Setting the Issues: Women's Liberation and Christian Theology

Volume 4
Fall 1976
Setting the Issues: Women's Liberation and Christian Theology

Meaningful discussion cannot take place until agreement has been reached about the subject for discussion. This article sets out what the author considers are the key issues relating to the debate between women's liberation and Christian theology. The single most important issue is this: Is the biblical teaching about women so conditioned by the culture of biblical times that it has no application to the present. Certain definitions are important. What is the meaning of "headship" in the New Testament? The other side of this question is what is the meaning of subjection or subordination? We must also ask, how can the apparent partnership of Genesis 2 be reconciled with subordination as spelled out by Paul? In regard to the question of the ordination of women, we must ask if there were women ministers in the New Testament. This question is posed with signal difficulty by Paul's contrasting statements in 1 Corinthians 11 and 14 where he both restricts women’s role in the church and provides a qualified opening for teaching.

C.E., Jr. Cerling
313 - 317
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