What Has Gender Got to Do with It?

Wesleyan-Holiness churches were led by women long before the rise of the modern women's movement.
2000This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

"Matters of Opinion" is an occasional department that allows discussion of perspectives not necessarily shared by Christianity Today or the evangelical community as a whole. It is intended to encourage dialogue, and we welcome readers' responses.—The Editors

When Southern Baptists recently asserted that women's ordination is an unscriptural capitulation to the values of a postmodern culture, they used fighting words for denominations that claim a Wesleyan/Holiness theological heritage.

Before the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was organized in 1845, holiness female preachers—conservative, Bible-quoting women who cherished traditional family values—crisscrossed this country holding revivals, starting colleges, and spearheading rescue missions. They were ordained to ministry a century before the civil-rights movement wedged open the door for female ministers in mainline denominations like the Methodists and Presbyterians. The Church of the Nazarene, Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Evangelical Friends, Free Meth odists, the Salvation Army, and the Wesleyan Church all take their Bibles seriously and share a long heritage of ordaining women.

The Wesleyan/Holiness view of women's ordination is founded not on modern feminism but on four scriptural cornerstones.

First, creation. Women are created as equal inheritors of God's image, and the subsequent subjugation of wom en is a sinful consequence of the Fall. Faith and new life in Christ restore the created intention of God and eliminate this distortion.

Second, public proclamation. Both testaments record the faithful and fearless service of women, including prophets like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and the Corinthian women who were told to cover their heads when they prophesied. Jesus ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
September
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
More from this IssueRead This Issue
Read These Next
close