Let the Women Preach

An outspoken evangelical says that if a man is concerned about women preachers, he 'needs to be healed. He needs prayer.'

Female leaders are on the rise in Protestant churches, from the Episcopal Church USA's election of its first female presiding bishop to the celebrity status of evangelical ministers such as Joyce Meyer and Paula White. In many Christian quarters, however, debate continues over appropriate roles for female ministers. While a recent book from theologian Wayne Grudem specifies limits for women in ministry, the latest offering from the professor, preacher, and activist Tony Campolo, Letters to a Young Evangelical, devotes a chapter to arguing for more robust leadership roles for Christian women.

In an interview with Beliefnet, Campolo explained why Jesus was a feminist, why women should be free to preach, and how his mother helped him understand the potential power of women in ministry.

What is your position on women preaching in the church, and how do you connect your position to the Bible?


Women have the same privileges and opportunities as men, given the New Testament. Relegating women to second-class citizenship was abolished when


died on the cross. As it says in Galatians 3:28, “In Christ now there is neither bond nor free, Scythian nor Barbarian, male nor female; all are one in Christ Jesus.”

As far as women being in the pulpit, in the Book of Acts, you will find that Philip had three daughters who were preachers. The apostle Paul in the Book of Romans, the last chapter, the seventh verse, alludes to two people, Andronicus and Junia. Junia is a woman. And then, he refers to them as “fellow apostles,” which in the life of the early church was the highest position attainable in leadership and in preaching.

When they translated the NIV, the men changed the name Junia to Junias. [Editor's note: Read more about the centuries-old Junia/Junias debate.] They made it into a male name. When fundamentalists start changing the Bible to agree with their theology, they have to ask themselves some serious questions.

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