Women in History
Pamela Walford accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in
1989. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has been the
Manitoba Regional Coordinator for Project Hannah for the past two and a
half years. Pamela is studying for her Bachelor of Theology as a
distance student at Alliance University College in Calgary and will be
temporarily moving to that city in 2005 to complete her degree.
She is divorced, has two grown sons, works part-time and is a member of
First Nations Community Church in Winnipeg, where she is involved in the
prayer ministry and recently coordinated the cultural adaptation and
implementation of protection policies for the children’s Sunday school.
Pamela also regularly attends a rural home church, which in addition to
its monthly worship service, meets twice a month for Bible study and
twice a month for prayer meetings.
The Story of God: Women in the Early Church
by Pamela Walford
In less than 400 years following the deaths of the last apostles, the
early Christian church yielded to the influence of the Greco-Roman
culture in which it was immersed and relinquished the egalitarianism
that had been established by Jesus; thereby setting the stage for the
subjugation and silencing of women that spanned more than two millennia
and continues to detrimentally impact the lives of women today.
While history shows that all social classes were impacted by the
influence of Greco-Roman culture on the church, the discussion in this
paper will be confined to women and how the first four centuries of the
Christian church were pivotal in the consequences they generated for
There is ample evidence in Scripture that Jesus had an inclusive
attitude toward women in ministry and had initiated their emancipation
from the confinement of their culture. He defended the adulterous
woman brought to Him by the Pharisees (John 8:1-11) and affirmed the
unclean woman who dared to touch Him (Matt. 9:20-22). He validated
Mary’s abdication of domesticity and encouraged her sister Martha to
also make following Him her priority (Luke 10:38-42). He had
several women disciples (Mark 15:40-41, Luke 8:1-3). He sent the
Samaritan woman as a missionary to her people (John 4:1-42). He
appeared first to women at His resurrection and sent them as His first
missionaries to His church (John 20:15-18, Luke 24:9, Matt. 28:9-10),
and He baptized women with His Holy Spirit at Pentecost at the same time
as the men (Acts 1:14, 2:1).
Furthermore, Jesus’ emancipating call to women to step out of their
culturally gendered roles and into ministry was entirely in keeping with
the Old Testament. When God called women in the past, their
obedience continually required their having to move beyond the
boundaries of their culture’s customary roles for women, but it also
consistently facilitated Israel’s rescue and altered the course of
Jochebed deceived Pharaoh’s daughter and preserved Moses’ life (Exod.
2:1-10), Rahab sheltered Israelite spies and as a result her Gentile
family was brought into the nation of Israel and into the genealogy of
Christ (Josh. 2). Jael murdered her husband’s ally and saved
Israel (Judges 4:17-21). Tamar deceived Judah and preserved
Christ’s birth line (Gen. 38:1-30). Abigail defied her husband’s
stupidity and kept David from sin (1 Sam. 25:14-35). And, Mary,
the Lord’s mother, transgressed the taboos of her culture by her
pre-nuptial pregnancy and gave birth to our Savior (Luke 1:26-38).
According to Acts and other New Testament letters, women did fulfill
Jesus’ mandate to serve in ministry alongside their Christian brothers.
The criteria for being considered an apostle was having seen the risen
Lord (1 Cor. 9:1), which Joanna certainly had (Luke 24:10), and who Paul
considered an apostle who had been significantly helpful to him (Rom.
16:7).1 Priscilla was not only Paul’s colleague but was the
teacher of Apollos as well (Rom 16:3-5, Acts 18:24-28). Phoebe was
a church leader as were Syntyche, Euodia (Phil. 4:2-3) and Lydia (Acts.
16-14-15, 40). In addition, there is well-argued speculation that
the anonymous author of the Book of Hebrews is none other than Paul’s
beloved friend, Priscilla.2
“What went wrong?” female students of Christian history inevitably ask
themselves, because once we leave Scripture and move on to
extra-Biblical reading, Christian history reads in such a way as to
imply that women were completely uninvolved in the formation of the
church. The last of the apostles would have not lived much beyond
the beginning of the 2nd Century A.D., and women in church leadership
seem to have disappeared along with them.3 How did it come to
pass that women ceased to function as church leaders, and why so early
in the church’s development?
Fortunately, with the 20th Century advent of feminist historians and
theologians, church history has been revisited, but the answers to these
questions are not easily discerned and must be teased out from a
historical framework that records the passage of time solely from a male
perspective and reports the history of women only as it pertains to men.
4 Although, there is a scarcity of documents written by
women about the lives of members of their own gender, upper class women
in the Roman Empire were highly educated and historians surmise that
women likely wrote a great many more works than what has survived.5
Among the few surviving works believed to have been written by women is
the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas, most of which Perpetua is
believed to have written herself and the Apocryphal Acts, which is
essentially a series of lively stories about women who, upon
encountering a male apostle, reject secular life in favor of ascetic
Christianity.6 And, of course there is the
controversial, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which, despite its much debated
historicity and theology, suggests that she had a ministry that was
significant enough to warrant a gospel account.7
The little else that is known about women in the early church has been
gleaned from epitaphs on tombstones, artwork and from what the church
“fathers” wrote about them, and the evidence suggests that women held
positions of authority in the church and were also exegetes. An
ancient mosaic in Rome names a Bishop Theodora. There were women
Bishops in Egypt and women presbyters in Sicily and Greece.8
A woman named Paula, was the most intimate friend of the church
“father”, Jerome, with who he enjoyed challenging debates over
Scripture.9 Another woman, Melania the Elder, was
dubbed a “female man of God” by her Christian brothers on account of her
While a few select women as mentioned above received accolades from
church “fathers”, most often when writing about women, they denounced
them for performing certain ecclesiastical tasks, or they penned
diatribes on woman’s intrinsically sinful nature. Feminists deduce
from these writings that if the “fathers” deemed it necessary to speak
against women functioning in specific ecclesiastical roles, women must
have been in fact participating in them. “The fact of laws
forbidding women to preach indicates that there were preaching women who
needed to be silenced.”11 Condemnation of women
prophets can only mean that women were prophesying. If the 2nd
Century Statutes of the Apostles lambasted women presiding over the
Eucharist, the assumption must be that they were presiding over it and
likewise regarding women baptizing.12 If the Didascalia, a
manual on church organization, castigated the “order of widows” for
evangelizing, discipling believers, hearing confessions and performing
baptisms, then it stands to reason that the widows were doing all of
Women apparently also exercised authority and leadership through their
influence as patrons. Lucilla of Carthage held considerable sway
as a patron of Donatus and was instrumental in the rise of the Donatist
movement that plagued the “orthodox” church for several centuries.
Origen was also assisted by a woman patron as was Chrysostom.14
With a clearly extensive female presence in church leadership and the
support of Scripture behind them, it seems inconceivable that the church
devolved so rapidly into an institution that viewed itself as an
exclusively male domain that eventually came to consider the creation of
women as almost a misguided afterthought on God’s part.
historians, both male and female, generally attribute it to the pressure
applied by the pervasive influence of Greco-Roman culture.15
However, this explanation does not adequately convey the manner in which
this influence was visited on women in the quest to prohibit them from
church leadership. What began as the relatively soft-sell of
persuasion in the form of written attacks and ecclesiastical
legislation eventually transcended the church and escalated into
violent acts of force that sought to subdue women across the spectrum of
Attitudes toward women in the Roman Empire were inherited from the
Greeks. Greek mythology taught that women were created by Zeus as
a curse against the human race, which prior to offending the gods, was
strictly male.16 The Greeks defined masculinity, which in
their minds equaled humanity, through the male genitalia. They
associated honor with sexual prowess to the degree that orgies were
rampant and homosexual relations with young boys were highly regarded.17
On the other hand, women were associated with shame and were viewed
strictly as male possessions for usage that had to be endured as the
unfortunately necessary means of procreation. Since men were
honorable, they could be separated from their sexuality and carry on
public business and political activity, whereas women were sexual in
any sphere because of their being the curse of men. To be a woman
meant to carry shame everywhere, and private life was the only sphere in
which her taint could be endured. From this philosophy evolved the
assumption that public life was male, and private life was female.
Any woman who held a public office was deemed unchaste and was seen as
attempting to establish sexual independence. A woman’s sexuality
was a male possession, and a sexually independent woman was a threat to
every man’s authority.18
Prior to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, persecution and the fact
that Christians “conceived themselves explicitly as an alternative
family or household,” meant that the church functioned as a private
institution. Christians confined worship primarily to meeting in
homes where women in leadership was not an issue.19
However, due in great part to the rising veneration of celibacy, not all
Christians in the pre-Constantinian church embraced female leadership.
With the deaths of the apostles, the church lost the authority of its
first-hand witnesses to the teachings of Jesus, and as Greco-Roman
converts continued to be brought in the church, their secular culture
had increasing impact. Celibacy was the combined birth child of
Greek disdain for women and Christianity’s desire to distance itself
from the appalling sexual promiscuity of the Roman pagans.
churches, female virgins were part of the clergy and were greatly
revered. They sat in special places during worship, and as a sign
of having dedicated their lives to God, they did not wear the veils
normally worn by women. Tertullian, a 3rd Century theologian with
a robust Greco-Roman contempt for women, opposed all manifestation of
female leadership and insisted that virgins should not be bestowed any
measure of honor and accordingly, should wear their veils in church
despite it being “private” space. 20
Emperor Constantine’s conversion and the subsequent legalization of
Christianity with the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. catapulted
Christianity into the public realm for which it was unfortunately
unprepared.21 Many of Constantine’s subjects converted to
Christianity motivated more by a desire to curry his favor than by
religious fervor. Established Christians also desired his goodwill
more than they desired God’s. This, when coupled with
Constantine’s own faith being of a questionable degree, made for a
situation in which Biblical authority took a back seat to the will of
the emperor and the ambitions of undiscerning Christians.22 A
natural consequence of a more secular, Greco-Roman influenced and less
Spirit-led church was the widespread consensus that women ecclesiastical
leaders were absolutely unacceptable.23
The campaign to eject women from ministry that began with the quills of
the church “fathers” in the 3rd Century transitioned into ecclesiastical
legislation during the 4th Century when the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.
banned women from the clergy.24 Nevertheless, history
shows that women did not universally or easily accept their banishment
because over the ensuing centuries the church had to repeatedly enact
legislation against women leaders and enforce it with their customary
disciplinary measures of excommunication and burning at the stake.25
The continued persistence of women in fulfilling their call from God
kept the attack on women alive. The pens of the “fathers” marched
on relentlessly, but their ranting had one significant difference;
rather than being merely unfit for leadership, woman became sin
Whereas for the Greeks, woman would not have been created if man had not
sinned, the church “fathers” determined that if woman had not sinned,
faultless man would still be enjoying himself in the Garden of Eden in
perfect harmony with God.
Writing in 375 C.E., Ambrose of Milan’s
attitude toward woman may have been one of the more affirming ones among
the church “fathers” in that he conceded that God had deemed woman good
despite her being the very source of sin. Augustine, on the other
hand was not so kind. In 401 A.D., he agreed that God had made
woman to be man’s helper, but the issue was what kind of helper she was
supposed to be. Any man could outwork a woman; therefore, it could
not have been for the purpose of physical labor. “One could also
posit,” he argued, “that the reason for her creation as a helper had to
do with the companionship she could provide for man, if perhaps he got
bored with his solitude. Yet for company and conversation, how
much more agreeable it is for two male friends to dwell together than
for a man and a woman, nor could it have been for the purpose of
companionship … I cannot think of any reason for a woman’s being made as
man’s helper, if we dismiss the reason of procreation.” His
contemporary, John Chrysostom, magnanimously chimed that as a helper to
man, woman was far superior to an animal because God had made a clear
distinction between woman and beast in the Genesis creation story.
Sadly, to make the situation for women worse, the evolving all-male,
church leadership came to believe the “fathers” had so thoroughly
summarized Christian theology that their writings superseded the
authority of Scripture. This negated the necessity of reading
Scripture altogether and granted the church the license to do whatever
it wanted. In time, the “fathers” authority was conferred on the
Pope as infallibility.27
By the end of the 5th Century, the only option for formal ecclesiastical
service for women was celibate life as a nun or a masochistic ascetic.
Undaunted, women were determined to follow the call to ministry and
flocked to monasteries and convents, often defying their families.
Unfortunately, becoming a nun was available almost exclusively to
wealthy women since life in a monastery required a substantial dowry.
The remaining masses of lower class women had to be content with life
within the confines of marriage; an institution the church increasingly
denounced as an unfortunate necessity for individuals too weak and too
sinful to embrace the higher calling of celibacy.28
Without the ascendancy of Scripture, the denigration of woman continued
unabated, and of which canonized Peter Damian’s following harangue was
typically representative. “I speak to you, O charmers of the
clergy, appetizing flesh of the devil, that castaway from Paradise,
poison of minds, death of souls, companions of the very stuff of sin,
the cause of our ruin. You, I say, I exhort women of the ancient
enemy, you bitches, sows, screech-owls, night-owls, blood-suckers,
she-wolves, … come now, hear me harlots, prostitutes, with your
lascivious kisses, you wallowing places for fat pigs, couches for
In the face of such spiraling hatred it is no surprise that the church’s
misogyny eventually culminated in the witch-craze that began in the 12th
Century and did not end until the 17th Century. Often, the proof that
a woman was a witch was the crime of being an impoverished middle-aged
widow, but the real root of the problem was, as always, female
sexuality. Impotency, infertility, disease, death and above all,
male lust, were all the fault of women who were supposedly sleeping with
Satan. Women were tortured until they confessed to night-flying,
killing babies, stealing penises, impregnation by the devil and so on.
The witch-craze reached its pinnacle in 1492 when the European town of Langendorf declared that only two women in its entire village were not
witches.30 It is estimated upwards from one million women
were burned at the stake as witches and often after first suffering
other public atrocities such having their breasts hacked off.31
Another far less gruesome but equally un-biblical by-product of the
church’s spiteful sexism was the Vatican’s 1854 A.D. declaration on the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary. It was impossible for the Roman
church to fathom God having debased himself by birthing his son through
a woman, the very source of all sin. They concluded that Mary had
to have been a super-woman, born without the taint of her sisters.32
The plight of women finally began to turn around with the Reformation.
Martin Luther and his colleagues dug the Bible out of the cellar and
blew off a thousand years of dust. They reinstated salvation by
faith and resurrected the blessing of marriage. Unfortunately,
Protestant women were still not quite as equal as Protestant men, but
they were expected to read the Bible alongside their brothers.33
And, with the Scriptures once again in their hands, women began the slow
process of reclaiming their freedom in Christ, a process which continues
to this day.
Naturally, there are detractors who argue that although Greco-Roman
culture undeniably held sway, the only women leaders in the early church
were those in heretical sects like the Gnostics. They contend
these sects endangered the orthodoxy of the church and justify the
“fathers” strong stand against women.34
On the surface this evidence would appear to be true, but the argument does not
hold up against Scripture, and it must be remembered that only male
writings survived the censure of a male-dominated church. We do
not know if orthodox women wrote in defense of their leadership.
We do know there were orthodox male voices such as Helvidius and
Jovinian, who affirmed marriage and gender equality. Furthermore,
the ascetism many church “fathers” followed was itself a derivative of
the Gnostic view that the body was inherently evil and needed to be
deprived of comfort to facilitate holiness.35
More likely, the real issue was not heresies or female sin but male
sexuality. As much of their writing suggests, the various
“fathers” struggled with their sexuality. This sheds much needed
light on their susceptibility to a culturally influenced repugnance of
women. Ascetism and celibacy are not natural human states.
We are not androgynous. We are sexual beings,
male and female, and we were created to care for our bodies and for each
other, physically, emotionally and sexually.
In the Gnostic gospels of Mary Magdalene and Phillip, Jesus is fully
human and fully male. This was a problem for the Greco-Roman
ascetic “fathers.”36 Their desire to live fully dedicated to
God as celibates was not inherently wrong. The problem was that
for them sex was inherently sinful and inherently female. They
believed that were it not for women they would not have had to struggle
with their lust. They did not know how to reconcile their
sexuality with the redemptive plan of Christ without rejecting woman.
In their minds, Jesus was holy and as such was not sexual.
Scripture affirms Jesus as being fully human and also affirms his
sinlessness (Heb. 4:15). If the “fathers” had divorced their
culturally informed understanding of sex and sin from their
interpretation of Scripture, they would have understood that, because
Jesus never sinned and never married, He had been celibate by virtue of
premarital sex being sin. Jesus had rejected sin, not his
sexuality. To think otherwise is to believe that sexuality was
never redeemed by Christ. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the
“fathers” believed, and the repercussions reverberated far into the
Since the days of the Reformation much headway has been made in the way
of feminist exegesis of Scripture, but there remain many women who
mistrust Scripture as the Spirit inspired inerrant Word of God because
(with the possible exception of the Book of Hebrews) its human authors
were men and because the Canon was compiled by the “fathers.” With so
much hurt in women’s history, they will continue to struggle with their
view of God unless the church attempts to answer their demand to know
where God was while women were beaten into silence by the church and why
he took so long to release them.
An answer might be found if we revisit Christian history once again and
this time remember that God’s involvement in history did not end with
the closing of the canon. History is not the story of humanity; it
is the story of God. It is the story of His redemptive work in His
creation, male and female, who image Him together as one. It is
the only way to make sense of all the sin and hurt we humans have
inflicted on each other.
Since creation, God has ceaselessly moved humanity toward eternal
redemptive reconciliation with Him and just as ceaselessly, humanity has
rejected His offer of mercy and heaped sin upon sin instead. Adam
and Eve rejected Him. The early human race of Noah’s day rejected
Him. Israel, his chosen people rejected Him in the desert, in
the Promised Land and when their Messiah came. Would His church be
any different than the rest of humanity or His chosen Jewish people? The
first humans rejected God and the last humans will reject Him (Rev.
Mercifully, despite our sin, God remains steadfast in His plan to bring
into eternity with Him, those who accept the reconciliation He offers
through Jesus Christ. He promised that those who sought Him with
all their heart would find Him (Jer. 29:13) and that He would preserve
them. He saved Noah and his small family. He preserved
Israel through a faithful remnant (Isa. 6:13), and He preserves His
church through a faithful remnant like the early monastics, who objected
to the church’s alliance with the Roman Empire, and the Reformers who
restored His Word, and the countless marginalized women who persevered
through the centuries, and the millions of ordinary people who strive to
know God in a church that persistently rejects Him (Rev. 2, 3, 18:4-5).
The Bible tells us that in the last days the church will be an apostate
prostitute that has made an alliance with the world and is drunk with
the blood of the saints. However, as we have seen, the church has
already long been an apostate prostitute who befriends the world and
murders the saints. Much has been lost through what women were
denied to bring to Christianity, but it was not women who were
imprisoned for a thousand years; it was God’s image that was in bondage
to sin. Male and female were equally made in the image of God
(Gen. 1:27), and men lost as much as women when they rejected the very
thing God had said it was not good for them to be without (Gen. 3:18).
What they were without was not just a “helper” but the female face of
Furthermore, while sin has played a significant role in the failures of
the church, the grace of God has played an even greater role in its
successes. It has never stopped being His church and though humans
have perpetually attempted to wrest it from his control, He has remained
faithful and has preserved it in one form or another. He has taken
his sinful creation and guided them toward an ever increasing awareness
of Himself, and by his Spirit, continues to transform the body of
Christ, individually and corporately, into the image of His son.
“All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though
reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from
one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the
Spirit. Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged
in this ministry, we do not lose heart” (NRSV 2 Cor. 3:18). One
wonderful day in eternity we will see Christ as He is, and we will be
free from sin at last and be perfect like He is (1 John 3:2). Sin
removed women from the church leadership but the Holy Spirit brings
them back to their rightful place beside their brothers.
Why did He allow women to be silenced in the first place? Why did He
wait so long to release them? Why the Holocaust of World War II? Why the
genocide in Sudan? Why did he wait 400 years to rescue Israel from
Egypt? Why did he wait so long before sending His son? Why must we
suffer so long before His return?
We cannot answer those questions; we can only look at God and remember
that, “for now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to
face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I
have been fully known. (NRSV 1 Cor. 13:12). The Bible tells us not
to be impatient with God’s patience with sin and to trust that He is
always good and His decisions are always just (2 Peter 3:9, Rom 12:2).
Somehow, everything is working out according to His plan and is for the
good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). Perhaps what women bring
to the church now is much better than what we would have brought before
because we have been purified by the Refiner’s fire (Mal. 3:3-4).
The more women are restored, the more the church resembles Christ, and
the more the church resembles Him, the closer we are to eternity.
This is all we can say.
Even as God was giving Moses the law on Mount Sinai, the Israelites were
down below dancing around a golden calf. The Lord struck those who
had sinned against him, but he did not remove his promise to dwell with
Israel. Instead, He restored their hope and redeemed them.
He moved their eyes to the future and commanded them to build His
tabernacle. Jesus did likewise with Peter. After Peter
denied him, Jesus restored him by asking three times if Peter loved Him,
and each time Peter said yes, Jesus commanded Peter to care for His
flock (John 21). What has been lost cannot be regained, it can
only be redeemed. We are not to look back on history unless it is
to reflect on God’s mercy (Isa. 43:18-19) and to remember that for now
faith, hope, and love abide, and that “the greatest of these is love” (NRSV
1 Cor. 13:13).
Women do not need to bang down the church doors and demand equality from
what is all too often an apostate prostitute. They simply need to
follow Jesus by forgiving their brothers and lovingly obeying Him, even
it means walking outside the norms of their culture, just as their
sisters before them have done. In so doing, they will show their
brothers the other side of the face of God that all of humanity lost
1500 years ago.
After the days of purification were completed, Joseph and Mary brought
Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord. He was
greeted by the prophets Simeon and Anna. Anna was of the
tribe of Asher and was representative of the northern tribes while
Simeon was representative of the southern tribes.43 In that brief moment
when Anna and Simeon prophesied over the infant Jesus, who is both the
son of God and the son of his Gentile ancestral grandmothers, Rahab and
1:1-11), all the tribes of Israel, all the nations of the earth, and
male and female, were represented in a symbolic reconciliation with
their Creator and Redeemer, Immanuel, “God With Us,” in His Holy Temple
We need to look ahead to our eternal future (Luke 21:28), not behind at
our appalling past. Unless we wed our perspectives as male and female
and retell the history of God together, not avoiding our sins or piling
new ones on top of the old, but confessing them and forgiving each other
and rejoicing in His unfailing mercy. We need to ask God to
bring about the fullness of the restoration He began with Anna and
Simeon and Jesus in the Temple, and then we need to say, “Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus!” (NRSV Rev. 22:20).
1. Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the
Gospels. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002), 166-169. Junia is
the Greek equivalent to Joanna. During the Middle Ages, copyists changed
the female name to the male name, Junias.
2. Ruth Hoppin, “We are Witnesses to a Mystery” (www.godswordtowomen.org/studies/articles/hoppin.htm,
3. Mary T. Malone, Women and Christianity, Volume I: The First
Thousand Years (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2000), 101.
4. Ibid., 35.
5. Ibid., 245.
6. Elizabeth A. Clark, Women in the Early Church (Collegeville:
Liturgical Press, 1983), 78, 89, 97-98.
7. Jean-Yves Leloup and Joseph Rowe, Translator. The Gospel of Mary
Magdalene: Translation from the Coptic and Commentary (Rochester:
Inner Traditions, 2002), 7.
8. Karen Jo. Torjesen, When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in
the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of
Christianity. (San Francisco: Harper, 1993), 9-10.
9. Clark, “Women in the Early Church,” 163-168.
10. Malone, “Women and Christianity, Volume I,”148.
11. Ibid., 33.
12. Torjesen, “When Women Were Priests,” 42-44,148.
14. Ibid., 146-149.
14. Ibid., 90-92, 100, 113.
15. Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, et al., After Eden: Facing the
Challenge of Gender Reconciliation (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,
1993), 22. Contributors to this book from the Calvin Center for
Christian Scholarship jointly determined that, “A feminist is a person
of either sex who works to restore social, economic, and political
justice between women and men in a given society. This work is motivated
by the conviction that the devaluation of women and their activities as
compared with the valuation of men and their activities is wrong, and
that the systematic disempowering of women in relation to men is
16. Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton, with Janice Rogers, Why
Not Women: A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and
Leadership (Seattle: Youth With A Mission, 2000) 72-75.
17. Torjesen, “When Women Were Priests,” 180-188.
18. Ibid., 12, 40, 113-115.
19. Ibid., 126-127.
20. Ibid., 158-172.
21. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity: Volume 1, The Early
Church to the Dawn of the Reformation (New York: Harper-Collins,
22. Eric de Bruyn, “HI 260 Christian History to the Reformation.”
Lecture, Alliance University College, 2005.
23. Torjesen, “When Women Were Priests,” 155-158.
24. Malone, “Women in Christianity, Volume I,” 125.
25. Ibid., 126-127, 149.
26 Clark, “Women in the Early Church,” 28-34.
28. Ibid., 172, 187.
29. Ibid., 18.
30. Mary T. Malone, Women and Christianity, Volume II: From
1000 to the Reformation, (Ottawa: Novalis, 2002), 216-219.
31. Torjesen, “When Women Were Priests,” 228-233.
32. Mary T. Malone, Women and Christianity, Volume III: From the
Reformation to the 21st Century, (Ottawa: Novalis, 2003), 184.
33. Malone, “Women in Christianity, Volume III,” 56.
34. Clark, “Women in the Early Church,” 20-21.
35. Malone, “Women in Christianity, Volume I,” 163-166.
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