Women have always played a crucial role in the establishment of the Christian church, but I’ve noticed that their contributions are often footnoted and forgotten. When we read philosophy and theology addressing the roles of pastor, apostle, disciple, missionary, etc., we subtly assume a masculine context unless women are specifically brought up. In this post […]
Here is the fourth and final installment of “More than Footnotes” a series on influential women in church history.
With the influence of the First Great Awakening of American religion (1730s-1740s) as impetus, women in American Christianity were driven by the experience of conversion to transcend prescribed roles and self-understandings.
Part 3 in a series examining the role of women in different phases of Church history. See also Part 1 -Women in Early Christianity, Part 2 – Women in Medieval Christianity, Part 4 -Women in the American Colonies. THE CONTEXT The status of women throughout the Protestant Reformation is best understood through the teachings of Martin Luther and later by […]
Here is Part 2 in our series on women in church history.
According to the small handful of literate monks, bishops, and noblemen in the middle ages, the status of women in medieval Christianity was quite the polarizing issue. In Her Story, Barbara MachHaffie notes that on the one hand, women are “denounced in strong terms as wicked and inferior” leading in the worst of cases to witch-hunts throughout the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries (HS. 49). On the other hand, women were also praised by Christianity and idolized as symbols of the Virgin Mary as illustrated by the ideal women preserved for us in the well-known tales of medieval chivalry (HS. 49).
Many Christians have inherited the supposition that the Church has been built on the backs of men. Masculine, courageous, and often oddly wigged men.
When we read philosophy and theology addressing the roles of pastor, apostle, disciple, missionary, etc., we subtly assume a masculine context unless women are specifically brought up. Yet, failing to recognize the essential role of women in Church history is, in my opinion, to wrongly conclude that we should interpret our own story through the broken lens of “he shall rule over her” (Gen. 3:16) in place of humanity’s original commission for partnership (Gen. 2:18). Like the post-Fall curses of death and toil, the curse of unequal partnership is certainly worth fighting as Christianity seeks to understand the leadership behind our historical identity.
In this series I will examine the role of women in different phases of Church history in order to offer a truer picture of Christianity which will benefit women and men alike. In each installment, I will briefly highlight the gender-relevant context of a section of Church history before overviewing important female figures. I will be primarily citing two works called, Her Story(HS) and Discovering Biblical Equality (DBE) for reference. My hope for these posts is to simply offer readers a more complete picture of Christian history which by focusing on the women who are too often footnoted and forgotten.