Women in the Early Church
Early church history has to be one of the most enlightening subject matters that one can endeavor to study. It is fraught with “truths” that expose false doctrines and dogmas that mankind, throughout history, has propagated in order to subjugate women and keep them from their rightful positions in the church and in society. Exposing these truths is paramount in order to undo the damage that centuries of male dominance has done. Because of ego, pride and control, man has relegated women to a place of servitude that God never intended. Church history is one of the best sources of study, in conjunction with scripture, to expose lies of the religious system and pilfer through the mess of twisted man-made doctrines, dogmas and rules that have affected our race of humanity throughout the ages. As a member of a race of people that has been stripped of honor and dignity throughout history and set up for abuse, the changes in the manuscripts, the twisting of scripture, the man-made dogmas and rules and every other “change” MUST be pointed out and brought to the attention of the masses. It is these “changes” and “man-made” theologies that have not only caused great damage to the cause of Christ, but they have led to the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children throughout history.
Early church history puts a magnifying glass on “theology” and exposes the drastic changes that man has made in order to bring about this subjugation. The following excerpts are from “Early church history to the death of Constantine” by Edward Backhouse, 1906. I would like to point out some important things that this tidbit of history reveals, emphasizing them by making them bold.
The reading was followed by exposition and exhortation of a very simple character, those who ministered being mindful to speak as “oracles of God,” and “in the strength” supplied from Him. It was the same with prayer. What was offered was from the heart, under the sense of the present need. No such thing as a form of prayer is to be met with in the worship of the primitive Church. “We lift up our eyes towards heaven and spread out our hands because we are innocent; we uncover our heads because we have nothing to be ashamed of; we pray without a monitor because we pray from our heart.” So far as can be known, not even the Lord s Prayer was used as a customary part of worship; neither the New Testament nor the earliest Church writers, until we come to Tertullian, give any intimation of its being so used.
The early church was “innocent” of many of the abuses that today’s church is guilty of. The fact that both men and women were equal and worshipped as such, prevented the abuses toward women that we see today in many religious sects. The church, over time, has “crippled” itself and, is turning masses of men and women away from God as a result of the “hidden” abuses that lurk underneath its mantle of righteousness. Needless to say, it has turned about and is no longer “innocent.” It has much to be ashamed of.
The ministry was not confined to one reader or one expositor, or even to the presbyters, the appointed teachers of the Church. [No CHURCH LEADERS or HIERARCHY] When the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost, descended on the disciples women as well as men and they began to speak with other tongues, Peter declared that what was then happening was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel regarding the spiritual gifts of the New Dispensation. The free exercise of these gifts, thus predicted and thus inaugurated, continued for some time to adorn the worship of the Church ; as we find in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, when the congregation came together, one had a Psalm, another a teaching, another a revelation of prophecy, another a tongue, another an interpretation. Nor were the women excluded. The Apostle indeed forbids them to “speak” . . .), but he unmistakably sanctions their praying and prophesying, by directing that they should not minister with their heads uncovered.
The early church did not exclude anyone from worshiping, reading or speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Today, women have been completely removed from being able to do this in many religious sects. Some are adamant about putting their “thumb of control” upon those women that wish to serve; keeping them from God’s work. Women were never excluded due to gender as they are today. This change came about, as a result of ego, pride and control on the part of men. The end result of this is that women have been robbed of honor, dignity and respect in every place man has relegated them to a subservient position. This “subservience” has led to the sexual mutilation, exploitation and abuse of women worldwide.
Anyone who has read the many articles I have written regarding early church history and the different doctrines mainstream religion teaches, will notice that I constantly point out the roles of women in the early church. This is a MUST due to what has been done to women as a result of these changes. This is yet another passage that shares with us the fact that women were not excluded from worshiping, praying and prophesying. Other excerpts that I have made have shown that they had positions of leadership in the early church; all of which, have been done away with by “men” not God. Every opportunity, I will hit this topic regarding women until such a time as people take notice and realize the dangers and abuses of such teachings and, how they have affected women everywhere in regard to “religion” and society.