The Ministry of Women – The Christian Web of Apologetics |

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INTRODUCTION.- In the present study I would like to point out the work that women did in the Christian movement of the 1st century, as disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem and Galilee and then as missionaries, prophets and leaders in the nascent churches. I hope that the example of those women serve our communities at this time. To our women and to all the people committed to the Christian movement. To study the ministry and possibilities of women, we must always consider customs, cultures, times. Because with this in mind we will understand why what can be done in a region is not allowed in another. As well as why some things that were done before no longer agree to be done. Everything is conditioned to the times, the cultures and the customs. For the purposes of this study we will analyze the treatment that was given to women in Greece, Rome and Asia Minor. We will talk about these places because that is where Christianity develops. What kind of treatment did women receive and what ministry or work they were allowed to do? A. IN GREECE.- Those of the upper class were entitled to certain instruction. Those of the lower class were slaves, with some freedom to leave. The women of the middle class were destined to the "Gineceo" (Only to have children). This type of women, normally they were women without instruction, forced to be satisfied whatever was their luck. They even had to share their husbands in their own homes with the concubines and the "Heteras" of the husband. * Hetera. They were elegant prostitutes, literate and educated who entertained the husband. That in our country and in this time many women would not allow it, but that was the custom. Demosthenes (Greek thinker) said: "We keep the heteras for pleasure, the concubines for the daily demands of the body and the wives to give us legitimate children. "The men in Greece despised the woman and took her only for the children. Plato (Greek thinker) said: "The love between male and female is vulgar, where the most important is the fruit, as long as the fruit is male." Pythagoras (Greek thinker) expressed more clearly discrimination against women: "There is a good principle that has created order, light and man and a bad principle that has created darkness and women. "In Greece women did not participate in religious worship. For this reason, many women willing to participate, became prostitutes and participated in mystery cults by worshiping Aphrodite, goddess of fertility, pleasure and fertility. In summary, in the Greek world, women were valued only for giving children legitimate. The extra conjugal relationships were seen as habitual and it was very easy to divorce. The fact that the woman was considered unimportant favored the idea of ​​conserving Celibacy. (To remain unmarried). It is understood, logically, that little or nothing the woman could do to fulfill herself. He did not exercise ministries. IN ROME.- Women were excluded from public office. But in his house was the Domina or "kuria" (Owner). Culturally and socially, it had more possibilities or freedoms and received more respect than in Greek society, but only upper-class women, because lower-class women remained slaves and oppressed.C.-IN ASIA MENOR.- (Regions Like Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea women were given instruction in philosophy and letters, they were a little more free and had res considerations.D.-IN THE TIMES OF JESUS.- In the time of Jesus there was a strong "Anti- feminism ", originated by the pressure of the scribes and priests. The woman was considered a lower judicial, socially and religiously, compared to slaves or minors. On the street the woman had to pass unnoticed, for this reason He was forced to cover his face with two veils (head and face), who did not do so, offended good manners and could be fired from his home, and this lack in the woman was often a reason for divorce. repudiated by her husband if he talked on the street or if at the door of his house he began to knit or sew. In the towns and cities, women helped as artisans or in their harvests to husbands. The woman as a daughter, if she had less twelve years, could be sold or accommodated in marriage to the highest bidder. (convenience). Women when married, passed from the power of the father to the power of the husband. Always depending on the man. When a woman was widowed and had not had children of the husband, she had to marry the brother of the deceased. (Deut 25: 5-10) (Ruth 4: 7-10). The married woman was distinguished from the slaves because she had the right to carry with her some belongings, as well as a pension in case of divorce. What were the duties? of the wife? Apart from domestic work, she had to wash the husband's face, hands and feet and make the wool to help with the expenses. She was practically a servant, but without a salary. (Same as now?) The husband could even nullify the vows that his wife made to God (Num 30: 7-9). But if she were married and made vows, or pronounced from her lips something that compels her soul, if her husband hears and silences her, her vows will be firm. But if, when her husband heard it, she forbade him, then the vow that she made and what she said from her lips with which she bound her soul will be null; and the Lord will forgive her. "The husband could sell it to cover some debt. Depending on the physical constitution, its beauty and its manual skills was its price. Polygamy was practiced (Man with many women), which represented a great humiliation for the woman. If the woman adulterated, the man could kill her and others helped him to stone. The laws allowed the man to repudiate his wife in the smallest detail. On this I must say that there were two rabbinical schools of thought: The shammay, which was very strict and allowed only divorce for adultery and Hillel, which allowed an easy divorce, which made the situation of women worse. In the time of Jesus in the field of religion, women were not taught the Torah nor were they taught to read or write. "Who teaches the Torah to his daughter teaches him debauchery, because he will misuse what he has learned." At the time of the service, the woman did not enter the temple, she stayed in the area for the Gentiles and the women, fifteen steps lower than other places. There was a total disregard for them. The synagogues were allowed to enter but they did not count at all. The minimum presence of ten men was needed to start the cult, even if there were fifty women. (Many of our cults would never start). If the woman read the Torah out loud, she would dishonor the assembly. They participated in the cult because there was a man supporting or responding to it. This man could be his father, his husband, his son or his brother. They should not go alone. They did not speak in the assembly, nor could they witness or teach their children in their home. They did not believe what they were talking about (Luke 24:11). That is why Paul does not mention them as the first witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15: 5-8). The priests said that the woman did not belong directly to the people of God, only men because they were the ones who could be circumcised (privilege that men thanked). Men prayed to God in the following way: "I praise you God, because you did not make me pagan; God praised you because you did not make me a slave; I praise you, God, because you did not make me a woman. "The woman prayed like that," I praise you because you created me. " It was all. The woman was also excluded from the synagogues because she was considered impure periodically (Menstruation). During these days the woman had to withdraw, not go to the services. When he had a son he had to be separated for forty days if he had a man and eighty days if he had a woman. (Luke 2:22) Under these circumstances, of course I could not perform ministries. THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN The woman was at a disadvantage because of all these things. Jesus at the beginning of his ministry collides with the traditional structures and molds of that time and begins to give a place to each one of those who were discriminated against. As who says God began to organize everything so that the woman could perform something for the glory itself de Dios.Realizó miracles giving preference to women, always in defense of their dignity, physical healing symbolized social, cultural and political restorations. The woman who suffered 12 years of blood flow, for the Jews was impure and Jesus heals and restores her (Mark 5: 2 "); The woman who was 18 years old hunched over. Jesus heals her and declares her "Daughter of Abraham" "too. Jesus did not care about Jewish traditions. It was inconceivable that a rabbi such as Jesus would enter the house of single women (without a father or without husbands), but Jesus entered the house. Mary and Martha's home and allowed them to serve him, to ask him, to present their grievances.Plazed against the custom, alone with the women (The Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, Jn 4). As a result of this talk, the Samaritan woman frees herself from complexes and becomes visible to the people when carrying out the ministry of proclamation. She valued prostitutes more than Pharisees, because they believed her word. (Mat 21: 31-32). "The publicans and the harlots go before you to the kingdom of God," said Jesus. And he defended them by causing scandals. Prostitutes were considered impure and Jesus allowed himself to be touched by them. He condemned the practice of divorce for defending the woman. The Jews could kill the woman caught in adultery, but Jesus made them equal by saying "He who is without sin among you let him throw the first stone … "(Jn 8: 1 -1 1) We also observe that women or female figures are protagonists of the parables of Jesus in Luke 18." The lost coin "," The lost sheep "," The widow who confronted the judge, etc.). The Bible gives us indications that make us suppose that women were the first converts of Jesus. (At least among non-Jews), for example the Canaanite, Greek or Syrophenian woman and the Samaritan woman. Many women followed him (Luke 8: 1-3) (Mark 15: 40-41). One of them was María Magdalena (from Magdala). It seems that this woman suffered epileptic seizures and it was believed that she was demonized by what was marginalized. Jesus healed her and integrated her into society. She left her village to serve him. When the day of Pentecost arrived, all men and women received the Holy Spirit without distinction (Acts 2: 1-4). The Lord arranged everything so that women could collaborate in the proclamation of the gospel , one way or another. Perhaps actively as missionaries, or passive with the ministry of intercession. Since then things have been given so that you too, sister, can freely exercise the gifts that God has given you. MINISTRIES OF THE WOMAN In the first century church, the women began to carry out some ministries that now I do not know come. This is paradoxical, if we consider that women in our culture, although sexist, have practically the same rights as men, and this translates into great opportunities to act. We found abundant testimonies of conversion and active presence of women in the Christian community. For example: Lydia whose house was at the disposition of the apostles. (Acts 16: 13-15,40) and (Acts 17: 4,12,34) tells us about "Many distinguished women …" 1 .- (Acts 12:12) Women had a church in their house. This was a great job that women did because circumstances required it. How many have churches in their house? 2 .- (Acts 21: 8,9) Some carried out the work of prophets (The prophet has the main job of preaching the word of God) We have many women who do this work and do not have it to do necessarily behind a pulpit.3.-Romans 16 mentions some women who were Paul's collaborators. (1,2) Phoebe.What ministry did she have? a.- She was Deaconess of Cencrea (Port of Corinth). b. – It was hospitable. – Helped others with their goods. – Era maestrae. – It was missionary. – Responsible for the church of Cencrea. Priscila, Aquila's wife. – He had a church in his house (19 Cor. 16:19) b.- He was interested in instructing others (Acts 11: 24-26) Junias.- (Romans 16: 7) (It is believed that she was a missionary before Paul). And other collaborators are mentioned among them , Julia the wife of Philologist-, the sister of Nereus (15), Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis (16:12), Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4:23), Ninfa, had a church in her house (Col. 4: fifteen) Apia (Philemon 2). All of them developed the ministries that strengthened the work of God. All of them, according to Paul, had gifts and prophesied. This means that women were no longer seen, at least in the Christian environment, as inferior and lacking in dignity. Now they seem to be on an equal footing with man and must also minister what God has entrusted to them. Paul understands this and tells them that the gifts are to be used (Romans 12: 6-9). It is very significant that Pedro, a traditional man par excellence, also understands it and gives his recommendations for everyone, including women. (1 Peter 4: 10-11). Still in this time we find congregations that do not allow the woman to speak in the congregation, much less exercise a gift, or prophesy or preside over a cult. They take that encontrarse as a saco and support where Paul says that the woman street in the congregation and if she wants to know something, that ask in her house to her husband. In 1ª of Cor. 11: 5 He gives them permission with the condition that they put on veil. In 1 Cor. 14: 34.35. Here Paul flatly denies the woman the right to speak in the temple. But it must be understood that what Paul wants here is to keep everything in order, because the women took very seriously the freedom that Paul gave them to prophesy. The Corinthian church was a young and very charismatic church, so it soon ran out of order. The women who had been allowed to develop their gifts, let go of their hair and stopped using the veil in worship. They did it this way because they used to worship Isis some time ago. Logically, this did not sit well with Pablo, because for the Jews to wear their hair down was a sign of prostitution. Paul did not want the Christians to resemble the priestesses of pagan gods and he says to them "Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head. Because the same thing is if he had shaved. Because if the woman does not cover herself, she also cuts her hair. And if it is shameful for the woman to cut her hair or shave her hair, let her cover herself. "Conclusion.- We can see that the woman's ministry is broad. Paul does not limit them but says: "Let all things be done decently and with order" (1 Cor 2:30) Manuel Cabezud González
Pastor 4th Church
2, 1998

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