Women in Christian Ministry
Following are a number of research resources on a controversial topic within the Christian church: women in Christian ministry.
Most Christian denominations agree that women are allowed to minister. However, there is confusion and disagreement between – and within – churches and denominations on
- whether women are allowed to teach (and if so, whether they are allowed to teach both men and women)
- whether women are allowed to be in positions of leadership,
- and if so, whether that includes the office of pastor, priest, bishop (or whichever terminology is used within a particular denomination to indicate the main person in charge of leading the congregation)
Robert Bowman, in the introduction to “A bibliography on Women in Christian Perspective,” provides the following definitions:
Traditional or Complementarian View: Men and women are equal in dignity and worth, though women are subordinate to their husbands and barred from holding offices in the church of leadership over men. The majority view of conservative evangelicals and Roman Catholics.
Egalitarian View: Men and women should be regarded as equals in authority in the home and given equal access to all positions of leadership in the church. Held by some evangelicals.
Developing Egalitarianism View: The Bible is heavily patriarchal in the Old Testament and contains traces of patriarchalism in the New Testament, but overall the Bible points to and moves toward an egalitarian view. Held by some neo-evangelical and neo-orthodox theologians.
His bibliography refers to resources from each of these viewpoints.
As with most entries in Apologetics Index, we intent to expand this topic over time. As always we hope to include links to research resources from a variety of perspectives. Should you have any resources suggestions, please feel free to contact us.
The publishers of Apologetics Index believe that the Bible nowhere forbids any woman from serving God in any capacity He calls and prepares for her to fulfill.
Whenever people come to us with questions regarding this issue, we suggest they read the book, “Who Said Women Can’t Teach?”
Written by Charles Trombley, this balanced treatment provides a thorough analysis of the Bible scriptures used by both sides of the controversy.
- Did Priscilla Teach Apollos? By Margaret Mowczko, who concludes, “As church leaders, there would have been many occasions for Priscilla and Aquila to teach, either informally or in slightly more formal house church meetings. Neither Luke nor Paul give any hint of censure or disapproval about Priscilla teaching Apollos, or her role as a house church leader. In light of the fact that Priscilla did explain Christian doctrine to a man, the blanket ban by some which prohibits women from teaching men, must be reassessed and redressed.”
- Ten Lies The Church Tells Women by J. Lee Grady, condensed from his book
- What’s Wrong With Gender-Neutral Bible Translations? by Wayne Grudem, President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
- Women in Christian Perspective – A Bibliography Part of the CounterPoint discussion on Gender-Inclusive Bible versions. This bibliography, compiled by Robert Bowman, points readers to works reflecting differing perspectives.
- Why Arguments Against Women in Ministry Aren’t Biblical by Ben Witherington, Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood A Response to Evangelical Feminism, by J.I. Packer
Ten Lies the Church Tells Women"How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage", by J. Lee Grady
Who Said Women Can’t Teach? by Charles Trombley. Highly recommended!
This book gives the biblical answers to some of the most complex and controversial questions on women’s ministry! Does God choose only men to lead, teach, and preach? What is God’s vision for women in ministry? What do the Bible, the Jewish Talmud and early Christian writings really mean about women in ministry. Did the Apostle Paul and the early Christians dismiss the spiritual giftings of women? Are women today defying Scripture? Was Paul wrong when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak?”
Women in the Church Subtitled " A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15." This series of essays addresses the issue regarding the ministry of women in the church. The essays deal with grammatical, linguistic, exegetical, hermeneutical, and theological points and constitute one of the most comprehensive treatments to date on the subject. By Andreas J. Kostenberger (Editor), Thomas R. Schreiner (Editor), H. Scott Baldwin
Books – Online
A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church by C.S. Cowles.
- Women in Apologetics The website of the International Society of Women in Apologetics (ISWA) is “designed as a main resource, or a hub, of apologetic blogs and related material written by women in this area of ministry.” Links to a few male bloggers as well.
Christians for Biblical Equality Equips "believers to serve as Christ’s agents of reconciliation by affirming the Biblical truth of equality and promoting communities of wholeness."
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Teaches "on the complementary differences between men and women, who are created equal in the image of God"
God’s Word to Women "God is calling women to assume the full scope of the role for which they were created. This site is designed to help women in their search to discover who God says they are."
Women in the Heart of God A course examining women in the bible and in the early church — their achievements,their abuse, and common misconceptions about their ‘status.’ Part of the Christian Think-Tank site.
You are welcome to share this photo on your blog, website, or elsewhere
This slightly updated entry was first published on August 21, 2006.