The “vision of men and women as co-sharers of God’s grace and co-workers in Christ’s kingdom is a timely message for the 1970s.” So concluded Letha Scanzoni in a recent article in CHRISTIANITY TODAY on the role of women in God’s kingdom (see February 2 issue, page 10). While the Church once was considered progressive in its treatment of women, it now is found to be reactionary. What is required of the Church is not that it meet with the approval of society but that it be faithful to its calling.
Since the late 1800s the majority of missionaries have been women. Today an estimated 30 per cent of all missionaries are single women—and nearly 100 per cent of male missionaries are married. Few women, however, are part of the administrative structures of missions.
Key 73 is another example of a narrow view. The Key 73 Congregational Resource Book lists nearly eight pages of persons on development committees; only four are women. No women appear among the pictured promoters. This is not to be seen as evidence of intentional injustice but rather of long-standing habits of neglect, which impoverish the work of the kingdom.
A similar imbalance is seen in churches. Sunday schools are staffed for the most part by women. Choirs often reflect the willingness of women and the hesitancy of men to aid in this important part of worship and evangelism. But executives of the church, generally, are men. Men fill the seats on boards; they make the decisions for the church. Few churches allow women to serve as deacons or elders. This prohibition is usually based on the Pauline injunction that women are to be silent in church. There are those, however, who feel that Paul’s command related to a specific situation and does not wholly apply today; they ...1
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