What Is the Role of a Christian Woman: In Church Leadership?

In the early church, women were allowed to attend. This was big news for women then. They were so excited to go to church where they could worship the recently risen Christ that they chatted a lot amongst themselves and were a bit of a disruption. Sounds familiar. Women were chatty then; we’re chatty now. The apostle Paul told them to be quiet once in a letter and now we get all offended. I was offended until my mom explained that context to me just a few weeks ago. Incredible what a bit of context can do. And what the lack of it can do.

But context isn’t really my point. This is my blog; not my biblical studies thesis. (I never wrote one those and I’m sure it’s obvious.) The point is I have a pattern of subconsciously choosing to ignore the parts of the Bible I felt told me I could’t lead or speak out because I am a woman. And then often I was, at some point by some wise teacher along the way, proven that my interpretation of that scripture was wrong, like that one in 1 Peter about wives and maybe some others I can’t remember right now.

So I don’t think the Bible tells us to be quiet, but growing up I went to a church led mostly by men and saw other churches led mostly by men so I superimposed my cultural experience into my scripture. I’m very good at this. Then I went to church in England and noticed that the quietest I was in church–my mind, my heart, everything was so quiet–was when our pastor’s wife spoke. And she spoke, it seemed, almost as often as he did. And when she prayed, the air was thick with anticipation and quiet as stone because her voice practically melted into us in a way that made us all certain everything she prayed was going to be, at that instant.


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  1. Katie Axelson on December 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Yes, Paul told the women to be quiet. BUT he also frequently mentioned/ sent greetings to women in the beginning and ends of his letters.


  2. HopefulLeigh on December 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Just before reading this, I read Rachel Held Evans’ Open Letter to Scot McKnight (http://rachelheldevans.com/open-letter-scot-mcknight) in which she thanks him for the ways he and his knowledge/scholarship have helped her. In the comments, she quoted the sentences from his book that inspired it all: Page 202: “We are thus led to the conclusion that when Paul asks women to be silent in 1 Timothy 2, he is not talking about ordinary Christian women; rather, he has a specific group of women in mind. His concern is with some untrained,morally loose, young widows, who, because they are theologically unformed, are teaching unorthodox ideas.” Thought it was rather timely to share here.

  3. tessa on December 18, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I love this
    She was obviously ministering under the anointing of God’s spirit
    All of God and none of her
    I think it makes a difference…

  4. tessa on December 18, 2011 at 6:58 am

    yeah, i read through the comments
    and i remember
    ‘The church that meets at Chloe’s’
    That is a female name right!
    Obviously there was a church at the
    home of a woman named Chloe

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