THE MINIMIZING OF WOMEN IN CHURCH HISTORY.
1. Church leadership. Women were disallowed to assume administrative roles in church affairs yet they were the most faithful to the faith.
2. Denial of preaching platform. The most apostles disapproved of women preaching due to old stigmatization beliefs.
3. Priesthood. People agreed that priests had to only be men arguing that even Jesus choose to work with only male disciples.
4. Denial of missionary work. The spread of the gospel in distant lands was left for men. Men argued that women had to stay caring for homes.
5. Sidelining them from even low duties. Men took up all kinds of work in the church. They became ushers, wardens, elders etc excluding women.
6. Church choir. The church especially the Anglican church strictly registered males as members of the church choiryet women too had talents in singing.
7. Prayers. Women were denied the chance to pray for the congregation and their families. Men perceived it that women’s prayers bore no blessings.
8. Scriptural study. It was falsely believed that men only had the right to right and understand the Bible. That it was their duty to later enlighten woke on what is in the Bible.
9. No repentance. Women were given no opportunity to confess and repent their sins. It was the men’s reserve. Women had to tell their problems to men only.
10. Spiritual feeding. Men believed it was only them that needed spiritual food in the form of hearing the gospel, guidance of the Bible etc which was improper.
11. No fellowships. Women had to always be home, to take care. In case of a fellowship, the man was to represent the whole family.
12. Cause of evil. The Christian teaching was misinterpreted to argue that women WER a source of evil giving examples of eve, Jezebel, Bathsheba, Delila etc.
13. Abandonment. Some apostles said they would emulate Jesus by concentrating on the gospel and abandon their families. Women in such families suffered miserably.
14. Sainthood. Christians that had lived exemplary and died would be canonized into Saints. Nonetheless, most importance was put on men eg St Peter, Augustine etc and not women.
ROLES PLAYED BY WOMEN IN THE CHURCH HISTORY
Although women were despised in society as a weaker sex, some extra ordinary ones did many things for development of the church. They spread the gospel, helped apostles hiding them and looking after them in jail etc.#
Women were important in the history of Christianity in the following ways.
1. They preached the gospel mostly alongside men to try converting as many people to the faith.
2. They founded monasteries that housed monks and nuns who did God’s work eg Hilda of Whitby.
3. They took part in religious literature writing, composing poems, theology writings etc which helped in God’s work.
4. They composed religious songs and played instruments that helped develop hymns.
5. They engaged in charity by helping the disadvantaged in society such orphans and widows eg Elizabeth of Hungary.
6. They engaged in monasticism by being nuns who contributed a lot in growth of the church eg by through evangelism.
7. They founded hospitals especial for the marginalized people eg the poor. This created love for the faith.
8. They founded schools that helped provide basic instruction for the disadvantaged. Most provided catechism classes.
9. They also carried out missionary work, travelling distant lands spreading the gospel eg Mother Teresa of Calcutta India.
10. Some provided leadership for the church as priests and in some cases Bishops in the Anglican church eg Katherine Jefferts.
11. They offered help to active male apostlels in homes and prisons giving them food and other necessities.
\12. Some were even martyred, being killed for the faith. An example is Perpetua who was stoned to death for her faith.
13. They engaged in fellowships sharing their experiences and strengthening each other amid persecution.
14. They led prayers in churches and homes which acted to strengthen converts with hope of God’s providence.
THE BIBLE TEACHING ON SEX DIFFERENCES
God is a God of equality. All human beings are created in his image. It’s not like men were created inv Gods image and women in another gods image and thus equality is essential, as the old testament shows.#
HOW DOES THE OLD TESTAMENT TEACH ABOUT SEX DIFFERENCES BETWEEN
1. Male and female were both created in God’s image. Gen 1:26-28. This shows that no single sex was meant to be superior to another.
2. God created woman to provide companionship to the man after he had lived a lonely life. It is wrong to think that woman is created to be a slave.
3. Gen 1:24 shows that man and woman are one flesh when they unite in marriage. Any act that unfairly separates man and woman is wrong.
4. Discrimination between man and woman is a sign of distance from God. This is because Adam starts blaming Eve only after the sun of disobedience.
5. Women as well as men also need to liberated from injustices. When Jew’s are mistemreated in Egypt, Moses comes and liberates everyone irrespective of the sex.
6. Commandments given to Moses on Sinai require the same respect and observance by both men and women. This acct to show that they should be equal.
7. Deut 15:12,13 demands respect for each and every Israelite. It calls for the setting free of all slaves, men and women that had worked for seven years.
8. There has to be a fair trial for all. Both men and women are all safe guarded against false accusations and biased judgement in court. Exod 23:1-3
9. Work has to universally be rewarded. Men and women have to receive the fruit of their sweat. Lev 19:13
10. Sabbath is set aside as a day of rest for every one including women. This calls for leisure for both sexes.
11. Dressing in a manner that seduces the opposite sex is condemned in Deut 22:5. Women are not supposed to dress like men or men to dress like women.
12. The exposure of a woman’s body to a man breeds punishment from God. 1 Sam 11:2 shows Bathsheba exposing h3r body to David which resulted into punishment.
13. Great faith is a tool for both men and women in achieving as exemplified by Hanna whose faith born her a son, Samuel.
14. God’s mercy applies to both male and female sinners. Rehab was a Canaanite prostitute who however was used by God for Israelite spies to monitor Jericho.
OLD TESTAMENT WOMEN THAT PLAYED BIG ROLES IN SOCIETY
Remarkable women in the Old Testament include the following.
1. Eve. She was the first woman and mother to all the human race.
2. Sarah. Wife to Abraham, and mother to Isaac. She had great faith who believed she would conceive at a great age.
3. Noah’s wife. She entered the ark enabling continuation of the human race.
4. Miriam. Exod 15:19-21. The first prophetess, in Israel, and sister to Moses.
5. Hannah. A woman of great faith in God who prays and conceives. She mothers Samuel.
6. Huldah. A prophets that verifies a law book that had been neglected.
7. Jochebed. Mother of Moses who defiantly refuses to kill her son after Pharaoh orders for death of all first born Jews.
8. Isaiah’s wife, a prophetess and mother to Isaiah’s son. Isaiah 6:3
9. Esther. A queen at a Persian Palace who saves the lives of Jews while in exile.
10. Ruth. She’s a widow who loves her mother in law, who marries Ones and leads to birth of David later.
11. Deborah. Judges 4:4-7. A prophetess, judge and composer of literature who defeated foreign armies.
12. Racheal and Leah. Wives to Jacob who produce descendants of the Israelite nation.
13. Rebeccah, wife to Isaac and mother to Jacob and Esau.
HOW THE NEW TESTAMENT EMPHASIZES GENDER EQUALITY.
1. Jesus is presented as a universal saviour, who came to salvage all mankind, women and women alike. Matt 1:21
2. Jesus comes to earth to extend divine love to whoever believes in Him, women and men. John 3:14
3. Christ engages in an impartial ministry, giving sermons, miracles and prophesies to all without segregation and stigma.
4. Jesus also presents himself as the only way to heaven for everyone. If women were suppose to be unequal to m3n, he would have identified a different way to heaven for them.
5. Jesus loves the idea of people being children of God. John 1:12, men and women are sons and daughters of God respectively.
6. All people, men and women that have no peace are whom Jesus is looking for. He gives peace to the Samaritan woman (John 4) and to the rich young man in mark 10:17.
7. During His leisure time, Jesus spends leisure time socially engaging both men and women. His friends included Lazarus, Martha, Mary etc.
8. Jesus shows compassion for all. During one of his sermons, he helps all the hungry, including women, by feeding them.
9. Apart from men, Jesus gives his life of company to women. During his arrest, he is in the company of women. Mark 15:40
10. Eternity is promised to everyone in 14:2.
11. The crucifixion is act of sacrifice for the sins of all human beings, men and women. Mark 10:45
12. Resurrection, the act of hope for an eternal life is for all. Actually, it is women that evidenced it first which gives them a great opportunity for salvation.
13. Revelation 22:1 gives a warning to all human kind about an imminent judgement for everyone, men and women.
14. Paul calls for unity of all Christians, men and women for the faith to get strengthened. Christians, he says, should be one in Christ. Gal 3:28
THE ROLE PLAYED BY THE CHURCH IN THE WOMENS STRUGGLE
The fraternity of the christian faith has tried to uplift the position of women in the following ways.
1. It has given them some leadership roles as clergy. The Anglican church ordains them as priests, canons etc. This has boosted their movement.
2. Women have been given opportunities to engage in Church activities eg church choirs, projects, missionary work etc which gives them an opportunity to build God’s Kingdom.
3. The church has continued to preach an impartial gospel that applies to both sexes, basing on the Bible teachings.
4. The church emphasises unity in Christ within the whole congregation which implies a call for equality for all people.
5. Fellowships are encouraged that calls regular meeting up for all Christians, to share experiences and be together as one equal family.
6. The church has preached tolerance amongst all groups including between men and women in society emulating the example of Jesus who tolerated man with his weak faith.
7. Reconciliation has also been preached which calls for peaceful resolutions to family disputes instead of using violence.
8. The marriage institution has also been strengthened through holy matrimony and continuous guidance and counselling. This fights divorce.
9. Various groups that progress and protect women’s interests have been created such as Mothers’ Union, Young Womens’ Christian Association etc.
10. Church also promotes womens’ health through in Church sensitization. The congregation are enlightened about health programs like family planning, nutrition, health insurance etc.
11. Leisure activities that put women in consideration have also been availed. They engage in plays, the choir which rests their minds.
13. The church supports development projects that are initiated by and aimed at developing women such as piggery, poultry farming etc which has boosted their incomes.
14. The church has helped in mobilising all other women in their rights struggle. It is a plat form for extending activities of the liberation movement to the general public.