I’m tired of being considered a second-class citizen in the Kingdom of God. I’m not considered that by God, of course, but by men. I’m not black. I am a woman. The church visible has in its life and ministry ignored to a frightening degree the truth of Galatians 3:28: “There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and freeman, male and female; for you are all one person in Christ Jesus” (NEB).

Although early Christianity did help to liberate women from the degrading position of being considered chattel, the Christian Church has not been a leader in the struggle for full equality for women in society, nor has it allowed women to experience freedom from society’s prejudices within the Church. Is it not true that Christ came not only to remove the barrier of sin between man and God but also to break down every wall separating one human being from another? But the wall between women’s and men’s participation in the life of the Church has never been broken down.

Even where the divisions between Christians of different races have been recognized as sinful and contrary to God’s view of mankind, and where these divisions have been reduced to some degree, the old prejudices against women still exist. The pastor of a multi-racial church that has made real progress in overcoming racial divisions expressed surprise when he was asked about the progress his congregation had made in welcoming women to full participation in church life. He had not even identified the prejudices against women in the church as an area of concern, nor had his wife.

Sermons, books, and “talks” on women in the Bible or in the Church are usually focused on the idea that women can be effective helpers to men who are seeking to follow God. The theme is that even ...

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