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Women as clergy


Passages impacting women's leadership in
the Christian Scriptures (New Testament)

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A few passages in the Christian Scriptures have been historically interpreted as prohibiting women from becoming ordained or taking other positions of leadership in faith groups.

The current status of women's ordination in North America is quite mixed:

bulletUntil the early years of the 20th century, few Christian faith groups allowed women to be ordained. Since then, most liberal denominations have accepted female ministers and pastors. Mainline denominations followed.

bullet Very conservative denominations, like the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons), most fundamentalist denominations, etc. generally still exclude all women from the clergy because of their gender, irrespective of qualifications, talents, and motivation.

bullet The Southern Baptist Convention made history in North America when it became the first denomination in North America to stop female ordination in the year 2000. They allowed existing female pastors to continue in their posts.

bulletOrthodox Christian denominations, Orthodox Jewish traditions, a few other religious denominations, and the U.S. Armed Forces

bullet However, some conservative faith groups like the Association of VIneyard Churches, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and some Pentecostal Denominations allow women to serve.

The historical trend appears obvious -- it may be just a matter of time before almost all denominations will remove their gender barrier, abandon sexist policies and finally match the rest of society. In the meantime, their existing exclusion of women will repell a growing number of potential converts who view there exclusion policies as simply a matter of bigotry.

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Topics covered in this section:

bulletQuotations & Introduction
bulletQuotations from: Acts, Romans, Corinthians, Galatians & Philippians

bulletQuotations from: 1 Timothy Titus, Philemon, & 1 Peter

bulletArguments from biblical silences; biblical forgeries

bullet Some You Tube videos on female ordination

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Related essays on this web site:

The essay "Women Clergy: priests, pastors, ministers, rabbis" contains additional information on:

bulletStatus of female ordination in various Christian denominations
bulletDates when various denominations started to ordain women
bulletFemale leaders mentioned in the Bible
bulletProhibition of women from positions of power by the early church
bulletOther arguments for and against female ordination
bulletand other topics.

Our essay "The status of women in the Bible" for additional information on the oppression of women in Old Testament times, their elevation during Christ's ministry and subsequnt oppression during the early Christian church.

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Home  > Christianity > Bible topics > here
 Home  > Christianity > History, beliefs, practices > Practices > here
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Copyright © 1999 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-SEP-05
Author: Bruce A. Robinson
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