Women in the Church

Moving Toward Equality


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SKU: 9780786467792 Categories: , ,

About the Book

The status of women in the church is one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. Some Protestant churches have either abandoned or radically modified their interpretations of Biblical passages to allow women to take leadership roles and to accommodate social change. Other churches believe that certain passages forbid women to take leadership roles, even though equality between the sexes was taught by Jesus Christ and demonstrated in the early Christian community. This work examines the nature of the current controversies concerning women in the church and traces the status of women through 2,000 years of church history.

About the Author(s)

Lesly F. Massey is an adjunct professor of religion at Amberton University. He has been a missionary in South Africa and worked in Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and various countries in Africa. He also conducts workshops with churches on gender equality.

Bibliographic Details

Lesly F. Massey
Foreword by the Reverend Christine Tata
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2002]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6779-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by the Rev. Christine Tata      1
Introduction      3
Abbreviations      7

1. Women in the Life and Ministry of Jesus      9
2. Women in the Earliest Christian Community      21
3. Solutions to Transitional Problems      48
4. Reversion to Patriarchal Models      65
5. The Course of Church Tradition      79
6. Alexander Campbell and the American Restoration Movement      110
7. The Anti-Slavery Movement and Modern Feminism      125
8. Churches and Divergent Paths      140
9. The Continuing Theological Dilemma      164
10. Strategy for Change      181

Bibliography      195
Index      209

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “clearly written, well documented…covers some 2000 years of church history”—Library Journal; “required reading”—NWSA Journal; “succinctly traces the history of the role of women in the Christian church”—Reference & Research Book News; “This carefully researched study shows clearly how patriarchal models and attitudes in Christian churches stem from social and historical conditions rather than from the message of the gospel itself, which is in fact profoundly opposed to them. Only when women will become equal participants in all roles of service and leadership in the churches will the true spirit of the gospel be realized in full. I hope this thought-provoking book will inspire readers to work toward making this lofty aim come true.”—Professor Ursula King, University of Bristol, England. “This is a compassionate exploration of a complex and sensitive subject. Even in liberal or progressive churches, ordained women struggle with the chasm between the church’s egalitarian vision and patriarchal past. As a woman ordained in 1993, when fully half of seminarians in my denomination were female, my colleagues and I were continually faced with the resistance and anxiety of well-meaning people of faith. Massey provides an accessible survey of how this resistance is figured in American Christianity, and offers sensible and sensitive strategies for hope and change. Dr. Massey writes for the evangelical and conservative Christian, but he speaks to anyone concerned with how church will live if it does not live for justice.”—Reverend Christine Tata, United Church of Christ, Dallas. “Will we continue to use only half our available human resources for spreading the gospel? Dr. Massey’s book challenges us to embrace the equal role women are called to play in doing kingdom work. His approach is thoroughly biblical, wisely contemporary, and thoughtfully Christian. This is a helpful tool for evangelical, conservative Christians who are searching for answers about the role of women in the church.”—Reverend Dawn Darwin Weaks, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Rowlett, Texas.