Are Women a Disenfranchised Minority in the Church?

I just finished reading a book where the author suggests that Christian women fall into one of three categories:

  • Those who have resigned themselves to the fact that they are not “allowed” to exercise all their gifts and abilities in the church. These women are forced into places of submission and are resigned to their lot in life.
  • Those who have resigned from the church altogether. These women have left the church to pursue their faith relationship in other spheres where they can fully exercise their gifts.
  • Those who have re-signed and are challenging the church’s order, pushing for change until it comes.

This book joins a chorus of others over the last several years that encourage women to challenge whether the truth of yesteryear has become outdated and irrelevant. It challenges us to ask if God’s truth is timeless, or if it is locked in the time of history within which it was written.

The author subtly promotes a Sisters Solidarity Sunday in which all of the women in church stay home to force male leadership to acknowledge their value, influence, and power; and to provide more leadership opportunities for them.

If the church was a major corporation, business enterprise, or educational institution only, it might make sense for women to be characterized as a disenfranchised minority. But the church is an organism—the bride of Christ—so our polity and purpose derive from the principles of Scripture. As such, we arrive at a posture of complementarity. Not because men won’t allow us to perform certain tasks or hold certain positions, but because we trust the authority of God’s Word. The positions and roles God withholds from women are not due to our inferiority or weakness, but are because of His desire for us to mirror the Godhead’s order and headship. And there are so many opportunities for ministry that He does offer!

But just as he did with Eve, Satan is still sowing seeds of discontent in our hearts today:

“Over and over again, the Scripture teaches that God’s laws are for our good and our protection and that obedience brings blessing. But Satan places in our minds the idea that God’s laws are burdensome, unreasonable, and unfair, and that if we obey Him, we will be miserable. He tempts us to question God’s wisdom.” --True Woman 101: Divine Design by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss

As for me, amidst the cacophony of voices and personalities that challenge the age-old truths, I want to shout loudly that there is another category of women who have not resigned or re-signed! There are many of us who cherish every word of God’s Word, and have resolved to stake our very lives on honoring and protecting its truths—and passing those truths on to coming generations.

How about you? Are you in one of the three categories above, or are you in this other category of women who are choosing to live counter-cultural, radical lives of obedience?

About the Author

Karen Waddles

Karen Waddles

Karen Waddles is assistant to the publisher at Moody Publishers, a conference speaker, and a contributing author of Our Voices: Issues Facing Black Women in America and The Women of Color Study Bible. She and her husband, George, who … read more …

Join the Discussion