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  Should Women Be Ordained? discussion site

This site was for a discussion of the question whether women should be ordained as elders and pastors in our denomination. The doctrinal team was given printed copies of the member-submitted papers We did not comment on the papers point by point, but we discussed the issues in a series of study papers. Here are the papers produced by the doctrinal team after consultation with district superintendents, national leaders, and pastors:

December 2007: The final installment: Biblical teaching and modern application
All 11 study papers are available in one PDF document: www.wcg.org/lit/church/ministry/women/women-all.pdf


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Women in Ministry: An Introduction to the Questions
____Part 1: Genesis
____Part 2: The flow of Scripture
____Part 3: 1 Corinthians 11 & 14
____Part 4: 1 Timothy 2

Suggested reading

Numerous books and articles have been published on this subject. Our 1997 study paper mentioned the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Clouse, Bonnidell, and Robert G. Clouse. Women in Ministry: Four Views. InterVarsity, 1989. Robert Culver and Susan Foh argue against the ordination of women, Walter Liefeld argues that ordination itself is erroneous, and Alvera Mickelsen argues in favor of women's ordination.

  • Grenz, Stanley J. and Denise Muir Kjesbo. Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry. InterVarsity, 1995. A readable presentation of the egalitarian view.

  • Keener, Craig S. Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women's Ministry in the Letters of Paul. Hendrickson, 1995. Egalitarian, with extensive footnotes about historical situations.

  • Köstenberger, Andreas J., Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin, eds. Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Baker, 1995. Argues against the ordination of women.

  • Piper, John, and Wayne Grudem, editors. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism. Crossway Books, 1991. The most thorough (500+ pages) argument against ordaining women.

Several books have been published since 1997. We recommend this one in particular:

  • Beck, James R. and Craig L. Blomberg, editors. Two Views on Women in Ministry (Zondervan, 2001). Craig Keener and Linda Belleville write in favor of women in ministry; Thomas Schreiner and Ann Bowman argue against. Beck (in favor) and Blomberg (against) comment on the essays. A model of peaceful discussion.

We especially recommend that you read a book explaining the view that you do not hold.

In the above list, we have recommended an equal number of books "for" as "against." Some pastors have recommended the following books: 

  • Slaves, Women and Homosexuals, by William J. Webb. InterVarsity, 2001. Gives a rationale for discerning which biblical values are cultural and which are not.

  • Women Leaders and the Church: Three Crucial Questions, by Linda Belleville. Baker, 1999. Well researched.

  • Women in Ministry: Biblical and Historical Perspectives. Nancy Vymeister, ed. Andrews University Press, 1998. A well-researched Adventist effort.

  • Women in the Church's Ministry: A Test Case for Biblical Interpretation -- R. T. France. 

  • The Ministry of Women -- Thomas F. Torrance (13 page booklet, out of print, hard to find) 

  • The Trinity & Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God & the Contemporary Gender Debate  -- Kevin Giles

  • "Headship with a Heart" Christianity Today, February 2003

  • A Biblical & Theological Basis for Women in Ministry, by the Evangelical Covenant Church

  • Women in Ministry: studies by the Presbyterian & Reformed Renewal Ministries

  • What Paul Really Said About Women, by John Temple Bristow