Talk:Women in Christianity

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Women in the Society of St. Pius X[edit]

I think it might of some documentary value if we had an article entitled women in the Society of St. Pius X, because this would add to the existing series of articles about women in Christianity. There is a good deal of information that could be included, such as single-sex education, the use of the mantilla, the effective prohibition of birth control, the rarity of divorce, the opposition to trousers, etc. ADM (talk) 07:29, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Coptic women[edit]

Another interesting article surrounding women in Christianity would be Coptic women. In Egypt, Coptic women are in a rather special situation because they are a minority of Christian women living in a Muslim-majority country, where the patriarchal culture is very strong. As Egyptian Christians, they are culturally isolated from other Christians because of the miaphysite schism. From inside the Church too, there are strong cultural pressures because of certain existing prohibitions against divorce, infidelity and abortion. [1][2][3] ADM (talk) 07:45, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Women in Opus Dei[edit]

A related ecclesiastical topic to write about would be women in Opus Dei, which was the topic of a recent book by Linda Ruf and Jenny Driver. [4][5] ADM (talk) 13:39, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Recent revision by Afaprof; Conservative vs. liberal[edit]

Thank you Afaprof for the revision of the Modern Views section—I believe that you have improved the flow of the section. Please note that I have removed the categorisation of Egal & Comp under "conservative Christianity". The reason for this is that I believe that the groupings of "liberal" and "conservative" are essentially subjective value judgments that will differ depending on one's perspective and therefore the terms lack neutrality.

For instance if you read Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant Complementarian (eg. Grudem, CBMW) literature you will find Egalitarianism being referred to as "liberal" feminism. On the other hand there will be some Christian feminists who would eschew the label liberal and consider it patronising for the other 2 views to be grouped together in a way that suggests they are more pious while feminism is not. It is NPOV to simply describe all 3 positions without imposing any subjective categorisation. Tonicthebrown (talk) 23:13, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Article should have been retitled[edit]

This article reads more like a essay, and that of a feminist one, and should have been at least tagged accordingly. From the beginning it conveys a distinct POV, that of how Neanderthal the traditional Complementarian position is as compared with the supposedly enlightened egalitarian or feminist view. Short shrift is given to the former position as compared with the latter view, with that position being all that the Women in the New Testament section provides. Therein twice within 2 paragraphs we are told that "Examples of the manner of Jesus are instructive for inferring his attitudes toward women and show repeatedly how he liberated and affirmed women", as if that truth, which contrasts Him with Islamic-type submission, means He overturned the positional distinctions He implicitly affirmed (all male apostles, upholding the moral law, etc.)

The Women in church history section simply briefly records the traditional role of women, before the egalitarian view is give more explanation.

This is a doctrinal issue, and the article hardly does justice to its depth and contrary to the belief expressed above, groupings of "liberal" and "conservative" are more than "essentially subjective value judgments". Historical evidence of the traditional position can be seen here: http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/Notes_1Cot.11+14.html#Commentaries Thank God.Daniel1212 (talk) 15:42, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

PeacebyJesus.org interpretations[edit]

This Website says, "At present, well over half of the material here is 'original'". That makes the interpretations clearly WP:OR. The material User:Daniel1212 has brought into this article has no reliable source and much of it has been removed for that reason. This user appears to have deleted considerable material in favor of women in ministry and equal roles in marriage. Some of it has been restored, but it will take time to compare these inappropriate, unjustified deletions other than POV. Comments by that user on this Talk page indicates clear POV. Afaprof01 (talk) 06:52, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Having observed the recent revisions of this article, my assessment is that Daniel1212 obviously supports the traditional view of women, and some of his comments above are over-reaching, however he does have some valid remarks to make. This article requires better balance. Excessive focus on the women texts in Scripture can be read as a feminist bias and in any case is not suitable for this article, which deals with women in Christianity and the church. Information about the women Bible texts belongs in the Women in the Bible article, not here.
Documentation of historical Protestant attitudes towards women are instructive and need not necessarily be read as justifying discrimination against women. It is a simple fact of history that Wesley, Knox et al made remarks that can be understood as saying that men are superior to women (as did Chrysostom, Origen, Aquinas, and pretty much every man throughout Christian history). We can agree with or disagree with these remarks, but either way they are a part of historical attitudes towards women in Christianity and should be documented here. Having said that, it is not ideal to quotefarm. Tonicthebrown (talk) 09:10, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Afaprof01, your analysis is superficial. "Over half of the material here is original" much refers to compilation, and if you read the page which was, past tense, linked to then you would have seen that the statements certainly do have reliable sources, and many more which evidential could not be tolerated. Nor was it I who deleted "considerable material in favor of women", and i actually added some as regards Jesus. However, this article has a decided POV toward the idea that the egalitarian position is the most warranted, and that it should receive the most descriptions, and material that would provide too much balance was rejected.
As for my comments indicating a clear POV, that certainly is true, that of a warranted opinion, and your knee-jerk reaction to a most balanced article also reveals a POV, but being objective does not mean you must forsake convictions, but rather that you can hold them in suspension is evaluating the validity of arguments. In so doing, it should be evident that the traditional position is the most warranted, according to the interpretive basis which the Bible manifests in interpreting itself, and upon which the Christian faith was built. This article is really about hermeneutics, that which renders exegesis of Bible as it most manifestly conveys, versus that which allows increasing degrees of eisgesis.Daniel1212 (talk) 15:53, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Biases[edit]

"universally regards women with dignity and respect." QUESTIONABLE. Being battered into submission is not uncommon in marriages. Limited to positional servant roles (nursery, cooking, cleaning) don't track with "dignity", and not a lot of respect. Th)

Will all due respect, Afaprof, I think that you are revealing your POV here. I appreciate the excellent work you have done with this article, however I think that partisanship needs to be put aside and recognise that Christianity has an excellent track record in its treatment of women. There are always going to be people who abuse women, including those who claim to be Christians (but are probably more likely to be nominally Christian agnostics living in the Christianized West), this does not represent Christianity as a whole. Even Roman Catholicism, which cops flak for being anti-women, has a long history of honouring women. Notably their reverence for the Virgin Mary as the most eminent human being in history after Jesus himself. The equation of Complementarianism with wife-battery is fallacious propaganda perpetuated by the egalitarian and feminist movements. Nothing in the official teaching of Catholicism or Complementarian Protestantism sanctions the abuse, subjugation or humiliation of women (cf. Islam, for example). Let's keep this balanced ok? Tonicthebrown (talk) 02:23, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

"In so doing, it should be evident that the traditional position is the most warranted, according to the interpretive basis which the Bible manifests in interpreting itself, and upon which the Christian faith was built."

Daniel12, I acknowledge what you are saying and appreciate your effort to keep this article neutral. The comment I would offer is that wikipedia is not the place to assert one POV over another. All we can do is present the various POVs along with objective facts about history and the church's current practice. FYI I agree with your point of view that the "traditional" view of women's roles accords best with the biblical texts; however I acknowledge that according to wikipedia's policy of neutrality the feminist interpretations must be presented with equal weight. Tonicthebrown (talk) 02:23, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Tonic, thank YOU for helping clean up the article—again. You've done that before, and you're really good at surgery, knowing what needs to be amputated and what can be salvaged with the proper treatment.
Please don't refer to the flip side of complementarianism as feminism, as you seemed to do in your most recent comment just above. Yes, balance is necessary, but what has for eons been the traditional position does not need to be spoon-fed to readers. It is well known.
Daniel1212, the detail that you provided, in my opinion, came across as a fundamentalist polemic against women, in some cases citing out of context verses about which there are differing interpretations. The Complementarians as a group go out of their way to be moderate in their statements while still defending traditional understandings at face value. Both Complementarians and Christian Egalitarians—who are definitely not feminists—have a "high" view of Scripture, great respect for it, and both sides are made up of conservative Christians.
I was involved in this controversy long before either CBE or CBMW were even thought of, before Complementarian or Christian egalitarian (the latter is a much older term with different uses without the adjective before it) were terms.
None of this implies that I know it all, nor that I have it all straight or correct. It does mean that I know both views intimately, have studied both in great depth, have held each view at one time or another, and know many of the folks who are principals in both formal groups, as well as informal proponents of each understanding. Tonic has been an editor on this article since its earliest days. As Tonic knows, I originated the Wiki article and have the scars to prove it. That does not mean we "own" the article, only that we know its history, both have a strong commitment to the article, and are both very opinionated. (Of course, no one would have guessed that we're opinionated, huh?)

With full respect to you both! Your colleague, Afaprof01 (talk) 04:08, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Afaprof, I was not aware that you originated the article! Interesting. Tonicthebrown (talk) 13:25, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
I first "met" you in the article when we had to deal with that, er, I better not characterize...anonymous guy from St. Louis area who was absolutely THE MOST obnoxious mysogenist misanthrope I have ever encountered. You were a tremendous help then, as you were again more recently when you split up the articles about Women in Christianity into a very helpful series (Women and Jesus, Women and Jesus, etc.) That was a huge and successful effort on your part. Afaprof01 (talk) 22:26, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Tonicthebrow, I also appreciated you desire to be even handed, and my defense of the historicity of the "traditional" was mainly in regard to the reluctance to concede that was the case, as well as to realize why. If the manner of hermeneutics which egalitarians employ had been the basis for Christian theology there would have been little that was authoritative about the Bible, which seems to an objective with some.
Re Afaprof01, "what has for eons been the traditional position does not need to be spoon-fed to readers. It is well known."
This is hardly the case, as today we have a largely Biblically illiterate generation, and the traditional position is often marginalized.
"the detail that you provided, in my opinion, came across as a fundamentalist polemic against women, in some cases citing out of context verses about which there are differing interpretations."
That is your opinion, while before it was that traditional material i added had no reliable source. However, regardless of how one may find such, the point is that material from historical sources substantiates what the traditional position overall was. In addition, i provided documented sources that showed some degree of variation in interpretation among post reformationists.
As for verses, as far as i recall what i posted was under the Complementarian view, which lists two primary texts. As for differing opinions, i am am aware there are such, although before the relatively recent revisionism these were mainly as regards to what manner of silence was enjoined upon women in the assembly, or how far the exclusion from teaching goes. However, my personal views are that regardless of labels, the attempts to controvert 1Cor. 11:3; Eph 5:22-24; 1Pt. 3:1-7 and corresponding texts to negate the headship of the man, and what follows, manifest extended sophistry. Yet while many have the erroneous idea that submission must itself be avoided, sadly, many men and authorities have the idea that positional superiority denotes greater intrinsic worth, and a license to abuse. But many who are last shall be first, and my defense of male headship is due to commitment to doctrine, not personal feelings. Regardless of my views, i carefully deleted very little on egalitarian views in my editing, and that was for accuracy, flow, or to reduce redundancy, while adding some needed balance.Daniel1212 (talk) 18:27, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Dear Daniel1212. I believe I understand your frustrations more than you may realize. Usually I am on the side of being the Christian apologetic in articles being dominated by avowed atheists and ultraliberal maybe-Christians.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Paul and Peter were Spirit-inspired in their writings. But I do wonder: What did their writings mean to a first century audience? What local issues were they addressing? Which were concessions to that time and place, and which are eternal principles? Obviously, we have examples of both, but unfortunately the Word doesn't tell us which are which. If women must have their heads covered when praying and prophesying (and one doesn't prophesy (preach) silently), how did they keep silent, and why don't we require head coverings today? I don't think it is liberal or offensive to the Spirit for us to "sweat as drops of blood" over the meaning of the text (as it has come down to us, since no original manuscripts exist), how should we understand it, and how should we apply it to life as we find it. Is that relative? I don't think so, but no one has all truth, no church that has it all correct, no version of the Bible that has every jot and tittle exactly as it left the pen of the author. Does that weaken my faith? Not in the least. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."[2Tim 1:7KJV]
At times we must agree to disagree on interpretation─certainly not on what we believe to be the cardinal issues of the faith: God, Jesus, how to be saved, etc. But even those who say they are literalists actually aren't 100% literalists. For example, we've never known someone who cut his right hand off because it offended him, but the word for word statement from the Lord says to do that,[Mt 5:30] and there's no parenthetical expression or footnote that says, "I mean that figuratively," or "I don't expect you literally to do that, but I'm saying it like this to emphasize how seriously I expect you to obey my principles here." But so far as I know, we all INTERPRET it figuratively. If female subordination was to be for all people at all times within the Christian body─be that silence during worship, asking their husbands later rather than interrupting the service, being junior partner in marriage, always living under male veto authority, even when he is wrong, but solely on the basis of his X chromosomes, or whatever─then why didn't our Lord prescribe it? It's His Church. Didn't He have the authority to make female distinctions in marriage and in ministry? You bet he did! He covered a whole wealth of issues. Not one word about female subordination. Not one single recorded instance of His denigrating or subordinating a woman. I'm not willing to assume that He actually did, but that somehow that got left out. Someone else once asked me, with women in general being educated as well as or better than men today (they definitely were not in 1st century Corinth or Ephesus), why should any self-respecting woman go into marriage knowing that her husband, strictly because of his gender, irrespective of his education, experience, judgment, temperament, whatever...must have the final word, be the recognized and designated leader in the family on ALL matters, whether he is competent at all of them or not? And what does kephale really mean? Head as in president, or head as in the origin or source as in the head of a river? Just like "helpmate," no such word in the Bible. But my, how much we use it to describe a woman' subordinate place in a marriage. As you doubtless know, it's "help," as God is our very present help in time of trouble. But since the KJV quotes the Creator as saying "I will make him an help meet for him," where "meet" means "fit or suitable," look how that misinterpretation of the translation has been made into a noun describing a wife's role in marriage.
Thank you, most sincerely, for your forbearance with this ramble. It's more appropriate for an e-mail, but I don't have your address. There's a link to my e-mail on my Talk page. Afaprof01 (talk) 22:26, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

While I appreciate your demeanor, your response examples the very manner of exegesis i warned about.

"Which were concessions to that time and place, and which are eternal principles?" While certainly historical context must be taken into consideration where relevant, 1Cor. 11:3 is based upon creational distinctions, which themselves are patterned after the Divine order, not cultural considerations. The latter may apply as regards the type of covering, which requirement is based upon the principle of headship, but that principle is transcendent. In resisting that, kephale (head) is rendered sometime less than positional superiority, but the very example given here defines it. Christ is in fact head, as in authority provider, etc., of the church, and the Father has a superior position than Christ, though being, like husband and wife, one in nature, and Christ forever will be subject to the Father (which He does not infer is shameful). (1Cor. 15:28; cf. Eph. 5:24) And the "mutual submission" aspect which is invoked in response ignores that this aspect still does not convert into a two-headed Deity or marriage.

"even those who say they are literalists actually aren't 100% literalists." If only those who attack literalists would understand that.

"If female subordination was to be for all people at all times within the Christian body...then why didn't our Lord prescribe it?" You mean explicitly, and this is the specious "silence of Jesus hermeneutic", which pro-homosexual polemicists resort to. If Jesus did not promise supplemental revelation (Jn. 16:12-14) in which such things are addressed, this would have some real weight, but as it is, this hermeneutic allows for rape, hemophilia, bestiality, and other details of the moral law which Jesus never mentioned. In addition, as "why didn't our Lord prescribe it?", if women were not to recognize male headship, then why didn't Jesus ever mentioned females being positionally equal to men in marriage or as leadership? Instead, He upheld the moral law, and male leadership, and of which marriage was a part.

"Not one single recorded instance of His denigrating or subordinating a woman." There you go again. As if male headship requires the former, and or the lack of a "get thee behind me" means positional/functional equality. And Jesus selection of only male disciples must be dogmatically attributed to cultural sensitivities, as if Jesus feared such, and not allowed to infer upholding the normative established headship of the male.

"But my, how much we use it [helpmate] to describe a woman' subordinate place in a marriage." That is not a primary text by itself, but the creational order is, (1Tim. 2:13), as is Gn. 3:16, which is best interpreted by Gn. 4:7

"always living under male veto authority, even when he is wrong, but solely on the basis of his X chromosomes" why should any self-respecting woman go into marriage knowing that her husband must have the final word, be the recognized and designated leader...whether he is competent at all of them or not?"

You have an extreme as well a negative idea of submission, if i do say so myself. If you can find unconditional submission to man justified in the Bible you have a different one than me. The Bible also commands "submit yourselves to every ordinance of man" (1Pet. 2:13) but it interprets itself as except in instances when that would clearly be wrong. Thus the apostles disobeyed the Jewish leaders, and we commend the Egyptian midwives, and Abagail, and Christian women who read their Bibles and hear preaching, etc., against their unbelieving husbands commands. In addition, there are exceptions when a women must assume some leadership, as in a Deborah acting as judge of Israel.

All in all, CE's are fighting against the substantiated and evident meaning of texts, seeking to extrapolate a contrary meaning, and inferring subordination must be avoided. I am not a leader, and while i am also not a great follower, i have no real problem with following a women, just because she is, but God has established headship, beginning with himself, and to which principle the church, and men, and women are to submit, as prescribed, to the good of all and the glory of God.

This should not be continued here, but you can email me from my user page or post on my user talk page. Daniel1212 (talk) 05:07, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for your careful reply. I'm not hoping to win agreement, just better understanding that one can be a very sincere, conservative, Bible-believing Christian and still end up with the convictions I've shared. Just one retort and I promise to quit (at least here): Not only were the disciples all women, but they were also all Jews. I may somewhat be arguing from silence, but most in the list are reductio ad absurdum, with one acknowledged exception. And, you may want to look up the definition of hemophilia. I don't think that's quite what you meant. Regards, Afaprof01 (talk) 05:37, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
I'll change hemophilia to pedophilia if you'll change the disciples (and apostles would be more precise) to men , and your argument is one which is inconsistent with the Bible, which interprets itself here. The same Bible which explicitly states and manifests that racial distinctions are done away with in Christ, by the much abused Gal. 3:28 and other places, also clearly upholds both subordination to authority in general and positional distinctions and based upon gender, which also restricts marriage to the union of opposite genders, despite their essential oneness in Christ. Pro-homosexuals also abuse Gal. 3:28 in order to negate Mt. 19:4, based upon the same premise you rely on. Again, take this debate to my talk page, or i can go to yours.Daniel1212 (talk) 10:37, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Article lacks social history[edit]

I think the article is lacking a sense of social history; that is, how did women act in church congregations? The only issues weren't who led the Mass, or who voted on how monies would be spent, although those were significant. That is how men told their own story; of course they thought they were most important. Just as in former histories of other under-represented groups, what the formal language (theology, church writings) says isn't the whole story. Women in groups often had important roles in the life of the congregation, as opposed to the officials of the church. Scoff all you will but why discount the organizing and funds raised for charity through such typical activities (probably at least since the 19th century) as rummage sales and bake sales, or the importance of teaching Sunday school classes, supporting youth groups, teaching children to sing, or pastoral care? Much important, defining work goes on in the life of the congregation outside the authorities.Parkwells (talk) 15:28, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

This page is a joke, even by Wiki standard[edit]

Selective quotes from the Bible. Here are a couple of quotes left out:

"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."--Revelation 14:4

From the Old Testament: "How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?"--Job 25:4

From Tertulian: "In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God's sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil's gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die... Woman, you are the gate to hell." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.253.73.146 (talk) 13:55, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

LOL WIkipedia strikes again[edit]

For a site that claims to be neutral, yet another article that reeks of propaganda. This time, christian. LOL —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.1.135.6 (talk) 20:19, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

The site claims to strive for neutrality. And it is a perpetual work in progress. If you do not like it, just propose the changes to be done. It is easy to stay aside loling. Leirus (talk) 18:27, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

I've been considering what the neutrality issues might be that the anon claims are present. I think the third and fourth paragraphs of the lead could stand to be reworded and maybe condensed a bit, and there are some occasional issues with tone, but it hardly raises to the level of propaganda. I'll work on them now and then when I'm able.
I suspect the anon is one of those who would prefer the article focus more on the aspects they consider morally negative. The descriptions of the biblical and early church probably don't match with what they may have expected, too. Sχeptomaniacχαιρετε 20:53, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality?[edit]

I just came across this article searching for an abstract on Christian/ Biblical views on the role of women, so I obviously don't consider myself an expert in this field. Nevertheless, I think I should make a couple of comments about this article:

a) there are a number problems with referencing here. Some portions of the article seem to be exclusively sourced (in a matter-of-fact tone) with bible references. While the bible can of course be used as a ref as to what's in the bible, it is far from being a WP:RS on what actually happened.
b) this article seems to have a very strong focus on modern and contemporary interpretations of the role of women in Christendom, and a further focus on making a case for egalitarian interpretations.
c) Even I, as a non-Christian non-expert can clearly see that there's a strong bias here. Apart from several bible citations (like the ones two sections above on this talk page), the tenth commandment makes it very obvious that the writers of the bible (allegedly god) considered women to be lower than men - so much so that the last commandment shows that all 10 are directed at men, and that this was considered so self-explanatory that it didn't even have to be pointed out specifically. Yet this page doesn't even mention the 10th commandment. While there are a few quotes in that direction later in the article, far greater weight is given to such statements as that Jesus was "treating women with compassion, grace and dignity", even though this doesn't automatically suggest equality.

I don't mention this to take sides in a debate on what the contemporary Christian view on women ought to be. I mention it because - as of now - I don't think this is close to an encyclopedic, NPOV article about the subject of 'Women in Christianity'. Malc82 (talk) 18:47, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Deaconesses in the Early Church[edit]

Maybe I missed it but there seems to be no mention on the female deaconate here. In the Early Church and during the Byzantine Empire, there were women deacons. There were 40 deaconesses at the Hagia Sophia alone!(source: http://guidesofistanbul.com/eng/hagia_sophia.htm) In Greece, the female diaconate was restored in 2004. There are also women deacons in the Orthodox churches of Russia and Japan. You can get more info on Deaconesses in the Orthodox church at this page http://orthodoxwiki.org/Deaconess Ladycascadia (talk) 22:03, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Wow - just wow[edit]

"Despite these emerging theological differences, the majority of Christians regard women with dignity and respect [citation needed]." There you have it, the vast majority of Christians don't regard women with dignity and respect! Perhaps this should be rephrased or removed entirely - stating that it's doubtful that this is true is pretty much a backhanded insult to Christians. Hardly NPOV. - 114.76.227.0 (talk) 23:02, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Revisions to Lead[edit]

"While women were an important component of the original Christian movement, a male hierarchy was established over the early church, in which women could not be ordained to the priesthood and ascend to senior positions like Pope and Patriarch. "

This sentence has significant POV issues. (1) It implies that the "male hierarchy" contradicts the practice of the original Christian movement, which is heavily disputed. (2) "could not" is more POV than simply "were not" which is a straight statement of fact. (3) There is no need to mention positions like "Pope and Patriarch" (especially as no citation is provided and it therefore constitutes OR) -- to state that women were not ordained to the priesthood is sufficient.Tonicthebrown (talk) 14:04, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Tonic. I agree that keeping it snappy is better, and think your rewordings are sensible enough. My references to the importance of women in early christianity seeks to acknowledge such stories as Jesus and Martha, Mary Magdalene etc and the regular reference I am finding to a "majority" of early christians being women.Ozhistory (talk) 14:36, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi. The problem I perceive is that 2 issues are being mixed together. Firstly, the prominence and participation of women in the church; secondly, the question of male leadership and female subordination (gender roles). The prominence of women in the early church does not argue for or against any particular theory of gender roles. It is simply a fact of history. What would be significant (and therefore worth contrasting with the male heirarchy) is if any of these women occupied positions of authority. Tonicthebrown (talk) 09:57, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Historical content[edit]

A lot of useful historical content has recently been added to this article by Ozhistory. However, given that this article is about gender roles (i.e. relationships of authority between men and women), not about the place of women in the church per se, I think this material would be more appropriate (as per WP:SS) under the existing historical article: Women in Church history. When I get a chance, and if there is no objection, I'll look at moving some of the content across.Tonicthebrown (talk) 10:04, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for drawing Women in Church history to my attention - it think it can certainly be improved by moving some of the historical detail across from our Gender roles article. I also have no objection to you going ahead and trimming material to keep this article focused, provided the article still devotes some space to the breadth of roles played by women within the church - not only the positions of overt authority as occupied by women from the Medieval abbesses and Doctors of the Church in Catholicism, to the Queens of England as Supreme Governors of the Church of England, to modern Generals of the Salvation Army; but also to the various other roles fulfilled by women, particularly religious sisters, for example, in running vast networks of health care facilities and schools. As an aside, I found it interesting to read that John Paul II speaks so much of Christian monarchs in his summaries of the great women of the church in Mulieris Dignitatem. In short, my feeling is that the article must not overplay the "submissive women" and "dominant males" line when seeking to sum up the topic - for this would fail to capture the reality of Christian history - though obviously, the historical absence of women from clerical and episcopal positions warrants major discussion. Good luck with the edit!Ozhistory (talk) 13:46, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

Another problem that I've found with the article is in this quote: 'Others appearing in the texts include Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, who tricked Abraham into blessing her second son as heir;' The obvious problem with this is that Rebekah tricked Isaac into blessing her second son. She did NOT trick Abraham into this. :S 121.223.112.127 (talk) 10:58, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Women in Heaven[edit]

Are Women equal or subordinate to men IN HEAVEN OR NEW EARTH? I don't care about the ontological, because I understand that much, but are women and men equal in OTHER ways? Do they have the same roles? Are women to submit or obey? Does the hierarchy STILL exist in Heaven between woman and man, just as Christ is lower in the hierarchy than God the Father? Can I receive a DIRECT answer to this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.70.197.229 (talk) 20:49, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Don't know what a theologian would say here, except that Mary is known as Queen of Heaven and that God and the Holy Spirit clearly can't be understood to have gender in the human sense of the term. Also, as I understand the teaching, Jesus is not considered "lower in the hierarchy" but rather is considered "of one being" with the Father and the Spirit.Ozhistory (talk) 02:11, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Title change[edit]

I think the article is better titled "Women in Christianity." If it provided equal treatment on men and women's gender roles, there would still be room for an article on "Women and Christianity." However, this article focuses on the gender roles of women. Thus, it may as well be called "Women in Christianity". I'll stand by for discussion, since there is overlap with "Women in Church History" either way. If no input after a week, I'll make the change. Airborne84 (talk) 16:05, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Since there has been no discussion, I plan to (NLT tomorrow) change the name, move some of the historical information to Women in Church history while summarizing it here, and provide more coverage of secondary source general discussion of "Christianity and Women".Airborne84 (talk) 09:13, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Storing section for later use[edit]

I'm moving the below section here in case someone wants to reinstate it later with references. It's extremely problematic right now since it has no sources for most of the list. Thus, their positions might be nuanced, but there is no way to tell.

Also, it may not give an accurate overall summary of weights. Right now, there are only two denominations listed under "Restricted roles". That section might actually represent the vast majority of denominations/sects, but there is no way to tell.

Although primary sources might be used to indicate the position of an entry on a list, reliable, secondary sources are needed here to interpret this section overall.--Airborne84 (talk) 16:43, 24 November 2013 (UTC)


Current views by denomination[edit]

In general, the issues have been what the proper role of women is (a) in marriage; (b) in the church; (c) in society at large. Among the denominations, movements, and organizations that express or have previously expressed a view, there are four main views:

Full equality[edit]

Equality, except clerical offices[edit]

Restricted roles in both secular and ecclesiastical life[edit]

Mixed[edit]

  • Southern Baptist Convention's official position[4] is solely to prohibit females from becoming clergy, and to insist that a wife "graciously submit" to the leadership of her husband, and the husband, in turn, to love the wife, respect her, and refrain from abuse, "loving her as Christ loves the church".[Eph. 5:22-28] Their position does not address the previous verse in Ephesians 5:21 which contains the imperative: ...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ", nor .Members of an individual ("local") Southern Baptist church are allowed to vote on matters of business of the church that include the hiring of a pastor. However, many churches that have chosen female clergy as their pastor have been disenfranchised by either local or state Baptist associations. The vast majority of the congregations tend to hold full secular equality for women. Since Baptists enforce autonomy of each church, it can vary widely from church to church.
  • Jehovah's Witnesses appoint only males as elders and deacons ("ministerial servants"), and allow only baptized males to perform weddings, funerals, and baptisms. A baptized female is considered an ordained minister, but she may only lead congregational prayer and teaching in unusual circumstances, and must wear a head covering while doing so. A female Witness minister wears a head covering when teaching in the presence of a baptized male or in the presence of her husband (regardless of whether or not the husband is baptized). Female head covering is not required when teaching outside the Witnesses' congregation setting or when participating in congregation meetings being led by another. Females may vote on congregation matters, and may qualify for appointment as a full-time pioneer minister.[5]

The above lists are examples and are obviously not exhaustive. It is not always clear into which category a church or movement falls.

The Wesleyan tradition and the Holiness and Pentecostal movements, as well as a growing number of contemporary Charismatic churches which draw from them, have increasingly accepted women as leaders on an equal footing with men.

Woodhead quotes[edit]

The following passages were removed from the article as "POV". I don't believe that they are POV when viewed in the context of the article. There are plenty of notes in the article discussing how church and biblical figures promote gender equality. They may be POV by themselves, but balance the article. The below quotes are from a reliable secondary source author and publisher which summarize two important aspects that this article directly concerns. I welcome further discussion. Airborne84 (talk) 15:46, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Today, gender roles in Christianity are a matter of debate and are seen as problematic by internal and external observers alike. Linda Woodhead states that, "Of the many threats that Christianity has to face in modern times, gender equality is one of the most serious".[6] She notes that "Christianity has traditionally excluded women from positions of power, and often places more emphasis on the connections between divinity and masculinity than divinity and femininity."[7]

Hi, the main issue is that I don't feel this belongs in the lead, which is already long. The previous paragraph already says pretty much the exact same thing about women being excluded from positions. And the first part of the quote ("of the many threats...") is already included verbatim later in the article.

It is POV in the sense that it introduces an opinion. This may be suitable somewhere in the body of the article where it can be balanced against other opinions, but it is not suitable in the lead where there is no alternative opinion presented. Tonicthebrown (talk) 12:21, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Fair enough. The first passage is listed in the article already elsewhere so I have no further objection to that. Thanks! Airborne84 (talk) 14:11, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Title Change Complete[edit]

As per discussion above, I changed the title to Women in Christianity. Gender roles suggests that the material in the article should be discussion of women's roles contrasted with men. The current title is broader and more inclusive to allow more information. However, I recommend that much of the historical information be moved/consolidated with Women in Church history, while only being summarized here. Airborne84 (talk) 20:37, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Letter to Women". Vatican.va. 1995-06-29. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  2. ^ "Address on Promoting the Well-Being of Women". Vatican.va. 1996-12-07. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  3. ^ "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women". Vatican.va. 1988-08-15. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  4. ^ "The Baptist Faith & Message". Sbc.net. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  5. ^ "Head Coverings—When and Why?", Keep Yourselves in God's Love, ©2008 Watch Tower, pages 43-44 and 209-212
  6. ^ Woodhead, Linda (2004). Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. n.p. 
  7. ^ Woodhead, Linda (2004). Christianity: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. n.p.