Ordination of Women in Protestant Churches

The ordination of women in Protestant churches has often been carried out in light of the theological doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, which might include women if the expression is taken in a very literal sense

Elders, pastors and ministers

However, most (although not all) Protestant denominations still ordain church leaders who have the task of equipping all believers in their Christian service (Ephesians 4:11-13). These leaders (variously styled elders, pastors or ministers) are seen to have a distinct role in teaching, pastoral leadership and the administration of sacraments.

Traditionally these roles were male preserves, but over the last century, an increasing number of denominations have begun ordaining women. The notion of a priesthood reserved to a select few is seen as an Old Testament concept, inappropriate for Christians. Prayer belongs equally to all believing women and men.

Relevant Biblical passages

The debate over women’s eligibility for such offices normally centers around interpretation of certain Biblical passages relating to teaching and leadership roles. This is because Protestant churches usually view the Bible as the primary authority in church debates, even over established traditions (the doctrine of sola scriptura). Thus the Church is free to change her stance, if the change is deemed in accordance with the Bible. The main passages in this debate include 1 Cor. 11:2-161 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:11-141 Tim. 3:1-7Tit. 1:5-9

Views taken in the New Testament

Increasingly, supporters of women in ministry also make appeals to evidence from the New Testament that is taken to suggest that women did exercise ministries in the apostolic Church (e.g., Acts 21:9Acts 18:18Romans 16:1-4Romans 16:71 Cor. 16:19, and Philippians 4:2–3) and that the Biblical passages used to argue against women’s ordination might be read differently when a clear understanding of the unique historical context of each passage is available.[1]

Examples within specific churches

 Ordination of women in the Church of Scotland

Women as bishops

Some Protestant and Anglican churches have allowed women to become their bishops:[16]


  1. ^ http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Women_Service_Church.htm
  2. ^ Bund Evangelisch-Freikirchlicher Gemeinden in Deutschland K.d.ö.R
  3. ^ [1],
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Women in ordained ministry
  6. ^ “Dienst der Frau-Frauenordination eingeführt,” 2004 http://www.bfp.de/index.php?id=165&no_cache=1&sword_list
  7. ^ “Women’s Ordination Time Line”. Retrieved 2007–03–20.
  8. ^ “Women’s Ordination Time Line (page 2)”. Retrieved 2007–03–20.
  9. ^ What Presbyterians Believe Holper, J. Frederick, 2001 “What Presbyterians Believe about Ordination,” Presbyterians Today, May 2001, retrieved from on August 21, 2006
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ PCA: Press Release
  12. ^ What Is the OPC?
  13. ^ Scheme of Union of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
  14. ^ United Church Of Canada And Homosexuality
  15. ^ When churches started to ordain women
  16. ^ When churches started to ordain women

CategoriesOrdination of women | Protestantism


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