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The Role of Women in the Church

             With the advent of the feminist movement, the role of women in .
             all parts of society has come under increasing scrutiny. One area of .
             recent controversy is the role of women in the Christian Church. Some .
             churches whose traditions and practices are less rigidly tied to .
             Biblical doctrines have begun placing women in leadership positions .
             such as pastor or teacher. Other churches which interpret the Bible .
             more literally have been slow to adopt such changes. Much of the .
             confusion is based on attempts to interpret scriptures pertaining to .
             women. In this essay, we will use the Bible to understand the role of .
             women in the church of the first century and apply that understanding .
             to the church of the twentieth century.
             Many people would dispute the Bible's relevance to contemporary .
             thought in general, and in particular to the role of women in worship. .
             If the Bible were not written under divine inspiration, a person or .
             practice is not bound by its teachings. He or she can therefor pick .
             and choose whatever corresponds to his/her point of view. However, if .
             the Bible is of divine inspiration, then a cautious consideration of .
             passages relevant to a particular issue must be undertaken. Traditions .
             and customs that have arisen after the Bible was written may thus be .
             carefully scrutinized. Such practices may or may not prove sound after .
             comparison with scripture.
             Before we discuss specific issues concerning women in worship, .
             we should consider principles derived from the relationship of Adam .
             and Eve as described in Genesis chapter one. The Apostle Paul .
             frequently uses this passage as a guideline when discussing women and .
             women's issues. Genesis 1 verse 27 states: "So God created man in his .
             own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he .
             created them." Most Commentators agree that man and woman are both .
             equally a reflection of God's image; the word "man" here is used as a .
             synonym for humanity.

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