New Testament writings began to emerge, which included those concerning women.

The Second World War brought about new discussions on the status of women as they once again went into the workforce to do ‘a man’s job’ while the boys were off saving the world. European churches began ordaining women for this very reason. After the war, the American economy, and its population, began to grow like never before. This meant new churches and the need for women to occupy certain leadership positions. Several Protestant denominations began ordaining women during this time, but were certainly not doing so in the vein of equality.

The agenda of the Christian community regarding its female members was set in the 1960s by events in American society. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination on the grounds of sex as well as race, followed closely on the heels of a Presidential Commission that found that women were second-class citizens in almost every area of American life. During this same period books such as Betty Friedman’s The Feminine Mystique voiced the frustration and rage of women who were tired of being assigned spheres and roles and images in a society that was supposed to offer dignity and opportunity to all. The issue of the status of women in modern American society was brought before the public and a movement of radical organized feminism was launched.[1]

This is also when the Christian community took note of its treatment of women. We’ll look at this more tomorrow.


[1] Ibid. 135.

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2 thoughts on “Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 9

  1. Pingback: Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 10 | A Closer Look

  2. Pingback: Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 11 | A Closer Look

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