Find Part 1 HERE.
It is important to note that women were more attracted to Christianity than men were in the earliest beginnings of the Church (first and second centuries). This in itself is key evidence that Jesus Christ was in fact a feminist. Whatever your preconceived ideas are of what a feminist is, let them go, or you may be offended at me calling Jesus a feminist.
What I mean by “feminist” is simply that Jesus saw women as equals and did not seek to place them in subordinate roles in the Church, home, or in society.
In fact, Jesus sought to raise women up by both loving them and respecting them. This is a major reason pagan women flocked to the new found religion in droves and pagan men tended to shy away from it at first. Romans & Greeks were highly sexist and did not honor women whatsoever. They would have been very skeptical of a religion that respected women and allowed them authority.
It is also important to keep in mind that Christians were majorly persecuted in the first and second centuries of the early church and there was a high risk to being associated with the new sect. Romans would not have hesitated for one second to throw a Christian woman to hungry lions. Jesus must have been worth it to our firey and brave sisters.
So how did women change the world for Jesus?
Since women were far more attracted to Christianity than men were, the early church was quite out of balance. In other words, there were not enough Christian men to go around. Women still needed men to take care of them financially since they lived in an extremely patriarchal world. Although it is probable that most Christian women would have preferred to marry a Christian man, this was just not realistic. Therefore, sociologist Rodney Stark reasons that Christian women marrying pagan men resulted in what he calls “secondary conversions.” In other words, Christian women were rapidly leading their husbands to Christ. This is astounding, as women did not generally direct men in anything. Could this have been the power of the Holy Spirit?
Secondly, Christian women were not aborting their babies or throwing away their baby girls. Both abortion and infanticide were considered highly immoral from the start among early Christians (seeing both as murder) in a society that both were completely legal and acceptable. Therefore, in the sect of Christianity, baby girls were valued and brought up in much greater numbers than they were among pagans. Since these baby girls were being raised as Christians, women even further populated the new Christian sub-culture. In turn, these women had no choice but to marry pagan men, resulting in many more “secondary conversions.”
Lastly, during this time (165-180 AD), the Roman Empire was plagued with a disease that killed off thousands of people a day. This became known as the Antonine Plague and some suspect it was small pox or measles, but we cannot be sure. As always, women became the primary caretakers, tending to dying bodies and what Christian women would have perceived as dying souls. It is likely that Christian women shared their faith with many who were sick and facing the possibility of death, resulting in many more conversions that stuck after the plague was lifted.
By year 400 AD, Christianity became the national religion of the Roman Empire and women in church leadership had much to do with this. If women would have not stepped up and led the Church, it may not have flourished as it did. It was not until Christianity became widely accepted that men began to “take over” church leadership and push women back into subordinate roles.
It is my opinion that when women are allowed to lead again in the majority of the Christian Church as co-partners with men, we will see nations rapidly changed for the glory of God once again and we will see revival in our lands. I think Satan knows this because He is a better historian than any of us. He knows the influence and power free women have, so He finds ways to limit their power and oppress their callings. Satan is the master at twisting scripture to stop the Gospel and because of a few Bible verses taken out of context, Satan continues to succeed in manipulating the Church.
Will you join me Church? Will you be as “Moses” who faced Pharaoh and demand that complementarians and any Christian who promotes patriarchy in anyway let our sisters go? It is time to give women back their authority in Jesus’ Church so they can continue to set this world on fire!
In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
Source: “The Rise of Christianity” by Rodney Stark.
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