From Bondage to Blessing

Chapter 15 - Women Preachers, Teachers and Leaders

"And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel... whose names are in the Book of Life." (Philippians 4:3)

I used to think that God didn't start using women much in ministry until the 20th century. In my arrogant and ignorant modern mind, I thought that anything before 1900 was still the Dark Ages! I was in for a shock when I began to research and found out how many women over the past 500 years have stood firmly against all odds to answer the call of God on their lives.

The Lord has used many women in the centuries since the Reformation to build and expand the kingdom of God. While there have been perhaps hundreds of thousands of women involved in post-Reformation ministry, we will examine the lives of just a few of these women who stand out as beacons of light in the retreating darkness. For each one of these, there are many, many more who labored unceasingly to spread the gospel. It is my prayer that the testimonies left by these women will be an encouragement to God's women today, to stir us to greater boldness in our faith and greater determination to fulfill the purposes of God in our generation!

Sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

After the Reformation, one of the first women to step out and test the waters of religious freedom was Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643). She is cited as the first and most well known woman preacher in colonial New England. Anne's father was an independent thinker and non-conformist minister in Northampton, England, who was imprisoned for his unorthodox preaching. Anne remained in the established Church through marriage and the birth and rearing of 14 children. She then broke with the established Church and later moved with her family to America in search of greater religious freedom. She is described as a deeply sincere woman, upright and blameless, but determined to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than a list of legal rules.1

In Boston, she opened her home to women, holding meetings in her living room where she shared from the Scriptures and prayed for the sick. These meetings have been described as "so popular ... that soon the large numbers of women who attended could no longer fit in Anne's living room, and she had to hold extra meetings to accommodate them all. Her critics charged that she frequently had as many as sixty women in attendance."2 Her growing leadership among women began to cause animosity with the local clergy. She made matters worse by speaking very frankly in challenging the rigid Calvinist theology of the Puritans. She also claimed to know God's voice and hear Him speaking to her.

She was put on trial in 1637, at age 46 and pregnant with a 16th child, for "holding unorthodox opinions." Many of her "opinions" are freely taught today and extolled as "good Bible teaching". She defended with dignity her Scriptural interpretation, but was sentenced to four months in prison and banishment from Massachusetts Bay Colony. She and her husband subsequently moved to Rhode Island, but the Boston group sent a delegation to Rhode Island to warn the church there against Anne. Due to a campaign of harassment and threats against the whole family, they planned to move deeper into the wilderness to escape the persecution. Before they could move, however, Anne's beloved husband of 30 years died. He had supported Anne through all of the persecution, saying "I am more nearly tied to my wife than to the church ... She is a dear saint and servant of God."3

The family moved soon after his death to a frontier area within the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (New York) where there would be protection by the Dutch from the Massachusetts Bay persecutors. Here, one year later, the family was attacked and massacred by Indians. One of the Puritan ministers, upon hearing of the deaths, claimed, "Thus the Lord heard our groanes to heaven, and freed us from the great and sore affliction."4 I find it incredibly sad that these ministers were actually praying for the demise of this poor woman. Doesn't it illustrate how low sin has brought the human race? In contrast are the words on a plaque erected to Anne's memory in Boston in 1904. She is described as one of "bold spirit" and " a persuasive advocate of the right of Independent Judgement."5

Margaret Fell (1614-1702) is considered to be almost as important in the early years of the Quaker movement as its founder, George Fox. After the death of Margaret's husband, Judge Thomas Fell, she later married George Fox, and continued in a team ministry together with him for 22 years until his death. Margaret, like her first husband Judge Fell, was a member of the English nobility and resided at Swarthmoor Hall near Morecambe Bay in Lancashire. With her husband's approval, Swarthmoor Hall was opened up to the Quakers as a place of refuge and renewal.

After Thomas' death, she continued to hold illegal religious meetings on the estate. Quaker men described her as "a precious jewel in the hands of the Lord" and one "filled with a spirit of wisdom, meekness, sincerity and supplication."6 Edith Deen describes her as possessing a pioneering spirit, boundless energy, kindness, courage, strength and an ability to inspire love in those who met her. She says that Margaret preached, taught, wrote, organized and dispensed hospitality, bringing enthusiasm and stability to the growing movement.7 Margaret also organized women's meetings to help equip women to serve God more ably. These meetings were very controversial and drew much criticism.8

For her beliefs and involvement with the Quakers, Margaret was imprisoned three times, once for as long as four years. Because of these imprisonments and those of her second husband, George Fox, they were seldom together during the years of their marriage. Tucker and Liefeld write that their marriage was one "of common interest but little togetherness. They lived missionary lives, preaching and travelling, and were frequently, though never together, in prison."9 Though they loved each other deeply, they were willing to sacrifice their time together for the good of God's kingdom.

Margaret wrote 16 books and many pamphlets. One of these is an early apologetic for the right of women to share in public ministry entitled Women's Speaking Justified by the Scriptures, first published in 1666.10 This pamphlet was "packed full of Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation relating to women in ministry." It was the "Magna Carta for Quaker women", according to some historians.11 After George Fox's death, Margaret still influenced the Quaker movement, working hard to keep the teaching pure and free from encroaching legalism.12

Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) was a wealthy wife, member of high French society, and mother of five children who was imprisoned in the Bastille for her religious beliefs. She was also an itinerant evangelist, the author of 40 books including a 20-volume commentary on the Bible, and one of the leading exponents of Quietism, a movement which encouraged Christians to spend time in the presence of God rather than focus on a religion of works. John Wesley said of her, "We may search many centuries before we find another woman who was such a pattern of true holiness."13 According to Edith Deen, she "taught a religion not of ceremony but of the heart, of affections rather than form, not of creeds but of God."14

At age 34, after the death of her husband, she took her youngest child and began an itinerant ministry through the towns of France and Switzerland, evangelizing and sharing with others the faith she had found. Her chief mission, according to Deen, was to teach that holiness is based on faith.15 Tucker and Liefeld note that her ministry was largely one of personal evangelism.16 She ministered to the downtrodden, the more educated and even to the nobility. She was the first woman to ever enter the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse. There she shared on justification by faith, and on faith as the foundation of the whole inward Christian life.17

Many miracles were associated with her preaching and healing ministry.18 Church leaders began to become jealous of her popularity with the people in both France and Switzerland, and denounced her as a heretic because some of her teaching did not conform to official Church doctrine. They also said "it was the business of priests to pray, and not of women."19 She was persecuted heavily, her books publicly burned and was finally arrested and imprisoned for 7 years for her commitment to the message she felt the Lord had given her to proclaim. The last two years of her imprisonment were spent in solitary confinement in the Bastille.20 Her trust in the Lord was so unwavering and her relationship with Him so strong during this time in prison, that she was able to compose beautiful hymns extolling her contentment, freedom from care, and happiness in God's presence.21

19th century evangelists and preachers

Tucker and Liefeld explain that the 19th century women preachers were usually involved in movements that would be considered "sectarian". In England this included the Quakers, Primitive Methodists, and Bible Christians. In America, it included the Quakers, Freewill Baptists, Free Methodists, as well as various groups connected with the holiness or deeper life movements. They also note that each of these movements "emphasized direct communion with God, the leading of the Spirit, and the call to ministry over and above clerical counsel, church bylaws, and ordination."22 Some of these 19th century preachers included: Mary Savage, Sally Parsons, Clarissa Danforth, Jerena Lee, Salome Lincoln, Mary Cole, Phoebe Palmer, Hannah Whithall Smith and Catherine Booth, to name but a few.

Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874), known to some as "the Mother of the Holiness Movement", is referred to by Tucker and Liefeld as "the most influential woman in nineteenth-century Methodism." As they share in their book Daughters of the Church, "hundreds of Methodist preachers, including at least two bishops and three who were later to hold that office, were sanctified under Mrs. Palmer's influence."23 Richard Riss mentions her in his history of revival movements, noting that she ministered during the 1830's to 1850's, promoting holiness in her Tuesday meetings and as a speaker at camp meetings. She was known for her doctrinal stand on entire sanctification.24 She apparently had great influence outside of Methodist circles, especially among Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Baptists and Quakers. Besides preaching and teaching, she played an instrumental role in establishing a church and a mission project in New York which provided schooling and religious training as well as housing poor families. Further, she edited a magazine called The Guide to Holiness, which had a circulation of about 30,000.25 Like Priscilla (Acts 18:26) , Phoebe Palmer was also involved in team ministry with her husband. Tucker and Liefeld record that Phoebe and her husband Walter teamed up in full-time evangelistic ministry. At the time of her death, she was credited with having led 25,000 people into a salvation experience with Jesus Christ. Despite the way in which God used her, however, Phoebe's view of women in ministry was a very traditional one. She viewed her own ministry as unique and did not encourage other women into leadership.26

It was actually criticism of Phoebe Palmer's preaching in England that propelled Catherine Booth (1829 - 1890) to speak out in defense of women in ministry. In her booklet, Female Ministry; Or, Women's Right to Preach the Gospel, Catherine emphasized the biblical precedents for women in ministry as well as the personal leading of the Holy Spirit.27 As a child, Catherine's interests focused on church history and theology. By the age of 18, she was already grappling with theological issues. By age 23, she was teaching a Sunday School class and mentoring 15 teenage girls. She was also an analytical thinker with very decided ideas about things. She sided with the reformers in the Methodist movement at this time because she felt they more clearly emphasized the need for salvation and holiness.28

Catherine's ministry began in Gateshead, in the north of England, where her husband was the local New Connexion Methodist minister. She found that people were very open to her as she visited their homes and shared the gospel with them. This discovery led to her initiation of a systematic course of house-to-house visitation two evenings a week and ministry to alcoholics, mostly men.29 The real turning point came, however, when her husband William entered a period of protracted illness and therapy. His absence forced Catherine to assume the leadership role not only for their church in Gateshead, but also for the circuit of churches in the area. She was so successful in this ministry that at the quarterly meeting of the circuit, a resolution was made that, when William returned to his duties, they would like William to preach one Christmas message and Catherine the other. He and Catherine shared the responsibility of preaching that Christmas day in 1860 and began what would be 30 more years of team ministry. As Green notes in his biography of Catherine Booth, she "was well on her way toward fulfilling her principle vocation - preaching the gospel."30 Catherine was usually well received. She wrote, "I have every reason to think that the people receive me gladly everywhere, and that prejudice against female ministry melts away before me like snow in the sun."31

After beginning a Christian mission in London, the seed which was later to blossom into the Salvation Army, it was Catherine who was the travelling speaker and promoted the ministry as well as supported the family with her earnings. As a result "at this time the name of Catherine Booth was far better known in London circles than was that of William Booth."32 She also undertook the editing of the missions magazine, writing many of the articles, and authored a number of books on practical Christianity which are still read and treasured today. Under the direction of William and Catherine, the mission took a theological stand for women in ministry, incurring criticism in the process. They did not waver in their commitment to this principle, however.33 Green notes that in speeches and writings from the time, it is clear that both William and Catherine were seen as the founders of the Salvation Army.34 Edith Deen paints Catherine as "quite literally the mother of this Army, nurturing it in its infancy and seeing it through almost 3 pioneering decades."35 Catherine was in her own words, "one of the most timid and bashful disciples the Lord Jesus ever saved," yet she boldly pressed on to become a powerful model for women in ministry.36

Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) was raised an American Quaker, but became well-known through the "deeper life" movement. In 1865, she and her husband, Robert Pearsall Smith, moved to New Jersey where they experienced and embraced the revivalism that was happening there. They both became very involved in evangelistic activities, preaching, writing tracts, and leading people to the Lord.37 Charles Cullis, who was a leader in the Healing Movement, persuaded the couple to conduct his 1876 faith convention. According to Riss, the Smiths had been active leaders in the higher life movement in Britain, a movement which emphasized holiness and deeper spiritual life. Their involvement led to the founding of the Keswick Convention.38 As of this writing, the Keswick Convention is still meeting annually in the Lake District of England. Hannah is best remembered for her popular book, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, published in 1875. This book has been translated into many languages and is still in print today.

Richard Riss, in his survey of revival movements, also puts a spotlight on the ministry of some other women who lived and ministered through the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century. He mentions Elizabeth Mix, a black woman healed under the ministry of Ethan O. Allen sometime after 1846. Ethan Allen was one of the leaders in the nineteenth century Healing Movement and later worked with A.B. Simpson. Elizabeth became one of his first assistants. She and her husband traveled with him until they launched out in their own healing ministry.39 Riss also mentions Carrie Judd Montgomery who entered into a healing ministry after experiencing a divine healing herself. She was a promoter of the Pentecostal experience and was given a platform for ministry within the Holiness Movement by A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.40 Maria Woodworth-Etter is another well-known woman minister from this period who is mentioned by Riss. He calls her "one of the most outstanding evangelists of this era." She was involved in ministry for 6 years before she began to preach divine healing. It is said that the accounts of the revivals which took place in the next 5 years could easily fill a book. People fell under the power of the Holy Spirit in her meetings, and almost always came to Christ as a result. After 35 years of itinerant ministry, she founded and pastored an independent pentecostal church in Indianapolis, Indiana.41 The first student to receive the gift of tongues at Charles Parham's Bible school in 1901 in Topeka, Kansas was a woman. Agnes N. Ozman, notes Riss, helped to ignite the Pentecostal Movement of the early twentieth century.42

Tucker and Liefeld also mention a few other women ministers of this era. One is the black scrub woman, Amanda Smith (1837-1915), who became a preacher and revivalist in Methodist circles. She was born a slave, but after the civil war, became an evangelist who traversed the country preaching to all races. She spent time evangelizing in England, India and Africa. Says Amanda, "The thought of ordination had never once entered my mind, for I had received my ordination from Him ..."43

Ellen G. White (1827-1915), the founder of Seventh-Day Adventism, is another mentioned by Tucker and Liefeld. She was considered a prophetess, receiving many revelations and testimonies which became the foundational doctrines of her writing and teaching. They note that by 1910, she had over 130,000 followers.44 Her book, "Steps to Christ", is well known today even outside of Adventist circles. While some may question the orthodoxy of some of the Adventist doctrine, it is clear that Ellen G. White has had a profound influence as a teacher and leader in the Body of Christ.

The ministry of Frances Willard (1839-1898) was also examined by Tucker and Liefeld. She became well known as one of the temperance leaders of the nineteenth century. She founded and directed WTCU, the largest nineteenth century women's organization. She ministered occasionally with Dwight L. Moody during his Boston campaign, conducting afternoon Bible "lectures" and speaking at women's meetings. He even invited her to preach upon one occasion. By the 1880's, Willard had become a vocal advocate for an equal role for women in the Church. Her book, Woman in the Pulpit, presented a strong defense of women in ministry. Tucker and Liefeld note that "she also confessed to her own calling in life and encouraged other women not to be intimidated as she had been ..." She wrote that her dearest wish was to break down the barriers of prejudice that keep God's women from preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ.45

Finally, Antoinette Brown is another whose ministry should be mentioned. She had the distinction of being the first woman preacher officially ordained in America. This was during the period of 1853-1854. She was ordained by the denomination when she took the pastorate of a Congregationalist church in New York. She had six daughters and wrote ten books during her lifetime.46 In the later years of her life, she planted another church in New Jersey, where she ministered for 20 years until her death.47

Tucker and Liefeld note that "as late as 1888, when Willard published her classic, Woman in the Pulpit, there were only an estimated twenty women in the United States serving as pastors." They point out, however, that there were an estimated 500 women evangelists, around 350 Quaker women "preachers" and many women Salvation Army officers. Most of these women ministers tried to stay out of the limelight and avoid arguments over their controversial role. One Methodist pastor wrote, "I have gone forth, never allowing myself to be drawn into an argument on the subject, and never saying a word in personal defense, but I knew all the time the Lord would send somebody to take care of the defense."48

Denominationally, interesting things were happening in the 19th century with regards to women's rights and roles. The Quakers had always promoted women in preaching ministries. During this time, meeting houses began to spring up all over the western United States, largely as the fruit of women itinerant evangelists.49 One Wesleyan Methodist leader, Luther Lee, was a strong public advocate of women in ministry. He argued that the early church prophetesses were, by the nature of prophecy, preachers and public teachers of religion, thereby laying a biblical foundation for women in public ministry.50 In 1891, the Wesleyan Methodists voted to leave it up to local conferences as to whether to allow women's ordination to the ministry or not.51 The Free Methodists, although not ordaining women, did allow women to preach and conduct evangelistic services. The founder of the denomination, B.T. Roberts, was a staunch supporter of women in ministry. He published a book entitled Ordaining Women in 1891, in which he justified his position from a biblical standpoint.52

The Brethren church in America was one of the "most progressive evangelical sects regarding women" in the 19th century. After their split from the German Baptist Brethren in the early 1880's, they moved quickly to officially open the way for women into church leadership. By 1894, resolutions had been passed which favored equality of men and women in the church and inclusion of women as pastors and missionaries. In 1890, Mary M. Sterling was ordained and received credentials from the denomination. She entered into an itinerant evangelistic ministry, at one point preaching 207 sermons in 187 days. She was so well received that she was even asked to preach the Sunday morning sermon one year at the General Conference.53

The Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) was another American denomination that led the way in 19th century women's ministries. From the beginning, women were prominent in ministry and in leadership. It is estimated that 25% of the movement's leaders were female. Tucker and Liefeld quote historian John Smith as writing, "Forty years before the time of women's suffrage on a national level, a great company of women were preaching, singing, writing and helping to determine the policies of this religious reform movement."54

A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination in 1887, was criticized for his "open policy" for women in ministry. His response to one of his critics was thus, "Dear brother, let the Lord manage the women. He can do it better than you, and you turn your batteries against the common enemy."55 Yes, Mr. Simpson said it well over 100 years ago. Let's get on with fighting our common foe!

Following the Pentecostal movement

The early years of the 20th century, saw little change for women within established mainline churches. However, it was a different story within the sectarian movements! They offered many opportunities for women. Some of the most influential voices in the Body of Christ during this time were those of women. The understanding that the Holy Spirit was meant to be poured out on "all flesh" opened the way for women in greater positions of ministry and leadership in churches affected by the holiness and pentecostal movements.56 Riss records that of the 12 elders appointed to the Apostolic Faith Mission which developed out of the Azusa Street meetings, 6 were women.57

Marie Burgess and Jessie Brown were sent in 1907 by Charles Parham, one of the leaders in the Pentecostal revival, to establish a work in New York City. Revival spread from their church, Glad Tiding Hall, into other parts of New York state and New Jersey. Marie Burgess later married Robert Brown, and together they served as pastors in the city for many years.58

Florence Crawford preached in Portland, Oregon in 1906, where she was so successful that the pastor turned over the pastorate to her! A tremendous revival occurred at the church soon after she became the pastor, which grew to a membership of over 1,000 in 3 years. By 1966, her apostolic ministry had grown to include 42 churches serving 4,764 members.59

Dr. A. Maude Royden was an advocate for women's rights within the Church of England during this period. One of her contemporaries called her, the "world's greatest woman preacher." She was not allowed ordination through the Anglican church, but preached in both Anglican and free churches, became assistant pastor of a Congregational church in London, founded an independent mission work with another pastor, established a radio ministry and conducted preaching and lecture tours in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, India and China. She wrote a number of books, including The Church and Women. A staunch Anglican all her life, she remained optimistic about increasing freedom for women to minister within the Church.60

Aimee Semple McPherson, senior pastor of the famed Angelus Temple in Los Angeles, California and founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel denomination, was one of the most influential church leaders of the early 20th century. Time magazine called her "the most spectacular woman U.S. evangelist since Billy Sunday."61 She began her ministry on the mission field in Hong Kong with her husband Robert Semple. Upon his death, she returned to the United States, where she married Harold "Mack" McPherson. She gained a reputation as an evangelist in many parts of eastern Canada and along the eastern seaboard of the United States. She and her husband eventually divorced, but Aimee's reputation as an evangelist continued to grow. Her meetings in Montreal in 1920 were described as "the greatest revival in the history of Quebec."62 She conducted her first healing service in 1921 which proved to be a turning point in her ministry. From there, she established the Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. By the mid-1980's, the number of Foursquare churches had risen to almost 800 and the number of foreign mission stations to 2,000.63 Before her death, she had personally baptized over 100,000 people.64

Mid-century women church leaders

Probably the most well-known woman preacher of the mid-20th century was Kathryn Kulman who began a ministry in 1946 which continued until her death in 1976. Many present day church leaders claim to have been greatly influenced by the ministry of Kathryn Kulman, including Benny Hinn65 and Roberts Lairdon.66 In the 1920's, she began preaching at the age of 16, and carried on an evangelistic ministry for decades. She was also involved in the founding of the Denver Revival Tabernacle in 1935.

Kathryn began preaching divine healing and holding healing services in 1947. The healings that took place launched her into a 30 year healing ministry, although she was never officially involved with the leaders of the 1940's Healing Movement.67 She was often criticized for her flamboyance and for her ministry as a woman. These efforts only increased interest in her meetings, however. After one particularly scathing attack upon her in Ohio, more than 20,000 people attended her meeting the following Sunday.68 Kulman was an ordained minister who baptized, performed marriages and conducted funerals. She was known as a "strong leader who demanded high performance from those who worked with her."69

Henrietta Mears came into the limelight in the mid-1940's. She began as director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California. It has been said "she spoke with the authority of a person who had just stepped from the presence of God."70 In two-and-a-half years, she increased the Sunday School enrollment from 450 to over 4,000. She was a well respected Bible teacher who, according to one source, "produced more than one generation of some of the most prominent Presbyterian ministers in America." Some of her more well-known proteges included Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and Dick Halverson, pastor of an influential Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C.71 She was the developer of the Forest Home Conference Center which impacted university students from around the country, sending them home with a determination to win their fellow students to Christ.72 When demands for her Sunday School curriculum began to come in from all over the country, she founded the well-known publishing house, Gospel Light Publications.73

Myrtle Beall pastored an Assembly of God church in Detroit, Michigan. She was an important leader in the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940's and early 1950's. From her church, revival spread to many other congregations in the United States. Riss says that what happened at her church precipitated a nationwide revival.74 This revival had a lasting impact upon Charismatics and Penecostals outside of denominations, and became an important influence in the Charismatic Renewal of the 1960's and 1970's.75

Latter years of the twentieth century

Since the 1960's, there have been so many women involved in teaching, preaching and leading churches in the Body of Christ, that it would be very difficult to select only a few to highlight. This list includes women from around the world. Where would we begin?

At the same time, however, it may be important to share an alarming trend brought to public attention by Ruth A. Tucker, a well respected Church historian who is on the faculty of several Bible schools and seminaries. She has voiced concern over a trend she sees in evangelical circles. "It is often assumed," she writes, "that opportunities for women in ministry have expanded over the past century ... Interestingly, an almost opposite trend has occurred over the past century in most 'sectarian' evangelical bodies." She goes on to give an example from a book by Janette Hassey. The example involved a letter in the 1927 Moody Bible Institute (MBI) Alumni News from 1913 graduate, Mabel C. Thomas. Ms. Thomas, who was called to pastor a church in Kansas, praised MBI saying that she "could not have met the many and varied opportunities for service" without her training there. Tucker then reveals that female students at MBI and other evangelical institutions are today barred from pastoral training courses because of their gender. She asks why such an enormous shift has occurred since the turn of century in these circles and answers with one word, "institutionalism". She goes on to explain, "In their formative years virtually all sectarian movements throughout Church history have depended upon the ministry of women and lay men. But once these groups become established and seek to legitimize their ministry, women ... are excluded from office and leadership roles."76

While Tucker identifies this trend in evangelical circles, we can point to a different trend in mainline denominations, as well as pentecostal/charismatic denominations and networks. Not everyone advocates the involvement of women in ministry for biblical reasons, however. I have noticed that frequently, the reasons given seem to have more to do with sociological conformity and a desire to be politically correct than they do with a commitment to what the Bible teaches. My personal conviction is that if we are going to support the involvement of women in ministry, let's do it for the right reason! Let's be up front about our commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures and our understanding of God's purposes for women that we see revealed in the Scriptures. Otherwise, we just reinforce the misunderstanding and confusion that continues to permeates the issue of women in ministry. My hope is that this book will be one of many resources enabling Christian men and women to offer sound biblical justification for their support of women in teaching, preaching and leadership roles within the Church.

Summary

A surprising number of women were used by the Lord as leaders, preachers and teachers in the post-Reformation era. Even as early as the 16th century, women were thrust into positions of ministry, with the full support of their husbands. Many of these women were also prolific writers, writing pamphlets, tracts, books and even multi-volume commentaries on the Scriptures. Large numbers of these women were also imprisoned for their unswerving commitment to the Lord and determination to respond to the leading of His Holy Spirit.

These women preachers were frequently invited to preach and given a platform by the male founders and leaders of sectarian movements. These same sectarian groups, now established evangelical denominations, today frequently restrict women's involvement in ministry more than they did at the beginning of the century. The question arises, "Are we moving forward or backwards?" Ruth Tucker identifies the institutionalization of these groups as the primary reason for the decreasing liberty of women within their ranks to lead, preach or teach. This is just a repeat of the same pattern which has occurred throughout Church history, beginning in the second century with the institutionalization of the Church birthed at Pentecost!

On a more encouraging note, however, it was pointed out that there is a different trend within mainline and charismatic/pentecostal circles. More and more women are being recognized by these churches as able ministers, and released into ministry with the blessing and support of the churches and church leaders.

A caution was brought that we base our support of women's ministry not on a desire to stay current with modern trends, but on what the Bible says. It is important that we offer sound biblical justification for our position in order to avoid further contribution to the misunderstanding and confusions surrounding the issue of women in ministry.

top

Chapter 15 notes

  1. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 107.
  2. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 221.
  3. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 114.
  4. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 223.
  5. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 116.
  6. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 116.
  7. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 117.
  8. Lorry Lutz, Women As Risk-Takers for God World Evangelical Fellowship in assoc. with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, 1997), p. 15.
  9. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 230.
  10. Lorry Lutz, Women As Risk-Takers for God World Evangelical Fellowship in assoc. with Paternoster Publishing, Carlisle, Cumbria, 1997), p. 16.
  11. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 230.
  12. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 232.
  13. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 130.
  14. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 131.
  15. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 136.
  16. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 214.
  17. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 215.
  18. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 216.
  19. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 215.
  20. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 216.
  21. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 139.
  22. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 258.
  23. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 261.
  24. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 18-19.
  25. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 262.
  26. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 263.
  27. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 264.
  28. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 23, 29, 32, 36-37.
  29. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 92-93.
  30. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 97.
  31. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 143.
  32. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 159.
  33. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 169-171.
  34. Roger J. Green, Catherine Booth (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1996; reprinted by Monarch Publications, Great Britain), p. 174-175.
  35. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 218.
  36. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 265.
  37. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 379.
  38. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 21-22.
  39. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 18.
  40. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 22-23, 78.
  41. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 23-24, 74.
  42. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 26-27.
  43. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 270-271.
  44. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 276-277.
  45. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 272-274.
  46. Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith (Harper and Row Publisher, 1959, reprinted by Barbour and Company, Uhrichsville, OH), p. 378.
  47. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 280-281.
  48. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 279.
  49. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 285.
  50. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 281, 286.
  51. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 286.
  52. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 286-287.
  53. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 287.
  54. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 288.
  55. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 287-288.
  56. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 359.
  57. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 59.
  58. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 66, 80.
  59. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 70.
  60. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 378-379.
  61. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 365.
  62. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 86-87.
  63. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 367.
  64. Michal Ann Goll, Women on the Front Lines, Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, PA, 1999), p. 89.
  65. Benny Hinn, Good Morning Holy Spirit (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1990), p. 2-13.
  66. Roberts Lairdon, God's Generals (Albury Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 1996), p. 271
  67. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 102, 110-111.
  68. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 392-393.
  69. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 393.
  70. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 127.
  71. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 393-394.
  72. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 128.
  73. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1987), p. 394.
  74. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 117-118.
  75. Richard M. Riss, A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 1988), p. 124.
  76. Ruth A. Tucker, "How Faith Mission Pioneers Understood Women's Roles", Priscilla Papers (Christians For Biblical Equality,Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 1996), p. 1.

top