Women In Ministry Essay

916 words - 4 pages

Women have been involved in Christian ministry since the very beginning of Christianity. It has declined and risen according to the acceptance of the environment. The two papers addressed in this essay document the rise of women ministers in the Holiness movement as well as the decline of women in the modern Pentecostal movement. In response to this decline in women in ministry, Courtney Stewart gave points which the UPCI should tackle to rectify the situation.
In Holy Boldness Women Preachers’ Autobiographies and the Sanctified Self, the history of women in ministry is addressed. The excerpt given starts by discussing the pioneers of women ministers—Wesleyan/Holiness groups. It was in the Holiness movement in the late 19th century where women preachers began to first emerge publicly. The main impetus for these women was the second work of grace, sanctification. According to several Holiness women (such as Julia Foote and Amanda Smith), they were freed from fear and doubt when they were sanctified. It was also at that point when most of the women were called to preach. Sanctification empowered them to be public witnesses of Christ. Many of these women were licensed with Holiness organizations. However, there were also many who could not receive ordination or licensing from their organizations because of opposition to women in ministry. During that time period, women were thought to have a specific “sphere.” Women were to work in the home with their children, not to preach. Most women preachers rejected this idea of ‘women’s work.’ Some even rejected the idea that the husband should be the head of the house. This did not mean that those of these women who were mothers were irresponsible or lax. Indeed many of them did have children and juggled the responsibilities of preaching and motherhood quite admirably. Holiness women preachers stood firm against their opponents citing from theological, biblical and personal reasons why women should be involved in all aspects of ministry.
The second paper, written by David Norris, focuses mainly on the history of Pentecostal women in ministry. He gave a brief mention to the emergence of Holiness women preachers, and then fast-forwards to the Pentecostal movement. Because many of the people involved in the Pentecostal movement had once been a part of the Holiness movement, women were generally accepted as ministers. However, even here women were relegated to the margins. They took the broken, burnt out, run down churches that no one else wanted. Many times these women would revitalized a run down church only to step down, or be...

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