From 1911-1974 Free Methodist women who entered ministry had three approved tracks: evangelist, deaconess, or deacon. While these ministry paths opened numerous doors at the local level, decisions at the denominational level still largely excluded women, as they could only be elected as lay delegates to general conference. The result being, decisions affecting the entire denomination were still largely being decided by men. Since men could be elected as both lay and ministerial delegates to general conference it was almost a guarantee that more men would secure delegate spots and maintain the majority vote for denominational decisions. Leaders such as … Continue reading Walter Sellew’s Why Not? Is it Really a Defense of Women’s Ministry?
I’m re-posting this entry since I now have more readers than I did when I originally posted it in May. It’s my manifesto for what I believe and what I research. Occasionally I’m asked why I call myself a feminist. Now that my blog is getting a few readers I’m getting this question more often. The concept of a “Free Methodist Feminist” seems like an oxymoron. Yet, I stand by this term. I am a feminist. While there are definitely some feminists who distance themselves from organized religion and view organized religion as just another way to enforce patriarchy, I … Continue reading What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist
Sometimes even Christians are wrong. Shocker! Christians can have wrong opinions? Yes, we’re only human, and in the case of the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference some of the denomination’s Godly leaders were wrong. I’ve struggle the past few months with how to critique the debate on women’s ordination in the denomination, particularly the 1890 General Conference when the debate was incredibly heated and intense. Yet, I don’t want to say that these men, who were clearly dedicated to their faith and had a heart for service, were evil men. They weren’t evil. What I’ve come to see is that … Continue reading Cultural Influences in the 1890 General Conference Debates
Over the last few weeks I’ve been dissecting the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference debate about ordaining women. While we’ve read some wonderful defenses of women in ministry, it’s important to also look at the critics. Many of the arguments made in the 1890s are still being made today, which, frankly, doesn’t give me much hope that the issues surrounding gender roles in the church will be resolved anytime soon. However, we must continue to persevere and push people to rethink their opinions about gender. As Donald Dayton, a Wesleyan theologian, notes in his book Discovering an Evangelical Heritage, “The … Continue reading Opposition to Ordaining Women at the 1890 Conference