Women in Ministry: A Hermeneutical and Historical Approach Part 10

In 1968, American Baptists released a report that very few women were part of its national staff—the women in upper-level positions actually decreased between 1958 and 1968. United Methodist Church found less than one percent of its active ordained ministers were women.

In the 1970s, a vast number of literature emerged on sexism in the church. This, coupled with ecumenical gatherings of women where they spoke amongst each other about their roles in the church, helped pave the way for organized reformation. Barbara MacHaffie writes of this reformation:

Not only have significant numbers of women begun to participate in all areas of church life, but many women are also seeing themselves as agents of transformation. They are attempting to construct a different theology and a different style of ministry. Some of this transformation is spontaneous and unconscious; some is carefully planned and executed. Many women are certain, however, that their coming of age in the Christian community means that the present order will change and nothing will remain the same.[1]

So, why not women? Loren Cunningham poses this question as the title of his book on the subject of women in ministry. He opens his book with a dream—a dream of an emerging generation that will evangelize to the entire world, not bound by tradition, but free to do the work God has called each and every one to do. “They will see that the Lord has always used both men and women to proclaim the Good News and to prophecy the Word of God to their generation.” [2]

We will wrap up this series after Labor Day.

[1] Ibid. 137.

[2] Loren Cunningham, Why Not Women? (Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing), 14.

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